Media Release – November 1, 2016

The Council of the Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association (SAH Council) represents the organizations in Canada that sponsor refugees under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

The SAH Council had hoped for a different plan for resettled refugees than that released within the 2017 Immigration Levels Plan on October 31. Even though the Government has announced a respectably high number of planned admissions of privately sponsored refugees, at least compared to recent years, it is still insufficient to meet the demand on private sponsors. However, it is the very low number of government

assisted refugees that the government will admit to Canada in 2017 that has raised the most concern. This number is as low as the limited government efforts of the recent past and results in a reduction in the overall refugee landing number from 44,000 to 25,000. This is not what we expected of Canada, a world leader that has called upon other countries to increase their commitments to resettlement during the
largest global refugee crisis since the Second World War.

The 2017 plan is for more than twice as many privately sponsored refugees to arrive in Canada than government assisted refugees. This disproportionate responsibility on private sponsors of bringing refugees to safety in Canada sets a poor example internationally. Many Association members also feel that this compromises the principle of additionality, an underlying principle of the private sponsorship of
refugees program, which holds that private refugee sponsorships will be in addition to government sponsorships and not instead of those sponsorships. Overall, it appears to be a plan that elevates the interests of the economic class at the expense of Canada’s strong humanitarian tradition, drive and reputation.

The SAH Association requests the Government reveal its plans for subsequent years to see if 2017 will be put in a broader context that is more favourable to refugee resettlement. It also reiterates its call on the Government to accept 20,000 government assisted refugees annually while also responding to the high level of interest in private sponsorship.

Council, Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association

Brian Dyck
Aslam Daud
Paulette Johnson
Sabine Lehr
Scott McLeod
Rob Shropshire
Donald Smith
Rebecca Walker