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Congratulations! You are now ready to form a sponsorship committee.

The first thing to do is to gather your committee together to  

o   Watch the : Refugee Sponsorship—Managing Expectations video and participate in the Managing Expectations - preparing CGs training session together (explained below).

o   Become educated as a community who cares for newcomers to Canada by reading  partnering-to-reach-the-nations-among-us.pdf or the Guide To Action March 2015.compressed.pdf

o   Explain the different sponsorship programs: PSR (sponsor referred), BVOR, and JAS.

o   Refer to this handy Checklist For Completing Required Steps as you proceed through the steps required to undertake a refugee sponsorship.

Secondly,  schedule another meeting to decide together:

o   Which type of sponsorship you would like to pursue?

PSR (sponsor referred)

BVOR (visa office referred)

JAS (visa office referred)

o    The structure of your committee: discuss who will be responsible for what.

o    The settlement plan: discuss how it will be divided among the committee members and discuss what the estimated budget plan should be ie what is the maximum number of persons you could sponsor? (use actual numbers for your area, but base it on the size of family you think your group would be able to manage financially).

o   ARE WE READY FOR THIS?! Work through this self-assessment tool provided by RSTP. It may help you to identify things you had not considered yet.

Thirdly, you are now ready to approach your church board:

o    for approval to move forward with refugee sponsorship as a ministry of the church.

o    Provide them with the information you had agreed upon as a committee
       (see documents related to Board motion and the Sample Letter of Guarantee).

Fourthly,  begin to  complete and submit the forms once you have selected a family for sponsorship:

o   Visit the completing the sponsorship forms webpage to identify which forms you will need to complete and the documentation  required by the C&MA SAH and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Note: the sponsorship does not become 'official' and legally binding until you sign and submit the required documents for the Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) as well as the forms required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Creating A  DETAILED Settlement Plan

Have you learned as much as you can about the culture of the refugees you are going to sponsor? Knowing about a specific people group will help you to create a settlement plan that is culturally aware and centred on making the transition to life in Canada as easy as possible for the family. For those sponsoring Syrians Citizenship and Immigration Canada has provided a resource: Syrian Population Profile (EN) (Profile de Population: Refugies Syriens (FR)). For those sponsoring from other populations, you can learn about greetings, communication style, personal space, eye contact, views of time, gestures, gender roles, taboos and much more here: Culture Crossing

The following linked documents will be valuable for your group to take a look at in preparation for creating your settlement plan:

  • Handbook for Sponsoring Groups: the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) website has many resources for you to take a look at including this document which will help your group to understand the different components of refugee sponsorship. Under chapters two and four, please feel free to disregard sections 2 and 3  since Community Sponsorships and Group of Five sponsorships are not applicable in your case because you are going to be submitting your sponsorship through the C&MA SAH as a CG.
  • Settlement Handbook 2017: this document has a lot of information to read through and absorb, however other groups have found it beneficial to divide them up between selected members of the committee who will commit to read through a particular document and then present/summarize the information for everyone at your next meeting. (this document is currently being revised to reflect a broader national perspective since much of the information is currently from an Ontario perspective so it will suit your needs, but some links may be outdated.)
  • BVOR - RAP Q&A, Best Practices Volume1, & First Weeks Settlement checklist: these may be useful as a guide for your committee as they think through what they will need to include in the settlement plan detail if they have chosen to sponsor under the BVOR program.
  • RefugeeTeam Code of Ethics: We highly recommend your sponsorship team adopt this code of ethics document and encourage each individual who is working directly with the refugee family to sign in agreement to uphold these values.
  • Managing Expectations - preparing CGs: this training resource has a great set of questions for the sponsoring group to do a self-assessment in their understanding of refugees, the settlement process and their own expectations. There is also a video & discussion component to illustrate what potential expectations might be on the part of sponsored refugees and refugee sponsors.
  • Sample Church Board Motion: This is a sample of what a church group may want to provide to their church board as a motion for affirming the refugee sponsorship as a ministry of the church and to approve setting up a refugee fund.
  • Sample Letter of Guarantee: from the church Board that would be signed and sent to the SAH if the church was going to provide funding, or if they are simply affirming the sponsorship undertaking and agrees to provide a contingency support in the event the group is unable to meet the financial commitment for the year of sponsorship.
  • Church Financial Guidelines: This document will be necessary to provide to your board for reference when considering the motion to approve refugee sponsorship as a minsitry of the church.
  • CG Fundraising: This document is a work in progress. It provides some initial questions that the group should be asking as it relates to fundraising, but the hope is to also provide some fundraising suggestions as well.
  • Issuing Tax Receipts: Do you have questions about how to handle tax receipts, gifts in kind? This document is a useful guide to help you understand what you can and cannot do if you are a charitable organization.
  • CG Budget Planning: This document contains helpful information that can assist them in preparing their budget plan. This financial estimation is simply a guideline, so we ask that sponsoring groups prepare an actual or region-specific budget plan using this sample excel spreadsheet template so you have a complete picture and expectation of what it costs for a refugee to live in your geographical location.


Please go to the  sponsorship forms webpage for information about which documents need to be submitted by the CG and also the refugees.

how long is the process for approval for  a PSR (sponsor referred) Application?

  • From the date you officially submit the sponsorship undertaking, it may be a lengthy waiting period before the family will receive approval for the sponsorship from CIC. This is dependent upon which visa post the application is being processed at and if they are Syrian or Iraqi priority profiles.
  • The waiting period is anywhere from six months to a year for Syrian and Iraqi applicants, and for some visa posts, it may even take up to four years for other approved refugee population's applicants because of back-logs.

How much notice is there before a PSR (sponsor referred) refugee family arrives?

  • The CG/SAH will typically have a three to four-week notice of arrival for the refugee family, so it is best to confirm that the funding is in place by the time the family has received their travel notification.
  • NOTE: do not sign/begin a rental agreement until the notice of arrival has been received, but do plan to have an interim housing solution for their first week or two in case they arrive mid-month.

How much notice is there before a BVOR/JAS (Visa Office referred) refugee family arrives?

  • These refugee are typically travel-ready, so from the date you are approved to undertake a sponsorship, it can be anywhere from one month to four or five months before the notice of arrival will be received.
  • You will typically have a three to four-week notice before they will be traveling to Canada, so it is best to ensure that the funding is in place by the time the notice of arrival is received.
  • NOTE: do not sign/begin a rental agreement until the notice of arrival has been received, but do plan to have an interim housing solution for their first week or two in case they arrive mid-month.

funding assistance

  • For sponsoring groups who find themselves with unexpected emergency costs or fall short of their financial obligation goals when the is due to arrive, an application can be made to the C&MA's Refugee Fund for a financial assistance loan. contact the C&MA's SAH Representative for more information 416-674-7878.