A recent letter to the editor stated that the cost per refugee was approximately $18,000. That figure is, in the words of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, an urban myth.
Refugees that are supported by the government receive a one-time start-up payment which is around that amount, depending on the number of people, their age and location, but the monthly payment is the amount for social assistance in the area.
Moreover, privately-sponsored refugees either cost the government one half of that amount, or nothing at all. The 25,000 Syrian refugees will be government sponsored and receive funding through the Refugee Assistance Program.
The flights to bring refugees into Canada are usually paid for by the refugees themselves in the form of a loan. More than 90 per cent of refugees pay back their loans to the government, while 88 per cent of university students pay back their students loans, by comparison.
The government is paying for the transport of Syrian refugees. However, I believe this information functions as a good rule of thumb to determine how many refugees are successful in their new country.
If the total cost of $1.2 billion over six years is correct, then the cost per Canadian is roughly $6 dollars per year, although most of that will likely come out in the first year.
A debate on the benefits and costs is warranted, but let us begin with the facts.
Scott HarrisonQualicum Beach