Responsibilities and financial commitments of private sponsors
As explained on a Government of Canada website, private sponsor groups normally support sponsored refugees by:
- providing the cost of food, rent and household utilities and other day-to-day living expenses;
- providing clothing, furniture and other household goods;
- locating interpreters;
- selecting a family physician and dentist;
- assisting with applying for provincial health-care coverage;
- enrolling children in school and adults in language training;
- introducing newcomers to people with similar personal interests;
- providing orientation with regard to banking services, transportation, etc; and
- helping in the search for employment. [Emphasis added]
Support for two different classes of refugees
Most private sponsor group support is provided to Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs), individuals or families who were specifically identified by the sponsors at the time of making a sponsorship application. However, private sponsors can also apply to be matched by an overseas visa office of the Canadian government with refugees who qualify for resettlement as Government Assisted Refugees (GARs). Upon matching, these refugees become classified as Blended Visa Office Referred refugees (BVORs).
Privately Sponsored Refugee support
In the case of Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs), in addition to a year of social and emotional support, private sponsors commit to providing income support for up to 12 months.
The Sponsorship Cost Table and the In-Kind Deduction Table included in the sponsorship kits is intended to help estimate the annual settlement cost for sponsoring a Privately Sponsored Refugee or refugee family for 12 months. One rule of thumb is that sponsors are expected to provide a level of support that is at least equal to that of the prevailing rates for social assistance in the expected community of settlement.
- These tables suggest that for a family of five, such as a couple with three children, the estimated cost in 2017 is $30,900 in cash, plus $17,325 in in-kind donations (shelter, clothing, furniture, household needs, food staples), for a total of $48,225. However, these amounts may vary according to location within the country.
Blended Visa Office Referred refugee support
In the case of Blended Visa Office Referred refugees (BVORs), the Government of Canada gives up to six months of income support and private sponsors give another six months of financial support. They also give up to a year of social and emotional support.
The cost of settlement for sponsoring BVORs for six months is 50% of the cost of sponsoring PSRs for 12 months.
Other financial stipulations
The sponsoring group may establish a trust fund for the sponsorship but may not accept or require payment of funds from a refugee for submitting a sponsorship.
The financial support of sponsors is given on the basis of need. Refugees are expected to contribute to their own settlement costs from funds they bring to Canada or earn during their sponsorship period.
Sponsors may also undertake or be required to pay a portion of, or all of a loan from the Government of Canada to pay for the refugees medical examinations overseas and their transportation to Canada.
Since sponsorship is meant to lead to self-sufficiency, “sponsoring groups are encouraged to help refugees find employment but cannot force refugees to accept any job offered. Sponsors are, however, permitted to adjust their financial support downward if a refugee refuses to take a reasonable job offer. Finding employment within the sponsorship period is not always possible, so the sponsoring group is advised not to count on employment income when securing funds for the sponsorship.” [Emphasis added].