News Release - May 27, 1999
SASKATCHEWAN PREPARES TO WELCOME KOSOVAR REFUGEES
Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Berny Wiens
indicated today that refugees from Kosovo could arrive in Saskatchewan
as early as next week.
"Our hearts go out to the innocent victims of the Kosovo crisis who
have been forced from their homes and communities," Wiens said. "I
know that Saskatchewan churches and community organizations as well as
ordinary citizens will come forward to sponsor these people who have
struggled to survive tremendous hardship and in some cases unspeakable
Saskatchewan is expected to receive 300 of the 5000 Kosovar refugees.
The first arrivals are expected to be coming to Prince Albert,
Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina.
"We have told the federal government that we are willing to accept
more than 300 refugees if needed. We are also prepared to work with
communities and the federal government to provide any support we can
to refugees, such as special healthcare, trauma counseling,
translators, and community and school placements. The organizations
and people of Saskatchewan are ready to come forward to sponsor these
families and give them the support and security needed to begin living
normal lives again."
Costs associated with the refugees will be borne by the federal
government. Churches, organizations, groups and individuals will be
expected to make a social commitment to the families.
Anyone willing to sponsor a refugee family is encouraged to
contact provincial coordinators in Saskatoon at 665-0414 or in
Regina at 545-2484. A toll free hotline has also been
established at 1-888-410-0009
Churches, organizations, businesses and groups of 5 or more
people are eligible to sponsor refugees. Once accepted as
sponsors, smaller groups not affiliated with Saskatchewan
organizations will be matched with organizations affiliated with
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
"Many Saskatchewan families have experienced the generosity of
others in tough times," Wiens said. "I am sure that Saskatchewan
people will show the same compassion for Kosovar refugees as they
have demonstrated for other people in need." "The people of
Saskatchewan have a tradition of reaching out to others at times
of crisis and of opening our homes and hearts to those in
difficulty. This is what makes Saskatchewan a great place to
live and together we will help these people restore a sense of
normalcy to their lives.
More information is available through the CIC web site:
In addition, the Red Cross is coordinating donations and can be
reached at 1-800-418-1111
For more information, contact:
Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs