Absolutely, Ms. Vecchio.
I want to try to unpack it a little for you, because it's a multi-layered issue in terms of certainly refugee integration, but immigrant integration overall.
Refugees coming into Canada are eligible for the full suite of services. We know that.
In terms of language, there are many Syrian women and Syrian families whose language level is at the very lowest literacy rate. The way we manage language classes, they run from literacy to Canadian language benchmarks 1 through 10. We're finding that our Syrian families are at the very lowest levels, from literacy to CLB 4.
What the department did, and my colleague Ms. Kirkland might want to comment on it, was increase the number of language places, certainly since operation Syria, to respond to the intense pressure we have encountered.
I was very honest in my opening statement. We are not able to provide every single newcomer to Canada with every service they need. They're all available, but they're limited. Even though Canada is spending more than $1 billion a year on settlement and integration services across the country, we can always do more.
In the first instance, we have looked to increase language spaces. We have also looked to address the issue that Syrians are asking for: they don't only want to learn language; they want to work. We've put in place very creative and innovative programs, such as the one in place at The Prince George Hotel in Halifax. The hotel has agreed to hire Syrian housekeepers and pay them for eight hours a day under the supervision of a bilingual manager who can speak both English and Arabic. We call it the “pod” system. The manager can take direction from the hotel staff and translate it into Arabic down to the housekeepers, and can translate any issues, questions, or concerns back up to English from the housekeepers to the hotel staff. In addition, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., the hotel gives its boardroom for a language class. The local settlement agency sends the language teacher into the hotel and provides the housekeepers with English-language training.