Canada announces the Syrian Family Links initiative

News Release

Bringing Syrian refugees and sponsors together

January 26, 2016 – Ottawa, ON – Today, Syrian Family Links was launched to help connect Syrian refugees abroad with private Canadian sponsors through the help of the refugee’s family in Canada.

Through this initiative, Syrians in Canada can identify family members who are refugees in Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey and help link them with local sponsorship groups in Canada who are seeking someone to sponsor.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) partnered with Catholic Crosscultural Services (CCS) to help reunite members of the Syrian community in Canada with family members who are refugees but do not have the means to sponsor them.

Through its Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP), CCS will put sponsors in contact with Syrian refugees. Family members in Canada and potential sponsors will then be responsible for discussing general terms of sponsorship.

Once sponsorship terms are agreed upon, the sponsor will submit an application under the IRCC’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. Refugees will be subject to the same screening criteria as all privately sponsored refugees (PSRs).

Both groups can register for the Family Links initiative through the RSTP.


“Canadians from coast to coast to coast have come together to help vulnerable Syrian refugees in a truly national effort. Our goal, with initiatives like Family Links, is to make it easier for private sponsors to help unite Syrian refugees with their family members here in Canada.”

Hon. John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • The Syrian Family Links initiative allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to identify Syrian refugee family members who are residing in Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey for private sponsorship.
  • As of January 24, 2016, Canada had welcomed 4,985 PSRs, 7,691 government-assisted refugees and 836 blended visa office-referred refugees (since November 4, 2015).
  • Private sponsors provide refugees with care, lodging, settlement assistance and support. Normally, this is for 12 months starting from the refugee’s arrival in Canada or until the refugee becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first.
  • Quebec is responsible for its own Private Sponsorship of Refugee program. For more information visit Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion.

Associated links


Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Building a stronger Canada: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security, while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

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