Chambers of Commerce in Canada are about much more than just business; they are about the people dedicated to making our communities and our country stronger. The businesspeople that create the jobs and pay the taxes across our country are at the very heart of the towns and cities in which they operate. So, when a situation arises where they can help, they are proud to do so. It’s the Canadian thing to do.
The influx of Syrian refugees coming to Canada in the next weeks and months is that kind of situation, one where we can do a tremendous amount of good by partnering with each other to help out in whatever way we can. As one small example, Hassan Yussuff of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and I will co-chair a working group to look at how business and labour can collaborate in helping the new arrivals successfully integrate into the Canadian economy.
I ask for your support in our efforts.
Canadians are getting ready to welcome our new neighbours: a first group of 10,000 refugees will arrive before the end of the year, to be followed by another 15,000 in early 2016. Most communities can count on organizations that are experts at welcoming newcomers, from providing basics to helping them settle in. These organizations have the expertise that’s needed. What they require most right now is money. If you can, please contribute to the funding drives taking place in communities across the country. Use this link to find out where you can donate now.
Additionally, as the refugees resettle and take the first steps towards becoming Canadians, they will need training and jobs. One of the most useful contributions you can make is to consider hiring a refugee and encouraging other businesses to do the same.
These elements are a great start, but there’s much more you can do, from donating services to helping your employees in their own voluntary efforts. We encourage you to share your initiatives with us, so that we can communicate them across the country. We will give you regular updates on what the Canadian Chamber and other chambers of commerce across the country are doing, and you can access the most up-to-date information available on the dedicated webpage we’ve put in place.
I firmly believe that our country will be enriched by the contributions these refugees will bring to Canada’s culture, knowledge, skills base and growth. First and foremost, though, we must welcome them and make them feel at home. Your help and donations can go a long way to reaching that goal.