The term ‘sponsorship’ can be unclear, vague and at times a bit disconnected from what the effect of sponsorship really does for a newcomer refugee. We want to define sponsorship clearly and provide a better understanding of your role with refugee families.

what is sponsorship?

As the first of its kind in the world, Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program has allowed Canadians to offer protection and a new home to more than 275,000 refugees since its beginning in 1979.

Private Sponsorship is connecting families to families. This type of sponsorship has proven to be the better course of settlement for refugees, as friends and community are more easily developed than the government sponsored process.


A family welcomed at the Victoria International Airport.

A family welcomed at the Victoria International Airport.

the basics

  • Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) are resettled refugees. In other words, they are approved overseas and arrive in Canada as Permanent Residents.

  • Private sponsors can be individuals, groups of Canadians or community organizations. Many are faith-based communities but also include ethno-cultural groups and settlement organizations. And even still, many sponsorship groups are formed through local businesses, community groups and non faith-based bodies of people.

  • Private sponsors provide financial support and settlement assistance for the refugees they sponsor, usually for one year after the refugee’s arrival.

What does A Sponsorship group do?

A sponsorship group will work with us, the Anglican Diocese Refugee Sponsorship Program. They will go through training, will be guided on fundraising and will be fully supported during the entire year of sponsorship. 

A general checklist consists of:

  1. Each member of the core group will complete a Criminal Record Check.

  2. All members will participate in training sessions offered through us.

Photo Credit: Megan Thomas

Photo Credit: Megan Thomas

3. Sponsorship Groups will will develop a settlement plan for the sponsorship, including a proposed budget.

4. Members will learn and utilize local community supports services who assist in the settlement of refugee families. These organizations include the Inter-Cultural Association (ICA), Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) in Victoria, Cowichan Intercultural Society (CIS), Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society (CVIMS), and the Immigrant Welcome Centre serving the Comox Valley, Campbell River and other areas of North Island.

5. The whole group will learn about the family’s cultural norms and traditions as to better serve them.

Along with us, there are over 100 Sponsorship Agreement Holder organizations all over Canada. We only offer service to residents living on Vancouver and the surrounding Gulf Islands. To find the one closest to you, click here.


How do i form sponsorship group?

Anyone can form a sponsorship group. We highly encourage that groups are formed by persons who already know each other, share common values and whose personalities align well. Members can be a part of a circle of friends, co-workers, neighbours, community associations, parishes and really from anywhere within the local area.

Once the sponsorship group starts to take shape, there are a lot of resources to help it along its way. There are people who have already sponsored refugees who are only too pleased to share what they learned from their experience. There are counsellors, doctors, lawyers, translators and a host of others all eager to help.

Sponsorship Group from St. John the Divine Anglican Church

Sponsorship Group from St. John the Divine Anglican Church

Your group may need to assign responsibilities such as:

  • Treasurer

  • Paperwork

  • Fundraising

  • Communication with the family

  • Housing

  • Job Searching, and others


There are a number of advantages to a parish or an organization based sponsorship group:

  • The group enjoys common beliefs, values and a broad base to fund-raise.

  • Fundraising can become an enjoyable community building activity and strengthen group dynamics.

Parish or Organization based groups tend to be large, which can present some challenges:

  • Large groups can be challenging to manage or keep engaged.

  • More time can be spent controlling and managing group dynamics than focusing on the task at hand.

  • Groups tend to start off quite large, sometimes with 20 or more members. Overtime, large groups shrink to a handful of core members who do all the work.

Sponsorship With friends relatives and neighbours

These groups tend to be smaller, 10 to 12 being considered a good number. This presents some advantages:

  • Easier to manage, engage group members and hold them to their commitments.

Because they are smaller:

  • Fundraising can often be a challenge.

If you’re still curious and have more questions regarding private sponsorship,
please click here for an incredible resource which outlines all of what is required for sponsoring a refugee family.

Become a Sponsor Today and Make a Difference in Someone’s Life.