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Canadian co-operatives help refugees settle in

5 March 2016

With the Canadian government announcing it would welcome 25,000 Syrians displaced by the war, co-operatives have responded by donating funds to help welcome the refugees.

The Co-operators, an insurance co-operative, announced in December it would allocate a grant of CAD $250,000 to support organisations’ initiatives that will prepare refugees for employability in Canada.

"This is a national project of historic proportions that demands the support of not only government, but community organisations, private enterprises and individual Canadians," said Kathy Bardswick, president and chief executive of The Co-operators.

Desjardins Group, the largest association of credit unions in North America, also partnered with Canadian Red Cross to welcome Syrian refugees by making a CAD $50,000 donation to help ensure that their basic needs are met upon arrival.

Health co-operatives are also contributing to welcoming refugees by providing services to those who are not yet covered. The Umbrella Multicultural Health Co-op in Vancouver has launched an online fundraising appeal to provide the extra services required.

Esther Hsieh, Co-Executive Director of the Umbrella Multicultural Health Co-op said: “The fundraising is targeted to the current need for services, but we are committed to help people for the long term; we take them on as patients and stick with them well after the hype is over.”

Source: The Alliance

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