The question remains: Where are our two remaining refugee families? A Change.org online petition is underway to encourage Canada’s Immigration Minister John McCallum to bring sponsored Syrian refugees to Canada now. The Minister has decided that the 4000 applications that were received in 2016 will not be counted against the overall cap for sponsorships. This means that there are now 8700 uncapped spaces instead of 4700. The Minister also indicated that the BVOR program will continue through 2016 and that planning will start shortly for the 2017 program. This is all good. However, the issue at present seems to be that the Sponsorship Agreement Holders have not yet received their allocations hence groups like SPAUC and Team Almonte have yet to receive their families months into the sponsorship program.
On a positive note, both the Mustafas and the Jarouses (please read below) are doing well. The SRCMM ESL Sessions have been helping the adults with their language skills. We hope that by the end of the summer our SRCMM ESL program can be transitioned to the UCDSB’s ESL program, with the right level of instruction for our families, right here in Almonte.
Additionally, as of April 1, 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada restored the Interim Federal Health Program the levels of coverage that were available before 2012. This applies to all refugees resettled through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. For all who qualify for the program, this includes:
- Basic coverage – similar to provincial/territorial health care, including hospital and physician services;
- Supplemental coverage – similar to coverage provided by provinces and territories to those on social assistance, including vision and urgent dental care;
- Prescription drug coverage – similar to coverage provided by provinces and territories to those on social assistance.
Arnie Francis, Chair Syrian Refugee Committee of Mississippi Mills
HNM update on the Jarous Family
April 5, 2016
Khedr, Nour, Amjad and Jessica are settling very well into our community. Khedr and Nour are attending English language classes organized by the Syrian Refugee Committee of Mississippi Mills during the week, supplemented by retired teachers going into their home to help out as well. Both children are well established at HNM school and have been welcomed and embraced by the entire student and teacher population.
It appears that Amjad will be a super soccer player this summer in the Almonte kids soccer league. The family continues to be busy with medical and other appointments. Khedr and Nour are learning to shop for bargains in our local stores and now understand our currency and prices. Khedr’s brother and family arrived in Kanata some weeks ago and they visit and chat with one another frequently. Interested members of our community have taken the family on a number of outings in and around Almonte and Ottawa to acquaint them with our community. The family’s primary focus for the next number of months is to ensure that they learn and can function in English. Many thanks to the community for the moral and financial support that you have provided to the Jarous family.
Sandy O’Hara, Holy Name of Mary Group
Next update from the SPAUC Group