OCRA was asked to appear before the Senate Human Rights Committee on October 19, 2016. In our statement to the Committee we highlighted three areas of concern for refugee settlement – The most important and immediate concerns family reunification.
The most urgent and pressing need that our OCRA arrivals are telling us about is the dire situation that their left-behind relatives are facing. We have been receiving urgent requests from the majority of our Syrian arrivals for help with bringing left-behind family members to Canada. Their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their nephews and nieces are at risk.
In some cases they are sending funds out of their own tight budgets back to the Middle East to help with the most basic of needs – food, water. This is causing a lot of emotional stress and worry to families. It is hard to justify that we want our new arrivals to focus on our settlement priorities when their family members are highly insecure.
OCRA feels that we are stronger together. United families are more resilient. Settlement prospects for newly arrived and newly arriving refugees are significantly improved by family reunification.
See our statement and video of the Committee Hearing:
Video (OCRA Statement/ Angela Keller-Herzog see min 11:15 to 11:24)