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Monday, September 01, 2014
Saskatchewan

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

horrors."



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:

www.cic.gc.ca.



In addition, the Red Cross is coordinating donations and can be

reached at 1-800-418-1111

-30-



For more information, contact:



Rob Cunningham

Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs

Regina

Phone (306)787-8008
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