Media Release in Response to the 2019-2021 Immigration Levels Plan

November 1, 2018

The Council of the Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association (SAH Council) represents over 100 Canadian organizations that sponsor refugees under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program.

The SAH Council appreciates that private sponsors throughout Canada have the opportunity to partner with the Government of Canada in the crucial work of refugee resettlement. We support the overall rise in immigration numbers from 310,000 in the current year to 330,800 in 2019. In particular, we appreciate the rise in total numbers for Refugees and Protected Persons from 43,000 in 2018 to 46,450 in 2019. Given the current global refugee crisis, the SAH Council has been calling on the Canadian government to substantially increase the number of Government Assisted Refugees, and acknowledges that the target has increased from 7,500 in 2018 to 9,300 in 2019.

Canada continues to position itself as a leader on refugee resettlement and is actively engaged with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in developing the Global Compact on Refugees. The signatories to the Compact will commit to better refugee protection globally, including increased international cooperation in refugee resettlement. The UNHCR has identified nearly 1.4 million refugees as needing access to resettlement in 2019, a 17 percent increase over the level identified in 2018. Meanwhile opportunities for refugee resettlement decreased from a 20-year high of 126,291 in 2016 to only 65,109 in 2017. As a global leader on refugee resettlement, the SAH Council believes that Canada must do more to help fill this gaping deficit. We continue to call on our government to bring 20,000 refugees in need of resettlement to Canada annually as Government Assisted Refugees.

The SAH Council welcomes the rise in the target for Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) from 18,000 in 2018 to 19,000 in 2019. A key reason for this is that the Government of Canada has committed to reducing the processing time for PSRs to 12 months by 2020. However, given the current backlog of applications in Canada’s immigration offices around the globe, Council is concerned that the small increase in the 2019 PSR level may not be sufficient to reach this goal of backlog elimination.

Brian Dyck                 Libby Angel      David Cottrill               Aslam Daud
Paulette Johnson      Sabine Lehr      Serena Richardson      Donald Smith