2.B Sponsors: From Mobilization to Engagement
B.1 How can private actors be mobilized to support refugee resettlement?
(i) What actors are needed to promote community mobilization in support of refugees?
How Canada Does It
Various actors are needed to promote community mobilization in support of refugees, including government, media, community leaders/champions, civil society/advocacy organizations, public and private institutions, and individual citizens/new sponsors.
Private sponsorship is truly a public-private partnership that depends on various actors working together to welcome refugees and help them integrate into life in Canada. Each actor plays an important role in mobilizing communities to support refugees through private sponsorship, including:
- GOVERNMENT: Private sponsorship cannot occur without the government implementing a legal and regulatory framework to enable mobilized citizens to act in support of refugees. Private sponsorship can only succeed if there is political support to resettle refugees. All levels of government play an important role in mobilizing and providing support.
- MEDIA: Media plays an important role in promoting a positive narrative about refugees, increased resettlement of refugees, and impact that private sponsorship has on refugees, sponsors, and society.
- COMMUNITY LEADERS/CHAMPIONS: Champions are individuals who are well-respected and trusted in their communities. They encourage others to welcome refugees as private sponsors. Community leaders can include local sponsoring groups, faith organizations, businesses, or prominent individuals, among others.
- PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS: Public institutions must ensure that newly arrived refugees are able to access necessary services (e.g. social services, transportation, education, health, etc.) to allow them to succeed in their country of resettlement.
- INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS/NEW SPONSORS: Individual citizens with sponsorship experience play an important role in sharing their positive experiences with their communities, encouraging them to privately sponsor refugees, and providing sponsors with advice and support before and after the refugees’ arrival. As new sponsors prepare for the arrival of sponsored refugees, their excitement and enthusiasm for welcoming a new family to Canada may influence others to learn about sponsorship and get involved themselves.