In The Media

Refugee resettlement takes a lot of work

by Candice Malcolm

Toronto Sun
September 16, 2015

TORONTO - Opposition and activist voices in the media continue to demand Canada open its borders to accept many more Syrian refugees.

These demands range anywhere from admitting thousands more, to hundreds of thousands, to “as many as would like to come.”

Aside from the logistical challenges associated with doing background checks, ID verifications and interviews from inside war zones, Canada also needs to consider the big picture of refugee resettlement.

Welcoming newcomers from a bloody and traumatic civil war carries a new set of problems for both the host society and refugees; some of which may last longer than the civil war itself.

For example, look at the difficulties facing some in the Somali community here in Canada.

A devastating civil war has been waged in Somalia for the better part of three decades.

Canada has led the world in its generous efforts to resettle Somali refugees.

Canada now has one of the largest Somali diasporas in the West, with estimates as high as 150,000 residents.

These people fled a war and sought refuge in Canada. The result, however, has at times been anything but peaceful.

More than 50 young Somali men have been murdered over the past decade in Alberta and Ontario alone.

This includes high-profile shootings, such as the 2012 one in Toronto’s Eaton Centre, when Ahmed Hassan was shot to death and four others were wounded by gunfire in the food court on a busy Saturday afternoon.

According to a group that works with the Somali community, there have been 23 shootings in Vancouver’s suburbs this summer.

The RCMP says they are connected to turf wars between rival gangs.

The sad reality is some young Somali men, including some born in Canada, have had difficulty finishing school or finding work, and turned to gangs and drug trafficking instead.

This does not mean every Somali refugee in Canada is involved with crime.

There are many positive stories about Somalis who have served as role models in their communities, and many who are excellent additions to our country.

But even the most successful, among them poet and rapper K’naan, acknowledges the Somali community faces tremendous problems.

In an interview with the CBC, K’naan talked about having to cope with violence and murder within the community in Canada.

He was asked if he has lost more people in Toronto than Somalia.

“No,” he said, “but it’s rivalling.”

K’naan, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder from his experiences in the war, says he appreciates his life in Canada, but also believes many Somalis don’t do very well here.

Studies seem to echo this view.

A 2013 report from York University found a “lack of language proficiency and professional training” have resulted in many in the Somali community living in poverty.

Canada was generous in admitting refugees from Somalia, but we haven’t provided the follow up needed to help integrate and support members of the community.

Successful integration takes a tremendous amount of engagement from civil society, not to mention programs to provide language lessons, skills training and education.

Rather than being closed off and isolated, newcomers must be encouraged and welcomed to participate in the greater community.

Admitting refugees into Canada is just the first step in a long process of resettlement and integration.

If Canada is to welcome large numbers of Syrian refugees, we should do so with our eyes open.

We should plan first and admit second.



Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

No events are scheduled at this time.


Passport? What passport?

by Martin C. Barr (feat. Andrew Griffith), Laval News, June 29, 2022

Oil production test looms for OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia, UAE

by Editorial Staff (feat. Ellen Wald), S&P Global, June 29, 2022

Eric Nuttall & Amrita Sen - Oil & Energy Update

by Eric Nuttall (feat. Amrita Sen), Nine Point Partners, June 29, 2022

All talk, no traction

by Maura Forest and Andy Blatchford (feat. Robert Huebert), Politico, June 29, 2022

U.S. pushes for Russian oil price ceiling. Feasible?

by Matt Levin (feat. Ellen Wald), MARKETPLACE, June 28, 2022

Russia Ukraine Update

by Susan Bonner (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC Radio One, June 28, 2022

Un sommet de l’OTAN pour tenir tête à la Russie

by Marie Vastel (feat. David Perry), Le Devoir, June 26, 2022

A geopolitical alternative system of co-operation for nations

by Staff Reporter (feat. Swaran Singh), The Zimbabwe Mail, June 26, 2022

Analyst says high oil prices spurs little drilling

by Lee Harding (feat. Kevin Birn), Western Standard, June 26, 2022

It’s time for Canada to get serious about defence

by John Ibbitson (feat. James Fergusson and Rob Huebert), The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2022

Trudeau meets with Rwandan president, expands diplomatic mission in Kigali

by CBC Newsroom Staff (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC Newroom, June 24, 2022

With New Threats Looming, Canada Commits Billions to Air Defense

by News Desk (feat. Andrea Charron), New Express News, June 24, 2022

Drop in oil prices is not a quick fix for global inflation

by Editorial Staff (feat. Amrita Sen), The National, June 24, 2022

Highs and Lows of the Spring Sitting

by Peter Van Dusen (feat. Andrew Griffith), Prime Time Politics, June 24, 2022

Oil Incurs Second Weekly Loss As Analysts Differ On Inflation, Demand

by Ship and Bunker News Team (feat. Amrita Sen), Ship And Bunker, June 24, 2022


Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 150–9th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H9


Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6


Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: [email protected]


Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.


© 2002-2022 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email