Tag Archives: Canada

Canada Is Considering Spying on Kids to Stop Cyberbullying - Vice 20160426

Canada Is Considering Spying on Kids to Stop Cyberbullying - Vice 20160426

Cyberbullying is simply awful, and its consequences can be utterly horrific. Canadians have known this all too well since 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons’ suicide in 2013, after photos of her alleged rape circulated online.

It’s only human to want to put a stop to it. But is it worth spying on kids?

To wit, the Canadian government is looking for a person or organization to “conduct an evaluation of an innovative cyberbullying prevention or intervention initiative” in a “sample of school-aged children and youth,” according to a tender notice published by Public Safety Canada last week.

Although nothing has been finalized, the government will consider letting the organization spy on kids’ digital communications to do it, Barry McKenna, the Public Safety procurement consultant in charge of the tender, told me.

“The tender doesn’t preclude or necessarily require digital monitoring,” said McKenna. “But there are certainly products on the market that do that, and I would guess that that kind of intervention would be one of interest.”

The school board overseeing the school used in the study would have to sign off on digital surveillance of kids, McKenna said, and so would Public Safety. McKenna would not disclose whether any person or organization has responded to the tender yet. The government has budgeted $60,000 for the program, the notice states.

“Any use by government of technology to scan the internet and read somebody’s communications obviously raises privacy issues,” said David Fraser, a Canadian privacy lawyer consulting on a new cyberbullying law for Nova Scotia. “Fewer privacy issues if it’s following an intervention and it’s targeted,” he continued, “way more if they’re trying to single out kids in Canada and assess what they’re saying.”

“What we’ve seen come out of Public Safety and most law enforcement agencies is a pretty un-nuanced, heavy-handed, over the top model,” Fraser added. Nova Scotia’s previous cyberbullying law, passed in the wake of Parsons’ suicide, was ruled unconstitutional and struck down for being too broad and infringing on people’s civil rights.

If the Public Safety study ends up taking a more blanket approach to monitoring kids instead of targeting surveillance after an incident, it could also risk undermining communication between kids and their teachers or parents, according to US Cyberbullying Research Center co-director Sameer Hinduja.

“Installing tracking apps undermines any sort of open-minded communication [that] youth-serving adults might have with these kids, because you’re tracking them surreptitiously,” said Hinduja. “Kids, as they get older, want more privacy and freedom. It’s natural—you want it, and I want it.”

This isn’t the first time somebody has considered surveillance as a solution to the complex social issue of kids being absolutely horrific to each other, and it likely won’t be the last. In 2013, The LA Times noted that the Glendale Unified School District in Southern California reportedly paid a firm $40,000 to monitor kids’ social media accounts to combat bullying. The move raised the ire of privacy advocates in the US then, too.

The point, according to Hinduja, is that bullying isn’t a uniquely digital problem. You don’t solve bullying forever by putting a teacher in every hallway, and you don’t fix crime by putting a cop on every corner.

“Cyberbullying isn’t a technological problem,” said Hinduja. “You can’t blame the apps, the smartphones, or the internet. Instead, cyberbullying is rooted in other issues that everyone has been dealing with since the beginning of time: adolescent development, kids learning to manage their problems, and dealing with stress.”

Freeze, Colin - How CSEC became an electronic spying giant - The Globe and Mail 20131130

Freeze, Colin - How CSEC became an electronic spying giant - The Globe and Mail 20131130

It is known as “Camelot,” and it is believed to be among the most expensive government buildings Canada has ever built.

Next year, the analysts, hackers and linguists who form the heart of Communications Security Establishment Canada are expected to move from their crumbling old campus in Ottawa to a gleaming new, $1-billion headquarters.

It is the physical manifestation of just how far the agency has come since Sept. 11, 2001. Before those attacks, it was known as Canada’s other spy agency – an organization created to crack Communist codes more than seven decades ago, but rendered rudderless after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The agency’s biggest victory of the 1990s, insiders say, was its behind-the-scenes role in the seizure of a Spanish trawler during the Turbot Wars, a 1995 fishing dispute off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

But now, where it once focused on vacuuming up Russian radio signals from Arctic bases, its surveillance reach is global: Its leaders now speak of “mastering the Internet” from desktops in Ottawa. In 1999, it had a shrinking budget of $100-million a year and a staff of about 900. Today, CSEC (pronounced like “seasick” ever since “Canada” was appended to the CSE brand) has evolved into a different machine: a deeply complex, deep-pocketed spying juggernaut that has seen its budget balloon to almost half a billion dollars and its ranks rise to more than 2,100 staff.

Canadian taxpayers spent $300-million a year on the nation’s two intelligence agencies before the attacks of Sept. 11, but the bill for spying is now coming in at more than $1-billion. That’s because the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has also been bulked up into a $535-million-a-year agency, up from $180-million in 1999.

There are key differences between the agencies. CSIS’s “human intelligence” spies are like stay-at-home defencemen – they work largely in Canada to generate reports about security threats to Canada. CSEC’s “signals-intelligence” spies can go as far as their computers can take them and are afforded an open-ended curiosity to explore issues far beyond Canada’s borders.

An increase in intelligence investment was inevitable after 9/11 – no government wanted to risk a reprise of an al-Qaeda strike. Yet Canadian spending is continuing to rise, even as the terror threat arguably fades.

That kind of arithmetic is being thrown into sharp relief by the ongoing leaks from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, whose disclosures are spawning an unprecedented global referendum on spying. As Canada and its allies seek to bolster national security, they are raising eyebrows among defenders of personal freedom at home and risking long-term damage on the diplomatic stage.

The strains wrought by the Snowden slides are showing. This week it was reported that CSEC may have invited its closest ally, the U.S. National Security Agency, to come to Canada to spy on world leaders attending the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto.

In October, Brazil’s President accused Canada of “cyberwar” after CSEC was revealed to have spied on that country’s energy sector. That same month, a European Union summit was dominated by calls for U.S. President Barack Obama to explain why the NSA had been targeting the mobile phones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister François Hollande.

Canadian officials won’t answer questions about operations. But the opacity surrounding CSEC is high, even by the standards of Western spy agencies. Some of its key architects say the current level of secrecy is unsustainable.

‘It’s the public’s bloody money’

You don’t have to understand the technology of modern spying to grasp the motivations behind it.

“When our Prime Minister goes abroad, no matter where he goes, what would be a boon for him to know?” said John Adams, chief of CSEC from 2005 through early 2012. “Do you think that they aren’t doing this to us?”

The retired spymaster is among the agency’s biggest boosters. But in an interview with The Globe and Mail, he said even he is warming up to the idea of more outside scrutiny – or what’s called “review” in Ottawa parlance.

“What I’m saying is you either get some more review or you’re going to run out of money,” he said. “You’ve got to get the public engaged somehow. It’s the public’s bloody money. And it is getting to be not-insignificant amounts of money.”

CSEC is only going to continue to grow, said Mr. Adams, who doubled the budget from $200-million to $400-million during his seven-year run. When he headed the agency, he made a point of bringing important civil servants in for show and tells about CSEC capabilities.

“This is what we got. They said, ‘Holy … this is the best-kept secret in NATO,’ ” Mr. Adams said. “And I said, ‘Now, what you’ve given us is good – but it’s not enough. We need more.’ ”

Electronic spying is expensive. Keeping hackers out of Canadian government computer systems, running some of the world’s fastest supercomputers and storing data in bulk costs money. Mr. Adams even made a point of hiring top mathematicians, with salaries exceeding his own, so CSEC could better crack encryption.

“We wanted to play with the big boys,” said Mr. Adams, who tends to measure CSEC against the much larger NSA.

Despite the vast discrepancy in size, the relationship between the two agencies has always been very close. The partnership is so cozy that CSEC analysts in Ottawa can sift through massive databases of logged telecommunications traffic first assembled at the NSA headquarters in Fort George G. Meade, Md. – repositories with code names such as “Marina” and “EvilOlive,” according to materials seen by The Globe.

CSEC also has a hungry clientele strewn across the federal bureaucracy. An internal document obtained by The Globe names a few of the customers: “CSEC provides intelligence reporting to over 1,000 clients across government, including the Privy Council Office, DND, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Treasury Board Secretariat, CSIS and the RCMP.”

Then there are Canada’s allies. While a relatively small collector compared to the NSA, CSEC has always tried to fill in blind spots for allies and to come up with better ways to sift through reams of raw intelligence.

“The NSA is intercepting the equivalent of four Library of Congresses every hour,” U.S. military historian Matthew Aid said. “One of the things Canada does very well is analysis.”

Since the 1940s, the two agencies have also worked closely with British, New Zealand and Australian counterparts. This is the spying collective known as “the Five Eyes.”

“Canada benefits tremendously” from this partnership, reads a CSEC PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Globe.

“It is precious,” a slide says. “Treat it with Care!”

‘I couldn’t possibly talk about it’

In Britain and the United States, committees of trusted, watchdog politicians are afforded a peek inside their surveillance machinery.

Canada has no mechanism for this.

“We’re the only country out of the Five Eyes that doesn’t have that kind of body,” said Liberal MP Wayne Easter, who this month introduced a private member’s bill for such a mechanism. (A 2005 piece of legislation for the same sort of body had broad approval, but then the Liberal government of the day fell.)

Parliament’s only insights into CSEC now come via a proxy. Since 1996, a retired judge with a small staff is cleared to look at CSEC. No laws have ever been found to have been broken, according to the annual reports submitted to Parliament.

A former top security official said the parameters may be too narrow. “All he’s asked to do is say, ‘Are they following the law?’ ” the official said. “And that’s an important question. But you have to ask yourself: Is that sufficient?”

In Britain, nine trusted parliamentarians are cleared to keep state surveillance in check. In the United States, the NSA faces scrutiny from House and Senate select committees on intelligence. Specialized judges who sit on foreign intelligence surveillance courts also vet NSA programs.

Yet the NSA is an incredibly aggressive agency. And its political masters have been known to do end runs around all the watchdogs.

For example, on March 12, 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush reined in a secret NSA Internet-metadata collection program that he had managed to keep secret for three years. He relented only after his top law enforcement officials learned of the program, deemed it illegal and threatened to resign en masse.

What many Canadians don’t know is that secretive surveillance authorizations can also happen north of the border, with the blessing of the Minister of National Defence.

Records obtained by The Globe show that on Monday, March 15, 2004 – three days after the U.S. program was peeled back – a “ministerial directive and a ministerial authorization” regarding a Canadian Internet-metadata collection program was signed in Ottawa.

Just what this program would do remains unclear. The Globe, which has previously reported on similar CSEC directives signed by later ministers, only knows about the 2004 program through a highly redacted document obtained under the Access to Information Act.

Nearly a decade later, no one will speak to the program. “Even if I remembered the full details, I couldn’t possibly talk about it,” said David Pratt, the former Liberal defence minister who signed the document.

Now a defence lobbyist with a picture of himself and former U.S. counterpart Donald Rumsfeld in his office, he won’t spill secrets.

“You swear an oath as a privy councillor on these things …”

‘CSEC had gone blind’

For several decades, the very existence of CSEC was considered classified. Canadians first learned of the spy agency in the 1970s through a TV newsmagazine exposé.

In 2001, Parliament passed the omnibus Anti-Terrorism Act that ensconced CSEC in law. The statute states that its surveillance “shall not be directed at Canadians,” but some wiggle room was quickly added – the spy agency was placed beyond criminal laws that ban the warrantless seizure of Canadian telecommunications.

So while police have to get a judge to sign off if they want to eavesdrop on a Canadian, CSEC doesn’t necessarily have to do so. Instead, the agency can get the defence minister to sign off on a spying dragnet, so long as the minister is convinced that it is being cast predominantly at foreigners. Any Canadian calls and messages that are sucked up in the process can be sorted out later.

This legal cover allowed CSEC to get into the business of “bulk” data collection. Within the agency, this was huge. In the 1990s, “CSEC had gone blind. They were deaf and dumb,” said Mr. Adams, the former chief.

The agency, he said, had risked becoming a relic because it hadn’t yet figured out how to spy on the Internet without breaking laws.

“They couldn’t monitor Osama bin Laden in 1999 … they didn’t know that they were not going to hit a Canadian,” he said. “And if they would have hit a Canadian, they would have gone to jail.”

The Anti-Terrorism Act also formalized an arrangement where other federal security agencies could enlist CSEC’s unique skills to advance domestic investigations. Records obtained by The Globe show that CSEC now gets 70 to 80 such requests each year, from the RCMP, CSIS and other agencies.

This week it was revealed that a Federal Court judge has ruled CSIS “breached its duty of candour” in enlisting CSEC for one such case. The issue appears to be that the court was not told that CSEC’s Five Eyes allies would be brought in on the case, an international terrorism investigation focusing on two Canadian suspects. The surveillance on them lasted for a year. It’s not clear what happened to the tandem.

The future

CSEC has never had a higher profile. If recent months are any indication, there will be more Snowden leaks coming and more news about questionable spying operations run in partnership with the NSA and other Five Eyes allies.

CSEC officials decline to say anything of substance about their operations. They say only that they have never been found to have done anything unlawful.

Meantime, parliamentarians are raising questions about CSEC. Out West, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is suing CSEC for alleged illegal search and seizure. The lawsuit – the first of its kind – threatens to crack open key details about CSEC’s activities.

For critics, this all adds up to a good thing. “It’s up to the government and up to courts and up to citizens to ensure there are adequate measures in place to ensure some degree of accountability and transparency,” said Steven Penney, a University of Alberta law professor. “If we are going to have a new paradigm … then we ought to have a debate about that – and that hasn’t occurred.”

For his part, Mr. Adams said there are places for proper debates – mostly behind closed doors. “You can’t have the debate in the public. The best you could hope for is if you have a [parliamentary] review committee – it’s been talked about for 10 years.”

Maybe it’s time to do more than talk, he said. “How do you get that debate? You get that, I hope, by clearing people, so you can actually tell them what the hell is going on.”

CSEC by the numbers

$96.3-million – CSEC’s budget in 1999

$460.9-million – CSEC’s budget in 2013

900 – Number of employees in 1999

2,124 – Number of employees in 2013

1,000+ – Number of “clients” in the civil service cleared to read CSEC material

59 – Minimum number of CSEC “ministerial authorizations” signed since 2001

69 to 80 – Requests for legal assistance received annually by CSEC from other federal agencies

$15-billion – Combined budget of the “Five Eyes” signals-intelligence agencies

Sources: Lux Ex Umbra blog, Globe and Mail Access to Information files, BCCLA lawsuit

Canada: A timeline of refuge

 Source: Government of Canada

1776: 3,000 Black Loyalists, among them freemen and slaves, fled the oppression of the American Revolution and came to Canada.1781: Butler’s Rangers, a military unit loyal to the Crown and based at Fort Niagara, settled some of the first Loyalist refugees from the United States in the Niagara peninsula, along the northern shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.1783: Sir Guy Carleton, Governor of the British Province of Quebec, and later to become Lord Dorchester, safely transported 35,000 Loyalist refugees from New York to Nova Scotia. Some settled in Quebec, and others in Kingston and Adolphustown in Ontario.

1789: Lord Dorchester, Governor-in-Chief of British North America, gave official recognition to the “First Loyalists” – those loyal to the Crown who fled the oppression of the American Revolution to settle in Nova Scotia and Quebec.

1793: Upper Canada became the first province in the British Empire to abolish slavery. In turn, over the course of the 19th century, thousands of black slaves escaped from the United States and came to Canada with the aid of the Underground Railroad, a Christian anti-slavery network.

Late 1700s:  Scots Highlanders, refugees of the Highland Clearances during the modernization of Scotland, settled in Canada.

1830: Polish refugees fled to Canada to escape Russian oppression. The year 1858 marked the first significant mass migration of Poles escaping Prussian occupation in northern Poland.

1880-1914: Italians escaped the ravages of Italy’s unification as farmers were driven off their land as a result of the new Italian state reforms.

1880-1914: Thousands of persecuted Jews, fleeing pogroms in the Pale of Settlement, sought refuge in Canada.

1891: The migration of 170,000 Ukrainians began, mainly to flee oppression from areas under Austro-Hungarian rule, marking the first wave of Ukrainians seeking refuge in Canada.

1920-1939: The second wave of Ukrainians fled from Communism, civil war and Soviet occupation.

1945-1952: The third wave of Ukrainians fled Communist rule.

1947-1952: 250,000 displaced persons (DPs) from Central and Eastern Europe came to Canada, victims of both National Socialism (Nazism) and Communism, and Soviet occupation.

1950s: Canada admitted Palestinian Arabs, driven from their homeland by the Israeli-Arab war of 1948.

1950s-1970s: A significant influx of Middle Eastern and North African Jews fled to Canada.

1951: The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was created.

1956: 37,000 Hungarians escaped Soviet tyranny and found refuge in Canada.

1960: Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, whose grandfather was a German refugee of the Napoleonic Wars, introduced Canada’s first Bill of Rights.

1960s: Chinese refugees fled the Communist violence of the Cultural Revolution.

1968-1969: 11,000 Czech refugees fled the Soviet and Warsaw Pact Communist invasion.

1969:  Canada signed the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and its Protocol, agreeing not to return a person to their country of origin if that person had grounds to fear persecution.

1970s: 7,000 Chilean and other Latin American refugees were allowed to stay in Canada after the violent overthrow of Salvador Allende’s government in 1973.

1970-1990: Deprived of political and religious freedom, 20,000 Soviet Jews settled in Canada.

1971: After decades of being denied adequate political representation in the central Pakistani government, thousands of Bengali Muslims came to Canada at the outbreak of the Bangladesh Liberation War.

1971-1972: Canada admitted some 228 Tibetans. These refugees, along with their fellow countrymen, were fleeing their homeland after China occupied it in 1959.

1972-1973: Following Idi Amin’s expulsion of Ugandan Asians, 7,000 Ismaili Muslims fled and were brought to Canada.

1979: Iranian refugees fled Iran following the overthrow of the Shah and the imposition of an Islamic Fundamentalist regime.

1979 -1980: More than 60,000 Boat People found refuge in Canada after the Communist victory in the Vietnam War.

1980s: Khmer Cambodians, victims of the Communist regime and the aftershocks of Communist victory in the Vietnam War, fled to Canada.

1982: The Constitution of Canada was amended to entrench the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

1986: The United Nations awarded Canada the Nansen Medal for its outstanding humanitarian tradition of settling refugees.

1990s: By the 1990s, asylum seekers came to Canada from all over the world, particularly Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa.

1992: 5,000 Bosnian Muslims were admitted to Canada to escape the ethnic cleansing in the Yugoslav Civil War.

1999: Canada airlifted more than 5,000 Kosovars, most of whom were Muslim, to safety.

2006: Canada resettled over 3,900 Karen refugees from refugee camps in Thailand.

2008: Canada began the process of resettling more than 5,000 Bhutanese refugees over five years.

2010: Refugees from more than 140 countries were either resettled or were granted asylum in Canada.

2011: Canada expands its refugee resettlement programs by 20% over three years.

Each year, Canada provides asylum to more than 10,000 persecuted persons and welcomes another 12,000 refugees from abroad.

If you, your family or your community organization would like to sponsor a refugee, please visit cic.gc.ca for information.

Canada: Tradition of humanitarian action

 Source: Government of Canada

Our compassion and fairness are a source of great pride for Canadians.

These values are at the core of our domestic refugee protection system and our Resettlement Assistance Program. Both programs have long been praised by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Refugees are people who have fled their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution, and who are therefore unable to return home. Many refugees come from war-torn countries and have seen or experienced unthinkable horrors.

A refugee is different from an immigrant, in that an immigrant is a person who chooses to settle permanently in another country. Refugees are forced to flee.

Canada resettles refugees to save lives and to provide stability to those fleeing persecution who have no hope of relief. Canada’s resettlement programs are respected internationally because they provide permanent residence as a long term solution.

Canadian refugee protection programs

The Canadian refugee system has two main parts:

  • the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program, for people seeking protection from outside Canada; and
  • the In-Canada Asylum Program for people making refugee protection claims from within Canada.

Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program

There are an estimated 19.5 million refugees in the world today. Countries with resettlement programs resettle about 100,000 refugees from abroad each year. Of that number, Canada annually takes in roughly one out of every 10 refugees, through the government-assisted and privately sponsored refugee programs.

Refugees selected for resettlement to Canada have often fled their homes because of unimaginable hardships and have, in many cases, been forced to live in refugee camps for many years. When they arrive in Canada, they basically pick up the pieces of their lives and start over again.

As a member of the international community, Canada helps find solutions to prolonged and emerging refugee situations and helps emerging democracies try to solve many of the problems that create refugee populations. To do this, Canada works closely with the UNHCR.

The UNHCR, along with private sponsors identifies refugees for resettlement. Even after a refugee is identified to Canada, it takes time to process the cases.

Under our legislation, all resettlement cases must be carefully screened to ensure that there are no issues related to security, criminality or health. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) works with its security partners such as the Canada Border Services Agency to complete this work as quickly as possible.

Private sponsors across the country also help resettle refugees to Canada. Some are organized to do so on an ongoing basis and have signed sponsorship agreements with the Government of Canada to help support refugees from abroad when they resettle in Canada. These organizations are known as Sponsorship Agreement Holders. They can sponsor refugees themselves or work with others in the community to sponsor refugees. Other sponsors, known as Groups of Five and Community Sponsors, are persons/groups in the community who are not involved on an ongoing basis but have come together to sponsor refugee(s).

Canada has also introduced a third program to welcome refugees. Launched in 2013, the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program matches refugees identified for resettlement by the UNHCR with private sponsors in Canada.

Through these programs Canada welcomes many refugees each year.

For example, Canada’s total Iraqi resettlement commitment is to resettle 23,000 refugees. As of September 2, 2015, Canada has resettled 22,405 Iraqi refugees since 2009.

Canada has also expanded its commitment to help Syrian refugees by resettling an additional 10,000 Syrians over the next three years. This brings Canada’s total commitment to helping Syrian refugees up to 11,300 by September 2016. A total of 2,563 have been resettled in Canada as of October 5, 2015.

In-Canada Asylum Program

Refugees come from around the world and many make their claims in Canada. The number of people arriving varies from year to year. In 2014, more than 13,500 people came to Canada and made an asylum claim.

The asylum program works to provide refugee protection to people in Canada who have a well-founded fear of persecution or are at risk of torture, or cruel or unusual punishment in their home countries.

Not everyone is eligible to seek asylum. For example, people convicted of serious criminal offences and people who have had previous refugee claims denied by Canada are not eligible to make a claim.

Integration services

Refugees—resettled from overseas or granted protection in Canada—often do not have the resources to easily establish themselves.

As such, the Government of Canada, working with an extensive network of partners and stakeholders, supports the delivery a broad range of settlement services to support successful integration of all refugees.

Assistance for resettled refugees

Resettled refugees get initial assistance from either the federal government, the Province of Quebec, or private sponsors (organizations or groups of people in Canada).

In keeping with Canada’s proud humanitarian tradition, individuals and families selected under the Government-Assisted Refugees (GAR) program are provided with immediate and essential services as well as income support under the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) to support their initial settlement in Canada.

This income support is typically provided for up to one year or until the client becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first. Canada provides RAP income support to eligible clients who cannot pay for their own basic needs. Monthly income support levels for shelter, food and incidentals are guided by the prevailing provincial or territorial basic social assistance rates in the client’s province or territory of residence.

RAP also provides immediate and essential services, generally delivered during the first four to six weeks following a client’s arrival in Canada, including:

  • port of entry and reception services;
  • temporary accommodation;
  • help to find permanent accommodation;
  • needs assessments;
  • information and orientation; and
  • links to other federal and provincial programs, as well as to other settlement services.

Private sponsors are responsible for providing financial and emotional support to privately sponsored refugees for the duration of the sponsorship period, or until the refugee becomes financially independent if this should occur during the sponsorship period. This includes help with housing, clothing and food. Most sponsorships last for one year, but some refugees may be eligible for assistance from their sponsors for up to three years.

Blended visa office-referred refugees receive six months of RAP income support, while private sponsors provide up to six months of financial support and up to a year of social and emotional support.

These supports are in addition to settlement services funded by CIC to help all newcomers, including refugees, settle and integrate into their new communities.

Assistance for all newcomers, including refugees

CIC also funds a settlement program that helps newcomers settle and adapt to life in Canada. CIC works with provinces and territories, service provider organizations, as well as a range of other partners and stakeholders in delivering these services, which include:

  • needs assessment and referral services to increase newcomers’ awareness of their settlement needs and link newcomers to CIC-funded and community settlement services;
  • information and orientation services to better understand life in Canada and make informed decisions about the settlement experience. This includes  Canadian Orientation Abroad program, delivered pre-arrival by the International Organization for Migration, which provides general information on settlement, in person;
  • language training in English and French, so newcomers have the language skills to function in Canada;
  • employment services that help newcomers search for, gain and retain employment in regulated and non-regulated professions;
  • community connections services that enable newcomers to receive assistance in public institutions, build networks with long-time Canadians and established immigrants with opportunities to fully participate in Canada society; and
  • support services which help newcomers access settlement services, such as childcare, transportation assistance, translation and interpretation services, provisions for persons with a disability, as well as short-term/crisis counselling to deal with settlement issues.


Canada’s refugee protection programs have helped the world’s most vulnerable, while ensuring the health and safety of Canadians.

Through our refugee protection programs, refugees bring their experiences and skills as well as their hopes and dreams to Canada which, in turn, has contributed to an even richer and more prosperous society for us all.

Canada: A history of refuge

Source: Government of Canada

What Does “Refugee” Mean?

It is not as easy to define “refugee” as one might expect. In its simplest meaning, a refugee is a person who flees his or her home country because of fears of persecution or abuse, particularly by their own government. However, the meaning is affected by political change, public perception and history. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, refugees are people who have been forced to leave their country and who are afraid to return because of war, violence or persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

1770 – 1779 The Quakers
1780 - 1789 Black Loyalists
1830 - 1860 Poles Fled Eastern Europe 
1870 - 1899 Jewish Refugees in the late 19th Century