Refugee Sponsorship

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Einstein rstpDate:Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018
    Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00pm EDT

    This webinar is part of a series of webinars on conflict prevention, management and resolution. We will tackle one of the root causes of PSR disputes and why some sponsorships thrive while others fail - cross-cultural communication

    The following topics will be covered: 

    • dimentions of culture
    • aspects of cultural differences
    • gender roles
    • family dynamics
    • linguistic and non-linguistic communication
    • differences within the "similarly perceived" cultures
    • refugee experience
    • where do we meet?
    • Q & A

    To register for this webinar, please click on this link.

  • 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).

  • 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 50% 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.

  • 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.

  • grace churchOn April 7, 2018 I had the pleasure of chatting with Andrea Bowman of Grace Church, Newmarket about their church's refugee sponsorship experience. Grace Church worked with Mennonite Central Committee as their SAH to bring a family of 8 from Syria via Beirut, Lebanon, to Newmarket. Unfortunately, just before the family was about to travel, their youngest child died and understandably, their departure from Lebanon was delayed. In October 2017, the family of 7 touched down at YYZ and their journey to resettle in Canada began.

    RSI: How did this particular sponsorship journey begin for Grace?

  • In the Fall of 2015, AGC churches began a journey together into the heartbreaking world of refugees, and the blessed opportunities we have as Canadians to sponsor them. These are our stories. 

  • Post-sponsorship transition helpIt 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:

  • binder

    Arriving in a new country with new faces, new appliances, a new language, a new currency can all be overwhelming without the added challenge of having lived as a refugee for the past several years. There is alot of new information for a newcomer to absorb.

    We strongly encourage sponsorship groups to prepare a binder to give to the family soon after arrival. The family will be able to review information, pictures and maps at anytime, reinforcing anything sponsors have previously shared.

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

    It is in the Principal Applicant's best interest for the Core Team 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 here.

  • Each year, millions of people around the world are forced to flee their homeland to escape persecution, war or sever human rights abuses. Often these people are permanently displaced and are never able to return home. As followers of Jesus, we are invited by our compassionate God of Justice to keep in step with Him and to bring His light and love to people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes to become foreigners and strangers in a country of refuge.

    As Canadian citizens and permanent residents, we have the unique opportunity to provide refugees living abroad protection and the ability to build a new life in Canada through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program.

  • 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 — to escape persecution, war or severe human rights abuses and are unable to return home.

  • 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.

    Your SAH also has a vested interest in a comprehensive settlement plan. We are in the process of preparing a generic settlement plan that will be available to all our sponsorship groups. In the meantime, this settlement plan that is Calgary-specific can be used and adjusted for your community. This is a more detailed plan than the one submitted with the application package to ROC-O to be assessed as part of the sponsoring groups's portion of an undertaking. Completing this plan will enable you to be thorough on the form (IMM5413) submitted with your application.

    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. Remember this is a template, and not every item will be required by every group. Consider your specific community, and then use common sense as you think through together the best means of settlement for a new family. 

    Once it is finished, send it to your SAH for a completeness check as part of the "Required by SAH" documents.