Canada and refugee sponsorship

Every year thousands of refugees are resettled to Canada from another country where they are staying temporarily.

They may be living in a refugee camp, in urban areas or trying to survive in a country where they have no status and few, if any, rights. They may even be in detention or facing a risk of forced return to persecution. For them, resettlement to a third country such as Canada represents the only available solution. Resettlement provides protection and a durable solution (in other words, a permanent home).

The Canadian refugee resettlement program is composed of two categories:

  • Government-assisted refugees, who receive support on their arrival from the government.
  • Privately sponsored refugees, who receive support from private groups.

(from: About refugees in Canada and Canada’s response)

Private sponsorship: the basics

Unique in the world, Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program has allowed Canadians to offer protection and a new home to more than 225,000 refugees since its beginning in 1979.

  • Privately sponsored refugees are resettled refugees. In other words, they are approved overseas and arrive in Canada as permanent residents. (In addition to resettling refugees, Canada protects refugees who come to Canada and make a successful refugee claim.)
  • Private sponsors are groups of Canadians or organizations. Many sponsors represent faith-based communities. Others include ethno-cultural groups and settlement organizations. Quebec has its own, active process for refugee sponsorship.
  • Private sponsors provide financial support and settlement assistance for the refugees they sponsor, usually for one year after arrival.

(from: Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program: Proud history, uncertain future)

Interested in getting involved in refugee sponsorship?

Find out more through the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP)


For more on Canada and refugee sponsorship, see:

Refugee sponsorship can be a long, complex process – here’s how it works

What it takes to bring a Syrian refugee to Canada: Paperwork, interrogations and up to 18 months