Settlement organizations help Afghan refugees adjust to new life in Canada

News release

May 27, 2022—Ottawa, Ontario – The Government of Canada is working hard to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan nationals as quickly and safely as possible. Canada has now welcomed a total of 14,485 Afghan refugees, with more arriving every week.

From coast to coast to coast, Resettlement Assistance Program service provider organizations (RAP SPOs) are working to make newcomers, including Afghans, feel welcomed in their new communities.

Ontario’s Thunder Bay Multicultural Association has welcomed close to 100 Afghan newcomers since August 2021. They offer information, orientation and referral services in the broader community that help newcomers with their integration. To help with the recent influx of arrivals in the area, the Association hired Mr. Eid Mohammad Sultan, an Afghan refugee and former interpreter for the Canadian Armed Forces. He is working as a language interpreter to help other refugees access vital community services in English. Mr. Sultan is a great asset to the Association and, together with his family, has settled well in Thunder Bay. The Association also assisted two Afghan parents in finding full-time, long-term jobs and helped enroll the family’s six children in school shortly after their arrival. With this support, the parents thrived and have since been promoted at work.

Other examples of RAP SPOs, whose work is essential to helping refugees adjust to life in Canada, include:

  • Since August 2021, Catholic Social Services (CSS) in Edmonton, Alberta, has welcomed over 500 Afghan refugees, in Edmonton and Red Deer, including 170 human rights defenders and their families. CSS helped resettle this group of human rights defenders by providing language training, orientation, accommodation and other resources. Since their resettlement, the human rights defenders have started connecting with local museums to explore how they can work together to preserve documentation on human rights abuses and war crimes in Afghanistan and tell their story through the arts.
  • The Association for New Canadians in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, helped welcome more than 275 Afghan refugees in the province since August 2021. They’ve worked in collaboration with local businesses, churches and community members to collect household items, toys, clothes and cash donations to help the newly arrived refugees. In November 2021, they teamed up with 1620 Electrical Workers Union, which had amassed more than $30,000, to support the private sponsorship of an Afghan family to resettle in the province.

RAP SPOs across the country are crucial to resettle all newcomers, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will continue to work closely with them to welcome Afghan nationals to Canada.

Photos of previous arrivals of Afghan refugees are available in Dropbox for use by media. You can also monitor Canada’s progress on welcoming Afghan refugees to Canada


“Canada’s world-class resettlement service providers offer Afghan refugees the assistance they need to help build their new lives across the country and the services they offer are essential to any newcomer’s resettlement in their community. Newcomers are critical to our success as we recover from the pandemic, and I want to thank these organizations as they continue to support some of the world’s most vulnerable.”

– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“The Thunder Bay Multicultural Association has been privileged to assist Afghan refugees find their new home and build their lives in Thunder Bay. We have witnessed family reunification, watched adults and children become comfortable as part of our community, and welcomed new babies into families since their arrival. This work is emotional, often complicated but always very rewarding.”
– Cathy Woodbeck, Executive Director, Thunder Bay Multicultural Association

Quick facts

  • The Resettlement Assistance Program provides government-assisted refugees with immediate and essential supports for their most basic needs such as, temporary housing, help with finding permanent housing and registering them and their families for essential federal and provincial programs.

  • Government-assisted refugees resettle in communities where there is an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada-funded resettlement SPO. The Province of Quebec receives separate funding to provide similar services as part of the Canada-Quebec Accord.

  • Privately sponsored refugees settle in the same community as their sponsor.

  • In January 2022, Canada announced an investment of $35 million to expand settlement services for newcomers in small towns and rural communities. This investment includes $21 million to add 9 new RAP SPOs in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

  • Earlier this week, close to 300 privately sponsored Afghan refugees landed in Toronto.

Associated links


Aidan Strickland
Press Secretary
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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