December 2, 2021—Toronto, Ontario—As Canada welcomes Afghan refugees, private sponsors across the country are stepping up. A significant number of Afghan nationals will be arriving as privately sponsored refugees, sponsored by individuals, groups and communities across Canada.
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced the arrival of the first charter flight of privately sponsored Afghan refugees. The group of approximately 250 landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport Thursday afternoon. In the coming days, this group of refugees will be welcomed into their host sponsor communities and will quarantine with the support of their private sponsors.
These latest arrivals are part of Canada’s humanitarian commitment to welcome vulnerable Afghan refugees—including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted minorities, LGBTI individuals and journalists. The humanitarian program complements Canada’s special immigration program for Afghans who worked for Canada during and after our military mission. Overall, Canada has welcomed almost 4,000 Afghan refugees.
One of the pillars of Canada’s world-leading refugee system, the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program allows Canadians to play an integral role in welcoming refugees by sponsoring them. Sponsors are crucial in setting a refugee up for success in this country. They can be groups of Canadians or organizations, including faith groups, ethno-cultural associations or settlement organizations.
Private sponsors support refugees as they settle into their new communities—from helping them find schools or open a bank account to covering expenses like food, rent or clothing. In addition to the support from sponsors, privately sponsored refugees are eligible for the same government-funded settlement services as other newcomers.