A year after Canada began opening its arms to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has released Welcoming Communities: A Toolkit for Municipal Governments. The practical guide builds on lessons learned by over 300 municipalities that have helped to welcome the newcomers
"I am proud of how Canadian municipalities stepped up and embraced our new Canadian family members," said FCM President Clark Somerville. "Now we've turned some of that experience into a practical guide to becoming truly welcoming communities for refugees.
"In September 2015, FCM launched a Task Force on Refugee Resettlement to share information across the country, to coordinate with federal, provincial and territorial governments, and to support frontline organziations and neighbourhood groups that led strong local responses. Welcoming Communities surveys the complex challenge of welcoming many refugees in a short period of time-focussing on priorities such as finding affordable housing, providing language and cultural supports, and building community connections.
"Once again, we are seeing how municipal action helps meet national challenges," added Somerville, "Of course, as emergency federal support winds down now in 'Month 13', we'll need to help these refugees face new challenges, like finding affordable longer-term housing.
"A housing crisis continues to play out in communities across Canada, with a deepening shortage of affordable housing options. FCM has recommended a comprehensive response, calling for significant funding for housing solutions in Budget 2017.
Since November 2015, 35,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. FCM and its members recognize the cultural, social and economic value that newcomers contribute to our communities, and they will continue to be part of a solution to this tragic situation.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal government, with 2,000 members representing 90 per cent of the Canadian population.
Michael FitzPatrick, Media Relations: firstname.lastname@example.org or 613 907 6346