12/08/2015 12:27 EST | Updated 12/08/2016 05:12 EST

Liberals' Syrian Refugee Plan An Act Of Courage, IOM Chief Says

The head of the International Organization for Migration says the program is a good compromise.

OTTAWA — The head of the International Organization for Migration says the plan to space out Syrian refugee resettlement to Canada over the next three months represents a good compromise.

William Swing says the original end-of-year timeline set by the Liberal government to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees wasn't going to be possible for a host of logistical reasons.

But in an interview with The Canadian Press, Swing says extending the deadline to February has allowed for some breathing room as efforts continue to scale up to get that many people to Canada.

William Swing, director general of the International Organization for Migration, speaks at a conference. (Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP)

Swing says he's feeling upbeat and optimistic about the program, which he called a humanitarian act that reflects a lot of political courage and leadership.

He says while there is urgency attached to help refugees fleeing Syria, the decision to attach a deadline to the effort was a policy judgment on the part of the government.

Swing says he doesn't know when the first charter flights of refugees will begin to arrive, although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the influx is expected to start later this week.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Canadian Ministers Visit Refugee Camp In Jordan See Gallery