View Full Version : Testimony: “Giving birth has become a business” for Syrian refugees in Canada

Captain Pancakes
09-10-2016, 02:46 PM
A Syrian refugee with the pseudonym Akram has recently told CIJnews his immigration personal story since resettling in Turkey until finding a new home in the Greater Toronto Area.

During his stay in Turkey, Akram used to live in a rented house, made a living and enjoyed the the Turkish health insurance, which based on his own experience “is much better than the Canadian.”

He applied for immigration to an European country and while on the waiting list he was asked whether he would be willing to change his immigration destination to Canada. After consulting friends he gave his consent.

Akram and all his family were interviewed together for about two hours by Canadian security officials with the help of a translator. They were asked about their military service, affiliation with armed groups and their cellphones were searched for photos of armed militiamen.

According to Akram, the Syrian refugees in Canada are “very pleased” (اكثر من مرتاحين) from their financial situation. His neighbours who have 7 or more kids receive around $4,000 monthly in child support in addition to the $2,000 monthly allowance from the Canadian government. Some have purchased cars worth of $10,000 and even $20,000.

Most of his friends declined job offers introduced to them by a volunteer and they prefer to stay at home unemployed. “Never in my life I stayed at home and someone gave me money. I came to Canada and the government is giving me money. It is fantastic (ايشي خيالي)”, Akram said.

Many seriously contemplate to have more children in order to receive an extended child support as a main source for income. Some of their wives are already pregnant. “Giving birth has become a business (تجارة)”, he explained.

Akram further said that his Syrian neighbours have no food shortage as aside from the generous financial support from the government, many registered to several food banks in the area.

He strongly believes that the Syrian refugees will not consider returning to their homeland once it is liberated, because of the comfortable conditions they enjoy in Canada.

When asked about the question of integration in society, Akram sounded pessimistic. The elders do not learn English and they live in a bubble. The local mosque and Islamic centre play an important role in their social life.

Their wives and daughters are asked to wear hijab (veil) or niqab (grab covering the entire body except a narrow slot for the eyes) while attending activities in the Islamic centre. Akram described the local imam as a fundamentalist expressing fear that the young generation will be radicalized.

CIJnews was not able to independently verify all details reported by Akram. According to Gerry Mills, director of operations for the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, an average Syrian family has 7 members and, in some cases, families can be as large as 10 or 12 people.

At a March 2, 2016 conference in Toronto, Immigration Minister John McCallum admitted that some government-assisted Syrian refugees don’t speak the official languages in Canada, have “little education”, have “many many many many children”, have never been on an airplane and came from “a very vulnerable background.”

The federal government provides a maximum one-time payment of $25,000 per family to set itself up in Canada. In addition, government-assisted refugees receive monthly income support which includes a food and incidental allowance that varies by family size.

Under the new Canada Child Benefit Plan a family of five (two adults and three children – one child under the age of six and two children between the age of six and seventeen) will be able to receive $22,600 per year in child benefits, a family of seven (two adults and five children – two under the age of six and three over the age of six), can receive up to $29,000 per.

A family of ten (two adults plus eight children – two children under the age of six and six children over the age of six), will be able to receive up to $45,200 per year in child benefits.