November 25, 2015 - 4:30 PM
BURNABY, B.C. - British Columbia is ready to welcome Syrian refugees but still needs to work out funding details with the federal government, Premier Christy Clark says.
"We hope that they'll be able to make sure that they have the funding in place to ensure that every refugee who settles has the strongest-possible chance of success in our province. And that means not just settling in Vancouver, the most expensive housing market in the country, but to settle all across the province."
The province has set aside $1 million to resettle newcomers, who will need trauma counselling after being forced to leave their homes, Clark said Wednesday.
She said refugees are expected to move in across B.C., though the federal government now says the first wave of newcomers it is sponsoring will be settled in the Lower Mainland.
Clark said Ottawa's decision to bring in 25,000 refugees by the end of February instead of by year's end means more services will be in place to help people transition to a new country.
She said it's not known how many refugees will come to B.C., though she has previously said the province is ready to accept 3,500 people.
Chris Friesen of the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. said Wednesday that 400 Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in the province by the end of the year, with another 1,500 people to be resettled in January and February.
Those numbers do not include privately sponsored refugees.
Surrey already has one of the largest reception centres in the country for government-assisted refugees, and many Syrians are expected to settle there.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015