Trudeau's fast-tracked refugees missed overseas orientation session: Docs

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(This article originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

Many of the Syrian refugees who came to Canada as part of Justin Trudeau’s fast-tracked program did not receive an important overseas orientation session prior to arrival, the Sun has learned.

According to information provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), refugees typically attend “a three-day group session that provides initial orientation about life in Canada.” However, due to the rushed nature of Trudeau’s decision to rapidly resettle tens of thousands of Syrians to meet his political timeline in 2015, this orientation was skipped.

An internal document from IRCC, made public through an Access to Information request and based on a forum held Nov. 28-29, 2015 in Toronto, clearly states that “there will be no orientation abroad for this cohort.”

According to an IRCC spokesman, this program is an important part of Canada’s refugee resettlement program.

“Orientation content covers Canadian laws, employment, education, housing, health, life in Canada, and access to citizenship and settlement services,” the spokesman said.

But that’s not all. According to the spokesman, an “individual who migrates to another country has a better chance of successfully adapting to his or her new life when accurate information about the new culture and society is received before arrival.” While government officials state that a refugee has “a better chance of successfully adapting” to life in Canada if he or she attends an orientation session, this important step was skipped for many Syrian refugees.

Worse, the Trudeau government is either in denial or is flat out misleading Canadians.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told the Globe and Mail that all refugees go through pre-arrival orientation programs.

“Hussen defended the government’s Syrian refugee program, saying all newcomers go through a ‘vigorous screening system’ and pre- and post-arrival orientation programs where they are briefed on Canadian laws,” read a Globe story published on Monday.

This stands in direct contrast to information provided by Hussen’s own department.

During the 2015 election campaign, Trudeau pledged to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year. When that proved unfeasible, he extended his political timeline to the end of February 2016 — a goal his government achieved.

When asked whether Syrian refugees received an orientation training session, an IRCC spokesman said those arriving “after February 2016” had received the training.

That means that thousands of Syrian refugees who arrived prior to February 2016 may not have received this crucial orientation session.

Perhaps this helps explain the case of Mohamad Rafia, the Syrian refugee who recently pleaded guilty in New Brunswick to assault after beating his wife with a hockey stick for half an hour.

In court, speaking through a translator, Rafia said he didn’t know it was against the law in Canada to beat his wife.

“Officials didn’t inform him of the differences in the law in Canada and that more should have been done to educate him,” said his interpreter. “Why didn’t they explain the law?”

If he was part of Trudeau’s fast-tracked Syrian refugee pledge, Rafia may not have received...(READ MORE)