Refugee Sponsorship: Enormous rewards…and potential risks

Canadians have a proud history of providing humanitarian aid to individuals and families who are escaping conflict, persecution and human rights abuses in their homelands. Moved by the extreme plight of Syrian refugees, many of our country’s faith communities, registered charities, and non-profit organizations have joined the effort to help resettle these displaced families and integrate them into our communities.

While such compassionate aid speaks to our values and comes with great rewards, it is very important for sponsors to identify and plan for some inherent risks — both to the refugees and to the sponsors themselves. It is equally important to remember that refugees are considered to be vulnerable persons.

The Federal Government, through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, provides a variety of publications and manuals to help potential sponsors navigate through the process. The “Guide to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program”¹ is particularly important as it provides a comprehensive review — from defining the various types of sponsoring groups to the roles and responsibilities of both sponsors and refugees.

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