It is essential that when the sponsorship period ends, the newcomer’s financial dependency on the sponsors must end too. While it may take much longer to truly settle and feel at home here, sponsors must work to support a transition to self-sufficiency. Community connections and friendships often continue indefinitely.
Supporting Independence from the Beginning:
Take active steps throughout the sponsorship to give newcomers the tools to do things for themselves (even when it might be easier to do things for them) including:
- Paying rent, bills, utilities.
- Effectively using public transit.
- Making appointments, accessing services.
- Registering for programs, updating addresses.
What happens after 12 months?
At the end of the sponsorship, newcomers transition to financial self-sufficiency through employment or provincial social assistance.
- Success in sponsorship should be measured by how well a group worked to support newcomers in fulfilling their basic needs and identifying opportunities.
- A sponsorship has not failed if newcomers go on Social Assistance.
- It is not realistic to expect that all newcomers will speak English, have meaningful work and a diverse support system in just one year.
- Have realistic goals that reflect newcomers’ unique skills, experiences, abilities and potential.
- Use the "Month 13 Planning Checklist" to measure the completeness of your sponsorship responsibilities.
- During the year of sponsorship, resettled refugees are not eligible for social assistance. In fact, the sponsor group would be liable to the government if any funds were received.
- Contact your provincial social assistance representative during the last month of sponsorship to arrange for intake.
- Provinces may also offer an extended social assistance program for seniors and people with disabilities.
- Each group must develop and implement a strategy for transition.
- Start the conversation EARLY: from the first weeks newcomers should understand exactly when the sponsor group’s responsibilities will end.
- Consider marking the date on a calendar.
- Revisit this conversation often to avoid surprises and misunderstandings.
- Work throughout the year to support meaningful connections beyond the sponsor group: cultural communities, settlement agencies, sport groups, clubs, volunteer opportunities, classes, extracurricular activities, conversation circles and more.
- Periodically ask newcomers how they feel about the end of the sponsorship. Identify concerns and potential solutions/resources early.
- As the year progresses, continue to put increasing emphasis on independence.
Employment and Education:
- Help identify/search for employment (ensuring it does not interfere with ESL during the sponsorship period).
- Orient newcomers to job culture in Canada, skills training programs, mock interviews, developing and updating a CV or resume.
- Emphasize the importance of Canadian experience, look at volunteer opportunities and ways to further potential career development.
- For newcomers with professional backgrounds, explore certification/bridging programs, TOEFL English test, mentors, and internships.
- Identify resources to support continuing education or trades/technical school.
Ongoing Financial Support:
Your SAH strongly recommends AGAINST providing any continued financial support to newcomers after the sponsorship period ends. This is because:
- Newcomers can become dependent on additional financial support from sponsors.
- Sponsors can easily end up subsidizing a situation that could continue indefinitely (social assistance, low paid work).
- Ending this relationship later can get extremely complicated.
- Continued emotional/settlement support or friendship can be jeopardized if a financial relationship is not clear-cut.