Church Resources

  • Perhaps you have never considered sponsoring a refugee to resettle in your community; or perhaps you have wanted to bring a displaced family to Canada for a long time now. Whatever your experience, this is the place to take a first look at Canada's Private Sponsorship of Refugees program to see if this is something you and your church could undertake on behalf of another; to put hands and feet to God's call to care for strangers, and to loose the cords of injustice.

  • Starting a Refugee SponsorshipStage 1 – CMA SAH process

    Getting Started:

    As you consider whether you and others in your church could sponsor a refugee person or family interested persons will:

    • learn about the distinct types of sponsorships
    • speak to the church leadership about their interest in refugee sponsorship
    • form a team with a minimum of 5 people
    • submit pre-screening forms for any church-referred refugees
    • begin fundraising as needed

    There are three other sources of excellent information and material that are available to anyone interested in learning more about the Private Sponsorship of Refugees.

  • airportHow exciting that finally after months or years of planning & preparation, the time has arrived to meet the family at the airport.

    The SAH will have received and forwarded to the CG the Notice of Arrival Transmission (NAT) from IRCC about 10 days prior which includes the refugee(s) specific travel itinerary, the names, birthdates, and gender of family members. The NAT notification also includes languages spoken, any medical needs that have been identified, if there are family/friends of the PA already in Canada, and of course the SAH and CG details.

  • BVOR Program

    The BVOR Program is designed to resettle refugees identified by the UNHCR and submitted to Canadian visa offices abroad. It is only the families or individuals who have been living in limbo for many years, who are often at risk, and for whom resettlement is the only viable durable solution that are referred under this program.

  • New in 2018, IRCC has issued RAP rates for each province that sponsoring groups need to configure to their specific family. 

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive a template specific to your province and family composition. In your email, please include:

    • the name of your community, and
    • the names & birthdates of each member of the family you are sponsoring.
    • any other information that would affect the budget - i.e. if someone is pregnant, diabetic, etc.
  • meetingOnce you have formed your core team, chosen the sponsorship type, and have begun to assign team member roles with at least the Representative (Team Lead) and Treasurer in place, you are now ready to approach your church board.

    The sponsorship does not become 'official' and legally binding until you sign and submit the required documents for the Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) and the forms required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

  • question markSome people in North America have interesting albeit ill-informed ideas about refugees. Once someone hears that we are working on behalf of refugees, it is not uncommon to hear a comment like the ones below. Perhaps you have heard or been asked about some of these same issues. The following are a compilation of common myths regarding refugees from IAFR, RSTP and our own conversations.

  • Refugee Sponsorship Forms CompetionAt this point, a Core Team will be in place, the Church Board will have given their approval, and fundraising has begun. Once your team has 25% of the required funds in place it is time to select a refugee family if that hasn't been done yet, and complete the application forms.

    This is also the time to begin work on a detailed settlement plan.

  • computer keyboardNow that the sponsorship is moving forward in an official capacity, this is a good time to send an introductory email or message if you have not already been in contact with the refugee. If you have already connected with them, consider a weekly skype or WhatsApp call. One of the challenges for refugees is losing hope. By making a point to stay connected, you have the opportunity to keep that hope alive, to begin the friendship while you're still on different continents, to be a voice of encouragement as your team keeps abreast of the difficulties they continue to face as they wait for the application to be processed.

  • people africanAs the Core Team meets together to plan and prepare for settlement, part of your preparation responsibility is to take time to learn about the refugee(s) country of origin and culture in preparation for their arrival. Choose the best resource for your team, and then review the cultural basics presented there. You could read through a segment when you meet together, and then discuss any questions or issues that are raised, or one person could present to the team. 

    Whatever means you choose, your SAH will ask the Team Lead to confirm the sponsorship group has done some cultural sensitivity training prior to the refugee's arrival.

    Culture Crossing Guide covers basics of greetings, communication style, personal space, eye contact, views of time, gestures, gender roles and taboos for a number of different cultures.

    EveryCulture.com is another resource that may be good for your group.

    If you find other helpful links or resources, please contact us. We will add those links that may be helpful for others too.

  • desk writing2A webinar hosted by RSTP called "Refugee Sponsorship, Cultural Sensitivity and Communication - Communicating Across Cultures" is happening 3 times in January.

    The following topics will be covered:

    • dimensions of culture;
    • aspects of cultural differences;
    • visible and non-visible aspects of culture;
    • individual and family dynamics;
    • verbal and nonverbal Communication;
    • differences within the “similarly perceived” cultures;
    • the refugee experience; and,
    • where do we meet.

    Date: Monday, January 14, 2019
    Time: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST
    Register here.

    Date: Thursday, January 17, 2019
    Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM EST
    Register here.

    Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
    Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EST
    Register here.

  • jean nicolas beuze ssJean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR Representative in Canada, has written an article recently published in the Toronto Star (Tuesday, July 17, 2018).

    He addresses a number of people's fears, including that the number of people crossing our Canadian borders are alarmingly high. The truth? The number of asylum seekers last year is barely more than those who arrived in 2001.

    Some Canadians are fearful that the number of illegal crossings are getting out of hand. The truth? Neither crossing at an official border crossing or at nonofficial points is an illegal act. People crossing at nonofficial points are not illegal - they are irregular crossers. 

    It is important that we stay informed to be a voice of calm and truth in the conversations we have with others in our communities, among our neighbors, quite likely even within our families. Here is a perspective from someone who knows, someone with a global perspective, and someone who is in the thick of it.

    Read the full article here.

  • hany unhcrAs we get further and further along in this humanitarian crisis of displacement and people forced to flee for their lives, more and more have come to Canada and are resettling into a new life here.

    This month, we would like to high-light the story of 22-year-old Hany Al Moulia who fled Homs, Syria a year after his youngest brother was born in March of 2011. After graduating high school he knew "he would be conscripted into the army. And then his cousins were murdered in their homes. It was time to get out."

  • Events in our communities or on-line will be featured as they become available.

  • Core team structureOnce it has been determined that a group would like to pursue the sponsorship of a refugee family, one of the first things to be done will be to assemble a Core Team.

    Each sponsoring group must function with a minimum of five members who will oversee the sponsorship commitments for both pre-arrival and the one year settlement support of the refugee family. The core team will discern together who is responsible for each task, and together recruit additional volunteer helpers for a larger support network.

    A well-staffed team usually has a Sponsorship Group Representative, treasurer, and a team leader representing each task area involved in resettlement: housing, transportation, furnishings and clothing, homemaking, education, medical, employment, finance, etc.

    You can access the How to Structure a Sponsorship Core Team template here.

  • The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides limited, temporary coverage of health-care benefits for resettled refugees.

    • IFHP is funded by IRCC and administered by Medavie Blue Cross.
    • A Certificate of Eligibility is issued upon arrival by Canada Border Service Agency and will be given to the newcomers at their Port of Entry.
    • To use IFHP coverage, you must present the certificate to the service provider.
    • Coverage lasts 12 months.
  • rstpRSTP offers an online training course called Introduction to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program two to three times a year.

  • desert roadThis letter is to bring your attention to the Refugee Sponsorship Initiative that we are undertaking as an Association and to answer some of the many questions you may have. It will provide you with the background information of how we got to now, clarify what a Sponsorship Agreement Holder is, and bring you up-to-date with where the AGC is at in this process today.

    Background: How We Got to Now

    In early 2015, the AGC (represented by Bill Fietje) was invited to a meeting hosted by the EFC with the Minister of Immigration, Chris Alexander, to discuss details of the government’s plan for Syrian Refugees and the role the church in Canada was requested to fill. The Minister hoped that churches in Canada would play a major role in that resettlement plan. Out of that meeting, the EFC drafted a Statement of Intent outlining the tremendous need facing us today, and the clarity of scriptures that speak of God’s compassion for the vulnerable, the needy and the oppressed. The final paragraph of that Statement reads as follows:

  • Starting over again in a new country is difficult enough without the trauma of having to flee your home because of war or persecution. So many of these recent newcomers have had to leave family behind. They have suffered untold injustices and have been faced with unthinkable choices. These are some of their stories as they begin a new life here in Canada.