Greater Montréal receives $750,000 from Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees

MONTRÉAL, March 16, 2016 – Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) is pleased to announce a $750,000 contribution from the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees (Welcome Fund) to the settlement of refugees in the Montréal area, in partnership with the Foundation of Greater Montréal. The Welcome Fund was seeded by Manulife, and quickly augmented by CN’s historic $5 million donation, as well as by generous support from GM and community organizations.

Established to respond to an urgent gap in accessible and affordable housing, the Welcome Fund provides an important investment in community-driven solutions to support the successful settlement of families recently arrived from Syria and help them transition into suitable permanent housing.

In Québec, the selection and settlement of refugees is managed by the provincial government. Between January 1, 2015 to March 13, 2016, Montréal, Laval and Longueuil welcomed 4,411 Syrian refugees. Approximately 4,250 more are expected; their applications have been accepted by the Québec government and are now with the federal government for final processing.

The Foundation of Greater Montréal is collaborating with community partners, the City of Montréal and the provincial Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion, in developing a plan to use this generous contribution to support the hundreds of Syrian refugee families in need of housing support.

“Resettling Syrian refugees is a truly national initiative,” said the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “Partnerships like the one announced in Montréal today will help ensure that our newcomers have access to housing that meets their needs and allow them to thrive in their new communities. I continue to encourage other Canadian businesses to join in making this important project a success.”

“We appreciate the leadership shown by sponsoring and community organizations and government bodies, all working to welcome and settle Syrian refugees in the community of Greater Montréal,” said Yvan Gauthier, President-CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montréal. “The Foundation of Greater Montréal will support organizations that have sponsored refugees and community groups that offer complementary services for welcoming, settling and integrating refugees.”

“Shifting refugees from temporary to more permanent homes is the first step in helping people and families to settle into their new lives in Canada,” said Andrew Chunilall, Chief Operating Officer at Community Foundations of Canada. “We thank CN, Manulife and other participating partners for their support, and invite other organizations to step forward to assist with our continued rollout of the Welcome Fund across the country.”

“Once again, Montréalers have stepped up to welcome refugees from this terrible conflict to our city. Their generosity, mobilization and willingness to warmly receive our new fellow citizens has been remarkable since the beginning and I thank them. The second part of this great adventure begins now with the integration into our neighbourhoods and communities of these men and women who have come here to find a new life and new hope. We extend our appreciation to our community partners, the Foundation of Greater Montréal, and to companies such as CN and Manulife that have also made a significant monetary contribution in response to urgent need. The integration of newcomers is everybody’s business,” declared Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre.

“Canada has a long history of welcoming refugees and immigrants,” said Michael Farkouh, CN Vice President, Eastern Region. “CN also has a great history of helping those arriving here settle across our great country. As thousands of refugees arrive in Montréal, home to CN and thousands of our employees, we’re proud to be assisting Syrian refugees with their transition to a better life, filled with the same dreams for their families and children that all Canadians share. We hope our $5 million donation to the Welcome Fund will encourage other Canadian businesses to join in financially supporting this urgent cause.”

“The arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada is only one step among many for these new Canadians as they begin the next phase of their lives,” said Charles Guay, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Institutional Markets, Manulife Canada and President and CEO, Manulife Québec. “The Welcome Fund was established to provide housing and job preparedness, which would not happen without the leadership of these great local Montréal organizations.”

About Community Foundations of Canada

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations which help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work, and play. Community foundations contribute time, leadership and financial support to initiatives that benefit community most, directing grants and other investments towards everything from shelter, education, and care for those in need, to the arts, environment and recreation. To learn more visit

To learn more about partnership opportunities related to the Welcome Fund, please contact JP Bervoets, Vice President, Partnerships and Public Engagement, at


Media Contacts:

Community Foundations of Canada
JP Bervoets
Vice President, Partnerships and Public Engagement
Tel: +1 (416) 319-8111
Twitter: @CommFdnsCanada

Foundation of Greater Montréal
Olivier Lapierre
Press Officer
Tel: +1(514) 583-3868
Twitter: @FondationGrMTL

Patrick Waldron
Senior Manager, Media Relations
Tel: +1 (514) 399-8803

Anne-Julie Gratton
Tel: +1 (514) 499-7999, ext. 8150
Email :
Twitter : @Manulife or @ManulifeNews

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