Mr. Speaker, yet again this evening, during adjournment proceedings, the member for Calgary Nose Hill raises a question that has nothing to do with the matter she was supposed to address. I think this is the second or third time she has done this. The question was supposed to be about settlement and integration services for refugees, and that is the question she will get an answer to, as that is what I will be talking about.
When refugees come to Canada from a country ravaged by a devastating civil war, especially those who have limited language skills or education, it is important to give them some time to become fully contributing members of our society and the labour market and a chance to succeed.
In addition to adapting to their new life in Canada, resettled refugees must frequently deal with significant trauma. It is important to remember that our resettlement program is first and foremost about saving lives and bringing people to safety. It is not expected that all refugees will be able to fully support themselves after just one year in Canada. As I have said before, we need to give them a bit of time to adapt to their new life.
That being said, this government is committed to ensuring that these new permanent residents are provided with the tools they need to set themselves up for success.
This fiscal year, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will invest more than $690 million to support the settlement needs of newcomers outside of Quebec, including over $93 million in supplementary funding for the Syrian refugee effort.
Preliminary findings from a survey indicate that more than half of privately-sponsored Syrian refugees are currently employed. There have been many challenges in fully addressing language training needs, but we have added classes and, where waitlists exist, our service providers establish an order of priority among the clients.
Over the past year, the department added almost 7,000 new spots in language courses across Canada, or outside Quebec, to meet the needs of a growing number of Syrian refugees.
When federal income support ends, it is normal for some refugees in need to transition to provincial or territorial social assistance support. As this support falls under provincial or territorial jurisdiction, it would inappropriate for me to comment on the exact cost.
Generally speaking, the amount of income support provided by the federal government under the resettlement assistance program is aligned with provincial and territorial social assistance rates. Each case varies depending on individual circumstances.
Eligible refugee families also receive the new and enhanced tax-free Canada child benefit, which has been available since July 2016.
The federal government is working closely with IRCC-funded service provider organizations to ensure that refugees who may require financial support beyond their first year are connected with appropriate provincial resources and are informed of the process to apply for social assistance.
We encourage all refugees to access as many resettlement support services as they need to help them succeed. These services are available at no cost to refugees, and indeed to all permanent residents, until they become Canadian citizens.
We are determined to help these people, and we will continue to do so. Our government will ensure that these people can adapt to our society.