Media Release

For immediate release
3 February 2005


Montreal. The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) today expressed dismay at the unexpectedly low number of privately sponsored refugees admitted to Canada by the government in 2004.  The shortfall is particularly disappointing because groups in Canada have applied to sponsor thousands more refugees, many of whom have already waited years to be processed for resettlement to Canada.

“By offering private sponsorships Canadians are demonstrating their commitment to providing a new home to refugees, but the government is not doing its part,” said Nick Summers, CCR President. “Last year the government did not even live up to its extremely modest undertaking of processing at least 3,400 privately sponsored refugees.”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s 2004 immigration plan said it would admit between 3,400 and 4,000 privately sponsored refugees.  In fact, by year end they had admitted only 3,114, representing 92% of the bottom end of the promised range.

“The shortfall means that 300 refugees who could have started a new life in Canada continue to wait in precarious situations overseas,” said John Peters, representing a sponsorship agreement holder, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council.  “In fact private sponsors are ready and willing to offer homes to many, many more refugees.  The government, however, has not been willing to match the sponsors’ capacity – nor have they even matched their own meagre promise of processing at least 3,400 refugees.”

As a result of the government’s processing delays, applications for private sponsorship have been building up for several years and there is now an accumulated backlog of approximately 12,000 sponsored refugees awaiting processing.
The Canadian Council for Refugees recently published a report documenting the years routinely spent by refugees waiting for processing: No Faster Way? Private sponsorship of refugees: Overseas Processing Delays, PDF October 2004.


Nick Summers, President (709) 682-9329
Janet Dench, Executive Director (514) 277-7223 (ext. 2)
John Peters, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (204) 977-1000

The Canadian Council for Refugees is a non-profit umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada. The membership is made up of over 180 organizations involved in refugee protection and sponsorship and in newcomer settlement. The CCR serves the networking, information-exchange and advocacy needs of its membership.

6839 Drolet #302, Montréal, QC, Canada H2S 2T1 TEL.: (514) 277-7223 FAX : (514) 277-1447