To be eligible, each member of the group of five or more individuals must be:
• A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
• At least 18 years
• Live in the same community that the refugee will be resettled in
• Agree to give settlement support for the length of the sponsorship (this is usually 1 year)
The Canadian Immigration Authority (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) will assess individual contributions of each member of the group to the sponsorship. Both financial and non-financial aspects will be considered – for instance, the settlement plan.
The Group of Five’s financial commitment must meet the levels established by the Sponsorship guidelines. This means the sponsors must provide income support that is at least equivalent to the amount provided by the Canadian government Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) in the target community.
Sponsoring groups must show that they are financially capable of sponsoring the refugee. They may demonstrate this with two different types of financial accounts: a formal trust fund or funds deposited in a savings or chequing account at a Canadian financial institution.
For both, funds can be contributed by a variety of individuals, groups, and organisations. Refugees cannot contribute to these funds. For a formal trust fund, the sponsoring groups must establish this with a Canadian financial institution and set out individual rights and obligations of the contributors, sponsors and beneficiaries.
For funds deposited into a bank account, the same rules apply, but it does not need to be a formal trust account. A savings account held with a financial institution in Canada, with a minimum of two account holders, is sufficient.
The Group of Five or more sponsors should support the refugee to becoming self-sufficient. This may entail costs of enrolling the refugee in language training, employment counselling and aid them in finding employment.
The financial commitment outlined in the Sponsorship Undertaking is:
• Up to 12 months or until the refugee becomes self-sufficient
• Up to 6 months or until the refugee becomes self-sufficient, for cases sponsored by the Blended Visa Office Referred Program (BVOR) which entails the IRCC covering an additional 6 months
• If the refugee becomes financially self-sufficient before the 6 or 12 months are over, the sponsors do not need to provide income support under the terms of the Sponsorship Undertaking
• If the refugee stops being self-sufficient, the sponsoring group must have the funds available to support them again
Sponsoring groups must support the sponsored refugee by:
• Providing the costs of food, rent, household utilities and other day to day living expenses such as clothing, furniture and other household goods
• Locate and pay for interpreters
• Locating and paying for family physicians, dentists and other healthcare providers
• Assist with health-care coverage applications
• Enrol children in school or adults in language training centresIntroducing them to other people in the target community and aid in integration
• Provide orientation in regard to banking and transportation activities
• Help the refugee search for employment
The sponsoring group should reside in the expected or target community of refugee settlement. The intent behind this is that a group of five or more people will exist to aid the refugee in integration – rather than one sole actor.
• It is not possible to sponsor only 1 member of a family unit. In the case of a family unit, the Sponsorship Undertaking must name all family members listed on the Application for Permanent Residence, whether they are accompanying the principal application to Canada or not
• This means that family members may later follow the refugee to Canada under the provisions of the One Year Window program
• Family members include spouses, or common-in-law partners, dependent children, grandchildren, dependent children or grandchildren of their spouse
• The sponsoring group is obliged to provide support to all family members listed on the undertaking, regardless of their time of arrival to Canada
• The terms of this sponsorship are the same as those of the original refugee, unless the original refugee is now financially self-sufficient and able to adequately provide for their family members
Sponsoring groups must not:
• Profit financially from the sponsorship of refugees
• Accept funds from the refugees for any of the following situations, either before or after the refugees arrive in Canada: as payment for submitting a sponsorship, as repayment for lodging, care and resettlement assistance, as a deposit or guarantee the refugee will stay with the sponsor for one year after they arrive
• Act as a paid representative and charge fees
• Ask that the refugee, their relatives or friends use the services of a paid representative for the purpose of a Sponsorship Application