ALBERTA

Alberta Currently Has No Clear Plan For Handling Syrian Refugees: Ministers

11/10/2015 04:53 EST | Updated 11/10/2015 06:59 EST
John Moore via Getty Images
SIMALKA, SYRIA - NOVEMBER 08: Former refugees prepare to step onto Syrian soil after crossing the Tigris River from Iraq while returning to their homeland of Rojava, Syria on November 8, 2015 at Simalka, Syria. The predominantly Kurdish region of Rojava in northeast Syria has become a bulwark against the Islamic State, and many civilians who fled the violence are returning home. Their armed forces, with the aid of U.S. airstrikes and weapons, have been battling ISIL, pushing them south towards the extremists' stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

CALGARY — Two Alberta ministers say they don't know what the province's plans are to handle Syrian refugees.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the federal government will bring in 25,000 refugees by the end of the year despite observations from many resettlement organizations that the short timeline will put massive pressures on local resources.

Premier Rachel Notley said two weeks ago Alberta will join with other provinces — including Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia — who have committed to opening their doors.

But Alberta's Human Services minister suggests there is nothing in the works at this time.

"I think our government hasn't reached any decision with the number to which we are committing,'' Irfan Sabir told reporters at a Calgary news conference Tuesday.

Sabir said it's a federal matter and Alberta is waiting to see details of the federal plan.

"Certainly some of those will end up in Alberta and we will brace for the impact and we will make sure they have needed supports available to start their life again,'' he said.

"When they are taken into Canada they will have mobility — they can go wherever they feel like and Alberta is one of the best provinces to start over.''

Notley has said discussions are underway in her government, but it would be premature to give a figure on how many refugees Alberta could take.

She says she still needs to talk to the appropriate provincial cabinet ministers whose budgets would be affected.

Alberta has already pledged up to $250,000 to support Syrian refugee relief efforts.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci was also unable to shed any light on the government's plans.

"Different immigrant serving agencies are already starting to meet with organizations throughout Calgary to get them prepared so I think there's action on the ground,'' he said.

"Those discussions are probably happening but we're not directly involved in them.''

The federal cabinet is expected to discuss the Syrian refugee issue at its meeting this week.

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