2.C Settlement and Integration
C.3 How is job search and training treated?
(iv) Is it mandatory for privately sponsored refugees to find employment?
How Canada Does It
Private sponsors undertake to provide income assistance to sponsored refugees for their first twelve months in Canada or until they become self-sufficient (whichever comes first). Finding employment is an important step toward self-sufficiency, and sponsors have the responsibility to assist refugees in exploring and accessing employment opportunities. Local settlement service provider organizations funded by Canada also provide a range of employment-related services (see 2.C.3(ii)). However, it is not mandatory that sponsored refugees obtain employment in Canada, and there may be drawbacks to securing employment too early in the refugees’ resettlement process (see 2.C.3(i)).
Employment support should be provided to refugees in full respect of their dignity and autonomy. Sponsors should never pressure refugees into accepting jobs they do not want or are not commensurate with their skills or experience.
Private sponsors’ role is to help sponsored refugees become self-sufficient by the end of the sponsorship period, in full respect of their dignity and autonomy to make decisions regarding their lives. Securing employment and being able to support their families once again is typically a very empowering step in refugees’ resettlement experiences that helps to promote their integration into Canadian society. It is important that employment is commensurate with refugees’ skills and experiences, and refugees should never be pressured to accept work that they are not comfortable with. Refugees may choose volunteer opportunities to help them secure work and advance in their own field rather than taking a low-skill job that they feel overqualified for.
Refugees who are not employed following the sponsorship period may be eligible for provincial income assistance until they or their family member(s) are able to secure employment in Canada (see 2.D.4).