Refugee Sponsorship

  • JAS Profile #19-0836

    JAS 19 0836ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Calgary, AB
    COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Syria
    FAMILY SIZE: 4

    This single mother from Syria and her three children arrived in Calgary in late 2018. The children have adapted well to school and are learning English.

    Special needs: The mother struggles with prior trauma, and has difficulty in caring for her children while adjusting to life in Canada.

    Medical needs: Each of the children have asthma, requiring frequent medical appointments. The youngest daughter suffers from a blood disorder, which requires additional medical support. The mother suffers from back pain, which makes it difficult for her to attend resettlement programs and language classes. She feels isolated and lonely, and has difficulty sleeping.

    Sponsor assistance: With the support of a sponsor, the mother could focus on her own integration by attending language classes, counselling sessions for past trauma and employment programs. A sponsor could help her understand and navigate the health care system.

  • Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) Opportunities

    Through the JAS program, the government and private sponsors work together to support refugees in Canada for up to 24 months, depending on the needs of teh resettled refugee. In a few cases, the private sponsor may support refugees for up to 36 months. 

    These refugees receive income support from the Government of Canada and emotional, moral and settlement support by a sponsor. Some refugees are identified overseas for the JAS program. Others are converted into JAS cases after they arrive in Canada if it becomes clear that they need more support.

    Follow this linkor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see if there is a JAS case in your community.

  • Lovely Pain

    wilderness flowerA poem by Pastor Farshid Fathi

    Born in 1979, Farshid has been working in ministry since 1997. In the years 2001 – 2005, he was instrumental in planting 48 underground house churches in his native Iran.

    On 25 December 2010, Farshid was arrested along with a number of other church leaders. He was kept 361 days in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, often enduring severe interrogation. In March 2011 Farshid was sentenced to six years in prison for acting against national security through evangelism and promoting Christianity. In 2014 prison guards broke Farshid’s foot and thumb during a prison search. Farshid was later transferred to Rajaei Shahr Prison and released on 21 December 2015. While Farshid was in prison, his wife took their two children to Canada, where they have applied for citizenship. 

    Today, he remains in Turkey registered as an asylum seeker, but still not recognised as a refugee. Toronto area churches, this is an opportunity for you!


    My wilderness is painful, but lovely.
    Some parts of my wilderness are covered with thorns and hurt my feet,
    but I love it, and that's why I call it 'lovely pain'.

    My wilderness is so hot that my tears disappear before falling on the ground,
    but it is cool under Your shadows.

  • Our Stories

    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

    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:

  • Prepare a Binder

    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.

  • 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 Sponsorship (PSR)

    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.

  • 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.

  • Required for CGs

  • 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 a "Detailed Settlement Plan" template. 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, and as newcomers become more independent.

  • 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.

  • Small Town; Big Heart

    prairie fieldThis article originally appeared in the BVOR News published by RSTP October 2020, issue 25.

    The hamlet of Neerlandia, Alberta is a two-hour drive north-west of Edmonton. For a small community, it has been doing outsize work in resettling refugees for more than 40 years, thanks to members of the Neerlandia Christian Reformed Church. Originally working with the World Renew SAH, the Neerlandia group has sponsored 20 families since 2000.

  • Sponsorship Costs

    In January of 2019, sponsorship costs were updated to be calculated based on the specific community of settlement as well as family compostion. We all know that the cost of living is different for people living in Halifax compared to those living in Vancouver. These tables are only accurate for Toronto, but may be used as an estimate for other communities. To know the actual costs for your community, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Sponsorship Costs (2021)

    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. For instance, if a group in the Toronto area plans to sponsor one person, the sponsorship costs will be not less than $16,500.

  • The Time is Now

    sunset sittingI hear a lot of talk among the church people I talk to about looking forward to when this time of Covid-19 is over and wondering what church may look like when that day comes.

    Recently, I find myself much more interested in what churches are doing now – today – in the midst of a pandemic in which we have been asked to remain physically distant from one another.

    What is right here, right now, that we can be about? What are the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" for today?

  • Welcome

    AGC English Logo 2020 860x667Canadians have the enviable opportunity to not only live in this great country with freedoms & opportunities, but we also have the opportunity to sponsor refugees through our government's Private Sponsorship of Refugees program.

    When we participate in refugee sponsorship, people who have been forcibly displaced because of circumstances entirely beyond their control can arrive as Permanent Residents to live in our neighbourhoods with us, to attend our schools, to work among us, to enrich our communities.

    Although we don't hear as much in the news, the situation for those who are living it is as much a crisis today as it has ever been. People are still risking their lives in the pursuit of freedom and to avoid war and death. Risky water crossings, paying smugglers, hiding out in 8' x 10' rooms - this is the norm for millions. Conflict and persecution in many parts of the world is rising.

    The UNHCR reports that never before has the world seen these levels of displacement.

    Resettlement in another country is the only durable solution for many. You can be a part of that solution, and will find information and resources here to help you.

    If you cannot sponsor a family to resettle in Canada, you still have the opportunity to bring hope and friendship to many. Technology today means that we can have back and forth conversations with people on the other side of the world.

    We can be a listening ear, a friendly face on their screen, an encourager to someone who is certain they have been forgotten in the world.

    The AGC would love to assist you in your efforts to reach out to ease the suffering of those who have lost so much, to make a way for those who are trapped in unimaginable circumstances to find hope and freedom.

    Explore the website, and contact us for further conversation and help.

    Susan Davis
    AGC Compassion & Justice Coordinator

  • Welcome the Stranger

    Welcome the StrangerA Canadian Church Guide to Welcoming Refugees

    The EFC and its partners in the Refugee Resettlement Initiative (which includes the AGC) have produced this new practical resource to help private sponsors welcome and settle individuals and families into a new life in Canada. 

    Filled with personal stories from those who have walked the path of sponsorship from the very first stages of inquiry to building relationships with the individuals and families who arrive in Canada, as well as stories and insights from refugees themselves, this resource is a tool for a discussion group or study guide in any church or community considering sponsorship. It will especially help those who want to be involved, but don’t know where to start on the journey of sponsoring refugees to Canada.

  • What Are the Responsibilities of a Sponsorship Group?

    sponsorship responsibilitiesWhen a church signs a sponsorship agreement, it becomes jointly and severally or solidarily bound with the other signatories (the AGC as the SAH and the co-sponsor if applicable) to perform the responsibilities that are detailed in the sponsorship agreement. The church becomes the official "Constituent Group (CG)" that will fulfill settlement obligations primarily through the members of their Core Team who are free to invite other volunteers to help with resettlement.

    The CG, Core Team and co-sponsor (if applicable) are referred to as the "sponsors."

    The responsibilities of the sponsors include:

    1. Providing basic financial support (e.g., for housing and food) and care for the sponsored newcomer1 during the sponsorship period, or until the sponsored newcomer no longer requires assistance, whichever comes first;
    2. Ensuring it has sufficient resources and expertise to carry out its responsibilities;
    3. Remaining jointly or solely liable with any co-sponsors that have signed a sponsorship undertaking.

    What settlement assistance is required from Sponsors?

  • Who Can Sponsor?

    familyThe Associated Gospel Churches is a SAH which means that any of our AGC churches can become what IRCC refers to as a Constituent Group (CG) and submit an application to sponsor a refugee through the PSR, BVOR or JAS programs. 

    The AGC Refugee Sponsorship Initiative Co-directors will gladly answer your questions, address your concerns and work with you in your efforts to pursue refugee sponsorship. We will ensure sponsoring groups have the information and resources needed to "welcome the stranger" and become hands and feet of compassion in our world's refugee crisis today.

    An AGC church may also elect to work with a co-sponsor - such as family members of a refugee, or another organization - to deliver the financial & settlement support required to carry through a successful sponsorship to its conclusion. 

     

  • Who May Be Sponsored

    crowd

    The Guide for Sponsorship Agreement Holders to privately sponsor refugees (IMM5413) is IRCC's guide to refugee sponsorship. This guide, available on-line or as a hard copy, provides information related to who can be sponsored and much more.

    According to the 1951 Convention, a convention refugee is defined as any person who

Join Our Newsletter

New to the world of Refugee Sponsorship? Become informed. Join the conversation.