Federal government will match up to $100 million for Syria aid, while Ontario hopes to resettle 10,000 refugees

OTTAWA — will be supplying additional humanitarian assistance for victims of the conflict in .

International Development Minister Christian Paradis on Saturday announced that the federal government will match “eligible” Canadian donations up to $100 million under the Syrian Emergency Relief Fund.

That’s in addition to $503.5 million in humanitarian assistance funding Canada has already allocated for humanitarian efforts in Syria and neighbouring countries since the beginning of Syria’s civil war.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickInternational Development Minister Christian Paradis answers a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, June 15, 2015.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne commended the federal move Saturday while announcing her province is pledging $10.5 million to help more refugees settle in Ontario and support international relief efforts.

Wynne says $8.5 million over 2 1/2 years will go to support refugees, increase the number coming to Ontario, and help settle them once they arrive, while the remaining $2 million will be donated for humanitarian efforts.

Wynne says the province hopes to resettle 10,000 refugees by the end of 2016, though she notes the provincial government doesn’t have the power to sponsor those refugees.

Most of Ontario’s contribution will help “expedite the resettlement of refugees all across Ontario and support them as they build new lives here,” Wynne said.

“The funding we’ve committed today will help us work with individuals, with faith based groups and with community organizations to reach our goal,” she said.

Wynne said that because the provincial government cannot sponsor refugees, she can’t do anything concrete to speed up the process of bringing refugees to Ontario, but she encouraged the federal government to move more quickly.

Wynne and her spouse Jane Rounthwaite have been trying to sponsor a Syrian family with a group from their church since January.

“We have not been able to move that forward,” Wynne said earlier this week. “The bottom line for me is that all of us across the country need to be doing everything we can to help in this humanitarian crisis.”

Canadians have flooded the United Nations children’s agency with an outpouring of cash in the week since the image of a dead Syrian boy on a Turkish beach shocked the world on Sept. 2.

Four million people have fled Syria since the conflict broke out in 2011 and while their plight has captured headlines over time, it wasn’t until that photograph that Canadians coalesced around the need for action.

The government says Canadian aid has already helped provide relief items to more than 3.25 million people in Syria, food assistance to 4.16 million people inside Syria, and clean water to 16.5 million people in Syria.

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