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Banks unite to donate $1M to help support Syrian refugees arriving in Canada

TORONTO – Canada’s five biggest banks say they’ll collectively donate $1 million to the Canadian Red Cross to support Syrian refugees arriving in Canada.

BMO Financial Group, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and TD Bank Group say customers can also make donations to the Canadian Red Cross at their local branch, effective Thursday.

In last week’s throne speech, the new Liberal government promised to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February 2016 and about 10,000 privately sponsored refugees are likely to be in Canada by year’s end.

Canadian Red Cross president Conrad Sauve says more than four million Syrians have been displaced as a result of internal conflict.

Sauve says the donation will help refugees begin their transition into new communities and provide essential services and basic needs assistance in the form of clothing, personal care products, food, and family reunification.

In September, Canada’s five largest banks donated a total of $1 million to the Canadian Red Cross for essential relief items and first aid to help with the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe.

“The severity of the Syrian refugee crisis is immense,” Sauve said in a news release. “We deeply appreciate this much-needed support from the banks and all Canadians.”