How we assess refugee sponsorship groups

To make sure the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program works effectively, we

Assessing sponsorship groups before refugees arrive

The checks we complete before refugees arrive in Canada make sure sponsorship groups

These checks also help us make sure the information in applications is up to date.

How we decide which groups to assess

We identify cases to check based on

How we assess sponsor groups before refugees arrive

Before a refugee arrives in Canada, we assess sponsorship groups to make sure they’re prepared.

As part of the assessment, we’ll ask the sponsorship group to

Sponsorship groups can show proof of funds with

  • proof it’s held in trust in a financial institution
  • proof individual members of the sponsorship group are contributing from their own income
  • a combination of both

The group will have 30 days to respond to our request.

If it can’t confirm their financial support or settlement arrangements

We’ll put the sponsorship application on hold and give the sponsorship group a specific timeframe to show

If it can’t show this within the timeframe we give it, we may refuse the refugee’s application.

Monitoring sponsorship groups after refugees arrive

The checks we complete after refugees arrive in Canada make sure

We monitor sponsorship groups by

Routine monitoring

For this monitoring, we randomly choose refugees sponsored through the

  • PSR program
  • Blended Visa Office-Referred program

Within 4 to 6 months of arriving in Canada, we’ll either call refugees or send them an online survey. We ask them questions about their sponsorship and the kind of support they’re getting from their sponsors. Participating in the survey is voluntary.
When we monitor sponsorship groups routinely, we

  • get a more complete picture of how well the PSR program is working
  • make sure sponsored refugees are getting the support the program is designed to deliver

We only contact sponsorship groups if we identify a potential problem during this monitoring process.

Reported cases

When we get information and reports about a lack of support being offered to a refugee, we call this a reported case. Our sources for these cases can include

  • internal partners
  • social assistance workers
  • settlement agencies
  • sponsors
  • sponsored refugees

Depending on the situation, we may follow up on this information, including if a sponsorship group

  • is not providing financial support or not providing enough of it
  • is not providing settlement support or not providing enough of it (for example, health issues being ignored or no access to community services)
  • has a conflict with the refugee

If we decide to follow up on a reported case, we’ll follow these steps:

  1. We’ll send the sponsorship group a letter asking for information about the support it’s given the refugees.
    1. We’ll work with the sponsorship group, answer its questions and suggest documents it could show us.
    2. We may also speak to the refugees to find out how much support they’ve received.
  2. We’ll send the sponsorship group the results of our assessment. If we find it didn’t support the refugees enough, we’ll
    1. help it identify what it needs to do
    2. give it a specific amount of time to solve the problem
  3. We may declare a sponsorship breakdown if the sponsorship group can’t or won’t fix the problems in the time we gave it.
    1. It will have the chance to show us why it shouldn’t be found in default of its sponsorship responsibilities.
  4. We’ll send a sponsorship default letter if the sponsorship group can’t or won’t
    1. show that it fixed the problems we identified
    2. explain why it shouldn’t be placed in default.

Reactive monitoring

Reactive monitoring is when we review a sponsorship group’s caseload of refugees who have already arrived in Canada. We do this type of monitoring if

  • we have to follow up on multiple reported cases from the same group
  • more serious problems are reported to us

Serious problems that would trigger reactive monitoring include

To complete reactive monitoring, we

  1. choose a sample of the sponsorship group’s caseload (of the refugees who have already arrived in Canada)
  2. interview the refugees from the chosen cases (if needed)
  3. analyze the information on file for the sponsorship and the information we get during the interviews
  4. decide if there is a potential concern with the sponsorship support
  5. work with the sponsorship group to resolve any concerns

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