Privately Sponsor a Refugee or Refugees

Special Note: Private Sponsorships Closed for New Sponsors Until 2022

ICA’s Expression of Interest process for 2021 sponsorship referrals for named refugees is now closed. This means we are not accepting further referrals for 2021 for refugees identified by sponsors. The next opportunity to apply for the limited sponsorship spaces will be in September 2021 for the following year. If you are interested in sponsoring a refugee or refugee family with ICA in 2022, and if you are located in Greater Victoria (British Columbia), please email Sabine Lehr and your name will be added to the list of persons who will be sent an Expression of Interest form in September 2021.

Please note that ICA still accepts new sponsorships for Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) refugees that have been referred to the Canadian Government by the UN Refugee Agency. If you are a group interested in sponsoring under this program, please contact Sabine Lehr who will meet with your group and facilitate a match with a refugee or refugee family as soon as the current program pause is over. Even though this program is currently suspended due to COVID-19, we expect that it will open again for sponsor matches some time in the first part of 2021. Now is a good time for sponsors interested in this program to get organized so that you are ready when the program re-opens.

ICA is often able to provide some seed funding for UN-referred refugees.

Thank you for your interest in ICA’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees program.


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. Sponsoring groups assist with financial obligations, as well as the reception, housing, and care of the refugee newcomers when they arrive to the region. Normally, the settlement support that sponsors provide ends one year after the newcomers’ arrival.

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:
  • If you want 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.
  • Donate immediately to our private sponsorship of refugees fund – all voluntary donations receive charitable tax receipts.

Resources for Constituent Groups

Training videos for Constituent Groups. A big “thank you” goes to our generous partner, Royal Roads University,  that recorded the whole day of training.

A direct link to the videos 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