Syrian refugee Levon Kourken, 4, stands on an aisle during a welcoming service for Syrian refugees at St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Toronto on Dec. 11, 2015.
Mark Blinch—Reuters
By Tessa Berenson
December 22, 2015

Canada announced it will double the amount of Syrian refugees it admits in 2016.

The country had initially pledged to take in 25,000 refugees by the end of February, but John McCallum, the minister of immigration and citizenship, said that number would be upped to 50,000 by the end of 2016, the BBC reports.

McCallum made the announcement from Jordan, where he was meeting some Syrian refugees heading to Canada.

Read More: Canadian Bank Welcomes Syrian Refugees With Special Program

According to BBC, 1,409 refugees have arrived in Canada since November 4. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeted the first Canadian government plan of Syrian refugees in Toronto in early December. “They step off the plane as refugees, but they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada with social insurance numbers, with health cards and with an opportunity to become full Canadians,” Trudeau said. “This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin color or a language or a religion or a background, but by a shared set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share.”

Read Next: Canadian Choir Targets Syrian Refugees With Arabic Song of Hope

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