Sponsorship agreement holders are groups in Canada, often registered charities and faith-based organizations, holding agreements with the Government of Canada to help support refugees with the support of Canadian citizens as private sponsors.
Rainbow Foundation of Hope awards grants for sponsorship support, which tend to involve SAHs and include private sponsors known as Constituent Groups (CG) working with co-sponsoring organizations like Rainbow Refugee (Vancouver), Capital Rainbow Refuge (Ottawa), and Rainbow Railroad (Toronto) as relevant examples.
As registered Canadian charities, each co-sponsoring organization is directly eligible for grants from RFOH of up to $7,500 per application on behalf of the CG. Eligible applicants for private sponsorship support must demonstrate collaboration through affiliation with Rainbow Refugee and the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership (RRAP).
Blended Visa Office-Referred Program (BVOR)
The Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program involves Canadians working as private sponsors with the Government of Canada to support refugees that have been referred by the UNHCR. These individuals tend to be particularly vulnerable and in urgent need of asylum and resettlement.
BVOR applicants hold Refugee status under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These individuals are otherwise known as “Convention Refugees“.
The definition of grounds for refugee status comes from the 1951 UN Convention signed in Geneva, Switzerland:
“Persecution is a threat to life or freedom because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.“
The UNHCR identifies the refugees for private sponsorship under the BVOR program. Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia (RRANS) and St. Andrews-Wesley United Church are examples of Canadian organizations actively working to resettle refugees through the BVOR program.
Community Sponsor (CS)
A Community Sponsor is an organization, association, or corporation sponsoring one or more Convention Refugees to come to Canada. The CS similarly must also represent or be aligned with a registered charity to receive and administer FOH grants.
Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program (JAS)
The Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program involves organizations that work as partners with the Government of Canada to resettle refugees with special needs. Refugees coming to Canada through JAS are considered highly vulnerable and tend to require the greatest level of care and support during resettlement.
Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership (RRAP)
Only SAHs working with a CG across Canada through Rainbow Refugee in Vancouver are eligible for resettlement assistance under the RRAP. This government program was the initiative of and remains administered by Rainbow Refugee Society in Vancouver.
Rainbow Refugee identifies its Constituent Groups as Circles of Hope.
The RRAP provides government assistance to LGBT+ refugees across Canada for the first three months of resettlement. It also permits LGBT+ refugee sponsorship applications to be reviewed in Canadian visa offices around the world. This includes “safe countries” where SOGIE persecution exists, but would otherwise not accept refugee claims. Finally, it ensures that SAHs have capacity to take on LGBT+ private sponsorships without having to factor them into their annual resettlement quotas.
The RRAP is a valuable mechanism for enabling LGBT+ refugees to escape persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (i.e., as SOGIE migrants). Rainbow Foundation of Hope supports the efforts of Canadian civil society groups working to ensure the RRAP can remain a regular element of the PSRP in Canada.