Sponsoring Options

In Canada, there are three ways that refugees can be privately sponsored:

1. Sponsorship Agreement Holder

The vast majority of refugee sponsorship in Canada is carried out through formal organizations called Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs). These are organizations that have signed binding agreements with the Government of Canada to help support refugees when they arrive in Canada.

SAHs are typically made up of a number of Constituent Groups (CGs), where each CG undertakes to sponsor a refugee case (individual or family), on behalf of the SAH.

The penalty for a SAH failing to live up to its agreement can result in the termination of the SAH agreement by the government; not to mention considerable grief to the vulnerable refugee family involved. As a consequence, the SAH must have total faith in its constituent groups ..the people who actually undertake to carry out the sponsorship.

There are currently two SAHs in Victoria: The Anglican Diocese of BC and the Inter-Cultural Association. In addition, some church sponsored CGs use their parent organization elsewhere in Canada as their SAH.

Useful links:


2. Group of Five (G-5)

A Group of Five consists of five Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents who are 18 years of age or older who apply to CIC to sponsor a refugee or refugee family. All five group members must reside in the same community that the refugee will be settling in.


3. Community Sponsor

A Community Sponsor could be any organization, association or corporation. The organization, association or corporation has not already been pre-approved by CIC, and it does not have to be incorporated. Community Sponsors can also work with co-sponsors.


Which Option is For Me?

Most private sponsorship is conducted through SAHs by constituent groups because:

  • The SAH usually offers excellent support to its CGs
  • There is usually a CG community where GCs support each other
  • Financial contributions to the CGs are usually tax deductible
  • There is less paperwork involved when applying under a SAH

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