2. Poverty circumstances of Government-Assisted Refugees

Nov 2005

Transportation loans and welfare levels of refugee support of government-assisted refugees under the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) force them into poverty;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR urge the federal and Québec governments to raise the RAP rates to at least the low income cut-off (LICO) rate to bring the government-assisted refugees out of poverty.

3. New RAP Financial Stream

Nov 2005
  1. The current Resettlement Assistance Program provides 1 year financial support to regular Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and 2 years support for refugees under Joint Assistance Sponsorship;
  2. A significant percentage of refugees arriving under the regular GAR stream are special needs cases;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call upon CIC and the Québec government to establish a new GAR stream that would provide 2 year financial support to regular GARs with longer-term integration issues: medical problems, single mothers, those with little or no education. The other 2 streams would remain as is.

3. Refugee Assistance Program

Jun 2005
  1. The Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) is responsible for the provision of settlement services and income support for refugees deemed in need of protection by the Government of Canada;
  2. The provision of these RAP services has been contracted to voluntary sector organizations;
  3. The budget for the RAP program has not been increased since 1998;
  4. The voluntary agencies across Canada have now reached a crisis point in their financial viability to be able to deliver services to government sponsored refugees;
  5. The recent budget announcement of an additional $298 million dollars for settlement service for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration provides not one cent in additional funding for RAP services for government sponsored refugees;
  6. Senior department officials have recognized the critical nature of the situation but have been unable to effect any significant change;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR urgently request a meeting between RAP agency representatives and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to consider the financial “melt down” facing the voluntary agencies delivering RAP services and the lack of adequate income support for RAP clients and ensure the allocation of sufficient funds to avert a crisis.

3. Special needs refugees

May 2004
  1. 75% of GARs currently arriving in Canada have special needs.
  2. Settlement agencies and sponsors are not equipped to respond to these special needs.
  3. These special needs include urgent medical needs.
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR urge CIC and MRCI to:

  1. Recognize the extent of these special needs and reflect this in the training and resourcing of federally funded settlement service providers and those funded through provincial partnerships or programs.
  2. Together with other relevant federal departments, provincial counterparts and educational institutions training health care providers, to seek ways to address the training needs of health providers with respect to refugee trauma and torture and cross-cultural awareness.
  3. Review the current RAP allocation model and upgrade dollars and timeframes to better support these special needs.

5. Resettlement Assistance Program

May 1998
  1. The CCR adopted Resolution 3 in November 1997 concerning changes from AAP to RAP and has not received a satisfactory response;
  2. There has been no consultation about the changes to services with the organizations that deliver the services, let alone with the refugees receiving the services;
  3. CIC is committed to promoting through its services greater independence in government-assisted refugees;
  4. CIC is continuing to impose a quantitative approach (defining the numbers of hours of service to be delivered, and the period within which they are to be delivered);
  5. The changes appear to mean, at least in some regions, significant cutbacks in services for government-assisted refugees;
  6. In some areas the role of reception centres is being called into question, but without open discussion and consultation;
  7. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is developing national standards for services to arriving refugees, again without consultations;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Reaffirm its call for RAP services to be contracted on a "global" basis - both temporary accommodation and services -  while maintaining the financial contribution to existing reception centres at the 1997-98 level;
  2. Note that "independence" for resettled refugees is best achieved through timely, holistic, effective and appropriate services;
  3. Call on Citizenship and Immigration Canada i) to review the proposed RAP implementation and develop national standards, in consultation with NGOs delivering the services and with resettled refugees, and ii) to hold a national meeting for this consultation.

3. Suggested changes from AAP to RAP

Nov 1997
  1. Agencies experienced in providing AAP services are the most knowledgeable as to how to meet client needs;
  2. Inclusive, integrated, and related services should not be arbitrarily limited or required (e.g. number of hours, weeks or service) but should be discretionary and based on client need;
  3. Services must include, but not be limited to, finding of permanent accommodation and sufficient funding to provide initial temporary accommodation and counselling;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR urge that:

  1. Government funding for AAP services be based on delivery of needed services without arbitrary parameters and funding be contracted on a "Global" basis for agreed services;
  2. Meaningful dialogue and consultation between service delivery NGOs and CIC take place before final approval of RAP regulations.