Canada celebrates Pride Month by helping Afghan LGBTQ2 individuals

News release

June 3, 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 14,645 Afghan refugees, with more arriving every week.

As we mark the start of Pride Month in Canada, we celebrate the resilience, spirit and diversity of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two spirited (LGBTQ2). Canada has a proud history of protecting and helping resettle the world’s most vulnerable groups, including LGBTQ2 refugees. To help support refugees fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, Canada was among the first countries to have launched a special humanitarian resettlement program for vulnerable Afghans, including LGBTQ2 individuals.

In keeping with this commitment, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is working with the Rainbow Refugee Society through the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership, which encourages Canadians to sponsor LGBTQ2 refugees and strengthens collaboration between LGBTQ2 organizations and the refugee sponsorship community. Initially, this partnership provided 50 cost-sharing spaces per year for privately sponsored refugees. Recently, the partnership was expanded in response to the Afghanistan crisis to provide an additional 150 spaces for Afghan refugees between 2022 and 2024.

Canada recognizes the specific vulnerabilities that LGBTQ2 refugees face and will continue to work closely with the community to help bring them safely to Canada. We are grateful for the ongoing goodwill and support from Canadians from coast to coast to coast as they have welcomed these individuals into their communities. Learn about ways you can help make Canada their home.

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


“LGBTQ2 refugees continue to face unimaginable circumstances just for being who they are, and this makes them a target for persecution in countries like Afghanistan. Together, with partners like Rainbow Refugee Society, we can create safe, inclusive, and supportive communities for these vulnerable refugees. We will continue to provide funding to organizations like this so they can deliver crucial services to people seeking refugee protection in Canada.”

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

“Rainbow Refugee welcomes the Government of Canada’s initiative to expand the number of cost-sharing spaces available to privately sponsor LGBTQ2 refugees from Afghanistan. Persecution based on sexuality and gender identity remains pervasive globally. When armed conflict arises, LGBTQ2 people are particularly vulnerable to violence and face heightened obstacles to crossing borders and accessing protection. Expanding pathways to safety that account for these vulnerabilities is an important step in fulfilling Canada’s human rights obligation to humanitarian protection.”

– Aleks Dughman-Manzur, Co-Executive Director, Rainbow Refugee Society

Quick facts

  • Through the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership, the government provides start-up costs and three months of income support while private sponsors offer nine months of income support.

  • As of May 2022, over 170 refugees have arrived through this initiative with the Rainbow Refugee Society.

  • To be considered for Canada’s resettlement program, refugees must be referred by a designated referral organization, such as the United Nations Refugee Agency, or be privately sponsored. 

  • IRCC provides funding to at least 55 service provider organizations (SPOs) that offer support specifically for LGBTQ2 refugees. In addition, IRCC funded a project with five SPOs, who in partnership with local LGBTQ2 groups, developed an information and orientation curriculum aimed at providing targeted and client focused services for self-identified LGBTQ2 refugees in Halifax, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver.

Associated links


Contacts for media only

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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