CASW Statement on the Refugee Crisis

For Immediate Release
November 20, 2015

The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) affirms the Liberal Government’s commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada before year’s end. Especially in the wake of recent high-profile terrorist attacks that have shaken the global community, CASW redoubles its supports of our federal government’s international humanitarian obligations.

“At this very difficult time, following the horrifying attacks on Paris and Beirut, our country is understandably distressed. Of course, balancing security and humanitarian initiatives need to be Canada’s top priorities,” stated CASW President Morel Caissie.  

“However, in light of recent acts aimed at Muslim Canadian communities that are highly disturbing and fundamentally un-Canadian, it is crucial to remember that refugees are fleeing the very same violence that Canadians abhor,” added Mr. Caissie.

To this end, CASW has been an outspoken advocate for refugees’ rights in Canada for many years, denouncing the previous administration’s drastic cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) that limited essential health care for refugee claimants.

Additionally, CASW was deeply disappointed in the previous government’s callous decision to allow the provinces and territories to impose a minimum residency requirement on refugees to access social assistance. “We hope that the Liberal Government takes this opportunity to act on their promises, and reverse these changes as we prepare to welcome the first waves of refugees,” noted Mr. Caissie.

Social Workers, with an ethical obligation to uphold the dignity and worth of all people and working in diverse sectors across the country, are uniquely positioned to help welcome and settle asylum seekers. “I know that Social Workers, whether working in public or private positions, will be ready to help support the federal government’s commitment and show these refugees, and the rest of the world, why Canada is known for its values of acceptance, pluralism, and compassion,” concluded Mr. Caissie.  

Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW
CASW, Executive Director
[email protected]