Private sponsorship is a unique opportunity for churches to assist and encourage refugees. We can see in the Bible that our God has a heart for welcoming the foreigner. He calls us to this ministry as well and here we have the opportunity to display God's love and impact lives with justice and mercy.
What is Sponsorship?
Sponsorship is a commitment to working alongside refugees in order to ensure they have the necessary support to successfully integrate in Canada. Ideally a local church acts as the official sponsor while a team of members becomes the support network for the newcomer. Sponsoring groups commit to providing basic financial and emotional support/care for the sponsored refugee for one year. Sponsorship is a three-way partnership between sponsoring groups, the government of Canada, and the refugee themselves.
IRCC's sponsorship video
Who Can Sponsor a Refugee?
City of Refuge is one of over 100 Canadian Sponsorship Agreement Holders eligible to facilitate sponsorships on behalf of our Constituent Groups.
City of Refuge, as the SAH, assumes overall responsibility and liability for the management of sponsorships under our agreement, both in terms of the refugees’ eligibility and the Constituent Group’s ability to carry out the settlement.
Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sets annual quotas for the number of refugees Canada will accept, these spaces are allocated by IRCC to Canadian Sponsorship Agreement Holders at the beginning of the year. The allocations are based on a SAHs historical volume of applications submitted.
Cost of Settlement
IRCC bases the CG’s financial requirements on provincial social assistance rates. CGs must ensure the newcomer has access to this baseline amount if they are unable to find employment to fully support themselves during the first 12 months. These figures are in addition to the Child Tax benefits the newcomer families are entitled to immediately upon arrival. Although the cost of living varies from one region to another, the following table can assist the sponsoring group to estimate the cost involved in sponsoring a refugee/ family for 12 months.
Financial Support Calculator
Income Support can vary depending on ages of various dependants and plays a role in determining monthly income support required for shelter, food, transportation, and incidentals.
Start-up costs include:
- one- time payment for household items
- food staples
- clothing and winter clothing
- deposit for utilities
- phone installation
- first month's rent.
These are approximate rates only and should be used as a guideline. Several factors may reduce the amount of financial support that the sponsoring group must provide. Examples of these factors may include donations from the congregation or financial resources the sponsored refugee brings to Canada.
Bank account requirements
1) Formal trust fund
Sponsoring groups may establish a formal trust fund with a Canadian financial institution. The individual rights and obligations of the contributors, sponsors and beneficiaries must be set out in the terms of the trust.
2) Funds deposited into a bank account (funds held in trust)
This account does not need to be a formal trust account; a chequing or savings account held with a Canadian financial institution is sufficient, provided there is a minimum of two account holders.
- Some newcomers have limited experience with formal budgets and may need coaching to understand how this can be a useful tool. It will be the responsibility of the CG to teach and hold the newcomers accountable.
- Allow newcomers to make their own choices after you have explained the consequences of each decision. Be open and prepared to discover the cultural differences that may play a role in how many decisions are made. Our culture helps us make sense of our reality; it gives us a rationale for our norms, behaviors and actions. Differences in our norms affect how we communicate with each other and this will definitely be a factor in the area of budgeting and financial management.
- Before the newcomer(s) arrive the CG should make decisions on what type of technology they can provide the newcomers since it might be difficult for the newcomer(s) to buy their own phones or anything extra during the settlement period due to their limited income. It is a good idea to research on affordable phone plans, Internet plans, and cost of phone cards before the newcomer(s) arrive
- It is important for CG to review the budget with the newcomer several times during the year as both income/expenses might change
- Reviewing the budget also gives a chance to assess how the newcomer(s) are doing financially and if they have issues meeting the budget or if they might have the possibility to save some of their income
In many cases, the CG will have a network which may include potential employers willing to offer the newcomer an entry-level job. Often, the newcomer is working within 4 – 6 weeks and with a minimum paying job they will earn enough to provide the basic income required by the government.