When a church signs a sponsorship agreement, it becomes fully accountable for assuming the responsibilities that are detailed in the sponsorship agreement, and is thereafter referred to as the "Sponsorship Group" or the "Constituency Group (CG)" or as in this article, the "Sponsoring Constituency Group."
The responsibilities of the CG include:
- Providing basic financial support (e.g., for housing and food) and care for the sponsored newcomer1 during the sponsorship period (generally a period of one year), or until the sponsored newcomer no longer requires assistance, whichever comes first;
- Ensuring it has sufficient resources and expertise to carry out its responsibilities;
- Remaining jointly or solely liable with any co-sponsors that have signed a sponsorship undertaking.
What settlement assistance is required from a Sponsoring Constituency Group?
At the outset of the sponsorship process, ahas an obligation to provide a settlement plan that outlines the settlement assistance it will offer to the sponsored newcomer(s). We have a detailed template that can work from to put together a workable, thorough settlement plan for the newcomer family in their particular community.
During the sponsorship period, what does a sponsoring AGC Church group do?
- Welcome the refugees at the airport, and provide an orientation to life in Canada;
- Provide suitable accommodation, basic furniture and other household essentials;
- Provide food, clothing, local transportation costs and other basic necessities of life;
- Help the refugees:
- Complete any required forms, including health insurance, social insurance and child tax benefits;
- Learn English or French (e.g., help with getting into an English-as-a-second-language or
French-as-a-second-language class, provide tutoring);
- Understand the rights and responsibilities of permanent residents;
- Find a job and make friends;
- Learn about and access services that are available in the community;
- Register children in school and guide them in dealings with the school system;
- Locate a family physician and dentist; and
- Become independent.
A Sponsorship Group is expected to prepare a settlement plan that outlines, in as much detail as possible, how it will divide the responsibilities of settling the newcomers among team members; which in-kind support is available; and what the back-up plan is in case the original settlement plan does not work out.
How long will the Sponsoring Constituency Group have to provide support?
The sponsoring group is responsible for financial and settlement assistance, counselling and support for the sponsored refugees for the duration of the sponsorship period. This is usually for one year from the date of the arrival of the refugee but can be up to three years if a sponsorship group takes on asponsorship.
Does the Sponsorship Group have any responsibilities to the refugee(s) before they arrive in Canada?
Thewill help a sponsoring group fulfill their pre-arrival duties that are directly related to the refugee(s) while they are still overseas. These obligations include:
- pre-screening refugee family to ensure they meet Canada's eligibility & admissibility requirements.
- submitting a complete & correct refugee sponsorship application package
- updating IRCC about any changes in family composition (i.e.: a marriage or birth after the application has been submitted)
- ensure refugees are aware of their interview with the Visa Officer, help them prepare for the interview, and ensure they appear for the interview.
- working jointly with refugee applicants to avoid delays in the sponsorship process (i.e.: attending to email & letters of communication that are sent by the Visa Office or by )
- updating with any changes in the financial or other conditions of the sponsoring group that they are unable to rectify.
IRCC and the AGC both strongly encourage theto be in contact with the refugee applicant throughout the pre-arrival process. This not only enables the sponsors to share information and updates with them, but also enables the sponsoring group and refugee applicant to keep the visa office and ROC-O updated about any important changes.