Syrian refugees’ first flights to Canada lands in Toronto and Montreal

By , on December 10, 2015

Syrian refugees at Budapest Keleti railway station, 4 September 2015 (Photo from Wikipedia/Rebecca Harris)
Syrian refugees at Budapest Keleti railway station, 4 September 2015
(Photo from Wikipedia/Rebecca Harris)

OTTAWA – The first flights of Syrian refugees to Canada will begin this week, flights landing in Toronto on December 10, and Montreal on December 12. Military aircraft will be used in the first two flights, but for the subsequent flights in December, chartered fights are expected to be used.

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

The CC-150 Polaris (Airbus A-310) is a multi-purpose, twin-engine, long-range jet aircraft that can be converted for passenger, freight or medical transport and air-to-air refueling (or any combination of these configurations). Passenger loads range from 28 to 194 people, depending on the particular aircraft tail number and configuration.

In a statement released by the Canadian government, over 300 privately sponsored Syrian refugees are expected to land in Canada, therefore, the flights of Syrian refugees will be destined to either Toronto’s Pearson International Airport or Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, since these airports and cities can accommodate large volume of passengers over a short period of time and have necessary facilities and services to attend their needs.

“We have worked diligently to ensure we are prepared to efficiently welcome and process Syrian refugees upon landing. When our new arrivals leave the airport, they will do so as permanent residents – a significant step in their Canadian journey,” said Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Canada.

The refugees will be welcomed upon arrival and will undergo the final steps for admission by Canada Border Services Officers (BSO) who will confirm their identity using the documentation the refugees received following by their immigration processing overseas. All of them will also be checked if they have signs of illness, and treatment will be available immediately upon arriving if anyone is confirmed ill. The refugees have undergone security screening and completed immigration medical exams.

Once the travel arrangements of the refugees completed, they will continue traveling on the following day towards their community destination. For those being met by their sponsors in Toronto or Montreal, specific information will be sent to the sponsors about when and where to meet the new arrivals.

“I am heartened to see Canadians come together to welcome the Syrian refugees. I have hopes of the greatest success for them and their families as they build their new home in Canada,” Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Hon. McCallum said.

Syrian refugees started to arrive in Canada on November 4, 2015, and as of Dec. 7, IRCC has 11,932 refugee resettlement applications in progress.