TORONTO — Premier Kathleen Wynne says the Ontario government is pledging $10.5 million to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Wynne says the province hopes to resettle 10,000 refugees by the end of 2016, though she notes the provincial government doesn’t have the power to sponsor those refugees.

Refugees have been fleeing Syria en masse since 2011 when the country spun into a civil war that is estimated to have taken more than 100,000 lives.

Wynne says that most of Ontario’s contribution will help resettle Syrian refugees in the province, but she added that about $2 million will go to immediate humanitarian aide on the ground overseas.

The world turned its attention to the crisis last week after a photo of drowned three-year-old Alan Kurdi was widely publicized.

When Kurdi’s father said the family had hoped to come to Canada, the Harper government was criticized for not doing enough to expedite the application and resettlement process for refugees.

Wynne said that because the provincial government cannot sponsor refugees, she can’t do anything concrete to speed up the process of bringing refugees to Ontario, but she encouraged the federal government to move more quickly.


The Canadian Press