November 20th, 2015

NDP open letter to Premier Wynne asking for government resettlement strategy for Syrian refugees

Premier Kathleen Wynne
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1 

Dear Premier Wynne,

As the Ontario NDP Critic for Citizenship and Immigration, I am writing to you today to ask that you provide the public with your government’s resettlement strategy for the Syrian refugees arriving in Ontario later this year.

Ontario’s New Democrats are proud to stand with Ontarians and welcome Syrian refugees into the province. And, we believe Ontario should be an example for the world to follow.

As members of the global community, we have a responsibility to reach out and welcome those who are fleeing a country ravaged by war. But, the government also has a responsibility to ensure that it has a robust plan in place, which is prepared to offer these people the services that they need. For example, this means making sure that these refugees have a warm place to live, money for food and winter clothing, and access to the required health services.

This week, I attended Journeys of Migration, an event hosted by the Western Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations Program at Western University. I heard success stories from refugees like Bassam, a lawyer from Iraq; Phuong, a business owner from Vietnam; and the touching story of the Ameen family, who recently arrived in Canada as government-assisted refugees. These individuals are part of the strong social fabric of Canada, and we have a responsibility to them to make sure that they feel a part of our community. This includes making sure that we have the proper resettlement services for those that need it.

We’re less than a month and half away from the Prime Minister’s deadline. A promise is simply not enough. The government needs a concrete plan to ensure that it has adequate support systems in place to accommodate and welcome these Syrian refugees. What is your affordable housing strategy? Your mental health counseling strategy? Your language support strategy? Your employment support strategy?

I welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues further and to be kept updated on the progress being made.


(original signed) 

Teresa Armstrong, MPP