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    Canada Delays Refugee Plan And Says It Will Target Women, Children And Gay Men

    The government now says it will not be able to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year.

    The Canadian government announced Tuesday it is pushing back its plan to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. The new deadline is two months later, the end of February, 2016.

    Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

    Asked if the former plan was logistically impossible, a government official said there is a difference between what is logistically possible and what is logistically wise.

    Under the new plan, 10,000 Syrian refugees will enter Canada by the end of the calendar year but only 2,000 will be government-sponsored refugees. The other 8,000 will be privately sponsored. The government said the application system already contained a high number of privately sponsored refugees.

    As a security precaution, unattached young men are largely being left out of the program. The government is focusing on bringing in women, children, families (which could include young men), or men who face persecution for their sexual orientation. Orphans will not be included in the program.

    Private sponsors, however, can choose whoever they like from among registered refugees.

    The total cost of the program is estimated at $678 million over six years. That figure contains a contingency of more than $100 million.

    Security and health screening will be done overseas. Refugees will be brought in to Toronto or Montreal via chartered airplanes before being sent to new communities across the country. Up to 6,000 beds are being set aside at military bases as temporary accommodation if needed.

    A breakdown of the full process can be found here.

    Refugees will be matched with communities that have settlement services in place. There are 36 designated cities across Canada that refugees can be settled in.

    They will receive support services ranging from counselling and medical services to winter clothing, linens and furniture. Refugees will initially be set up in temporary housing and will receive assistance in finding a permanent home.

    In total, the government still says it will bring in 25,000 refugees by the end of February with 10,000 of those arriving through private sponsorships. The Liberals had originally promised that all 25,000 refugees would be government-assisted. The government insists it will still resettle a total of 25,000 government-assisted refugees, but with an extended timeline into 2016.

    The screening process involves an in-person interview and checking biometric data against Canadian and American security databases. Public Safety minister Ralph Goodale said that to accelerate the process, refugees with red flags will not be admitted into Canada.

    In the normal refugee screening process, when warnings pop up they can take weeks or months to investigate. Goodale said there is not time for that in this plan, so files with lingering questions will be set aside altogether. They could potentially be revisited in the future.

    Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

    Contact Paul McLeod at

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