Canada marks 15,000 arrivals of Afghan refugees

Ontario – Canada has now marked an important milestone by welcoming our 15,000th Afghan refugee since August 2021. To date, we have welcomed 15,475 vulnerable Afghans. The latest newcomers arrived in Toronto, Ontario, on June 8 on a charter flight with approximately 300 Afghan nationals on board as part of Canada’s privately sponsored refugee program.

Welcoming refugees to Canada is an integral part of our country’s long-standing and proud humanitarian tradition. It reflects our commitment to provide protection to displaced and persecuted individuals, including Afghan refugees.

Resettling at least 40,000 Afghan nationals is a complex initiative that requires a whole-of-government approach, and through strong partnerships with provinces and territories, service providers, sponsorship agreement holders, private sponsors and the generosity of Canadians and newcomers we will achieve this goal. The Government of Canada also continues to collaborate with international partners to facilitate safe passage for those in Afghanistan, and is working here at home to support these newcomers as they build their new lives in communities across Canada.

Here are some of the key ways we’ve reached this important milestone:

  • The Special Immigration Measures Program has enabled us to welcome 6,985 Afghans and their families who assisted the Government of Canada, during and after our military mission.
  • Our humanitarian program focuses on resettling Afghan nationals who don’t have a durable solution in a third country. It includes women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted religious or ethnic minorities, LGBTQ2 individuals, journalists and people who helped Canadian journalists. Canada has welcomed 8,490 Afghans under this initiative, including 170 human rights defenders and over 50 Afghan women judges, lawyers, Members of Parliament and their families.
  • International partners have played a critical role in transporting Afghan refugees to Canada. Canada works closely with the International Organization for Migration, the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration, to arrange commercial transportation from third countries to Canada, as well as to coordinate exit formalities specific to the host country. To date, 24 charter flights and dozens of commercial flights have brought Afghans to safety in Canada.
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Resettlement Assistance Program plays a key role in providing immediate and essential services to refugees and other vulnerable individuals across the country. It aims to provide what refugees need to live and thrive in their new communities. This includes providing temporary accommodations, helping them find permanent housing and referrals to settlement services, such as information about finding a job, improving their language skills, and adapting to living in Canada generally.
  • Canadians from coast to coast to coast have made cash donations to support Afghan newcomers equaling more than $1.2 million and have offered in-kind donations totaling more than $370,000. These generous donations have been coordinated through the National Afghan Steering Committee, established by the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society.

Together, we are making a difference in the lives of Afghan newcomers and their families and providing support to those who need it most. Individuals and businesses looking to get involved through volunteering, donating, sponsoring or supporting the wider resettlement efforts can learn more about how Canadians can help.

Photos of recent arrivals are available in Dropbox for use by media. You can also monitor Canada’s progress on welcoming Afghan refugees to Canada.