OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino says the federal government won't share details on the numbers and whereabouts of Afghan refugees who landed in Canada yesterday and those who will arrive later to protect the evacuees and the security of the operation.
Speaking to a virtual news conference today, Mendicino says the government is dealing with urgent and volatile circumstances in Afghanistan as the international coalition forces led by the United States continue to withdraw from the country and the Taliban gain ground.
The first planeload of refugees who supported the Canadian military and diplomatic mission in Afghanistan arrived in Toronto yesterday and more planes carrying Afghans who contributed to Canada's mission are expected to arrive in the next days and weeks.
Mendicino says the Afghan refugees will receive assistance from the government during their first year in Canada and that will include income support and language training.
The government last month announced a program to urgently resettle Afghans deemed to have been “integral” to the Canadian Armed Forces' mission, including interpreters, cooks, drivers, cleaners, construction workers, security guards and embassy staff, as well as their spouses and children.
Former Afghan interpreters now living in Canada called on the federal government to expand the program to include their extended family members stuck in Afghanistan because they also face the risk of being targeted by the Taliban.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press