The Government of Canada has committed to resettling at least 40,000 Afghans as quickly as possible. Since the fall of Kabul in August 2021, 17,590 vulnerable Afghans have arrived, primarily as government assisted refugees, with over 1,500 settling in BC. In the last census information from 2016, there were close to 84,000 Afghans living mainly in Ontario, Quebec, and BC. With this new humanitarian operation, the Afghan community is set to grow with more diverse settlement patterns across the country.
In response to this crisis, Afghans in Ontario and BC came together to build greater understanding and awareness of the great diversity and richness of their culture and traditions. From food to music, language to hospitality, geography to poetry, this video reveals some of the many commonalities we all share.
Accompanying this educational documentary is a study guide: ‘Learning About Our Neighbours – Afghan Culture’. This study guide was developed to supplement the perspectives you will hear in the documentary.
Both learning tools aim to provide information for the Canadian public, including community stakeholders, private sponsors, immigrant and refugee serving agencies, school, etc – to create understanding of the culture of newcomer Afghan refugees resettling in Canada so they can support in making more welcoming communities for our new neighbors.
To launch these to timely resources, The BC Refugee Hub screened the documentary and held a panel discussion with Afghan community member representatives: Abdul Samim, Nangyalai Tanai and Sediqa Temori in August 2022, for the one-year anniversary since the fall of the Kabul to the Taliban in 2021.
In this panel discussion, panelists from the Afghan community in British Columbia reflected on the past year since the Taliban took over the government and the importance of maintaining Afghan culture while resettling in a new country.
Click here to view the study guide.
Q: Do newcomer Afghan resettled refugees quarantine due to COVID-19 upon arrival?
A: Yes, all Afghan newcomer refugees have quarantined in Toronto upon arriving to Canada.
Q: Have newcomer Afghan refugees been vaccinated against COVID-19?
A: Yes, all Afghan newcomer refugees have received their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine and will receive their second shot when they become eligible (as there is a standard wait period between each shot).
Q: Have Afghan refugees arriving to Canada been vetted and had security checks?
A: Yes, all Afghan newcomer refugees have had gone through security screening and checks by the Canadian Government and CBSA prior to arriving in Canada.
Q: Why are there so many refugees coming to Canada?
A: Resettling refugees is a proud and important part of Canada’s humanitarian tradition. It reflects our commitment to Canadians and demonstrates to the world we have a shared responsibility to help people who are displaced and persecuted. Only a small minority of refugees come to the world’s richest countries, including Canada. Canada welcomes approximately four refugees per 1,000 population, compared to more than 20 refugees per 1,000 in Jordan, Chad, Lebanon, Nauru, Turkey and South Sudan.
Q: Are refugees are a drain on our economy?
A: Government Assisted Refugees receive assistance from the Canadian government for up to one year in an amount equivalent to provincial social assistance. They are expected to pay back the travel costs associated with their resettlement. Studies show that refugees contribute positively to the Canadian economy. Many refugees start small businesses that employ native Canadians and other refugees.
The Government of Canada has released a video in multiple languages on the refugee resettlement journey to Canada.
Watch this video to find out what it’s like to resettle to Canada and learn about the free services and supports from settlement service providers and refugees sponsors designed to help newcomer refugees adapt to life in Canada.
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Afghans make up one of the largest refugee populations worldwide. There are 2.6 million registered Afghan refugees in the world, of whom 2.2 million are registered in Iran and Pakistan alone. Another 3.5 million people are internally displaced, having fled their homes searching for refuge within the country. In light of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in 2021, the number of people fleeing will likely continue to rise.
Learn more about what is happening in Afghanistan and the UNHCR’s support work in the region and in neighbouring countries.
BC Refugee Hub – ISSofBC’s BC Refugee Hub, funded by the Province of British Columbia – Ministry of Municipal Affairs, is an online resource hub with the latest programs, services, publications, resources and information relating to refugees and refugee claimants in British Columba, designed with the aim of building capacity for those working with and supporting refugees.