In August, ICA was approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to support refugees to resettle in Canada as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) through Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. ICA is the only non-denominational and non-ethnic-based SAH in British Columbia. Since our announcement, ICA has had an outpouring of requests and interests from individuals and groups both locally and throughout the province.
In this short and busy period, ICA has confirmed and matched 5 family cases from Syria with 5 Constituent Groups that have been formed. These family cases include cases referred by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and privately-referred cases.
Currently we have 9 more privately identified cases that are available to be matched to sponsoring groups, and include families and individuals from Syria, Iraq, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition to the 5 Constituent Groups formed, there are 11 sponsoring groups at various stages of formation, and that number is growing weekly.
Sabine Lehr, Immigrant Services Manager, reflects on her recent experiences matching sponsoring groups with refugee cases:
“The past six weeks have been absolutely overwhelming and exhausting – in a good way. The Victoria community has responded in a massive way to the media reports on the global refugee crisis, and the situation in Syria, in particular. We very much appreciate all persons and groups who have come forward and are currently working with ICA to sponsor refugees into our community. Victoria will be an even better place once all newcomers have arrived. Refugees are very welcome here!”
Want to get involved? Here are a few concrete ways to make a difference:
- 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)
- Donate or volunteer to help sponsor refugees: there are many groups and charities locally (including ICA), nationally, and internationally that are sponsoring refugees.
For additional information about how to get involved, please contact:
Immigrant Services Manager
250-388-4728 ext. 146