In June 2013, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued its first appeal to the international community for assistance in resettling extremely vulnerable Syrian refugees who needed urgent protection. As of 6 September 2015, there were 4,088,099 registered Syrian refugees in countries neighboring Syria including 1,938,999 in Turkey, 1,113,941 in Lebanon, 629,266 in Jordan, 249,463 in Iraq, 132,375 in Egypt and 24,055 in several countries in North Africa. The number of people displaced inside Syria is estimated at 7.6 million.
Canada responded to the call and in July 2013, Canada agreed to permanently resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees. Canada met this initial commitment in March 2015. Canada has also expanded its commitment to help Syrian refugees by resettling an additional 10,000 Syrians. On September 19, 2015, the government of Canada announced changes to expedite assistance to Syrian refugees, which would result in the target being met by September 2016, 15 months earlier than previously planned. A total of 2,406 have been resettled in Canada as of September 8, 2015.
In response to the international developments and calls made by Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Mayor Brian Bigger moved a motion on September 15, 2015 at city council to create a Newcomer, Refugee and Immigration Advisory Panel to co-ordinate local efforts should some of the refugees decide to come to Greater Sudbury.