2.B Sponsors: From Mobilization to Engagement
B.3 Who is eligible to sponsor and what is their relationship to government?
(iv) How many members are required in a sponsoring group?
How Canada Does It
To be eligible to sponsor in Canada, groups must generally be composed of at least five members or one or more individuals may partner with an organization. However, many sponsoring groups are much larger than just five members (e.g. an entire church parish).
The purpose of requiring a base number of individuals to form a sponsoring group is to ensure the group’s ability to provide sufficient financial, social, and emotional support to refugees upon arrival.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations define sponsoring groups in two ways:
- Five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, each of whom is at least eighteen years old, acting together to sponsor a Convention refugee or a person in similar circumstances; or
- One or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, each of whom is at least eighteen years old, and a corporation, unincorporated organization, or association acting together to sponsor a Convention refugee or person in similar circumstances.
Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) determine their own criteria for recognizing Constituent Groups (CGs) and/or co-sponsors to sponsor refugees under their agreements. Even though SAHs are responsible for ensuring that CGs have settlement and financial capacity to sponsor, SAHs retain ultimate liability for the sponsorship.