Resettlement

  • 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.
  • Faith Community Church begins a sponsorship of a refugee family.At this point, it is still a waiting game but way more so for Ruth and Joseph* and their three children.

    We first began the process of sharing the vision for this with the congregation of Faith Community Church in January 2017. It was formally agreed to by the congregation in February.

    We worked closely with our SAH (the Alliance Church) and their representative Hannatu as she helped us work through the thorough template they have crafted for sponsorship. That process took us about two months as we emailed back and forth with Ruth & Joseph getting them to fill in their documentation even as we did ours. After the initial review of all our paperwork, our SAH then sent the file on to Immigration Canada. This was an invaluable time saver as it virtually eliminated all the mistakes we might have made and saved the time of resending.

  • 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?

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • naomi house refugee transitional housingThrough our connections with the Baptist General Conference, our Manitoba churches have a unique opportunity to partner with a Constituent Group in Winnipeg to sponsor Pakistani refugees who are stranded in Thailand. The group in Winnipeg is known by both Lorne Meisner, and Tim & Susan Davis.

  • family2Now that the sponsored refugees have arrived, all the work that went into settlement and budget planning will be put to the test. Is it a good plan? Are the expectations realistic?

    As with every successful endeavor, there must be an informed plan or course of action. And as with every successful endeavor, that plan must be flexible enough to bend to real life, with real people. To help CGs navigate the adjustments that are to be expected once they move from theory to the real thing, we require the CG Representative submit a quarterly report designed to provide us with the practical information we need, and to create room to notice potential issues as they arise.

  • 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. 

  • Permanent Residency:

    Resettled refugees become permanent residents (PRs) the moment they sign their ‘Confirmation of Permanent Residence’ document at the airport. As Permanent Residents they:

    • Access the same social benefits and health care coverage as Canadian citizens.
    • Do not require a permit to study or work.
    • Are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    • Have responsibilities, including paying taxes and respecting all federal, provincial and municipal laws.
  • 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:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Table 1: Sponsorship Costs (2018)

    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.

  • 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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    Canadians 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 this program, 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.

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    Tim and Susan Davis
    Co-directors | AGC Compassion & Justice