Support for Refugees
How You Can Help
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are over 50 million people around the world who are displaced for reasons of violence, conflict, and persecution.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has the sole responsibility for identifying and approving refugees to Canada but there are many ways groups and individuals can become involved.
The Province of Nova Scotia recently made a donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist with the Syrian refugee effort and is working with partners across Nova Scotia to facilitate information and action.
We have heard from many individuals and groups who are willing to help but need some information. The following provides some insights into the different ways individuals can become involved by sponsoring refugees, making donations, or becoming involved in community-led actions.
Sponsoring a Refugee
As a group or an individual, you are able to sponsor refugees to come to Nova Scotia by providing financial and settlement support for costs such as arrival, care, lodging, and settlement in the community. Sponsorship can be a lengthy process, but a rewarding one. There are several ways to sponsor:
A Group of Five private citizens or permanent residents can submit an application to CIC to sponsor refugees. To find out more about how to sponsor or to apply as a Group of 5, please visit: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/sponsor/groups.asp
A Community Group that is an organization, association, or corporation (which does not have to be incorporated) can sponsor refugees. To find out how to sponsor as a group or organization, visit: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/sponsor/community.asp
There are several Sponsorship Agreement Holders in Nova Scotia that have the ability to directly sponsor refugees and work with Constituent Groups to sponsor refugees under their agreement. Currently there are three Sponsorship Agreement Holders in Nova Scotia:
- Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
- Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia
- Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Nova Scotia (902-429-9800).
To find out more about working with a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, contact one of the organizations above.
All application forms can be found on CIC’s website http://www.cic.gc.ca/.
If you are unable to sponsor a refugee but wish to support in another way, you may wish to consider donating money, time, or other resources to individuals or groups who are sponsoring or assisting refugees.
Examples of international organizations to whom donations could be sent are the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross. In Nova Scotia organizations like Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia are accepting donations to support recent refugees and immigrants.
Nova Scotia funds several organizations across Nova Scotia who aid in the settlement and retention of refugees coming to our province. The YMCA, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional School Board, Cape Breton University, and others are working hard. You may wish to contact an organization in your community to offer support or volunteer your time.
There are many ways you can becoming involved and all Nova Scotians can play a role to assist in resettling refugees.
If you are a refugee who is currently outside of Canada and are applying for refugee status, please visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/outside/index.asp
If you are inside Canada and seeking refugee protection, please visit: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/inside/index.asp
Nova Scotians, like all Canadians, have been moved by the events in Syria and the resulting refugee crisis. The Government of Canada has committed to bringing thousands of refugees to our country and the Province of Nova Scotia has been working closely with its many partners to ensure our province is prepared to welcome these refugees. For more information, including how you can help, visit novascotia.ca/refugeeresponse.