Karen Refugees After Five Years in Canada

ISSofBC and two Canadian universities offer insights and recommendations on resettlement of over 250 Karen government assisted refugees in Langley in a research paper published this month.

Between 2005 and 2009, the Government of Canada selected and resettled close to 800 Karen GARs fleeing Burma’s military regime to British Columbia.

While the majority of Karens that came to BC settled in the City of Surrey, 257 Karens were destined to the City of Langley, a non-traditional destination for GARs within the Metro Vancouver region.

The combination of a relatively new refugee resettlement movement and a non-traditional destining city provided an opportunity to not only gain insights into the settlement outcomes of the Karen refugees five years after arrival in Canada but also reflect on the successes and challenges of destining GARs outside traditional destining cities.

In addition, the research presents 12 recommendations for consideration taking the views of Karen refugees and local community members. These recommendations address current settlement practices but also provide input into ongoing settlement policy reform discussions presently underway.

The research paper, Karen Refugees After Five Years in Canada – Readying Communities for Refugee Resettlement, was published in July, 2014 by Kathy Sherrelland Chris Friesen from ISSofBC, Jennifer Marchbank from Simon Fraser University and Jennifer Hyndman from York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies.

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