Ontario committed to resettle 10,000 refugees by the end of 2016, and committed $10.5 million in new funding to help address the refugee crisis. This included $2 million for immediate overseas relief efforts through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN World Food Programme. It also included $8.5 million over 2.5 years to expedite refugee arrivals through support for private sponsorship, and support for refugee settlement and integration. And, in the 2016 Ontario Budget, the province committed an additional $2 million to support cross-government coordination efforts to help refugees from the Syrian conflict succeed in Ontario.
In August 2016, the province allocated an additional $1.55 million in new funding to enhance refugee supports in communities across Ontario. Including the original provincial commitment of $8.5 million, MCI has now allocated over $10 million to support the work of 33 organizations that are implementing 43 different initiatives across the province. The funding is enhancing services for refugees, as well as helping to engage municipalities, employers and a range of other stakeholders 12 in local planning and coordination. This work will promote the value that all refugees bring to their new communities, and improve settlement services and job prospects for new arrivals. Including the more than 14,500 refugees from the Syrian conflict, between November 2015 and the end of September 2016 Ontario welcomed over 28,600 refugees from all over the world (almost 47 per cent of Canada’s total refugee intake). Newly funded projects will step up targeted supports to help all refugees meet their settlement and employment goals, complemented by specialized programming for refugee women and youth.
In Ontario, sponsorship of refugees under the PSR Program is conducted by Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs), Groups of Five and Community Sponsors. There are currently 48 SAHs across Ontario that sponsor refugees for resettlement to Ontario under the PSR Program. The majority of SAHs are faith based organizations, such as churches, or humanitarian and charitable organizations. For a full list of SAHs in Ontario, and across Canada, please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/sponsor/list-sponsors.asp
Groups of Five and Community Sponsors have been very active in sponsoring refugees for resettlement to Ontario under the PSR Program. Historically, Groups of Five and Community Sponsors typically had a direct link with the refugees they were sponsoring under the PSR Program, i.e. a family or friend of a member of the sponsoring group. Many Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents across Ontario, and Canada, have come together to sponsor the family members and friends of people they know from their work, social and community life. However, a number of Ontario residents have recently formed groups to sponsor Syrian refugees who do not have any prior connections with them.
Across Ontario, various non-traditional new groups and several non-profit organizations have emerged, and they are heavily involved in the private sponsorship of refugees to Ontario.
PSR Sponsorship in Ontario – Stats and Figures
Ontario has approximately 3,189 PSR applications in inventory with IRCC (as of January 29, 2017). A breakdown of the top 10 cities and towns in Ontario with the highest number of PSR applications in inventory with IRCC is below:
Since November 04, 2015, Ontario has had approximately 6,379 PSR applications admitted by IRCC. A breakdown showing the top 10 cities and towns in Ontario with the highest number of PSR admissions is below: