2.B Sponsors: From Mobilization to Engagement
B.7 What training and resources are available to sponsors prior to and after refugees’ arrival?
(v) What other individuals or organizations in their community should sponsors share their information on private sponsorship with so that they understand the program when refugees arrive?
How Canada Does It
Sponsoring groups, particularly those in small communities, should contact all the relevant actors that will come into contact with the refugees when they arrive – e.g. settlement organizations, schools, health service providers, community centres, friends/neighbours – to inform them of the private sponsorship program and to prepare a welcoming community. Sponsors will need to be respectful of any particular sensitivities around privacy and sharing personal information or data that would violate refugees’ privacy rights.
Sponsors can enhance refugee integration outcomes by preparing resettlement communities to welcome refugees. Through pre-arrival communications (see 2.A.5), sponsors can ascertain any special needs that will need to be accommodated when the refugees arrive in Canada. Sponsors should prepare ahead of time to meet these needs by connecting with, e.g., appropriate health and education service providers.
If sponsored refugees come with particular skills or credentials, sponsors should consult with employers to determine whether there is a path to employment in the specific field.
Once sponsors secure housing for sponsored refugees, they may consider informing the neighbours of the refugees’ arrival and explaining the private sponsorship program to them to encourage them to welcome the refugee family upon arrival.
In many communities, there may be other disadvantaged groups who may perceive privately sponsored refugees as receiving disproportionate benefits and be reluctant to support sponsorship efforts as a result of this inequity. It is very important that all groups be included in a process of meaningful, transparent dialogue about these concerns – it not only promotes welcoming communities from all sectors of society, but also sheds light on other inequalities in society and may promote further advocacy to improve the lives of all marginalized groups in Canada.