Canada considering constructing camps to house Syrian refugees

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:35pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government is making preparations for the arrival of Syrian refugees, including the possible construction of camps to house them, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

The spokesman confirmed the plans after the government issued a tender notice on Thursday seeking companies to build "temporary winterized lodgings for groups of 500 to 3,000 people by early December 2015 at sites to be confirmed."

Canada's army is also planning to winterize buildings normally used to house cadets during summer training in order to use them as temporary lodging for refugees, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported.

"The Canadian Armed Forces is currently planning on providing interim lodging at bases in Quebec and Ontario as a priority," Dominique Tessier, a media relations officer with the Department of National Defence, told the CBC in an email. "Other bases and locations may be used if requested by government of Canada planners."

There are no refugee camps in Canada. Immigration detention centers, similar to jails, are used during deportation, to guard against flight risk, or for temporary use by border agents during legal procedures. Refugees otherwise have freedom of movement.

Canada is planning for the arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees before year end.

The notice from Public Works Canada said the housing and services may be required for up to three months and that the sites must be self-contained and self-sustaining, including on-site energy, water, sewage and waste management.

One U.S. official said his understanding was that once the refugees arrived in Canada, authorities would detain them in some kind of “camp” and not release them until after a thorough vetting.

Another U.S. security official said that as far as he knew, Canada and the United States were still using identical vetting procedures for Syrian refugees, which normally take 18 to 24 months.   Continued...

A child reacts as Syrians ride a bus to cross back into Syria at the Syrian-Turkish border crossing of Bab al-Hawa in Idlib province, Syria September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi