2.B Sponsors: From Mobilization to Engagement
B.3 Who is eligible to sponsor and what is their relationship to government?
(ii) What are the types of eligible sponsor groups (individuals, organizations, community groups, businesses, etc.)?
How Canada Does It
Individuals and groups can sponsor refugees to Canada by forming one of three types of eligible sponsoring groups: Sponsorship Agreement Holders, Groups of Five, and Community Sponsors. Sponsoring groups commit to providing financial, emotional, and settlement support to sponsored refugees during their first twelve months in Canada. Often, refugees have family members in Canada who organize sponsoring groups and undertake many of the resettlement responsibilities. It is also common for diaspora and co-ethnic organizations to organize to sponsor particular populations of refugees by forming sponsoring groups.
SPONSORSHIP AGREEMENT HOLDERS (SAHs): Incorporated organizations that sign a sponsorship agreement with the Government of Canada. Most SAHs are faith-based, ethno cultural or humanitarian organizations. Because these are experienced partners with whom the Government of Canada has established a trusted relationship, certain application requirements are waived for these groups. SAHs, which may be local, regional or national, assume overall responsibility for the management of sponsorships under their agreement and accept financial liability for the sponsorship. There are about 110 SAHs across Canada of various sizes. Large SAHs sponsor hundreds of refugees annually while small SAHs might only sponsor half a dozen. The government places limits on the total number of individuals SAHs are permitted to apply to sponsor annually. Large SAHs typically sponsor refugees through subordinate groups, known as Constituent Groups and/or in conjunction with co-sponsors.
- CONSTITUENT GROUPS (CGs): Groups which SAHs can authorize to sponsor refugees under their sponsorship agreement. Each SAH sets its own criteria for working with CGs. CGs must have their sponsorship application and settlement plan approved by their SAH before the undertaking is submitted to the Government of Canada. The SAH is responsible for ensuring that its CGs meet their financial and settlement obligations.
GROUPS OF FIVE (G5s): Five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, who are at least eighteen years of age, live in the expected community of settlement and have collectively arranged for the sponsorship of a refugee. The five individuals act as guarantors that the necessary support will be provided for the full duration of the sponsorship. The Government of Canada assesses individual contributions of group members to the sponsorship. The financial and non-financial aspects are considered collectively, as well as the Settlement Plan, before the Government of Canada concludes the G5 is eligible to sponsor.
COMMUNITY SPONSORS (CSs): Any organization (for-profit/not-for-profit, incorporated/non-incorporated) located in the community where the refugees are expected to settle can make an organizational commitment to sponsor. CSs must undergo financial and settlement plan assessments by the Government of Canada of each time they wish to sponsor. Like G5s, CSs must demonstrate that the organization is willing and able to commit funds toward the sponsorship. Community Sponsors can partner with co-sponsors (see below) to sponsor refugees.
CO-SPONSORS: A SAH or Community Sponsor can partner with individuals or organizations called co-sponsors. Co-sponsors share responsibility for the sponsorship undertaking. Typically, co-sponsors are Canadian friends or family members of the sponsored refugees.
Groups of Five and Community Sponsors may only sponsor refugees who have previously acquired valid proof of refugee status from UNHCR or their host State (see 2.A.4(ii)).