By JAYDEN SULLIVAN The Canadian government plans to scrap almost $1 billion in government funding to help Syrian refugees resettle in Canada, including an agreement that Canada’s foreign minister reached with the United States.
The government will scrap the $1 million in funding in 2017, when the federal government is expected to announce it has secured more than $1 trillion in pledges from countries around the world.
The Canadian Red Cross announced the decision on Friday and it comes just a few days after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would cut $1,000 from the annual $2,500 aid Canada has been providing to refugees.
Trump also said Canada’s contribution was a “disaster” and that he would ask the Trudeau government to stop providing it.
Canada’s decision follows the release of a scathing report by an independent auditor, which said Canada did not have adequate controls in place to prevent money being used to provide support to refugees in the region.
The auditor, the Office of the Independent Registered Charity Commissioner, said the program had a “substantial risk” of breaching international obligations.
“Funding for resettlement of refugees was effectively allocated to an arbitrary and inequitable way of choosing refugees, as well as a lack of transparency and accountability,” said the report, released on Thursday.
Canada has agreed to accept 2,200 refugees in total, but the number of people who will be resettled in the country in the next five years will be capped at 1,000, with the remaining 1,500 to be allocated in a lottery.
The refugees, most of whom are from the Middle East, are expected to settle in Quebec, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
The report found that Canadian officials failed to properly allocate funds, with some money going to the United Arab Emirates and some going to Saudi Arabia.
In addition, there was a lack “of a clear set of standards” for determining who was eligible for resettlement and the Canadian government did not provide adequate information on eligibility, the auditor found.
“The lack of robust accountability for funding allocation and its use led to poor decision-making and mismanagement,” the report said.
“In addition, the Government of Canada has a high level of trust in its international partners, and this has led to a perception that it is doing a good job of assisting refugees in developing a home in Canada.”
Canada has pledged $10 billion to help the refugees, with about $3.5 billion going to Syrian refugees, and about $2 billion to Afghan refugees.
The money will be used to help cover costs related to health care and support services.