March 18, 2022-Ottawa, Ontario - The Government of Canada is working hard to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan nationals as quickly and safely as possible. Canada has now welcomed over 9,400 Afghan refugees, with more arriving every week.
This week, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, travelled to Alberta to meet with Resettlement Assistance Program service provider organizations (RAP SPOs), stakeholders, Afghan newcomers and Afghan human rights defenders. The visit provided an opportunity for Minister Fraser to see first-hand the contributions of key partners who are working to resettle Afghan refugees in their new communities.
While in Calgary, Minister Fraser toured a point-of-entry hotel where Afghan refugees stay when they arrive in Canada, before relocating to communities across the country. There, he did a walk-through of the check-in process and visited a pop-up medical clinic for refugees. He also met with Fariborz Birjandian, Chief Executive Officer at the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS), a RAP SPO that has been instrumental in welcoming Afghan refugees in Alberta and providing them with essential services within the first weeks of their arrival. In his discussions with Mr. Birjandian, Minister Fraser heard more about settlement and newcomer outreach services offered by the CCIS, including welcoming refugees at the airport upon arrival, supporting refugee children in the school system and helping refugees secure and retain employment.
In Edmonton, Minister Fraser met with Afghan human rights defenders who arrived in Canada in January 2022. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched the human rights defenders immigration stream in July 2021 to complement the Special Immigration Measures for Afghan nationals. Canada is one of the few countries in the world with a dedicated, permanent immigration program for those who protect and promote human rights.
While in Edmonton, Minister Fraser took part in a soccer match with Afghan children and met with newly arrived families.
Photos of previous Afghan arrivals are available in Dropbox for use by media. You can also monitor Canada's progress on welcoming Afghan refugees to Canada.