Canada’s response to the conflict in Syria

Since the start of the Syrian uprising in March of 2011, Canada has worked to support the Syrian people. We have been active in calling on the international community to come together and defend the rights of the Syrian people to determine their own future.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has triggered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. According to the United Nations, 13.5 million people inside Syria need urgent help, including 6.5 million who are internally displaced. It is estimated that well over 250,000 people have died in the conflict, with hundreds of thousands more wounded. Almost 4.6 million Syrians have sought refuge in the neighbouring countries of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Thousands more have made the harrowing journey to Europe in search of a better life.

Canada has given generously to the various international efforts to support the Syrian people, including those living as refugees in neighboring countries. To date, Canada has committed over $969 million in humanitarian, development and security assistance in response to the Syria crisis.

Refugee resettlement

As millions of Syrians continue to be displaced due to conflict in their home country, the Government of Canada will work with Canadians, including private sponsors, non-governmental organizations, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees. This is in addition to 23,218 Iraqi refugees resettled as of November 2, 2015, and the 3,089 Syrian refugees who have already arrived in Canada from January 1, 2014, to November 3, 2015.

The government’s commitment to bringing in Syrian refugees will continue in 2016. Given that the current initiative includes privately sponsored refugees, more government-assisted refugees (GARs) will be resettled to meet a specific target of 25,000 GARs. Find out more about the plan.

Humanitarian assistance

Since January 2012, Canada has committed $653.5 million in international humanitarian assistance funding in response to the Syria crisis.

Working through experienced humanitarian partners, Canada’s humanitarian assistance funding is helping to meet the food, shelter, health, protection and emergency education needs of Syrians affected by the crisis.

Syria Emergency Relief Fund

On September 12, 2015, the Government of Canada launched the Syria Emergency Relief Fund to support humanitarian relief efforts in response to the impact of the conflict in Syria.

More information on the Syria Emergency Relief Fund …

How the fund works

For every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities between September 12, 2015, and February 29, 2016, in response to the conflict in Syria, the government will set aside one dollar in the Syria Emergency Relief Fund. The government will use the fund to support experienced international and Canadian humanitarian organizations using established Global Affairs Canada channels and procedures. The total value of the Fund will be capped at $100 million.

The Syria Emergency Relief Fund is separate from the funds raised by charities and is administered separately by the Government of Canada. This means that a charity does not receive a matching dollar from the Government of Canada.

Donation criteria for individual Canadians

To be counted toward the Syria Emergency Relief Fund, donations must be made by individual Canadians, not exceed $100,000 per individual, and must be:

  • monetary in nature;
  • made to a registered Canadian charity that is receiving donations in response to the Syria crisis;*
  • specifically earmarked for response to the Syria crisis;
  • made between September 12, 2015, and February 29, 2016.

*Please note, donations cannot be made directly to the Syria Emergency Relief Fund or to Global Affairs Canada.

For more information about making an individual donation eligible for the Syria Emergency Relief Fund, visit the How to make a donation page.

Donation criteria for individuals fundraising on behalf of organizations

Donations from a fundraising event undertaken to raise money from individuals in response to the Syria crisis are eligible to be matched. This fundraising may be undertaken by schools, faith-based organizations, clubs, social groups, businesses, incorporated entities or charitable organizations.

Any donations made by corporations, governments, businesses, partnerships, schools, incorporated or non-incorporated entities, and unions from their existing resources that were not raised from individuals specifically in response to the Syria crisis are not eligible to be matched. In addition, donations to augment the amount originally raised from individuals through a fundraising activity or event are not eligible to be matched.

For more information about making a donation eligible for the Syria Emergency Relief Fund on behalf of corporations, organizations and groups, visit the How to make a donation page.

Donation criteria for registered charities

Registered charities declaring eligible donations must complete the Syria Emergency Relief Fund Declaration Form (PDF; 191 KB)Footnote *, which must be received by Global Affairs Canada on or before March 18, 2016, for its donations to be counted toward the relief fund.

To ensure that donations are eligible for the matching program, registered charities must ensure that:

  • donations comply with the conditions outlined above;
  • donations will be used in support of the humanitarian response to the Syria crisis; and
  • donations will be declared to Global Affairs Canada.

It is up to the registered Canadian charity to certify that the donations declared are eligible. Registered Canadian charities are under no obligation to declare donations to Global Affairs Canada if they are not satisfied that they meet the eligibility requirements.

The Syria Emergency Relief Fund is separate from the funds raised by charities and is administered separately by the Government of Canada. This means that a charity declaring the amount of eligible donations raised does not receive a matching dollar from the Government of Canada. For every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities, the government set aside one dollar for the Relief Fund. The government will use the fund to support experienced Canadian and international humanitarian organizations to meet needs resulting from the crisis in Syria.

Allocation of funds

Charitable organizations fundraising for relief efforts in Syria will not have privileged access to financing from the relief fund. The fund will help meet the basic needs of conflict-affected people in the region, as well as in official development assistance-eligible transit countries for refugees. The Government’s contribution to this fund will provide assistance through international and Canadian humanitarian organizations and will meet humanitarian needs such as shelter, food, health, and water, as well as protection and emergency education.

Development projects

Canada has already committed $233.3 million to support development projects in the region to strengthen government services and infrastructure stressed by the influx of Syrian refugees, specifically in health, education and the delivery of basic services, and to address Jordan’s specific development challenges.

Security and stability initiatives

Canada has committed $82.91 million in security-related assistance to address the impact of the Syrian crisis, including $58.91 million for Jordan. These funds will help mitigate the threat of chemical weapons and other weapons and materials of mass destruction; assist Jordanian security forces in managing the non-humanitarian aspects of the influx of Syrian refugees, and; contribute to Jordan’s counter-terrorism capacity. This also includes $3.8 million in stabilization assistance in areas including civil administration, accountability, independent media and secure communications to the Syrian activists and civil society members.
Table 1: Summary of Canadian commitments
CountryAmount (in millions of dollars)
Humanitarian assistance
Syria227.643
Jordan143.05
Region282.807
Subtotal653.5
Development assistance
Jordan185
Syria3.3
Region45
Subtotal233.3
Security and stabilization assistance
Syria*23.99
Jordan58.91
Subtotal82.91
Total Canadian assistance969.71

*This figure includes $17 million contributed by Canada to support the investigation of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria and the subsequent destruction of Syria’s declared chemical weapons stocks.

Key information for Canadians on the Conflict in Syria.

#WelcomeRefugees with image of Syrian refugees
How Canada can help

International development projects in Syria and the region

Map of projects in Syria and the region
Project Browser

Footnotes

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