Syrian refugees in the GTA by category of support and local area of settlement
The Government of Canada has posted a breakdown by city, showing where Syrian refugees were resettled across Canada. As of January 2, 2017, by which time 39,671 Syrian refugees had been resettled across the country since November, 2015, some 7,271 (18.1%) had been placed in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The analysis presented below is based upon the numbers as of January 2, 2017. It does not take into account an additional 410 Syrian refugees, whose resettlement across Canada was recorded on the government website as of January 29, 2017 (which brought the total to 40,081 for all of Canada). The government has not updated its information to take into account the settlement of any Syrian refugees since January 29, 2017.
As of January 2, 2017, there were 7,271 Syrian refugees in the GTA. Privately-Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) represented 54.6% of this total, compared to only 35.6% across Canada. Combining PSRs and Blended Visa Office Referral (BVOR) refugees, private sponsors were associated with 63.9% (55.1% + 8.8%) of all Syrian refugees in the GTA, compared to only 45.4% (35.6% + 9.8%) across Canada.
|Syrian refugees as of Jan 2, 2017||Government-Assisted (GAR)||Privately-Sponsored (PSR)||BVOR||Total settled|
|In the GTA||2,621||4,008||642||7,271|
|% of all Canada in the GTA||12.0%||28.1%||16.3%||18.1%|
|% of all in Canada||54.6%||35.6%||9.8%||100.0%|
|% of all GTA||36.0%||55.1%||8.8%||100.0%|
PSRs including ‘inventory’ as of early 2017
A further breakdown of the Government’s numbers by municipality, as of January 2, 2017, includes the number of PSRs who were in “inventory” as of that date. Those in inventory were to be resettled in the first half of 2017.
Geographic distribution of Syrian refugees within the GTA, as of January 2, 2017
|City||GARs settled||PSRs settled||BVORs settled||Total settled||PSR inventory||Settled + inventory|
|Sub-total -City of Toronto||2,206||3,235||482||5,923||1,259||7,182|
|GTA outside of Toronto||415||773||160||1,348||729||2,077|
|% without inventory||36.0%||55.1%||8.8%||100.0%|
|% incl. PSR inventory||28.3%||43.3%||6.9%||78.5%||21.5%||100.0%|
The largest concentrations of Syrian refugees in the GTA are in Toronto (especially in Scarborough, Willowdale, and Thorncliffe Park) and Mississauga.
Syrian refugees in Ontario
According to a June 20, 2017 press release of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration:
- More than 28,000 refugees from across the world resettled in Ontario last year.
- 45 per cent of all Syrian refugees — who arrived in Canada between November 2015 and March 2017 — settled in Ontario.
- More than 19,000 Syrian refugees settled in Ontario since November 2015.
GTA forecast as of the end of 2017
Our guess of the number of Syrian refugees who will have been resettled in the GTA by the end of 2017 is between 9,659 and 10,479, calculated as follows:
|Source of Syrian refugees||Syrian refugees – all Canada (our est.)||Syrian refugees – GTA (our est.)|
|Syrian refugees resettled Nov/15 to Jan 2/17||39,671||7,271|
|Privately-Sponsored 2016 year-end Syrian “inventory” to be resettled in 2017||7,000||1,988|
|Est. no. of Privately-Sponsored to be re-settled in 2017 from backlog of applications as of 2016 year-end (est. 28% of all Canada)||1,000 to 3,000?||280 to 840?|
|Sub-total: Est. no. of Privately-Sponsored Syrians to be resettled in 2017||8,000 to 10,000?||2,268 to 2,828?|
|Est. no. of Government-Assisted to be resettled in 2017 – (est. 12% of all Canada)||800 t0 2,500?||96 to 300?|
|Est. no. of BVOR to be resettled in 2017– (est. 16% of all Canada)||150 to 500?||24 to 80?|
|Sub-total: Est. no. of resettled refugees during 2017||8,950 to 13,000?||2,388 to 3,208?|
|“Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad”||—||—|
|Est. total no. of resettled refugees and “Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad” to be settled in 2017||8,950 to 13,000?||2,388 to 3,208?|
|Est. cum. total of Syrian refugees as of Dec 31, 2017||48,621 to 52,571||9,659 to 10,479?|
Based upon the above estimates, we estimate that as of December 31, 2017, the number of PSRs and BVORs in the GTA, all receiving support from private sponsors, will be 6,942 to 7,558:
|PSR/BVOR source||GTA total|
|PSRs settled as of Jan 2, 2017||4,008|
|PSR Jan 2/17 inventory settled in 2017||1,988|
|PSR – 2016 year-end backlog settled in 2017||280 to 840?|
|Sub-total: Est. Syrian no. PSRs settled in GTA as of Dec 31, 2017||6,276 to 6,836?|
|BVOR settled as of Jan 2, 2017||642|
|BVOR – new in 2017 (our est.)||24 to 80?|
|Sub-total: Est. Syrian no. PSRs settled in GTA as of Dec 31, 2017||666 to 722?|
|Total est. cumulative no. of Syrian PSRs + BVORs settled in GTA as of Dec 31, 2017 (GARs not included)||6,942 to 7,558?|
If our estimates are correct (and admittedly, there is significant guesswork involved), then of the entire Syrian refugee population in the GTA by December 31, 2017, roughly 65% could be privately sponsored, an additional 7% could be BVORs, and combined, 72% could be associated with private sponsors (up from 64% at the start of 2017). These would be significantly higher percentages than for the country as a whole.
The effects of internal migration
Significant numbers of Syrian refugees may migrate to and from the GTA. What the net result will be is unknown. Reasons for leaving the GTA include the high cost of housing, better employment opportunities elsewhere, and the attraction of friends and family. Attractions to the GTA are likely to be employment opportunities, friends, family and larger and more vibrant centres of Arabic culture and Muslim worship.
Comparison to size of Syrian population in Toronto as of 2011
As of early 2017, a total of 7,271 Syrian refugees had been settled in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) since November, 2015. We estimate that this number may grow to 9,659 to 10,479 by the end of 2017.
By comparison, according to the Government of Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, the total number of Syrians of ethnic origin residing in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which is slightly smaller than the GTA, in 2011 – four years before the current wave of Syrian refugees began arriving in Canada – was 8,085.
Updates and corrections
July 6, 2017: Ontario refugee immigration data added from June 20, 2017 Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration press release.