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Statement from Mayor Gregor Robertson on welcoming refugees

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson meeting Syrian refugees. Photo courtesy City of Vancouver website.

Vancouver is known throughout the world for our remarkable diversity. We have a longstanding commitment to welcoming refugees and their families in times of need. This proud history of helping refugees start new lives with hope, security, and freedom is at the heart of what makes Vancouver such an inclusive and compassionate city.

Recent immigration policy changes in the United States undermine the work Vancouver does for diversity, inclusivity and being a welcoming, multicultural city. Vancouver's Muslim community has a long history of helping those in need including opening a mosque to be an emergency winter shelter for the homeless during last month's brutal cold snap.

We're proud to be the first city in Canada to bring in an Access Without Fear policy to guarantee that all residents - regardless of immigration status - have access to City services. Crafted closely with the community, at its core it's about human safety and dignity. We stand in solidarity with US cities like Seattle, Boston, New York and Chicago, who are standing firm as sanctuary cities, welcoming newcomers with open arms.

Diversity is Vancouver - and Canada's - strength. I wholeheartedly support Prime Minister Trudeau's commitment to welcoming refugees fleeing persecution, terror and war to Canada regardless of their faith. As Mayor, I'm proud to welcome refugees and new Canadians to our city, and will continue to work with federal and provincial partners as well as local community groups to help give new residents a warm Vancouver welcome.

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