The Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program is a program administered by Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the people of Canada to extend Canada’s capacity to resettle refugees from abroad. The PSR program is unique to Canada and gives Canadians the opportunity to play a meaningful role in the welcome and integration of refugees to Canada. Since its beginning in 1979, the PSR program has allowed Canadians to offer protection and a new home to more than 325,000 refugees, including 62,000 Syrian refugees.
Three Types of Private Sponsors
There are 3 types of private sponsors in the PSR program: (1) Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs), who are incorporated organizations that have signed an agreement with the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to resettle refugees; (2) Community Sponsors, which are organisations, associations, or corporations in the community the refugee(s) will settle; and (3) Groups of Five, which are groups of five Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents over the age of 18 who agree to sponsor a refugee to live in their local community.
Organizations Involved in Private Sponsorship
You’ll encounter many new organisations when you enter the world of private sponsorship. The first is Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). All applications for refugee sponsorship are submitted to IRCC, which is the Canadian government agency responsible for all immigration, the protection of refugees, and newcomer services. The IRCC provides funding for the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP), which serves as the informational and training arm of the IRCC for private sponsorship. The Canadian government also provides funding for local settlement agencies, sometimes referred to as Service Provider Organisations (SPO). Settlement agencies provide free support to newcomers in areas such as housing, healthcare, career and education. Many of the settlement agencies providing services to newcomers as well as Sponsorship Agreement Holders and other sponsoring groups are members of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Canada’s umbrella organization for advocacy, education and policy on refugee issues.