2.C Settlement and Integration
C.4 What post-arrival supports are available beyond those provided by sponsors?
(i) What services may refugees require that sponsoring groups cannot reasonably provide?
How Canada Does It
Sponsoring groups are only required to cover the costs of basic necessities (housing, furniture, clothing, public transportation, and other essential expenditures). Refugees may require the following services whose costs, if any, sponsoring groups are not required to cover: health and dental care; counseling services; credential evaluation, further education, skills training, specialized settlement supports, including formal language training; and legal services.
Sponsors must provide housing and the basic necessities to refugees. They also provide emotional support and a network that helps refugees better integrate into their new communities. Through these interactions, sponsors may informally provide settlement services such as language training, orientation, and preparing for employment (see 2.C.3), through lessons, conversation, and other activities.
Sponsors also facilitate access to essential supports that refugees may need but that sponsors cannot directly provide or pay for. For example, sponsors are responsible for facilitating access to government-funded health coverage and qualified healthcare providers but are not expected to provide or pay for healthcare. Sponsors are also responsible for making sponsored refugees aware of and connecting them with government-funded settlement services in their community to support their integration objectives. While sponsors may assist refugees by transporting them to and from appointments and other engagements where appropriate, they must orient refugees to the public transportation network, provide bus or metro passes, and encourage refugees to navigate their communities freely and independently as much as possible.
Many refugees may be eager to travel independently in Canada, and will be hoping to obtain a driver’s license and vehicle very quickly. For many, driving is an important source of empowerment and self-sufficiency. Sponsors should explain the process of obtaining a driver’s license in Canada and help sponsored refugees navigate the process, including by directing them to preparatory materials in their native languages where available. Sponsors should also assist refugees in considering the budgetary implications of purchasing a vehicle and insurance relative to the monthly income assistance they provide.
Sponsors must undertake in their Settlement Plan to connect sponsored refugees with settlement agencies in their communities. For more information about sponsoring groups’ responsibilities, see 2.B.5.