By the Fall of 2015, in response to the war in Syria, the federal government decided to significantly increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to Canada. At the end of April 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada reported more than 44-thousand Syrian refugees had arrived in the country.
We found that most Syrian refugees received the settlement services the government had promised them, in their first year here. For example, we found that 80% of Syrian refugees received both a needs and language assessment during this time. And after the testing, 75% received language training.
We found that the Department identified settlement services the Syrian refugees needed and allocated funding to organizations that offered these services. However, funding delays to some of these outside organizations in 2017 meant that some of them had to cut settlement services for at least three months.
The Department also increased funds for settlement services for Syrian refugees from $141 million over four years to $257 million over five years. This increase was necessary because the refugees who arrived under this initiative needed more settlement services than expected.
We concluded that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada successfully identified and funded the settlement services Syrian refugees needed, but we are concerned that the Department did not collect all the information required to monitor whether refugees were integrating into Canada. For example, the Department didn’t know what proportion of school-aged Syrian children were enrolled in school.