Sponsors with the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario welcome a newcomer family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Ken Ogasawara/Mennonite Central Committee Ontario)

Sponsors of refugees call on new government to do more

Groups which privately sponsor refugees to come to Canada are calling on the newly-elected Canadian government to bring in more refugees under its own auspices. The Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association (SAH Council) says private sponsorship of refugees should be in addition to, and  not instead of, government-sponsored resettlement. 

A call for increased government admissions

The group agrees with the admissions target of 20,000 refugees for the private program. However, it asks that the government increase its commitment to the same level of 20,000 or higher. In 2019, the target for the number of government assisted refugees is between 7,500 and 9,300. Up to 1,650 wold be admitted under a joint government and private sponsorship program.

Besides providing financial support and helping refugees settle, sponsors like these Mennonite groups sometimes organize typical Canadian activities like a weekend and campfire at a beach. (Kaylee Perez/Mennonite Central Committee Ontario)

Calls to advance ‘Canada’s humanitarian tradition’ of providing refuge

The SAH Council wants government “to protect and advance Canada’s humanitarian tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution and civil war” particularly given the U.S. reducing its resettlement commitment to “an historic low of 18,000 individuals in 2020.”

The Canadian Council for Refugees says recent changes have made it difficult to privately sponsor non-Syrian refugees. They include very slow processing, restrictive rules limiting which refugees can be sponsored and more burdensome paperwork.

Canada’s private Sponsorship of Refugees Program was established in 1978 and has resettled more than 275,000 refugees.

Faith based communities like the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario are among the individuals and groups that privately sponsor refugees and welcome them at the airport. (Ken Ogasawara/Mennonite Central Committee Ontario)

Categories: Immigration & Refugees, Society
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4 comments on “Sponsors of refugees call on new government to do more
  1. Avatar Lumumba Issa says:

    Dear Madam/Sir
    How are you today, iam a refugee in South Africa I have wife and 5childrens ,we are facing difficulties and harassment in here,I will tell you more if you help me for sponsorship.
    Have a good understanding

    Faithfully yours

  2. Avatar Danielle says:

    I was not able to edit my comment so I just want to add that my identified Syrian family has a UNHCR designation as asylum seekers. That has created a problem in that a group of five is necessary along with an SAH.

    I am now into year two I still do not have a submitted application. Thanks to the MCCO, I have lost another 6 months and spent countless hours connecting with my family in order for them to detail their history.

    The system really needs to be revamped. The family that I would like to bring here not only speaks English but also some French and two of them are professionals.

    I hope this newly-elected government will streamline some of its policies to allow for an easier transition for refugees who have spent years waiting and living for years in camps. In one instance, I was told by another SAH, that their family was in a refugee camp for 25 years. How does one integrate someone after such a long. of incarceration?

    While we want to be able to vett those coming into our nation, let us not make the process so difficult and stressful. Not to mention that the families waiting are under a great deal of stress with feelings of hopelessness. We can, and must do better.

  3. Avatar Danielle says:

    If the MCCO or the Mennonites as they are known, are privately sponsoring, why was I required to put up monies for a family of 5 in addition to 5% for their administrative costs?

    After 5 months of attending online tutorials, and rewriting the family story of my designated Syrian family, I was dropped because I refused to ask the same question over and over again which was putting the lives of the family in a refugee camp in jeopardy.

    So what is the point of an SAH if I still need a group of five and we are providing all of the money for resettlement along with a commission of 5%?

  4. Avatar Mchukiwa Msunga Pathaholy says:

    Hi sir/madam, am some refugee Tanzania in refugees camp. My sir can I get exile