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Canada’s Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis: Easing the Transition to Integration

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The plight of refugees fleeing war-torn countries particularly in the Middle East has aroused world interest but also mixed responses as to how to deal with the crisis. This paper outlines the steps Canada has taken to assist the most needy refugees from Syria in the time period 2015-2016 and describes the policies the government put in place to facilitate processing of refugee claims and resettlement once the migrants arrive in Canada. It focuses on the actions taken in one centre, London, Ontario to help the new arrivals with finding housing, medical assistance, retraining for the workforce, and language learning. In particular, one program with the acronym GENTLE is highlighted, organized by the local school board to ease the transition to the Canadian education system for the migrant children and adolescents.

The challenges faced by newcomers trying to learn a new language and fit into a new culture are presented with a prognosis for the future.
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Keywords: challenges of integration; education opportunities for refugees; refugees in Canada; resettlement policies; second language learning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2018

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  • Political Crossroads is a bi-annual, international, refereed journal which, since 1990, publishes critical and empirical scholarship in political science and international relations. Its areas of focus include global security, terrorism, national identity, migration and citizenship, and the politics of resources and trade.
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