2.D Refugee-Sponsor Relationship
D.3 What happens if a dispute between sponsors and refugees cannot be resolved?
(ii) What are the consequences for the sponsoring group in case of a sponsorship breakdown after the refugees’ arrival?
How Canada Does It
The consequences for the sponsoring group will depend on whether the sponsoring group is at fault for the sponsorship breakdown. If the sponsoring group is found to be responsible for the breakdown, then they are placed in sponsorship default and are unable to submit another sponsorship application until the default period ends. If the sponsoring group is found not to be responsible for the breakdown, then the sponsorship is cancelled and no consequences follow for the sponsors. Generally, unless it is very clear that one side has caused the conflict, it is unlikely that fault will be assigned, and it will then be declared to be a “no-fault breakdown.”
A “sponsorship breakdown” is an official declaration that an irreparable failure to meet the sponsorship arrangement (care, lodging and settlement) has occurred for refugee applicants listed on the sponsorship undertaking after the principal applicant has arrived in Canada. Responsibility for a sponsorship breakdown may rest with the refugee(s), with the sponsor or with the Government of Canada, or it may be attributable to more than one party or not to any party (see 2.D.3(i) for examples). In these cases, no negative consequences for the sponsoring group follow.
Since there are three parties involved in any sponsorship (the sponsoring group, the Government of Canada, and the refugee), each of whom bears responsibility for the success of a sponsorship, a breakdown inevitably entails consequences for all parties, as outlined below.
In cases of unresolvable disputes between sponsors and refugees, the Government of Canada will declare a breakdown and issue a Sponsorship Breakdown/Procedural Fairness Letter, outlining whether the sponsoring group is primarily responsible for the breakdown and recommending consequences that may be categorized into the following four areas:
- Declaration of a no-fault breakdown;
- Review of sponsoring group’s other sponsorship undertakings;
- Suspension, cancellation, or amendment of the sponsorship agreement for Sponsorship Agreement Holders; and
- Declaration of default (see 2.D.3(i)).
In cases of default, the Government of Canada will attempt to find a replacement sponsoring group to provide support for the rest of the sponsorship period. If unable to find a new sponsoring group, refugees will be referred to appropriate federal or provincial supports (see 2.D.3(iv)).
Sponsors in default will be unable to submit future sponsorship applications until their default has ended. To end a financial default, the sponsoring group must repay the appropriate government body the financial assistance it provided to the refugees in place of the sponsors. In the case of a non-financial default, it is at the discretion of the Government of Canada to end the default if the refugees subsequently find a way to meet their settlement needs (e.g. find housing).