CIMM - Resettled Refugees (including Privately Sponsored Refugees)
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- Canada is now the number one resettlement country in the world. In 2020, we plan to resettle up to 31,700 refugees.
- Canada sets multi-year commitments to focus its resettlement efforts on at-risk refugees, in line with the United Nations Refugee Agency's global resettlement priorities, and to ensure predictable planning in support of refugees’ arrival and integration.
- Refugees in Canada have strong integration outcomes. After 10 years in Canada,
- refugees are participating in the labour market at the same rate as other Canadians; and
- 95% report a strong sense of belonging to Canada.
- We met our multi-year commitment to resettle 10,000 government-assisted refugees from the Middle East between 2018 and 2020, and are on track to meet our remaining commitment to resettle 10,000 government-assisted refugees from Africa by 2020.
- Canada relies primarily on the United Nations Refugee Agency as well as private sponsors, to identify and refer refugees for resettlement. In alignment with the global resettlement needs identified by the United Nations Refugee Agency, Canada continues to resettle at-risk individuals.
- Yazidi families in Canada are generally integrating well and are showing increased independence in their daily lives.
- This Government has now welcomed more than 1,400 survivors of Daesh and their family members, including vulnerable Yazidi women and children.
- Canada is continuing efforts to reunite children and spouses with their family members already in Canada and to prioritize the private sponsorship of refugees who fall within this vulnerable group.
“Climate Change Refugees” (not a UNHCR endorsed term)
- The Government monitors the implications of climate change on global displacement and migration, and takes action as appropriate.
- My colleague, the Minister of International Development, is leading efforts to help countries, including in the Caribbean, to build resilience to climate change and natural disasters.
- My Department has special measures that it can put in place to assist with mobility in the event of sudden-onset climate events or natural disasters.
Human Rights Defenders Stream
- Canada offers protection through its refugee resettlement program to Human Rights Defenders who are outside their home country and are seeking a permanent solution, as identified by United Nations Refugee Agency.
- We are expanding our commitment to this group, who are increasingly at risk of violence, harassment and human rights abuses and violations because of the work that they do.
- We will introduce a dedicated refugee stream to provide safe haven for human rights advocates, journalists and humanitarian workers at risk, with a target of helping resettle as many as 250 people a year. They will be counted as part of the government-assisted refugee target.
- In the coming months, the Department will work to establish key partnerships with experts in the field to prepare for landings beginning in 2021.
Supporting Facts and Figures
|Refugee Stream||Processing Time (Months) 2019|
|Blended Visa Office Referred||13.9|
|Privately Sponsored Refugees||23|
- In November 2015, in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, the Government of Canada committed to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February 2016 as part of Operation Syrian Refugee. In total, Canada welcomed 26,172 refugees over that period, including 14,994 government-assisted refugees, 2,224 Blended Visa-Office Referred Refugees, and 8,954 Privately-Sponsored Refugees.
- Since November 2015, Canada has welcomed over 67,000 Syrian refugees.
- Since 2015, the Government of Canada has committed a total of $960M over multiple years towards the Syrian Refugee Initiative, including identification, overseas processing, transportation, resettlement services, settlement and integration. Out of the Department’s share, more than $515M was allocated to support Syrian refugees’ settlement and integration.
- Canada remains committed to resettling Syrian refugees and continues to welcome all resettled refugee populations, including Syrians, as outlined in the Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan.
- Of the over 1,400 survivors of Daesh welcomed to Canada, 1,240 are Yazidi.
- $21.7M of funding in Budget 2017 was allocated for this initiative. Two-thirds of the funding are being used for income support, the Interim Federal Health Program, and settlement supports.
- In February 2019, the Government of Canada put in place a temporary measure to extend the length of time that family members can be reunited with individuals in Canada, and to allow for the resettlement of minor de facto dependents of survivors of Daesh in Canada. To date, 7 people have been resettled through this measure. The measure will be in place through to the end of 2020.
Resettlement Supports to Yazidis/Survivors of Daesh in Canada
- Individuals resettled under this initiative have been primarily located in Toronto, London, Winnipeg and Calgary. These cities were chosen following comprehensive consultations with stakeholders to identify where existing Yazidi communities were established and where adequate support services, including medical and psycho-social services and interpreters, were in place.
- Once in Canada, survivors of Daesh received support from the Government of Canada's Resettlement Assistance Program, including financial support in the way of both a one-time start-up allowance and monthly income support for up to 12 months. In some circumstances, monthly income support was extended to 24 months.
- The Resettlement Assistance Program also provided survivors of Daesh with immediate and essential services delivered by service provider organizations. These services included port of entry and reception services; temporary housing and assistance locating permanent housing; needs assessments and referrals; orientation on finances and life skills; and links to federal and provincial programs.
Climate Migrants and Displacement
- Canada provides refugee protection to those most in need, including people fleeing their homes due to persecution or conflict.
- The term “climate refugee” does not exist under international law, and persons displaced by climate change do not fall under the 1951 Refugee Convention, unless they are also fleeing persecution or conflict. As a party to the Convention, Canada has replicated its definition of a refugee in our own Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and remains steadfast in offering protection to Convention refugees.
- In January 2020, the United Nations Human Rights Committee monitoring State parties’ implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights issued its non-legally binding views on a complaint against New Zealand by a Kiribati national who had been deported after his claim for asylum based on the impacts of climate change in his home country was denied. While the Committee concluded that New Zealand had not violated the individual’s human rights by deporting him, it did state that removal to a country that is severely impacted by climate change may, under certain circumstances, amount to a violation of the removing State’s international human rights obligations with respect to the right to life. It is important to note that this situation has not yet happened, and that the United Nations Refugee Agency does not endorse the term “climate refugee” to refer to persons displaced as a result of the effects of climate change.
- With respect to addressing slow-onset climate change, Canada supports relief and adaptation measures in countries affected by climate change all over the world, including Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean. As of August 2019, Canada has pledged $1.7B of a $2.65B commitment to support developing countries through investments to help reduce affected states’ vulnerability to slow-onset climatic events such as sea level rise and aquiferous salinization, as well as enhance overall resilience through local adaptation and mitigation measures.
- With respect to sudden-onset natural disasters, Canada has the ability to directly respond to the needs of populations affected by sudden-onset natural disasters, such as hurricanes and droughts, through special measures such as facilitating the stay in Canada of foreign nationals affected by these disasters. Canada last implemented such measures for Haitian nationals following the devastation brought about by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Canada may also temporarily suspend removals to countries where there is a generalized risk to the entire population, including during environmental disasters.
Privately Sponsored Refugees
- Privately sponsored refugees are identified by sponsoring groups in Canada, often through a family or community connection. Private sponsors are groups of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada that undertake to financially and emotionally support a refugee for one year.
- Private sponsors are responsible for covering income support, food, rent and utilities for up to 12 months for the individuals that they sponsor.
Private Sponsorship of Refugees Processing Times
- The continuing high level of interest from private sponsors is a reflection of the success of the program. This has, in the past, resulted in a large inventory and long wait times.
- My department is working to improve processing times by maintaining high admissions targets in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program, and managing intake through annual application caps for Sponsorship Agreement Holders, which helps reduce wait times.
Groups of Five and Community Sponsors
- The interest of these groups in refugee sponsorship is an important supplement to the expertise of Sponsorship Agreement Holders. Their interest has grown significantly in recent years and means there is a continuing need to manage their intake in order to achieve acceptable processing times. In the absence of application caps for these groups, the requirement for a Refugee Status Determination document ensures that sponsors submit applications for refugees that meet Canada’s criteria.
- Exempting sponsors, even temporarily, from this requirement results in greater numbers of applications, which affects processing times.
- We recognize that there remain situations in which obtaining a refugee status document is not possible. In those instances, sponsors should consider working with a Sponsorship Agreement Holder as they are exempt from the requirement for a Refugee Status Determination document.
Caps on Sponsorship Agreement Holders or the Refugee Status Determination requirement:
- To help manage intake, the Department has placed caps on the number of persons that sponsorship agreement holders can apply to sponsor annually since 2012. The cap was 8,500 in 2018 and 10,500 in 2019.
- These caps help us keep application wait times as low as possible, and ensure that refugees get access to protection as quickly as possible.
- The Department implements these caps via the Sponsorship Agreement Holders sign with the Minister. However, other types of sponsorship groups (Groups of Five and Community Sponsors) do not have overarching agreements with the Minister.
- To control intake and improve approval rates in the Groups of Five and Community Sponsors streams, in 2012, the Department introduced a regulatory amendment requiring that applications submitted by these sponsorship groups must include a refugee status determination document, issued by either a foreign state or the United Nations Refugee Agency, certifying that the applicant has been recognized as a refugee in their country of asylum.
- In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, in 2015, the Minister temporarily waived the refugee status determination requirement for Syrian and Iraqi refugees through public policy provisions. The Public Policy expired in 2017 and the refugee status determination requirement was reinstated for these populations.
- These program management measures help us keep application wait times as low as possible, and ensure that refugees get access to protection as quickly as possible.
Human Rights Defenders Stream
- This commitment was included in your mandate letter.
- 250 new spaces will be added to the government-assisted refugee levels targets in 2021 and 2022 to accommodate this new stream.
- The Department will consult with experts in the field both in Canada and abroad to ensure the new stream is designed to meet the needs of human rights defenders.
- Government-assisted refugees are identified by designated referral organizations (principally the United Nations Refugee Agency). This ensures that Canada's resettlement efforts focus on resettling the most vulnerable refugees and at risk individuals determined by the United Nations Refugee Agency to be most in need of protection.
- Upon arrival in Canada, government assisted refugees are destined to one of 35 communities across Canada, and receive income and settlement supports via Canada's Resettlement Assistance Program.
Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugees
- The Blended Visa Office Referred refugee program is a unique partnership through which private sponsors and the Government of Canada can work together to extend protection to refugees identified by the United Nations Refugee Agency.
- Sponsors and government share the supports provided to refugees upon arrival in Canada.
Why the targets for this stream are not met:
- Targets are dependent on sponsor demand for these cases.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada does not “match” refugees to sponsors. Through the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program, private sponsors select the refugees they wish to sponsor from profiles we make available to sponsors.
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