2.D Refugee-Sponsor Relationship
D.3 What happens if a dispute between sponsors and refugees cannot be resolved?
(iii) What are the consequences for the refugees in case of a sponsorship breakdown after their arrival?
How Canada Does It
When there is an unresolvable dispute between sponsors and refugees, and the Government of Canada declares a breakdown, the Government of Canada will first attempt to locate a replacement sponsoring group for the refugees for the remainder of the sponsorship period. If a new sponsoring group cannot be located, the Government of Canada will arrange for the refugees to receive ongoing assistance from the appropriate municipal, provincial or federal authorities, depending on what type of sponsoring group they were initially sponsored by. However, the primary responsibility for locating a new sponsoring group lies with the original sponsor, whenever possible. Sponsorship breakdown does not affect the refugees’ legal status as permanent residents in Canada, regardless of whether they are responsible for the breakdown.
SUPPORT DURING A SPONSORSHIP DISPUTE: A sponsorship breakdown needs to be officially declared or the sponsorship period must end before refugees are entitled to access municipal or provincial income support. However, during the period of dispute between sponsors and refugees and investigation into a potential breakdown, where refugees are not receiving the support they need, immigration officers may arrange for emergency settlement assistance and financial support. Immigration officers should consider needs such as rental payment, utility costs, groceries, household products, medication, children’s needs, public transportation and any medical or psychological needs. It is essential that arrangements be made to address the ongoing needs of the refugee before the solution-finding process begins. If the sponsor is no longer providing financial support, the local immigration office must determine the reasons why.
SUPPORT AFTER A BREAKDOWN IS DECLARED: Once a breakdown is declared, Canada will first attempt to locate a replacement sponsoring group for the refugees. For example, if the sponsorship broke down because the refugees chose to move to another part of the country, the Government of Canada will try to find a sponsoring group in their new community of resettlement. Sponsors should help in the effort to locate a new source of support for the refugees. Refugees should reasonably comply with Canada’s efforts to find a replacement group.
If the Government of Canada declares a sponsorship breakdown, the sponsors are no longer expected to provide financial and settlement support to the refugees. Sponsored refugees will be referred to either the federally funded Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) (if the refugees were initially sponsored by a Sponsorship Agreement Holder/Constituent Group) or municipal or provincial social assistance programs (if the refugees were initially sponsored by a Group of Five or Community Sponsor). Refugees referred to the RAP will receive federal income support until the end of their sponsorship period or until they become self-sufficient. If they are not self-sufficient by the end of the sponsorship period, they will become eligible for municipal and provincial social assistance.
Sponsorship breakdown does not affect the refugees’ legal status as permanent residents in Canada, regardless of whether they are responsible for the breakdown (see 2.C.1).