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Ontario Building Capacity to Support Refugees

Archived News Release

Ontario Building Capacity to Support Refugees

Enhancing Supports for Sponsorship Efforts

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

Ontario is preparing to welcome refugees to the province by allocating funding to sponsorship efforts, establishing a Special Advisory Table on Refugees, and encouraging people and organizations in the province to volunteer.

Earlier this year, Ontario committed $8.5 million over two and a half years to deliver both settlement and integration supports to refugees, as well as to help organizations and groups that are privately sponsoring refugees. Since then, Ontario has allocated a total of $1.8 million to Lifeline Syria, Refugee 613, Catholic Crosscultural Services, Catholic Centre for Immigrants, Ottawa and the University of Ottawa Refugee Sponsorship Support Program. These funds will:

  • Support the settlement organizations in their efforts to sponsor and welcome refugees
  • Help recruit and train sponsors to expedite refugee arrivals
  • Train lawyers to help sponsors complete sponsorship applications
  • Help match sponsors and refugees
  • Coordinate refugee sponsorship efforts
  • Mobilize communities and volunteers to support refugees.

More organizations will receive funding for refugee-targeted settlement services in the coming months.

Ontario is also establishing a Special Advisory Table on Refugees to provide executive leadership, strategic guidance, sector collaboration and information-sharing on issues concerning refugee arrival and integration in Ontario. The table will be co-chaired by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, Michael Chan and the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins. It will hold its inaugural meeting on December 8.

The province is encouraging Ontarians to post or find volunteer opportunities to help welcome refugees at SPARK Ontario on its new page on Welcoming Syrian Refugees.  

Quick Facts

  • In 2014, Ontario welcomed more than 11,400 refugees from around the world to start a new life in the province.
  • The federal government is responsible for refugee selection, screening and the provision of settlement services, including finding interim lodging.

Additional Resources


“Ontario is a beacon of hope to those who are fleeing war and desperation. We’re working hard to give Syrian refugees new hope and new opportunity as they start their new lives in our province. I am confident that those we help today will enrich our country in the future. This is the right thing to do and it is the Canadian thing to do.”

Michael Chan

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade

“I continue to be impressed by the outpouring of support from Ontarians from all walks of life. That support, together with the expertise within our settlement agencies, health and other sectors, gives me great confidence that we will be prepared to not only welcome the Syrian refugees, but provide them with the support they need to succeed in Canada.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care



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