Settlement teams (or in the Canadian government’s language, “sponsors”) are responsible for providing social and emotional support to newcomers upon their arrival to Canada for a period of one year. Teams are made up of groups of Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents (typically 5) but can be joined “unofficially” by non-Canadians or others who wish to provide support. All members of the settlement team must live in the same area, which is where the newcomer will be located when they arrive in Canada.
Settlement teams provide two types of support: pre-arrival and post-arrival.
Pre-arrival support will look different for different teams, but some find that reaching out over WhatsApp or Facebook, or even video calls, will be useful to establish a relationship of trust. The most important thing you can do to prepare for the refugee’s arrival is to get to know them! This will make their arrival feel more comfortable for both of you.
In general, post-arrival support falls into these areas:
- Airport Welcome
- Community Orientation (shopping, transit, clothing, cultural resources, etc.)
- Finances (opening a bank account, budgeting)
- Language Training
- Healthcare (including dental)
- Education/Job Training
- Childcare (if applicable)
- Mental Health/Trauma Supports
Ads Up Canada works together with settlement teams to complete a “Sponsorship Undertaking” and develop a “Settlement Plan”. Groups will find the best way to work for their own needs, but we’ve found that some groups feel more comfortable delegating particular tasks to one person (i.e., housing will go to one team member, healthcare to another), whereas other groups find it helpful to share tasks together. Delineating responsibilities early may make everyone feel more comfortable and give the team time to research resources available in your community. Each settlement team member will also be asked to complete a “Sponsor Assessment” form and provide a copy of their Canadian passport or Permanent Resident card.
Ads Up Canada settlement teams receive orientation and training on pre- and post-arrival support, are provided with a Volunteer Settlement Handbook of resources, and they are supported by both a dedicated Refugee Sponsorship Coordinator and the settlement capacity of MOSAIC.