Backgrounder Article from  Government of Canada

Canada's Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program

Canadian citizens and permanent residents provide opportunities for some refugees to find protection and build a new life here through Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program. Since the late 1970s, private sponsors have brought more than 288,000 refugees to Canada, over and above those resettled with government funding.

Private sponsorships are arranged by ordinary Canadians who are often, although not always, associated with faith-based organizations, community associations, humanitarian organizations, educational institutions and ethnic groups. These groups agree to provide the refugees with support for the duration of the sponsorship period and are currently located in more than 300 communities across Canada. Support is usually provided for 12 months starting from the refugee’s arrival in Canada or until the refugee becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first. Sponsors identify who they wish to sponsor.

Private sponsors are required to demonstrate that they have the necessary funds and volunteer base to support the refugees they are sponsoring. Private sponsors typically support the sponsored refugees by

  • providing the cost of food, rent and household utilities and other day-to-day living expenses;
  • providing clothing, furniture and other household goods;
  • locating interpreters;
  • selecting a family physician and dentist;
  • assisting with applying for provincial health care coverage;
  • enrolling children in school and adults in language training;
  • introducing newcomers to people with similar personal interests;
  • providing orientation with regard to banking services, transportation, etc.; and
  • helping in the search for employment.

Once they have arrived in Canada, all refugees also have access to the full suite of federally-funded settlement services provided by settlement Service Provider Organizations. Access to settlement services does not end after 12 months; these are available to refugees until they receive Canadian citizenship.

These services help refugees integrate as quickly as possible and include

  • language assessment and training to achieve settlement and integration goals;
  • support to build networks in communities: build connections between newcomers and community members, public institutions, employers and community organizations; one-on-one and group mentoring with established immigrants and/or long-time Canadians; and child and youth leadership and peer support projects; and
  • information and orientation and help in finding and retaining employment.

For more information on the PSR program, please visit our website.


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