We’ve passed the one-year mark for the first batch of Syrian refugees in Canada, meaning that those who have been here for longer than 12 months are no longer able to claim federal government support.
The idea behind the program is that within a year, refugee families would be able to get a solid enough grasp of the English language and a foundation in their communities to find work and make Canada their new home.
For whatever reason, that hasn’t happened.
Numbers out of New Brunswick show that just 20 per cent of refugees there have found work. Of that, one quarter of the jobs are seasonal, while the remainder are long-term full and part-time employment.
Considering that the jobless rate for the general population is 8.7 per cent, this means that the unemployment rate among refugees is more than nine times that of the rest of the province.
For those that don’t have work, they fall on social assistance, which doesn’t really have an expiration date.
New Brunswick's post-secondary education, training and labour minister, Don Arseneault, said in a CBC interview that the province knew this day would come and was always prepared to take over payments, but he still hopes for more federal government funding to deal with language training, which has been rampant with gaps across the country.
In British Columbia, even though refugees have been coming in for a year, the province still hasn’t dealt with the housing shortage—meaning that refugees are still being put up in hotels in the absence of other housing.
When Justin Trudeau greeted the first wave of refugees at Pearson Airport, he told them, “welcome home.” One year later, for the majority, all that’s changed is which level of government is writing the cheque.
That isn’t the Canadian way.