2.B Sponsors: From Mobilization to Engagement
B.6 What steps do sponsors need to take to prepare for the refugees’ arrival?
(iii) Who can sponsors contact for questions and guidance prior to refugees’ arrival?
How Canada Does It
Sponsors can contact the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program, local settlement agencies, ad hoc non-profit and volunteer groups, Canadians who have sponsored before, Canadian family members of sponsored refugees, and ethno cultural and faith based groups familiar with sponsorship for questions and guidance prior to refugees’ arrival.
The REFUGEE SPONSORSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM (RSTP) provides a broad range of written resources, webinars, workshops, and direct access to the country’s lead trainers on private sponsorship of refugees. Sponsors can sign up for RSTP training sessions or contact its trainers directly via phone or email to ask any sponsorship-related questions as they prepare for the sponsored refugees’ arrival.
In addition, local SETTLEMENT AGENCIES have vast experience in helping refugees resettled by Canada adjust to life in Canada and settlement workers are a rich source of information and experience they can share with sponsors.
When there is high interest from new sponsors, the resources of the RSTP and settlement agencies can be stressed. As a result, a number of AD HOC GROUPS have also arisen in some communities to offer enhanced, in-person support. An example is the REFUGEE SPONSORSHIP SUPPORT PROGRAM, which has mobilized lawyers across Canada to help sponsors through the application process. LOCAL IMMIGRATION PARTNERSHIPS and COALITIONS like REFUGEE613 have also formed in many communities to coordinate resettlement efforts of stakeholders from multiple sectors, including supporting sponsors.
CANADIANS WHO HAVE SPONSORED BEFORE are a vital resource for new sponsors, as they can share the human experience of sponsorship, including the positive aspects but also challenges associated with managing expectations and inter-cultural differences. Sponsorship Agreement Holders are available to provide guidance to their Constituent Groups.
Finally, CANADIAN FAMILY MEMBERS OF SPONSORED REFUGEES are important actors to include in providing resettlement services to privately sponsored refugees even if they are not formal members of the sponsoring group. Family members can ease communications barriers and help the sponsored refugees adjust to life in Canada more easily. ETHNO CULTURAL and FAITH-BASED GROUPS familiar with particular refugee populations are also an important source of information and support to sponsors.