12 stories about Syrian refugees in Canada that warmed our hearts

In News by MIIC

A year ago, on December 10, 163 Syrian refugees arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport around 11:30 p.m. Waiting to greet them at the terminal was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Amidst photographers and television crews, a beaming Trudeau shook hands with the families, handed out stuffed toys to children and even helped them find coats that fit from neatly piled stacks of winter wear.

It was a picture-perfect moment that made headlines around the world. Now, exactly a year later, we look back at how the #WelcomeRefugees to Canada resettlement process has fared, how Canadians have been involved, and how these Syrian refugees are doing in their new home.

While a poll conducted weeks before the first planes arrived showed that the nation was not unanimously in favour of the resettlement program, since their arrival, some of those opinions have changed and increasingly, Canadians have pitched in to help.

Stories have poured in from every province that took in refugees throughout 2016 garnering much attention. From Ban Ki-moon to Bill Gates, Canada has received high praise for its work in this area.

However, as the months progressed, there have been challenges. Delays in issuing permanent residence cards to newly-arrived Syrian refugees have hampered integration. Saskatchewan reported a strain on resources. Federal funding shortfalls led to fewer language classes for Syrian refugees in Toronto and Vancouver. Finding employment has also been a struggle. In addition, there have also been reports of isolated issues such as Syrian refugees getting pepper-sprayed in Vancouver and falling prey to a phone scam in Saint John, to name a few.

Suffice it to say, despite the overall success, the Syrian refugee resettlement program has had its fair share of turbulence in the past year. But today, as we mark the one year anniversary of when that first plane carrying 163 Syrian refugees arrived, here are twelve Syrian refugee resettlement stories that warmed our hearts from the past year.

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