2.D Refugee-Sponsor Relationship
D.5 What special considerations may apply when relatives are among the sponsors?
(iv) What special considerations may apply when relatives are not formal members of the sponsoring group? How do sponsors communicate with relatives of the refugees residing in the resettlement country?
How Canada Does It
Even if Canadian relatives of sponsored refugees are not formal members of the sponsorship group, they will likely play a significant role in helping to deliver settlement services and assisting refugees to adjust to life in Canada. The sponsoring group should fully include Canadian relatives in creating a settlement plan that forms part of the sponsorship application. Sponsors and Canadian relatives must communicate openly and clearly to manage expectations regarding their respective roles in the sponsorship. If the relative is working with a Sponsorship Agreement Holder and would like to become a formal member of the group, the relative can request to be listed as a co-sponsor on the application.
Even if Canadian relatives of sponsored refugees are not formal members of the sponsorship group, sponsors should include them in the resettlement process as much as possible, if appropriate. Having the support of a family member in Canada has a significant impact in helping newly arrived refugees adjust to life in Canada.
Canadian relatives will likely want to be included in delivering resettlement services to their loved ones. From the very outset at the application stage, if the refugee applicants agree, sponsors and Canadian relatives should discuss which parties will deliver which resettlement services to the sponsored refugees. For example, Canadian relatives may offer to host their family members in their own home for the first year, provide an orientation to the community, transportation, provide emotional support, contribute funds, etc. These plans should be clearly set out in writing in the sponsoring group’s Settlement Plan that forms part of the sponsorship application (see 2.B.4(ii)).
However, Canadian relatives should understand that ultimately it is the sponsors who bear the legal responsibility to provide financial and settlement support due to the sponsorship undertaking they have signed. Differences in opinions on how to help refugees integrate may lead to disputes between sponsors and Canadian relatives. For this reason, sponsors, Canadian relatives, and refugees should all communicate regularly and openly from the time of the application to manage each other's expectations regarding the sponsorship period. Sponsors should be aware of and attempt to mitigate the power imbalances inherent in their relationship with not only the refugees but also their Canadian relatives.
If the relative is working with a Sponsorship Agreement Holder/Constituent Group, the relative can become a co-sponsor to the application. Co-sponsors are not expected to deliver all the financial and settlement supports to the refugee. However, Canada considers co-sponsors legal parties to the sponsorship who can be held liable for the entire undertaking in the event of a default (see 2.D.3(ii)).