William Watson: Now we know how well Trudeau’s Syrian refugees are doing. It’s not good

For government-assisted refugees, the employment rate is less than five per cent

With the world now reconsidering Justin Trudeau, it’s useful to update one of his very first signature policies: the admission of 25,000 Syrian refugees in the opening months of his prime ministership. We forget already how controversial that was — signature grandstanding, many people thought — and how the government at first had trouble meeting its self-imposed deadline. But the refugees eventually made it in and Statistics Canada recently published one of the first evaluations of how they’re doing.

Unfortunately, the numbers are extremely preliminary: 2016 census data for people who arrived in 2015 and early 2016. In terms of actual outcomes, they mainly show how many refugees told the census-takers they were employed. Not surprisingly, since many had been in the country only a few weeks, most weren’t.