Canadian Refugee Policy: An analysis of the Syrian refugee resettlement initiative in Alberta

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The Syrian War has drastically destroyed the country creating an enormous wave of refugees fleeing for safety to neighbouring countries as well as, to North America and Europe. The Syrian Horizontal Initiative (referred as the “Syrian Initiative” in this capstone) resettled Syrian refugees in 280 communities across Canada. Canada has resettled 21,876 GARs, 3,931blended visa-office referred Syrian refugees and 14,274 Privately sponsored refugees (PSRs), being a total of 40,081 Syrian refugees in Canada, as of January 2017. By July 31, 2018 Canada has resettled 17,732 more Syrian refugees, being of a total of 57,815 Syrian refugees resettled in the country (Please see Appendix 1 for table). In fact, the Syrian Initiative has been considered one of the fastest resettlement-refugee initiatives in recent history. Due to the speed of this initiative, the Federal government did not consider how much cities and provinces would be impacted by this influx. The policy making process for this initiative revived issues and differences between policymaking and policy implementation in the processes of refugee integration. Throughout this capstone, I focused on analyzing and identifying the gaps between the decision-making processes and how it has reflected on provinces and municipalities as the federal government, and therefore, what were the key issues of resettlement identified by local service providers in this sector, municipalities and provinces. In fact, one of my key findings was the issues regarding communication and coordination of services and decisions between the federal and provincial governments, as well as local organizations. For this capstone, I focused on the impact of the Syrian Initiative in Alberta and specifically in Calgary. I investigated the recent history of the Canadian Refugee Policy and looked into Government reports, City and municipalities’ resettlement strategies, key umbrella organization reports, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Open access Data, among recent articles and research about the Syrian crisis in Canada. In addition, I also researched Alberta’s and Calgary’s local partnership initiatives aimed to help with the Syrian Initiative. In conclusion, communication and information sharing between agencies at all levels of government, continued partnership and coordinated services could help bridge the gap in services and lack of planning between policy making and implementation. With an Advisory committee consisting of key players of the sector, such as, umbrella organizations, municipalities and provincial government representatives, the Federal government could help better plan its refugee policies and consult them on how this policy could affect local organization, services and communities in Canada. This would foster better policy implementation and planning to help newcomers in Canada.
Mendonca, L. (2018). Canadian Refugee Policy: An analysis of the Syrian refugee resettlement initiative in Alberta (Unpublished master's project). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.