Canada is a country of immigrants with a varied history of welcoming refugees and newcomers from all over the world. In 2014, Canada took in 23,286 refugees.
During the 1970’s, the many military campaigns in South East Asia caused a mass exodus of refugees who desperately needed help and support. It was the plight and flight of these refugees that was the genesis of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program. Canadian churches and community groups recognized these people particularly needed support and so they worked tirelessly to find safe places for them to live in Canada. The Government of Canada formalized this process of Canadians sponsoring refugees from overseas in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PSR).
Since 1978, over 200,000 refugees have been assisted to resettle in Canada through private sponsorship. The vast majority of refugee sponsorship is carried out through incorporated organizations called Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH). There are 97 SAHs in Canada as of November 2015.
- PSR is usually the fourth largest resettlement program in the world, after the governments of the USA, Canada, and Australia.
- Refugees who arrive in Canada through the PSR program become self-supporting much more quickly than refugees who are completely supported by the government.
- PSR is the only program in the world that allows private citizens to help refugees directly through the resettlement process.