To sponsor refugees with CLWR, CGs should form a Refugee Committee. The committee will need to create a task list, and appoint task leaders for activities such as:
- Finances and fundraising
- Housing and furnishings
- Health care services
- Language training and education
Settlement activities include, but are not limited to:
- Picking up refugees from the airport
- Finding temporary housing until affordable permanent housing is available
- Connecting with local settlement service providers and settlement counsellors
- Accessing provincial health programs, SIN, and Canada Child Benefit (if applicable)
- Assisting with opening a bank account and budgeting
- Registering adults at language training classes, and if applicable, registering children at school
- Providing guidance about access to the Canadian job market
- Initially, provide transportation to and from appointments
- Provide access to interpretation and translation services
- Offer welcome, friendship and emotional support
- Orientation of community resources and public transportation
- Be available to provide support when unexpected needs surface
Once sponsored refugees arrive in Canada, they are permanent residents and eligible for provincial health coverage and a Social Insurance Number. Their sponsorship year starts the day they arrive in Canada, so their financial and settlement needs must be covered by the sponsoring group, and they should not be accessing social assistance programs during this period. Failure to meet to the sponsorship obligations can result in a sponsorship breakdown, which should be avoided at all costs.
The IRCC requires that sponsors cover both rent and daily needs expenses for 1 full year. The monthly financial support provided must least meet the minimum, or be equivalent to, the amounts in the Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) in the community of settlement. The amounts differ based on the province and city. You can find the RAP rates for your area here: http://www.rstp.ca/en/sponsorship-responsibilities/resettlement-assistance-program-rap-rates/. The monthly income support would cover: rent, utilities, food and incidentals, adult public transit passes, and communication allowance.
Sponsoring groups must also provide refugees with start-up costs, which are a one-time payment and/or in-kind support for establishing their household. You can find more information here: http://www.rstp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Start-up.pdf. CLWR staff will assist your sponsoring group with finding out the required amount to sponsor a refugee family or individual in your area.
A contribution of funds to sponsor a family member through CLWR is not eligible for a charitable receipt as there is a personal benefit (private benevolence) to the contributor. These funds are refundable if the sponsorship cannot proceed.
We strongly advise you to read the following information on your responsibilities as a sponsor and the rights of privately-sponsored refugees:
- Responsibilities of Sponsorship Groups: http://www.rstp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Responsibilities-of-Sponsorship-Groups-Availability-of-IRCC-Resettlemen….pdf
- The Rights of Privately-Sponsored Refugees: http://www.rstp.ca/en/your-rights-as-a-privately-sponsored-refugee
- Handbook for Sponsoring Groups (RSTP): http://www.rstp.ca/en/resources/hand-book-for-sponsoring-groups/
Click here to contact the Refugee Resettlement team.
If your group would like to share your refugee sponsorship experience with CLWR, along with photos, please get in touch with us here.