new beginnings
Summer, 2024  |  Subscribe here

Hello Friends!

Thank you for taking the time to read this first issue of the newsletter of the Refugee Ministry Office,
a Community Ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (ADO). Rooted in our biblical tradition of hospitality
and welcoming the stranger, our diocese has been engaged in refugee sponsorship and support for over 45 years.

June 20, 2024 – World Refugee Day

The United Nations General Assembly designated June 20 as World Refugee Day in 2001, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugee. This year’s theme is “Hope away from home – a world where refugees are always included.”

The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Refugee Ministry Office is happy to introduce our first newsletter launching on June 20, in alignment with the goals of this special day.

According to the UN, World Refugee Day is a chance to champion their right to safety, build support for their economic and social inclusion, and advocate for solutions to their unfortunate and often dangerous situations.

To support refugees financially, consider marking this day with a donation to the work of the Refugee Ministry Office. You can contribute through this link on our website or by writing a cheque to the Refugee Ministry Office, Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, 71 Bronson Ave, Ottawa, ON K1R 6G6. Your contribution would be greatly appreciated.

This issue’s featured stories include:

  • Canada Dental Care Plan (CDCP) – a boon for Newcomers, Sponsors
  • The Joys and Challenges of Sponsoring a Refugee Family
  • Who’s Who in Refugee Sponsorship
  • Canada Day at the Museum


Canada Dental Care Plan (CDCP)

a boon for Newcomers, Sponsors

Newly arrived refugees, like many low-income Canadians, will find the recently announced Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) a much-needed offering. Sponsorship groups have long struggled with the cost of necessary dental work, and the CDCP will make a major difference to their budgets.

When refugee families arrive in Canada, the adults are covered for dental emergencies for their first year here by the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). Participating dentists are not easy to find, and the program covers urgent dental care, not routine dental work such as cleaning and fillings. The program also pays for badly infected teeth to be pulled. Currently, Healthy Smiles Ontario program  covers children 17 years old and under in low-income families.

Under the new CDCP, all Canadians over the age of 65 are eligible for routine dental work. All children under 18 became eligible this month as adults with a Disability Tax Credit Certificate. All adults will become eligible in 2025. Dental offices will coordinate which program to bill between old federal or provincial insurers such as Healthy Smiles Ontario, the IFHP, and the CDCP.
Apply here for CDCP eligibility. Anyone covered by a private dental plan is not eligible.

The Joys and Challenges of
Sponsoring a Refugee Family

The sponsorship journey is filled with blessings and challenges.

The Joy

There is happiness in being a witness to the developing confidence of newcomers in the Canadian way of life. You are making a difference in someone’s life. You are learning about another culture and will look at assumptions you were unaware of having. You begin the process as strangers and may end up as extended family. Both you and Canada will be enriched by the experience.

The Challenges and Joys

The process is long and best defined as ‘hurry up and wait’. Hurry up and get the application and related documentation into the ADO Refugee Ministry Office. Hurry up and complete your training, police record checks, and fund-raising.

The initial stringent application process can take two years.

The case managers at the Refugee Ministry Office are supportive. Then you wait. Once the refugees arrive, your legal commitment is full support for a year.
Upon learning of an arrival date, there is much delight, and you are into another ‘hurry up’ phase as the newcomers, now safe permanent residents of Canada, begin to settle into their new life with your assistance.

There is a myriad of things that need doing. During the year, there will be ups and downs. There will be laughter, hugs, lots of tea and food, along with some challenges and tears. How do I communicate when we do not speak the same language? Kids don’t usually get sick during office hours. How do we get it, and can I afford medical or dental care? What is Hallowe’en? The list goes on. Another possible challenge is the dynamics of your sponsorship group. Members of your team may move, or conflicts might arise that need to be dealt with.

Final Analysis

Sponsoring refugees is both a moral and legal commitment, along with being time-consuming. The reward is personal satisfaction in making a difference in the lives of people who were born in a country where they were no longer welcome through no fault of their own. You appreciate that, even with our issues, we are fortunate to be Canadian. Through the process, you make new friends who broaden your understanding of the world outside our borders.

Who’s Who in Refugee Sponsorship

There are many players in sponsorship of refugees to Canada and their resettlement as newcomers.

Refugee Sponsorship Supporting Entities:

    • Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada
    • Anglican Diocese of Ottawa
    • ADO Refugee Ministry Office
    • Refugee Ministry Management Board
    • Constituent Groups

The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (ADO) is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH), with an agreement with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to help refugees resettle in Canada. The Refugee Ministry Office (RMO) works with:

  • Constituent Groups (CGs) to prepare and submit applications for refugee sponsorship through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program;
  • supports CGs as they prepare for the arrival of newcomers, and;
  • monitors the first year of settlement of newcomers in Canada.

The ADO, as a SAH, is ultimately responsible for each refugee sponsored under the agreement.

The Refugee Ministry Office is a Community Ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (ADO). As delegated by the Community Ministries Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, the Refugee Ministry Management Board provides oversight, leadership, and support for the Refugee Ministry Office of the ADO.

Examples of RMO’s recent work include:

  • Interviewing potential constituent groups to determine their ability to carry out a successful sponsorship
  • Developing policies to support the ministry, such as the Monitoring Policy for the first year of settlement
  • Developing and revising documents to support CGs during the sponsorship process, such as the First Weeks of Sponsorship document

Constituent Groups (parishes, community groups) enter into a service agreement with the ADO to carry out all aspects of a sponsorship.

The agreement specifies training for CG members, funds that must be raised, and the monitoring that will occur during the settlement year. Each CG gathers the necessary information for the application and works with the RMO to submit the application. While the application works its way through the IRCC process the CG prepares for the arrival of the newcomers and then becomes the active group in their settlement.

Canada Day at the Museum

Community groups are responsible for introducing newcomers to our community.

Canada Day is a great day to visit some of the National Capital’s museums, as many are free and booking ahead is easy.

Last year, new arrivals to Canada sponsored by Orleans Welcome enjoyed meeting dinosaurs at the Nature Museum and also got into the spirit of celebrating July 1st by wearing red and white.


Thank you for reading the first edition of the Refugee Ministry Office (RMO) newsletter.

If you’re enjoying it, please share it with others and encourage them to subscribe.  Together, we can continue sharing news and ways to support this sacred work.

Yours in shared ministry,

PJ Hobbs
Director General of Community Ministries

P.S. Don’t miss an update – Subscribe to the ADO Refugee Ministry Office eNewsletter today!
        Visit ADO Refugee Ministry Office website here.

Donations Welcome!
Donate now to support the work of the ADO Refugee Ministry Office.

About the Refugee Ministry Office (RMO):

The mission of the RMO is to collaborate with community partners to bring refugees to safety in Canada, supporting them to become confident members of our society. We review and file refugee applications, provide guidance to our community partners, and monitor the experience of refugees in their first year in Canada. In addition, we advocate for individual refugee cases and with others seek to reduce barriers to refugee sponsorship.

This is a ministry that is shared among many people, involving parishes, community groups, family members, and a key partnership with the Government of Canada. A single sponsorship requires a wide range of activities and tasks, including filing applications, fundraising, building a team of support, addressing the specific needs of each newcomer, attending to the many details of integrating into Canadian society, making sure financial disbursements are accurate and timely, and ensuring compliance with government regulations. What seems a simple, natural human act of providing safe refuge for someone in need can in fact be rather complicated. As a Sponsorship Agreement Holder is the Canadian government, the Refugee Ministry Office plays a central role in navigating the many details of sponsorship and supporting the community groups and individuals who have taken on the blessed work of refugee sponsorship. Embracing core values of equity, compassion, and respect, our vision is that Refugees are safe and supported, and celebrated as a blessing as they enrich our lives and that of our communities.

Learn more about the ADO Refugee Ministry Office.

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