Toronto investment firm to privately sponsor Syrian refugee family
A Toronto-based investment firm is taking steps to privately sponsor a Syrian refugee family to settle in Canada.
Donville Kent Asset Management will be privately sponsoring a refugee family, Chief Financial Officer Ali Jaffer told CTV News Channel on Sunday.
"We, as a firm, think it's just the right thing to do … it's a dire crisis in Syria," he said. "We wanted to do something, so we've decided to donate money to an organization that will look at bringing a Syrian family to Canada."
In addition to money, private sponsorship requires a significant investment of time, Jaffer said. As such, once the family arrives in the country, Donville Kent will help the family find accommodation and integrate into Canadian society.
"It's easy sometimes to write a cheque when you have the financial capability, but there's also a large time commitment involved, and we're looking forward to doing that," he said.
The challenges refugees face once they've arrived on Canadian shores is something Jaffer is familiar with. He and his family fled Uganda as refugees in 1972, as then-president Idi Amin expelled the Asians from the country.
Jaffer has few memories of his family's efforts to flee Uganda, but he does remember leaving everything behind.
"We were asked to leave the country in 90 days, and we left everything behind -- our houses, our businesses," he said. "We basically came to Canada with nothing."
He said he hopes more Canadians and companies will consider private sponsorship to help ease the refugee crisis.
"Any individual or organizations that have the financial capability and the time to do it, I think they should," he said. "It's the moral thing to do."
Canada's role in the migrant crisis has become an election issue, with the NDP and Liberals calling on the Conservative government to increase the number of refugees accepted into the country.
To date, the government has accepted about 2,300 Syrian refugees, and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has pledged to bring 10,000 more from the Middle East over the next four years if re-elected.
If elected, the NDP has pledged to bring in 10,000 refugees by the end of the year, and the Liberals have pledged to settle 25,000 refugees by 2016.
On Saturday, International Development Minister Christian Paradis announced that the government will match Canadian donations up to $100 million to help the millions of Syrians living in turmoil. The Syrian Emergency Relief Fund will be open until Dec. 31.