“I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (ADO) has a long history of helping refugees from around the world and all faiths come to Canada.
As a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) under the Canadian government’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees program, the Refugee Ministry Office partners with constituent groups who want to sponsor refugees. Those constituent groups include many of our Anglican parishes, and groups of other faith-based or community-based groups and can include people seeking to sponsor their family members.
Bringing people to Canada is a long process
Those who wish to sponsor refugees must understand that bringing people to Canada is a long process.
Sponsorship requires patience, a lot of effort and paperwork, and substantial financial support, as well as personal support as the refugees settle in Canada. But as we have seen thousands of times in the more than 40 years the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (ADO) has been engaged in this work, it is tremendously rewarding to help people rebuild their lives when they finally land here.
Advocating for the rights of refugees
The Refugee Ministry Office (RMO), as part of the ADO, works with other Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH) across the country to advocate for the rights of refugees and to improve the process of sponsorship in Canada.
As a SAH, we are responsible for administering the Private Sponsorship of Refugee Program in strict accordance with the rules and regulations of the Government of Canada, as detailed in the SAH agreement. This includes meeting specific fiduciary, reporting, and monitoring requirements.
The Sponsorship Process
Please reach out to our Refugee Ministry Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your email, please specify whether you have an existing CG and/or describe the make-up of your prospective group (size, membership) and include a brief description of the individual or individuals you are interested in sponsoring (family size and composition, country of origin and asylum, UNHCR status).
Please note, the ADO receives a specific and limited number of spaces for refugee sponsorship allocated by IRCC every year.
Under Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, private sponsors can come together to resettle individuals and/or families who qualify as refugees in Canada. Private sponsors are groups and/or organizations (which can include family members of the refugee) who sponsor refugees under specific categories.
The ADO is a registered Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH). SAHs are incorporated organizations that have signed a Sponsorship Agreement with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and assume overall responsibility for the management of sponsorships. As a SAH, we authorize and work with Constituent Groups (CGs) from the community to sponsor refugees under this agreement. The ADO works ONLY with Constituent Groups to sponsor refugees. See Q. 3 for more information on Constituent Groups.
Please note, if the refugee(s) you intend to sponsor have been recognized as refugees by either the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state, the sponsorship does not require a SAH and may be pursued through a Group of Five (G5).
A group authorized by a SAH to sponsor refugees under the Sponsorship Agreement. CGs operating through the ADO typically consist of Anglican church-based groups, or groups formed within the Ottawa community. It is common for family-members of the refugee(s) to be sponsored to be member(s) of the sponsoring CG.
CGs are responsible for providing refugees with the settlement assistance, material and financial support necessary for the duration of the sponsorship period (one year from the date they arrive in Canada). The ADO’s Refugee Ministry Office works closely with all prospective and existing CGs to ensure group members have the sufficient resources, training, and support necessary to fulfill the obligations involved with sponsorship. This includes reviewing and approving sponsorship applications and settlement plans drafted by CGs prior to submitting a PSR application to IRCC.
It is important to note that the ADO works ONLY with CGs who are based in the Ottawa area, and in cases where the sponsored refugee’s expected community of settlement is within the Ottawa area.
As a SAH, the ADO does not directly sponsor refugees.
Instead, we work with Constituent Groups (CGs) to manage and facilitate sponsorships. Typically, CGs are formed through existing networks and/or organizations within the community, including faith-based groups and ethnocultural associations. If you are a family member seeking to form a CG, we recommend reaching out to community-based organizations and/or a network of community members that are willing and able to provide the support required for sponsorship, including meeting financial obligations, taking on fundraising tasks, providing assistance in filling out sponsorship forms, and fulfilling the tasks involved with settlement once the refugee(s) arrive in Canada. Once your prospective group is formed, the Anglican Diocese will begin the process of formally authorizing it as a Constituent Group that can sponsor refugees under our SAH agreement with the Government of Canada.
To be eligible for sponsorship, a refugee applicant must be outside Canada, and meet the definition of one of the refugee classes of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
All refugees who have been recognized as having refugee status by the UNHCR are eligible for sponsoring through a Group of Five or a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH). However, as a SAH, the ADO sponsors both refugees who have UNHCR status and those without, as refugees without UNHCR status may ONLY be sponsored through a SAH.
For further information regarding eligibility requirements under the PSR program, please refer to IRCC’s Guide to Private Sponsorship.
Up-to-date financial requirements can be found here, https://www.rstp.ca/en/bvor/rap-rates/. Please note that these rates are the minimum requirements, and SAHs may require further financial commitments to more accurately reflect local cost of living rates.
It is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to recent global events, have greatly impacted and extended the processing time for applications.
We appreciate that these protracted wait times can be incredibly difficult for refugees awaiting settlement, and for family members and/or CG’s awaiting their safe arrival in Canada. While we take all possible measures within our capacity to ensure that the process is not further delayed and that our sponsored individuals and/or families are advocated for, the ADO is bound by and subject to the processes and operating guidelines of IRCC and their overseas Visa offices.
Refugee Sponsorship Training Program
The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program provides training and support to Canadian refugee sponsorship groups, Sponsorship Agreement Holders and sponsored refugees.
The Refugee Hub — Sponsorship Resources
Housed at the University of Ottawa, the Refugee Hub works to increase protection and rights for refugees by engaging in research, collaborative partnerships, and innovative programming on the community, national, and international level.
An established Ottawa-region communications hub where refugee newcomers and those who support them can come for answers, for training, and for opportunities to share their stories.
Contact us: email@example.com