OTTAWA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Canada is to welcome some 1,200 refugees who were vulnerable for the persecution by the Islamic State this year, said the country's Immigration Minister here on Tuesday.

The government-assisted refugees were mainly expected to be women, children and their family members from the Yazidi ethnic and religious minority.

"We've always had a tradition of offering protection on the basis of vulnerability, not religion or ethnicity, as such our response is focusing on all survivors of Daesh," said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen at a press conference, referring to the Arabic acronym for the IS.

Some 400 refugees will have arrived by Wednesday.

The estimated cost for the resettlement is 28 million Canadian dollars (around 22 million U.S. dollars).

More Yazidi and other survivors of IS "will arrive in Canada as privately sponsored refugees," said Hussen.

Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking minority living mainly in northern Iraq. Their ancient religion has made them targets of religious persecution by the IS.