Church Resources

  • Preparing for the Visa Office Interview

    canada flagVisa office interviews are conducted to assess the refugee's eligibility for resettlement to Canada as a permanent resident and also assess his or her admissibility to enter Canada.

    As a Core Team, it is important to help them prepare for the interview. Read over the fact sheet provided by RSTP so you are aware of the process and what will be required. Once the refugee has received an interview date, they will be much better prepared if you have walked them through the process and explained their rights and responsibilities. Many refugees have been victims of abuse by authorities. Helping them understand this interview will empower them to tell their own story honestly and with the confidence of knowing that they are safe.

  • Refugee Family Bios

    If you are looking for a family to sponsor, a family or person to connect with via email, Facebook or WhatsApp, or simply educating yourself about situations of people in the world today, you will find real stories of real people in this part of our website. All names and personal information has been changed to protect identities, since refugee status determination or personal safety may be undermined if sensitive information is made public.

    Contact us if you need more information.

  • Refugee Highway Partnership Roundtable 2018

    RHP 2018I was glad to attend the North American Refugee Highway Partnership 10th Annual Roundtable in Chicago last month. This was a 2.5 day event for specifically Christian organizations and stakeholders working on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers and forcibly displaced people around the world and in our communities. There were plenery sessions, multiple workshops with opportunity for "roundtable discussions," times of worship... and former refugees told their stories of displacement, flight, survival and eventual resettlement in the USA.

  • Refugee Rights Day - every April 4th

    protecting refugees equals stronger communitiesRefugee Rights Day is celebrated each year in Canada on April 4th. It is an opportunity to bring attention to the advances made in the protection of refugee rights in Canada as a result of the Singh Decision. Refugee Rights Day is also a time to learn about the threats to those rights.

    You can get more information about the Supreme Court's 1985 Singh decision, and the importance of that decision today, along with other practical resources to assist you in promoting Refugee Rights Day in your community.

  • Refugee Sponsorship Programs

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada currently offers three different opportunities for Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) or their Constituency Groups (CGs) to sponsor refugees. A person can only be considered a refugee if they are outside of their country of origin — having fled their homeland and unable to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality or membership in a particular social group, or because of war or severe human rights abuses.

  • Refugee Sponsorship Reinvigorates Churches

    efc lynn scurfieldThe EFC (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada) has published an article written by Joel Arndt in Faith Today, Nov/Dec 2017 that recounts the impact that churches have had on resettling refugees through both the Private Sponsorship Program and the Blended Visa Office Referral Program. 

    Looking back on what some churches have accomplished thus far, it doesn't seem to matter whether the communities are large or small, whether there are ample resources or no budget for sponsorship at all, God's people have stepped out in faith and prayer to help resettle more than 3,500 refugees in Canada. 

    And the consensus from those who have walked this journey is that the blessing of sponsorship goes both ways. Yes, the new-comers receive a new lease on living - the opportunities for education, and simply being able to live life without the fear of war and all its atrocities - but the churches have been blessed as well, even with the challenges.

    You can read the full article here.

  • Refugee Sponsorship Video 2019

    Churches and community organizations in Port Hope and Cobourg, Ontario, have welcomed several refugee families as newcomers to their community.

    This 3-minute video introduces us to come of those families and speaks of the call that God's children have to "be a neighbour" to those who are in need of a home today.

     

  • Refugee Sunday

  • Refugees Are a Blessing to Canada

    Refugees are a blessing to Canada

    "Citizens for Public Justice" is a Canadian national organization of members inspired by faith to act for justice in Canadian public policy. Based in Ottawa, CPJ is a Christian voice for social and environmental justice. 

    Martha Wiebe is a CPJ Board member and Ottawa Mennonite Church member. She wrote this article to describe the church's experience of sponsoring refugees from around the world for nearly 40 years. 

  • Resources

  • Settlement Planning

    Community Specific Settlement Plan

    Settlement planning is one of the more time consuming tasks of a sponsorship undertaking. IRCC needs to see that every facet of resettlement has been considered and that there is a plan in place with enough flexibility that the task will be completed even if unforeseen issues arise.

    Contact us to receive the Settlement Plan template for your province. It is best for different members of the Core Team to be responsible for different aspects of settlement i.e. transportation, schooling, language training, medical, housing, etc. 

    Take the time to do the research, to make the phone calls, to do the leg-work necessary to become informed as you prepare to walk with newcomers through their first year of resettlement in a new country. Contact settlement providers in your area and consider what you need to know about your community that will be useful for newcomers.  

    Once the template is finished, send it to your SAH for a completeness check as part of the "Required by SAH" documents. When the family arrives, this will become a living document, changing as required and as unforeseen situations arise.

  • Settlement Planning Extras

    Settlement planning requires good communication, and one of the ways to help with that once the family arrives is to be able to give them a binder with all their important information in one place. You can read more about that here.

    Settlement Checklist

    Sponsoring groups have found it helpful to use a simplified settlement checklist as they work towards the independence and empowerment of a newcomer family.  All the same elements are included, without the details of the who, what and where so it is easier to read and follow along for completeness. 

    Please be aware that many of these tasks (i.e. home appliance orientation) may take several repetitions over the course of several days before the task is "complete." 

    Arrival & Initial Weeks Checklist

    The first 6 weeks of settlement are the most time-consuming for sponsoring groups and newcomers. Appointments with government agencies for health cards, etc., opening a bank account, seeing doctors and dentists after years of absense all take time and coordination of schedules. This checklist will enable groups to be sure all the most important tasks are completed.

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)

    desk signingThe Social Insurance Number (SIN) is:

    • A nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada and access government programs/benefits.
    • Issued to newcomers in the form of 1 paper document per person. Production of plastic SIN cards ended in 2014.
    • Sponsors must explain the importance of the SIN, it’s purpose, when they will need to share it, and when not to share it. It is their responsibility to protect their SIN.
  • Sponsorship Costs

    Table 1: Sponsorship Costs (2019)

    The sponsoring group must show that they have sufficient financial resources at least equal to social assistance rates in the settlement community to support the sponsored refugees for the duration of the sponsorship period. The sponsorship application kit includes the following sponsorship cost table that provides estimated assistance rates which a group can use as a guide for support levels. For instance, if a group plans to sponsor one person, the sponsorship costs amount to $13,500.

  • Susana

    desk signingI recently crossed paths with an interesting woman in Argentina. She had participated in a "community sponsorship" in her city and was now looking for someone to help her sponsor another refugee she had met. Canada is the only country in the world with a working private sponsorship of refugees program, so when I heard that Argentina was allowing citizens to sponsor someone, I had to learn more. 

    The Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative for several years has been looking for global answers to the current refugee crisis. One solution is Community Sponsorship. As GRSI explains:

    Community-based sponsorship programs allow individuals to directly engage in refugee resettlement efforts. Sponsors commit to providing financial, emotional and resettlement support to help newly-arrived refugees integrate into life in a new country.

    Countries around the world are starting to explore private sponsorship or community sponsorship, providing their citizens with the means to do something - something that Canadians have been privileged to do for 4 decades. It turns out, Argentina is one of those countries and Susana is one of those citizens. This is her story...

  • Ten Ways to Pray for Refugees

    pray womanIn light of the on-going refugee crisis, people will need to pray for refugees, asylum seekers and those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes for many years to come. If you need a few ideas of specific issues, then this list may be helpful.

    Many of these items have been taken directly from a document put together by the International Association for Refugees. We have added a few of our own requests that have come from individuals we have been in contact with who have unexpectedly found themselves to be refugees.

  • Ten Ways to Pray for Refugees

    pray womanEven before the days of Covid-19, refugees, asylum seekers and those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes needed our prayers. Today they need them more than ever. 

    Isolation and physical distancing is strange for us in North America. Yet today, many of us are isolated in our homes that are plenty big enough for us. Our fridges are full or at least easily filled; our medications can be refilled with a phone call. Some of us have the blessing of a yard - we can putter in the snow or the soil as the case may be. And our country has passed an Emergency Measures Bill that means many of us will be paid while we stay home.

  • The Gift of Time

    hourglassCovid-19 has been a game changer on so many different levels:

    • how we "do" church has changed,
    • how we socialize has changed,
    • how we connect with our families, has changed,
    • how we work has changed.

    We and people in our communities face uncertainty about a myriad of questions:

  • The Role of Race and Racism in the Refugee Debate

    bird and cageOne of the challenges in the debate about refugee sponsorship is the hesitance to discuss the issue of racism in our culture and in the church. There is a fear that the slightest admittance that race or cultural differences affect how we live out our beliefs is equal to confessing complete allegiance with history's greatest genocidal offenders.

    Judy Wu Dominick has written an excellent article where she proposes, "Let’s take a break from our own trigger-filled context and practice talking about the role of race and racism in the context of biblical history instead." If indeed this has been a struggle for God's people down through the years, perhaps we'll be a little bit more gracious to ourselves and reflect on how to break free of this unspoken sin that entangles us and prevents us from following God's call on our lives to care for the stranger.

    You can read her article at: lifereconsidered.com/2016/01/25/a-biblical-approach-to-overcoming-racial-discourse-allergy

  • The Sponsorship Process in a Nutshell

    Granted, it will be a fairly large nutshell, but in terms of what happens first and who does what, this article will provide you with a run-down of the process from initial inquiries to resettlement.

    Getting Started

    nutshell

    If you wonder whether sponsorship is something that your church, or perhaps a group of churches in your community could initiate, the first thing to do is to call a meeting and invite anyone who is interested or has questions to attend. We have several documents that walk a group through the responsibilities of sponsorship, how to establish a core team, different types of sponsorships, and projected cost tables.

    If there is enough interest among that first gathering for at least 5 people to commit to being part of a core team for the time of preparation, and the year of resettlement, then you are ready to move forward.

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