The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is moving forward with an ambitious plan to house and resettle more than 100,000 Syrian refugees, as well as refugees from other countries, in Canada by the end of this year.
The CBSA announced on Monday that it is expanding its refugee resettlement program to include the United States and will be accepting applications from the U.S. and U.K. in the coming months.
“As the United Kingdom and the United State continue to host large numbers of Syrian refugees on their soil, we will continue to work with other governments, including the United Nations, to secure safe and humane ways to resettle these people,” CBSA chief Mark Stewart said in a statement.
The agency said it is also adding at least three more refugee resettlement locations to its existing refugee resettlement network.
The expanded refugee resettlement plans, announced last week, will bring the total number of resettlement locations from the United states and the U,K.
“We want to make sure we have the best and most humane resettlement options in place, and to do so, we’re moving forward on more locations in the United United States,” CBSP director John Scott told reporters on Monday.
In addition to the U in the U-K, CBSA also said it will be resettling at least seven refugees from Afghanistan in Canada, including a U.N. official and a former Taliban commander.
“The U.B.S.’s decision to increase the number of locations for refugees is an important step in ensuring that we have a safe and orderly process to welcome and resettle the people of Afghanistan,” Stewart said.
The U.s. and Canada have already accepted a total of 25,000 refugees since they were first invited to the region in 2011.
Canada’s refugee program has been criticized by some lawmakers who say it does not adequately screen refugees and does not provide for long-term stays.
“Canada is a safe country for refugees.
But we are not safe for those fleeing persecution, which is why the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees has called for an immediate end to all travel to Canada and the resettlements of refugees to the United Sates,” Senator Bob Day, a Democrat from Manitoba, told reporters.
The move comes as Canada’s Conservative government prepares to welcome more than 200,000 Syrians and Iraqis over the next two years.
On Tuesday, the minister of foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, announced a $1.8-billion fund to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees.
In December, the country’s minister of state for humanitarian affairs announced the creation of a new humanitarian agency that will focus on assisting Syrian refugees who are currently in need of help.