Syrian Refugee Crisis and Refugee Arrival in Canada

Scale of the Crisis

The conflict in Syria is now in its sixth year, leading to one of the most serious and daunting humanitarian crises in decades. With limited prospects for an immediate end of the conflict, Syrians are growing increasingly vulnerable as their savings are exhausted and their assets are liquidated.

Constant, deadly conflict is destroying lives, families, and communities. Half the country’s population is now dependent on humanitarian assistance. Eight million people are also displaced within Syria while close to four million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries.

Nearly 2 million Syrians are estimated to have fled to Turkey, while 1.2 million have gone to Lebanon, another 625,000 have sought refuge in Jordan, and 245,000 went to Iraq.

This refugee crisis stretches well beyond the Middle East with European nations in particular struggling to cope with the influx of tens of thousands of desperate and vulnerable children, women, and men - from Syria and elsewhere.

Read stories from the Syrian Refugee Crisis

How the Canadian Red Cross is Helping

Read our 1-year donor report 

The Canadian Red Cross has extensive programming in place to support both migrants and refugees across the country. 

In total, 11,012 refugees were welcomed in Montreal.

At the Welcome Centre in Montreal alone, the Red Cross provided:

  • More than 70,474 essential items such as winter clothing and footwear,
  • More than 10,790 meals and snacks
  • More than 1,584 transportation trips between the Welcome Centre and temporary accommodations
  • Reception and information services
  • Family Reunification services
On average, 200 Red Cross volunteers mobilized each day to provide support at the point of arrival
Red Cross volunteers also supported refugees in temporary shelters in Quebec and British Columbia.
Now that all 25,000 refugees have arrived, the Canadian Red Cross will continue to engage, collaborate and coordinate with government partners and other community organizations across the country to help effectively and efficiently meet the needs of refugees and their new communities.

Resettlement agencies who wish to apply for financial support may do so by contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office. 

An overview of the services the Canadian Red Cross provide Syrian refugees arriving in Canada.
Restoring Family Links

Through an international network that includes the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Canadian Red Cross helps families re-establish contact after separation due to conflicts, natural disasters or migration. People living abroad can also submit a request in the hope of locating a family member in Canada. 

Refugee Buddy App

The Canadian Red Cross has launched the Refugee Buddy App – an app aimed to supply refugees with information about their new place of residence, such as traffic and transportation, and first aid courses. It also provides refugees with relevant news during the first period of their stay in Canada. The app is available in English, French and Arabic, and can be found for Android in the Google Play store.

How You Can Help

Canadians can make a meaningful difference in the lives of refugees by supporting the Syrian Refugee Arrival Appeal. Your support will help the Canadian Red Cross assist 25,000 Syrian refugees as they settle in their new community.

Our work will help to bridge the gaps in social services and support refugee families as they transition to life in Canada. These services may include psychosocial support, case management for Canadian Red Cross programming and Restoring Family Links services to help refugees connect with their loved ones.


The Canadian Red Cross has thousands of highly trained, experienced volunteers from across Canada ready to be deployed. 
Visit or call 1-877-770-1880 for contact information for your local Red Cross office and information on how to become a volunteer.

Interviews with Canadian Aid Workers After Returning From German Refugee Camp

Watch more interviews