Helping Hands: Welcoming Syrian refugees to Guelph Wellington
Millions of Syrians have been displaced by the ongoing civil war in Syria.
Canadians have opened their hearts and communities before to people experiencing war and persecution, and we have benefited beyond measure when refugees have been settled and integrated into the Canadian fabric. The Government of Canada has committed to welcoming 25,000-35,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016, many of whom will be privately sponsored. Guelph Wellington will receive between 300 and 400 refugees.
The Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partnership will do its best to help coordinate the settlement effort in our area by connecting key individuals, organizations, and groups; raising awareness about and support for new or community-wide initiatives that will ease settlement; and sharing information.
Key organizations/resources for the settlement process in Guelph Wellington
- Immigrant Services Guelph Wellington, 519-836-2222, see FAQ: Post arrival supports for sponsored families and individuals are offered through Immigrant Services – Guelph Wellington. ISGW will also be a key contact for those who want to volunteer to help settle the refugees.
- Wellington County Settlement Services, 519-837-2670 x4819, 1-800-265-7294 x4819
- St. George’s Centre for Adult ESL, 519-766-9551
- Guelph Community Health Centre, 519-821-6638, see letter to community groups of Guelph who are sponsoring Syrian refugees. Sponsorship groups or refugees can call to either 1) arrange for a visit for an immediate health concern, or 2) arrange for an intake visit to register for ongoing primary care. The number is 519-821-6638, select option 2 for Shelldale.
- Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin – Crisis line/immediate assistance/to access services, call Here 24/7 at 1-844-437-3247. For general information not related to accessing services, call 1-844-264-2993.
- Guelph Wellington Immigration Portal, an online information tool that highlights living, working, and learning in Guelph Wellington.
Sponsorship-related (and other settlement-related) resources
- (Local) Refugee Sponsorship Forum: Coordinating refugee sponsorship groups in Guelph and area, and providing information and educational opportunities. The RSF is now recruiting volunteers to help support refugee families: Please complete this short form.
- (Local) Handbook for Refugee Sponsoring Groups: Tips and local resources to support sponsors in Guelph-Wellington, from the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute.
- (Local) Salvation Army: At this time, the SA is no longer accepting donations of clothing and household goods. The community response was so generous that warehouses are now full.
- (Provincial) Settlement.org: Many settlement-related resources in Arabic (and other languages)
- (National) Government of Canada: #Welcome Refugees is the federal government’s main webpages meant to make it easy for Canadians to stay updated on its progress on this issue, including actual numbers of refugees arriving in Canada. Contact Lloyd Longfield, MP Guelph, 519-837-8276 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- (National) The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program: A program designed to support the Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) of Canada, their Constituent Groups, Groups of Five and Community Sponsors on a national level (excl. Quebec). The objective of the RSTP is to address their information and on-going training needs as well as the initial information needs of sponsored refugees.
- (National) Refugee Sponsorship Support Program: Brings together sponsorship experts, pro-bono lawyers, law students, and community organizations to offer direct support to Canadians seeking to sponsor refugees.
- (National) Caring for Kids New to Canada: Helps health professionals provide quality care to immigrant and refugee children, youth, and families. Developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society with experts in newcomer health. See especially the page Helping Canadian communities help Syrian refugees.
Why we should welcome Syrian refugees
Below are articles/statements/reports that are addressing negative views of refugees, including the spreading belief that Syrian refugees are security risks, or can be used to counter negative perceptions, provide positive views, and help us all to create a welcoming atmosphere. We will likely all encounter these attitudes in our daily activities over the coming days.
- Canadian Council for Refugees, Statement in response to attacks in Paris and Beirut
- CMAS, Caring for Syrian Refugee Children: A Program Guide for Welcoming Young Children and Their Families
- Globe and Mail, France’s ambassador to Canada decries backlash against Syrian refugees
- Globe and Mail, Calgary Mayor Nenshi ‘shaken’ by racism in debate over refugee crisis
- Globe and Mail, No surprise here: Canada a turnoff for some refugees
- Guelph Mercury, Canada has no moral choice but to take refugees
- Guelph Mercury, Guelph businessman funds 50 Syrian refugee families
- Guelph Mercury, A time to step up for Guelph
- Guelph Mercury, Expert: Be caring, sensitive with Syrian refugees
- Guelph Mercury, A Syrian refugee girl’s Merry Christmas to Guelph
- Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership, Statement concerning Syrian refugees from the Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership
- Forbes, Here’s Why Welcoming Refugees Is A Sound Economic Investment As Well As A Moral Imperative
- Huffington Post, Ian Gillespie, Vancouver Developer, To House Syrian Refugees In Apartments
- Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, Population Profile: Syrian Refugees
- Lifeline Syria, Why we should let Syrian refugees into Canada
- Mayor of Guelph Cam Guthrie, Refugee settlement within #Guelph – our city will help
- Maclean’s, For the record: ‘Great nations are built on great challenges’ – Governor General welcomes Syrian refugees
- Migration Policy Institute, The Educational, Psychological, and Social Impact of Discrimination on the Immigrant Child, and The Impact of Discrimination on the Early Schooling Experiences of Children from Immigrant Families
- Toronto Star, A mistake that travelled around the world and back again: Public Editor
- UN Refugee Agency, After Paris attacks, refugees should not be turned into scapegoats
- UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR chief says it is “absolute nonsense” to blame refugees for terror
- Vancity Credit Union, Report: B.C. bound Syrian refugees to boost local economy by $563 million
- Waterloo Region Record, Refugees fuel Canada’s economic growth