Almost 23,000 Afghans in Canada as part of pledge to resettle ‘at least’ 40,000 fleeing homeland

By Cristin Schmitz

Law360 Canada (October 19, 2022, 4:32 PM EDT) -- Immigration Minister Sean Fraser greeted 311 Afghan nationals who arrived in Nova Scotia on the 16th charter flight to Canada from Pakistan — the latest group to make this country their home under Ottawa’s program to resettle “at least” 40,000 Afghan refugees by 2024.

The new arrivals who fled to Pakistan following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 landed in Halifax Oct. 19 and are headed to approximately 20 communities across Canada.

Their number includes government-assisted refugees, privately sponsored refugees and extended family members of Afghans who worked for, or helped, the Government of Canada in Afghanistan, according to an Oct. 19 press release from the Department of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

“Despite the ongoing challenges, and the difficult work ahead of us, we remain on track to reaching our commitment to resettle at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans to Canada by the end of 2023,” Fraser said in the statement.

Immigration Minister Sean FraserImmigration Minister Sean Fraser greets Afghan children in Halifax Oct. 19.

IRCC noted that resettling 40,000 or more Afghan nationals is a complex initiative that requires a “whole-of-government approach, as well as strong domestic and international partnerships. It is through the critical support of provinces and territories, resettlement service providers, and Canadians who have sponsored Afghan refugees and helped newcomers settle in their communities that we will achieve this goal.”

The government said it also values its ongoing collaboration with “key international partners” including Pakistan, and “the tireless work of international organizations and referral partners including the International Organization for Migration, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Frontline Defenders and”

The latest arrivals were on the 16th charter flight of Afghan refugees from Pakistan since January 2022. Many will join existing communities of Afghans already settled in Toronto (approximately 4,395 people), Fredericton (75 people) and Saint John (70 people).

The latest arrival figures and detailed information about the destination communities are here

The government noted that while many refugees settle in Canada’s largest cities, smaller communities “offer welcoming, safe places with settlement services, employment opportunities, affordable housing options and a lower cost of living. Resettlement Assistance Program service provider organizations (RAP SPOs) are working to make newcomers, including Afghans, feel welcomed and integrate successfully in their new communities.”

Individuals and businesses interested in helping through volunteering, donating, sponsoring or supporting the wider resettlement efforts of Afghans can learn more here.

Photo of Sean Fraser by Kelly Clark, Courtesy Government of Canada

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily, please contact Cristin Schmitz at or call 613-820-2794.