Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
District 16 York Region

OSSTF Syrian Refugee Sponsorship

Facts about the Syrian crisis:               

  • Syria's civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis we have experienced since the Second World War.
  • Since the civil war broke out 5 years ago, half of the country's population is homeless as a result of internal displacement or fleeing their country.

A group of District 16 members has decided to sponsor a Syrian refugee family, here's how you can help them reach their fundraising goal:

How to help?

1)  Donate online by selecting the Paypal link below.

2)  Send a cheque through the board courier to the District 16 office made out to ‘OSSTF Syrian Refugee Fund’

3) Organize a fundraiser, donate portions of an event to the cause, there are many ways you can help.  If you need assistance, please contact blair.vowles@osstfd16.on.ca


December 20th, 2016

Approximately 13 months ago our district started a journey to raise the funds necessary to sponsor a Syrian refugee family.  Over the past year we have raised almost $21,000 and our sponsorship group has been assigned a family.

Many members have asked, if we have completed a majority of our fundraising and have a family assigned to us then why isn't our family here yet?  The answer is that our application is one of over 25,000 that are caught in a processing backlog at Canada's immigration offices.

One would think that the slowdown in the processing of refugee applicants is the sign of a crisis that is turning around.  That is unfortunately untrue.  According to the Syrian Centre for Policy Research over 450,000 Syrians have been killed since the war began, with over 200,000 of the murders occurring in the last year and a half.  Another 4.8 million Syrians are also currently displaced as refugees, living in inhuman conditions with almost no prospect of returning home. 

This is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time and it is only getting worse.  You can do a few things to help.  Your first step is to continue to educate yourself about the situation and talk about it with everyone you know.  In the post truth, 30 second news cycle era we live in the most dangerous thing we can do is let this issue fade from public memory.

Next, write your MP and ask them to expedite the processing of refugee applications.  Thousands of sponsorship groups like the one I am part of are ready to resettle families, politicians need to reduce the red tape.

Finally, continue to fundraiser for our sponsorship.  We still have a little over $8,000 to raise and I want to be sure that we do all that we can to ensure our sponsored family has all they need to begin a stable, secure life in Canada.  Studies are showing that privately sponsored families experience more success, largely because of the personal support they receive from their group.  All the donations and fundraising that has been done is immensely appreciated, we just have a little further to go.

If you have any questions about our sponsorship of the family or for more information about how you can help please contact Muna Kadri at muna.kadri@me.com