by Selina Chignall in Ottawa
Syrian refugees will have the chance to immerse themselves in Canadian culture for free, thanks to a new initiative announced on Friday.
The Canada Council for the Arts and Sun Life Financial have teamed up to give financial support to arts organizations that provide free cultural events for refugees in their local communities.
“All Canadians are encouraged to join in the efforts to help Syrian refugees flourish in their new communities. I am pleased to support this initiative that will allow newcomers to discover Canadian culture through enriching cultural and artistic experiences,” said Mélanie Joly, the Minister for Canadian Heritage in a press release.
The Canadian Council for the Arts is committing $150,000, in 2016 to 2017 for the program. Sun Life Financial will kick in $50,000. Further details on the initiative will be released in March 2016.
“We know the welcome and integration of refugees is a highly complex and multifaceted process, and this initiative is one modest piece of [a] much broader collective and national efforts,” said Simon Brault, the director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, in a press release.
“We also know that arts and culture can be a refuge, a celebration of diversity, and source of inspiration and connection. Our message on behalf of the arts community to newcomers is ‘welcome, we are so happy to have you in our communities, we welcome you to our spaces, performances and events when you are ready,” he said.
Re-published in partnership with iPolitics.ca.