It appears that Canadian Forces Base Meaford won't be hosting any of the 25,000 Syrian refugees that the federal government has pledged to bring to Canada.
That's the word from Michel Cimpaye, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
"At present, no refugees are scheduled to arrive at any CFBs," the Ottawa-based Cimpaye said via email. "We hope we can continue to send people to their destination community shortly after arriving in Canada rather than the interim lodging sites, however we are ready should the need arise."
The Meaford base, along with others around Canada including Base Borden, had been preparing to host the refugees on a temporary basis.
Previously, Captain Paul Stokes, a representative from the base, directed all inquiries
on the situation to Ottawa military representatives. Those Ottawa representatives subsequently directed further inquiries to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
The refugees were to be housed temporarily in tent-like structures called weather houses at the base once they arrived. The structures are fully winterized units often used by soldiers in northern climates.
"Privately sponsored refugees will go to the community where their sponsor lives," Cimpaye said.
"For government-assisted refugees, the Government of Canada is working with provinces/territories, municipalities, settlement organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that Syrian refugees are destined to appropriate communities. Refugees will be matched with communities where there are already settlement supports in place, with consideration given to whether they have family members in Canada, as well as the availability of schools, housing, language training, etc."
He offered no further details as to where the refugees would be housed temporarily once they arrive in Canada.
Cimpaye states, "an interactive map was recently updated and now includes information on where government-assisted and blended visa office-referred Syrian refugees have resettled in Canada."
"It also shows where private sponsored refugees have arrived and where private sponsors have put forth an application for a Syrian refugee that is currently being processed but has not yet received a decision. The map reflects applications for individuals, not families."
Meaford currently has one application in for a privately-sponsored Syrian family of six. The family could arrive at the end of February.