Settlement Agencies and Refugee Sponsorship Support Organizations
Ontario currently helps support 95 newcomer settlement agencies in communities across the province, and is providing over $3.7 million in additional support to eight agencies in six communities that are expected to see a large influx of refugees over the coming months. This funding is targeted primarily to Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) service providers that are mandated to serve refugees.
Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) Agencies
The federal government funds RAP agencies to provide temporary housing and immediate/ essential services to government-assisted refugees during their initial weeks in Canada. RAP agencies also assist refugees to secure permanent housing, connect them with local service providers and provide ongoing client supports.
It is expected that government-assisted refugees and many privately sponsored refugees will settle in communities where RAP agencies are located. RAP agencies will play a lead role in coordinating the local refugee response.
Ontario funding for RAP agencies will help ensure all refugees - including government-assisted and privately sponsored - have access to first-language settlement services, specialized supports for women and youth, trauma counselling and mental health services, housing assistance and pre-employment supports.
RAP agencies will provide immediate services to refugees upon arrival, and refer them on to settlement programs and supports close to where they will be living.
Settlement agencies serve newcomers to Canada - including refugees. Their services help newcomers settle and adjust to a new life in Canada. Settlement agencies can also be called immigrant- or refugee-serving agencies, or newcomer-serving agencies.
Settlement agencies provide critical support to government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees in their local neighbourhoods.
Services they provide include:
- Information and Settlement Planning: Helping newcomers develop a settlement plan and providing information about relevant programs, resources, referrals and support available from other community based service providers.
- Orientation and Community Support Services: Helping newcomers deal with transition issues, understand and adapt to life in Ontario and develop social connections. This includes the provision of individual and family assistance, as well as information about finances and budgeting, public transportation and local service systems, and rights and responsibilities, including issues related to landlord/ tenant relations.
- Connections to Government Programs and Community Services: Assisting with applications for both mandatory and other government programs, and ensuring newcomers have access to healthcare, mental health, education, employment training and other community support services.
Many settlement agencies also provide language training, employment supports and programs and services for children, youth and families.
Refugee Sponsorship Support Organizations
Refugee sponsorship support organizations help other organizations and groups that are privately sponsoring refugees. They may support settlement agencies in their efforts to sponsor and welcome refugees, help recruit and train sponsors to expedite refugee arrivals, assist sponsors in completing refugee sponsorship applications, help match sponsors and refugees and work with communities and volunteers to support refugees. Ontario recently provided $1.8 million to five refugee sponsorship support organizations to help support privately sponsored refugees.