Lifeline Syria and WelcomeHomeTO are hosting an information session about the lessons learned from the private sponsorship and what to expect when sponsoring a refugee.

This session will focus on the lived experience of both newcomers and sponsors, including the day to day challenges and rewards of the first three months and up to Month 13, when sponsorship commitments end.

Topics to be explored:

  • The type of sponsor training/pre-arrival resources available
  • Managing expectations and sponsorship ethics
  • How to interact with Settlement Sector
  • Cultural awareness and building trust
  • Matching sponsors/refugees
>This event is for:

  • Members of sponsorship groups with lived experience of sponsorship
  • Members of agencies and advocacy groups dealing with refugees
  • Newcomers to Canada
  • Sponsors who wish to take part in a new sponsorship

Guest Speaker

  • Shamim Ahmadi (Founder, Ahmada Development Organization and refugee from Afghanistan)


  • Tina Aseffa (Communications Director, Al-Qazzaz Foundation)
  • Malaz Sebai (Treasurer, Lifeline Syria)
  • Sara Shahsiah (Projects Coordinator, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants)


  • Rania Younes (WHTO Director and Co-Founder)

Date: Thursday June 28th, 2018.
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: 18th Floor of 400 University Avenue. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

To register, please clikc here

Posted: 05/31/2018 - 14:29

The Refugee Sponsorship Traning Program invites you to a webinar: Preparing for Month 13.

Topics covered:

  • when should sponsors start preparing for Month 13
  • what to consider when preparing newcomers for Month 13
  • services available for sponsored newcomers in Month 13
  • evaluating the sponsorship
  • the post-sponsorship relationship

Date: May 29, 2018
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT

To register please click here

Posted: 05/25/2018 - 11:55

UCObserver - Soon after moving to Canada, Ousama Alkhatib helped launch an arts program for Syrian newcomers in Toronto that also gives back to refugees still in camps. 

One thing had been on Ousama Alkhatib’s mind since he first got to Canada - helping those he had “left behind”.

Alkhatib is a Syrian refugee who moved to Toronto under the sponsorship of Fairlawn United in July 2016. This past winter, he created an arts program for Syrian newcomers, and helped organize an art show that collected nearly $1,500 for Syrian Eyes.

The not-for-profit organization runs a children’s art program at a refugee camp in Al-Fares, Lebanon, where Alkhatib volunteered.

“When I arrived in Canada, I wasn’t the type of person who considers themselves lucky, and leaves (their) people behind for nothing,” says Alkhatib. “It’s not about us being lucky here, it’s about us doing something for the people there. I decided to do something here”.

The program was launched this January thanks to ArtHeart offering their space free of charge, and a donation from Fairlawn United to help pay for art supplies. About 15 participants, all Syrian and Palestinian-Syrian refugees, attended weekly workshops at ArtHeart until March, where they received art classes offered by volunteers, and created everything from collages to large paintings.

“This program had no strict rules. It was freestyle art. Whatever you want to paint, whatever you want to use, just go and use it,” says Alkhatib. “That was my hope for the project. To have people feel free, and express themselves the way they want. I totally believe in art therapy. Painting and singing, music are huge tools for healing people.”

Alkhatib had witnessed the healing power of art first-hand. While volunteering with Syrian Eyes in Lebanon, he says he saw children’s paintings change over time – from bombs, tanks and people dying, to houses, butterflies and rainbows.

“It helped heal them from the trauma that they had. They started to expand their dreams from drawing repeatedly. Started drawing children (who are) doing normal things,” he says.

Participants at Alkhatib’s workshop in Toronto sold some of their pieces at Our Art, Our Stories – an exhibition held in April 2018 to celebrate the end of the program. Alkhatib also managed to coordinate the sale of children’s artwork he received from Syrian Eyes.

Over 150 people filled the show’s venue, and collectively amassed nearly $1,500. All proceeds were sent to the organization.

“Some of the participants had done art back in Syria, and have had to give it up because of the war, and then having to flee. This was an opportunity to integrate them into an arts community,” says Tranquada.

“Others had never done art before, but this was a chance to try something new, meet some new people, and do something different rather than just schooling or work”.

Tranquada and Alkhatib hope the project will be ongoing, and that it can start up again in the fall. Our Art, Our Stories will be showcased in Toronto this summer.

Read the full article

Posted: 05/25/2018 - 11:11

This RSTP webinar will provide information about:

  • Whom to contact at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada ( IRCC) to provide an update on your Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) application
  • Where to get information about your PSR application on the IRCC website

Date: June 15, 2018
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

To register please click here

Posted: 05/18/2018 - 11:20

The Canadian Council for Refugees invites non-governmental organizations and others to attend an international conference in Toronto designed to enhance effectiveness in promoting the human rights of refugees and vulnerable migrants. The conference will provide an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues facing refugees and other vulnerable migrants.

Objectives of the Conference:
• To promote ongoing cross-border networking, knowledge-exchange, strategizing and collaboration among NGOs committed to the rights of refugees and vulnerable migrants, and between NGOs and academics.
• To enhance NGO advocacy for better global protection for refugees and vulnerable migrants, including by giving input into the Global Compacts on refugees and migrants.
• To enhance efforts to educate and engage the public, in order to energize support for policies respecting the rights of refugees and vulnerable migrants.
• To increase knowledge of the inter-connections between policies and practices affecting refugees and migrants in different regions of the world.
• To support the development of NGOs in the Global South committed to the rights of refugees and vulnerable migrants.
• To support the inclusion of the voices of refugees and vulnerable migrants in discussions concerning them.

Date: 7-9 June 2018
Location: 4700 Keele St, York University, Toronto, ON

To register please click here. Registration closes Friday 18 May at 5 pm EST

Posted: 05/18/2018 - 11:12

Join this one-day conference to learn about cutting-edge immigration and settlement research. “Newcomers, Resilience and Settlement: Knowledge Exchange” will showcase settlement practices that promote newcomers’ resilience in Quebec and Ontario cities from the perspectives of policy makers, researchers and community leaders. This free event is organized by the Building Migrant Resilience in Cities partnership (BMRC), a community-academic collaboration funded by SSHRC.

Date: June 5, 2018
Time: 9:15 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 765 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON

To register please click here

Posted: 05/18/2018 - 11:08

The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are hosting a workshop in Toronto for individuals interested in submitting PSR applications as a Group of Five or a Community Sponsor.
Attendees will learn about:

• How to complete the new application forms released on May 1, 2018;
• The new requirements for Groups of Five and Community Sponsors that came into effect on May 1, 2018; and,
• How IRCC processes PSR applications submitted by Groups of Five and Community Sponsors.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to provide feedback to IRCC on the new forms and requirements.

Kindly note that IRCC will not be answering any questions on PSR applications that are currently being processed, or have been refused, by ROC-O or Visa Offices abroad.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Date: Monday June 4, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Sign-in will begin at 5:45 pm)
Location: Westin Prince Hotel, 900 York Mills Rd, Toronto, ON, M3B 3H2

To register please click here

Posted: 05/18/2018 - 11:05

This RSTP webinar is being offered as some Group of Five sponsorship applications have been returned/rejected by IRCC due to discrepancies in cost calculations on the application forms and this webinar aims to illustrate how to budget for G5 sponsorship and where to reflect numbers on the said forms. The webinar will also tackle the new guidelines and the updated Sponsorship Undertaking and Settlement Plan form.

Date: June 1, 2018
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT

To register please click here

Posted: 05/18/2018 - 10:50

RCI Radio Canada International - The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre are sounding the alarm bells over a phone scam targeting recent immigrants and refugees particularly in the Greater Toronto and Vancouver areas.

Victims of this scam receive phone calls from people claiming to be representatives of the IRB and are told that they are under investigation and owe money to the government.

In some instances, these calls are even made to appear to be coming from the IRB or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, IRB officials said in a press-release. The scam appears to be the same scam that began in December 2017.

“The IRB takes the privacy and security of all our clients very seriously as refugee matters, for example, can often be matters of life and death,” said in a statement Paul Aterman, the IRB’s acting chairperson. “On top of that, we are continuing to take steps to stop this scam and protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.  The IRB will never ask anyone for money.”

The IRB is working with law enforcement agencies to identify the perpetrators and bring an end to this scam, officials said.

Jeff Thomson, acting manager at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, said if anyone receives such a call, the best course of action is to immediately hang up and contact the centre at 1-888-495-8501.

“If you receive a call from someone saying they are from the government of Canada who proceeds to ask you for money, be aware that this is a scam,” Thomson said in a statement. “You should report these types of calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.”

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud, call your local police as soon as possible, he added

Posted: 04/30/2018 - 09:16

The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program invites you to a webinar: Who Can Sponsor and Who Can be Sponsored.

This RSTP webinar would cover topics covered such as:

  • Who can sponsor under the PSR program
  • Who can be sponsored
  • Refugee status documents: what are they and who needs them; and
  • An overview of sponsors’ financial and settlement responsibilities under the PSR program

Date: May 8, 2018
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

To register please click here

Posted: 04/27/2018 - 12:10