Canada will process an additional 10,000 applications from private sponsorship groups wishing to help resettle Syrian refugees, says Immigration Minister John McCallum following complaints from Canadians who felt the government had scaled back its efforts after reaching its goal to resettle 25,000 Syrians.
McCallum says he has instructed the Department of Immigration to process all privately sponsored applications submitted up until March 31.
"We are doing everything we can to accommodate the very welcomed desire on the part of Canadians to sponsor refugees," McCallum said in a phone interview with CBC News from Berlin.
The minister is in Germany where he will meet with the German interior minister later today.
McCallum said this is in addition to the overall 44,800 refugees the government hopes to resettle by the end of 2016.
"I'm adding this commitment to honour the 10,000 in our inventory of privately sponsored refugees by the end of 2016," McCallum said in a phone interview with CBC News from Berlin.
"We're going all out to meet the demand."
"The Sponsorship Agreement Holders Council has expressed satisfaction with this... now I understand that not everyone is necessarily happy, but I think we've gone out of our way to create maximum room for privately sponsored refugees," McCallum said.
While McCallum is making more room for privately sponsored refugees, he said the the processing of their applications won't be finalized "before the end of 2016 or early in 2017."
More to come