2.B Sponsors: From Mobilization to Engagement
B.6 What steps do sponsors need to take to prepare for the refugees’ arrival?
(i) How do sponsors plan for sponsored refugees' arrival and first year in Canada?
How Canada Does It
Groups of Five and Community Sponsors, as well as Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) with less than two years of experience must submit a Settlement Plan to the Government of Canada outlining, inter alia, the steps the groups will take to support the refugees upon arrival. This Settlement Plan outlines each group member’s responsibilities and tasks pre- and post-arrival of the refugees.
Groups of Five and Community Sponsors, as well as Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) with less than two years of experience must submit a Settlement Plan as part of their application to the Government of Canada. This plan serves to demonstrate to Canada that the group meets sponsorship eligibility requirements and has the financial and settlement capacity to sponsor. Sponsoring groups must detail the steps they will take and division of responsibilities pre- and post- arrival in the Settlement Plan. In the case of SAHs with more than two years of experience and who are working with Constituent Groups and/or co-sponsors, the Constituent Group and/or co-sponsor must submit a settlement plan to the SAH.
Some pre-arrival tasks may include:
- Continuing to fundraise for an emergency fund;
- Preparing a budget with contingency planning;
- Researching the local rental market to determine rent affordability in the expected community of resettlement;
- Arranging temporary accommodation;
- Purchasing or collecting donated furniture, furnishings, and household goods;
- Scoping the community for schools, day care centres, language programs, healthcare providers, potential employers, settlement services, as appropriate;
- Stocking the pantry with food the refugees are used to;
- Preparing a welcome package for the refugees’ arrival, which may contain picture bios and phone directory of sponsoring group members, bus map and pass, calling cards, bilingual dictionary, basic medication, and toiletries;
- Arranging a welcome dinner/potluck;
- Having all sponsoring group members attend a cultural sensitivity workshop;
- Communicating with the refugees before arrival to introduce the sponsoring group to them, set settlement expectations, and understand any particular needs of the refugees that should be addressed post-arrival (see 2.A.5).
Extensive planning for the refugees’ arrival and first year is important because it ensures a better relationship between the sponsoring group and refugees. It also increases the chances that refugees will become self-sufficient post-arrival.