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Sean Finn, Executive Vice-President Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer at CN and Chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Refugee Committee; Hon. John McCallum, Minister, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce.


Ottawa, Dec. 14, 2016—The Canadian businesses sector has implemented a wide range of initiatives to help Syrian refugees obtain the training they need, find jobs and successfully integrate Canadian society with encouraging results so far. A year ago, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum challenged the business community to become engaged; today, the business community has risen to the occasion and met the challenge.

“Chambers of commerce and businesses from across the country have responded positively to the call from Minister McCallum when he announced Canada would be welcoming Syrian refugees. As community partners, chambers helped with some of the priority aspects of resettlement, such as making sure the refugees had shelter, food and appropriate clothing, were able to out their kids in school and had basic medical and health-related support. And now, they’ve started to go much further,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “By providing on-the-job training, language support and having their members commit to hiring Syrian refugees or offering them professional coaching, chambers of commerce are playing a significant role in ensuring that these new Canadians have the tools they need to actively participate in a successful Canada.”

Canadian business champions like CN, GM and Manulife, as well as many others, have also given millions of dollars to resettlement efforts through organizations like Community Foundations of Canada, United Way and the Red Cross, thus ensuring the money went where it was most needed.

Canada’s success as an innovative nation relies on how well we can integrate those who have chosen to make Canada their new country. “The range of talents, language and educational backgrounds that are present among these refugees is staggering. These are people that our country needs to help businesses innovate, and some of them will become outstanding industry leaders and entrepreneurs. I am proud of the efforts made by chambers and the businesses they represent to welcome, train, educate and employ refugees. I am confident that the private sector has met the target set last January in cash and in-kind contributions for this very important national initiative for Canada,” said Sean Finn, Executive Vice-President Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer at CN and Chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Refugee Committee, made up of past Chairs of the Board. 

“Job initiatives are essential, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce will continue to work with its members to set up programs to encourage this kind of effort. The key now is to have the resources and commitment to continue our work on what is arguably the bigger challenge by integrating these refugees into our workforce, making them part of our communities and helping them make Canada their home,” said Mr. Beatty.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions.

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Guillaum W. Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
Canadian Chamber of Commerce