Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

June 20, 2008 08:49 ET

Canada Celebrates World Refugee Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 20, 2008) - Today, in celebration of World Refugee Day, Canada proudly joins countries around the world in honouring the strength and courage of refugees everywhere.

"Every year, World Refugee Day allows us to recognize the courage of the millions of refugees who have been living in uncertain, difficult conditions, often for long periods of time," said the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. "Canada has a long tradition of welcoming those who are in legitimate need of protection and Canadians can be proud of helping so many to rebuild their lives in safety."

As part of today's celebrations to mark World Refugee Day, Minister Finley will preside over two citizenship ceremonies in Ottawa and Toronto. Refugees will be among those taking their oath of citizenship.

Canada accepts more than 30,000 refugees every year. This includes those who come to Canada and successfully claim refugee status and refugees living overseas that Canada agrees to resettle. In fact, through its resettlement program, Canada selects 10,000 to 12,000 refugees annually from around the world, making it a global leader in resettlement efforts. These refugees represent 10 percent of the 100,000 refugees who are resettled every year worldwide.

In 2008, Canada announced the resettlement of 1,300 more Karen refugees and up to 2,000 Iraqi refugees. Canada will also resettle up to 5,000 Bhutanese refugees over the next three to five years. Once they are here, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will work closely with settlement service providers, private sponsors and the provinces to deliver the services and supports that will help them adapt to life in Canada.

"Canada is a leading advocate for the protection of refugees around the world," said the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. "Canada is particularly committed to working with the international community to find lasting solutions for refugees who have been living in exile for decades."

"Canada is concerned with the refugees around the world, who have lost home and community," said the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation. "Canada is a strong supporter of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees to support relief efforts, who provides protection and promotes durable solutions. Last year, Canadian funding helped the UNHCR to support the voluntary return of more than 365,000 individuals from Pakistan and Iran to their homes in Afghanistan."

"Refugees are real survivors and deserve our respect for maintaining hope and courage in the face of enormous odds," said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. "Through their generous support for the world's uprooted people, Canadians have shown not only humanitarian concern but a recognition of the enormous contributions that refugees can make to their new communities."

In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 20 as World Refugee Day to bring attention to the plight of the world's refugees and to offer support, encouragement and respect. With this year's theme of "Protecting Refugees: Rebuilding Lives in Safety and Dignity," the day is an occasion to celebrate the remarkable determination of refugees who have lived (A1)in hardship and who now have a chance to rebuild their lives in security.

For more information on Canada's work in protecting refugees around the world, please visit

For more information about World Refugee Day and Canada's refugee protection program, visit the CIC website at

Contact Information

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Tim Vail
    Press Secretary
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Karen Shadd-Evelyn
    Media Relations
    Communications Branch
    Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
    Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA
    Media Relations Office