Privately Sponsor a Refugee or Refugees

*Important Update: ICA is currently seeking sponsorship groups for privately sponsored refugees. Refugee families have been identified for resettlement but rely on the support of groups of five or constituent groups. To find out more please contact Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager at

In August 2015, the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria received approval from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to become a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH). This is a framework agreement with the Canadian government to support refugees to resettle in Canada through Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program. ICA is the second group in Greater Victoria that holds an agreement with IRCC to privately sponsor refugees as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, along with the Anglican Diocese of BC.

Under the agreement, ICA works with Constituent Groups in sponsoring refugees. As ICA has done in the past, it will continue to assist community sponsoring organizations or Groups of Five – five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who get together to sponsor a refugee or refugees. Sponsoring groups assist with financial obligations, as well as the reception, housing, and care of the refugee newcomers when they arrive to the region.

ICA is currently working with Constituent Groups in the Greater Victoria area and has successfully matched many of these groups to UNHCR-referred or privately-referred sponsorship cases.

If you are interested in taking action to assist refugees, here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Form a sponsoring group to determine how many people will be involved in resettling refugees and ensure you have a plan on how to raise funds (resettlement assistance, funding, and other support obligations are required for 1 year – cost estimates can be found here: Fact_Sheet_7.3_Sponsorship_Cost_Table_March2014)
  • If you are wanting more information about forming a constituent group, or have come together with a group of people and are wanting to privately sponsor a refugee or refugees, please contact Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager at
  • Donate or volunteer to help sponsor refugees: there are many groups and charities locally (including ICA), nationally, and internationally. Email Sharmarke Mohamed, Facilitator of Refugee Volunteer Support Services for volunteer opportunities at
  • Donate immediately to our refugee sponsorship fund – ICA can provide tax receipts for those who contribute

New Resources for Constituent Groups!

A full video recording of the last Constituent Group training in January 2016. A big “thank you” goes to our generous partner, Royal Roads University,  that recorded the whole day of training and then conveniently sliced it up into video segments that you can watch at your leisure.

A direct link to the course is available on RRU’s Moodle site:

A complement to this training is the housing webinar that Sabine Lehr facilitated on March 31, which was kindly hosted by our partner, Ready to Rent BC. You can access the Webinar here:

Victoria Settlement Work Plan