First flights of Syrian refugees to arrive in Canada today


The first batch of Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in Canada Thursday at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Facebook / UNHCR

SEE ALSO: Syrian refugees will add $563 million to B.C. economy

A second batch are expected to arrive in Montreal on Saturday, December 12. Both flights are utilizing Canadian government military aircraft and will carry around 150 refugees each, but chartered flights will be used later this month.

”The Canadian Armed Forces has a strong history of supporting humanitarian operations, including, when necessary, the transportation and temporary housing of refugees,” said Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan in a statement.

“I’m proud that the Royal Canadian Air Force will be providing a CC-150 Airbus to help bring Syrian refugees to Canada. The Canadian Armed Forces is prepared to provide additional support, including interim ‎lodging facilities until their communities are ready to receive them.”

Ververidis Vasilis /

SEE ALSO: Vancouver developer collects 24,000 lbs of food, clothing, and toys for Syrian refugees

Upon arrival, all refugees will be checked for signs of illness under the Quarantine Act and will be treated accordingly. The identities of those on board will be confirmed using documentation that was processed overseas and they will have already been screened for security prior to boarding their flight.

They will then be taken to a welcome centre where they will receive winter clothes and their Social Insurance Numbers before being transported to a hotel for rest and food.

Here in Vancouver, locals are gearing up for the arrival of 3,000 refugees by the end of February next year, starting with the first few batches arriving at YVR sometime this month. An outpouring of support has come through in the form of donations.

Owner of Vancouver development company Westbank Corp Ian Gillespie is offering 12 furnished apartment units for Syrian refugees to use upon arrival. Westbank has also collected 11,000 kilograms worth of donations from Vancouverites.

In addition, a Vancouver synagogue managed to raise $40,000 to sponsor a Syrian refugee family.

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.

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