How much money should the sponsorship group budget for refugee support?

Most sponsorship groups aim to align their monthly monetary support with the amount of money that the individuals/family would receive from government Social Assistance benefits. It is vital that this monthly support is not the only support that the family receives. The family should not be expected to furnish their new home from their monthly stipend. In kind donations and services are needed to set up the family; for example, furniture donations, and a trip to the grocery store to stock the kitchen with basic ingredients. Most groups also pay for expenses like driving license testing. Depending on whether warm clothing is given at the point of entry, it is important to equip newcomers with warm and comfortable clothing. Again, in-kind donations are useful, as well as coupons provided by the Salvation Army and other sources. ISKA provides information about these and other resources.

Should we encourage refugees to work in the first year?

The answer to this question depends on the professional and language skills of newcomers. The top priority in the first 12 months should be language acquisition for any newcomers who don’t have high proficiency in English. Volunteering can be an excellent way to gain experience during this period. Part-time work that does not conflict with English classes is an option. If the person is part of a blended model that includes government funding, care should be taken to investigate the implications for government funding if earnings go beyond a threshold outlined in the newcomer’s notice of settlement support. 

Should our group cover the costs of the airfare?

Refugees are required to pay their air fare to Canada. The federal government provides them with a transportation loan, which requires them to start their payments after their first year in Canada. In the interests of equity and to remove the debt burden of the transportation loans, sponsors are strongly encouraged to cover the cost of the flights by the end of the sponsorship year.