Immigration Minister explains why funding is cut
Jason Kenney, Canada’s Immigration Minister, met with members of the Southern Ontario Chinese Alliance Association of Canada in order to explain why the government had to pull $12 million in funding from Settlement and Integration Services Organization. Speaking at the Dizzy Weasel Pub and Grub in Hamilton on Friday night, Kenney said that there were irregularities found in SISO’s operation.
He said Canada would provide settlement services to organizations as long as they were upholding their contracts with the government.
“We do not sign blank cheques to organizations and no organization has a God-given right to permanent tax funding. They have to comply with the basic rules,” Kenney said.
Audit shows organization doesn’t deserve funding
Citizenship and Immigration Canada did an annual audit on SISO, and discovered “financial irregularities”. The agency was put on probation in April.
The audit uncovered that SISO had a lack of financial accountability, and was not in compliance with the government agreement. For example, there was insufficient documentation to support the agency’s expenses, and claimed costs were neither incurred nor paid. When organizations have financial issues, their contribution agreements are suspended.
Eighty percent of SISO’s funding was provided by CIC. Since SISO has not provided paperwork for their current contribution agreements, Kenney is not confident that the agency will be able to become eligible again. Instead, he is looking for other service providers that can offer a seamless transition for newcomers to the Hamilton region.
Organization looks for funding elsewhere
Meanwhile, SISO wants to reopen its refugee centre with private sector funding, which is against federal government guidelines. Ottawa will work only with refugee centres that are funded through the Resettlement Assistance Program.
The agency has been approached by several prospective investors who want to purchase the property. Community members have also offered funding to keep it open, so the services won’t be interrupted.