Immigration Minister John McCallum is considering covering all travel and medical costs for refugees coming to Canada in the future.
The last of the 25,000 Syrian refugees arrived in Canada on Monday, ending the first phase of the country’s plan to resettle the homeless migrants. This phase included both government and privately sponsored refugees.
Government-sponsored refugees have been provided with loans to cover medical and travel costs.
McCallum has announced that Canada may convert this aid into “forgivable loans”, meaning refugees would not have to repay taxpayers for the financial assistance.
“There are many things that we, as a government, want to do in the budget,” McCallum told CBC News Tuesday. “So whether the full amount of that money is included remains to be seen, but that is certainly one option.”
A 2015 report says $13 million in immigration loans are handed out each year, with an average of $3,090 for each newcomer.
Complete forgiveness is just one option. Another consideration would be to make it easier to pay the loan back either through lower interest or more deferral in repaying the loan, according to McCallum.
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