Our vision: a broad, inclusive and effective refugee resettlement program
- The government resettles a significant number of refugees to Canada:
- particularly the most vulnerable
- from around the globe
- without discrimination
- The private sponsorship of refugees is quick and simple, and respects the principles of additionality and naming
Unique in the world, Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program has allowed Canadians to offer protection and a new home to more than 275,000 refugees since its beginning in 1979. Despite its historical success, the Program has been facing dramatic changes and challenges in recent years.
Private sponsorship: the basics
- 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.
- Private sponsors provide financial support and settlement assistance for the refugees they sponsor, usually for one year after arrival.
Fundamental principles of private sponsorship
The strength of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program depends on its core principles:
- ADDITIONALITY: Privately sponsored refugees are over and above the refugees resettled by the government (Government Assisted Refugees). Canadians want to know that their government is fulfilling its responsibility, on behalf of all Canadians, to protect refugees through resettlement, and that any refugees they sponsor are additional to those resettled by the government.
- NAMING: Sponsors can propose the individual refugees they wish to resettle. Naming means that Canadians can respond to the needs of individual refugees or particular refugee communities that concern them.
Recent changes making it difficult to sponsor non-Syrian refugees include:
Very slow processing, especially in some regions of the world such as Africa.
- Restrictive rules limiting which refugees can be sponsored, from where and how many.
- Burdensome paperwork: forms are extremely complicated and sponsors no longer have access to government officials locally to guide them.
- New restrictive rules limiting which refugees can be sponsored, from where and how many.
- More burdensome paperwork: forms are extremely complicated and sponsors no longer have access to government officials locally to guide them.
In order to maintain a strong private sponsorship program beyond the current focus on Syrian refugee resettlement, we need solutions to the restrictions, bureaucracy and delays that have been undermining the program.