The government is reversing changes it had made to the Syrian refugee program to ease restrictions on private sponsorship.
Having reached their target from the election campaign, the government had moved to count Syrian refugee applicants against the overall limit of refugees entering Canada in 2016. The government had decided it would cap the number of new refugee applications from around the world at 10,500 people. Even as hundreds of Syrians were arriving and private groups were submitting applications daily, it decided applications for Syrians received as of Jan. 1 would count toward the cap.
The public outcry had come from citizens and groups that had privately raised money to bring Syrian refugees to Canada. They had raised a great deal of money and secured accommodations to bring Syrians to Canada, and with the changes, may not have had their family arrive until early 2017.
The government has said it has learned a lot from the accelerated Syrian refugee program, and that they intend to apply the lessons to the refugee program more broadly to improve efficiency and reduce wait times.