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. More than 4.5 million Syrians have sought refuge in the neighbouring countries of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and in Europe.

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. On September 12, 2015, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Syria Emergency Relief Fund.

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.

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
Development assistance
Security and stabilization assistance
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.