Unit Groups

Diocesan Refugee Unit (DRU)

Diocese of New Westminster - Sponsorship Agreement Holder

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Diocese of New Westminster is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder. This means that it has a formal agreement with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to authorize Constituent Groups (this is the formal name given to Sponsoring Groups) to sponsor refugees to come to Canada under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. The Diocese receives a yearly allocation allowing it to authorize a few sponsorships per year and has been authorizing refugee sponsorships since the late 1980s.  

The Constituent Groups we authorize usually consist of at least one Parish connected to the Diocese.  The authorized group is completely responsible for the financial, practical and emotional aspects of settlement when the refugees arrive in Canada for a period of at least one year.  The Diocese is only able to authorize a limited number of sponsorships each year.  In addition, it must be convinced that the Group will be able to carry out its settlement responsibilities and of course that the refugees are likely to meet Canada’s eligibility requirements.

The Diocesan Coordinator is Dr. Shakuntala Soden, her email is linked.

NEWS!

A feature article with video in the September 17 online edition of the Peace Arch News covering the visit of the sponsored Syrian familiy's visit to Holy Trinity, White Rock, September 16.

On June 10, 2018, during the North Vancouver Region's annual combined Eucharist, Diocesan Refugee Unit chair, Shannon Muir announced that the June 2 fundraiser at St. Clement raised a fabulous $16,320.95. This will go toward the estimated $27,000 needed for this year to continue to support Malis' family of four from Congo who arrived during the second week of April 2018 and three individuals who will arrive this year. These newcomers are sponsored by the North Vancouver based REST organization.

The new book RESCUE written by International Rescue Committee Chair,  David Millibrand is being touted as a must read for folks interested in refugee and newcomer ministries.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has communicated the following changes as of October 11, 2017

Resettled refugees are now able to apply for citizenship if they have been in Canada for 1,095 days (3 years) out of 5 years before applying. The changes will also include filing taxes for three out of five years, which will match the new physical presence requirement. Only applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 will need to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. The language requirement includes a Canadian Language Benchmark Level 4 certificate from an IRCC approved institution or a High School diploma, transcripts or a post-secondary degree or diploma.

For more information click here: Changes to Citizenship Act as a Result of Bill C-6

Refugee and Newcomer Programs and Events from Iris at MOSAIC. Lots of information and attachments

Welcoming the Stranger - Refugees Becoming Neighbours

REFUGEE SPONSORSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM VIDEO RESOURCES

RSTP has produced and uploaded new videos on the following topics which may of assistance to your Constituent Groups and Co-Sponsors:

·         Month 13 Planning;

·         Managing Expectations;

·         Power Imbalance; and,

·         Sponsorship Ethics.

The videos are available on RSTP’s YouTube channel and website at the links below:

https://www.youtube.com/user/RefugeeSponsorship/videos

http://www.rstp.ca/en/resources/videos/

 Tax Information for Newcomers:

The March 16th Webinar provided some great information for newcomers to Canada about their tax obligations and responsibilities. If you missed the webinar, don't fret! You can view the powerpoint slides of the CRA presentation here

Also, volunteer tax preparation clinics are generally offered between February and April each year at various locations across Canada, including throughout the lower mainland. Click here to find a tax preparation clinic near you. 

Thank you to the RSTP for this information. Subscribe to their newletter here to get great information like this directly to your inbox!

DIRECT LINK TO THE BISHOP'S FUND FOR REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT

Refugee Response in the Diocese - article for the February 2017 issue of Topic published on the diocesan website news pages, December 16, 2016

The Executive Archdeacon announced on November 21, 2016 that Dr Shakuntala Soden has begun her work as Diocesan Refugee Coordinator. Dr. Soden brings a strong passion for refugees and a strong skill-set in the area of immigration.

Shannon Muir has accepted the Bishop's appointment as the Chair of the reconstituted Diocesan Refugee Unit (DRU). Shannon has brought considerable skills to the diocese's response to ministry with refugees.

A NEW LIFE IN CANADA

Zakarya, the first member of a group of Syrian refugees arriving in Canada through the Diocese of New Westminster as Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) but sponsored by a group from St. Helen’s, West Point Grey arrived from Frankfurt at 2:30pm on Thursday, October 13, 2016.

Ali Salat Bugare aka "Bukare"(to his friends) arrived September 12, 2016. He is sponsored by REST.

Good news for Alsaleh and his family and for St. Alban's, Burnably, click the link to access the story on the Burnaby Now website.

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Declared by the United Nations, World Refugee Day is June 20, 2016.  Resources and information can be found through the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, the United Church of Canada, the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada, and the Episcopal Church USA's Public Affairs Office.

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The North Vancouver Regional Ecumenical Support Team (REST) is a partnership of 10 churches and individuals who have come together to support the sponsorship of refugees. The group operates in close cooperation with the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.

Visit the R.E.S.T. blogsite for updated information and upcoming events to aid the refugee resettlement.

On December 21, 2015, Bishop Skelton announced the establishment of the Bishop's Fund for Refugee Resettlement. Click the link to learn about this exciting new fundraising initiative.

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Refugee Information Session

Thursday, October 8th, the former chair Reverend Michael McGee presented a detailed and concise presentation on the diocese and refugee sponsorship with a focus on the current Syrian crisis. In a 70 minute presentation he outlined four facets of refugee sponsorship. Click to access his powerpoint presentation or download a pdf version linked below.

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Refugee Unit Update

Please find below a brief Q&A document about refugees in Canada and refugee sponsorship as it relates to the diocese.

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The Refugee Unit provides advice about the regulations and mechanisms involved in bringing refugees to this country under the auspices of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

The Unit’s mandate is to inform our Anglican community of the needs of refugees around the world, and to provide information about how some of them can be helped through parish sponsorships to start a new life in Canada.

For many years parishes in the Diocese have supported refugees, often in conjunction with family members already arrived. The Unit guides the sponsoring groups through the extensive paper work and advises them about what is needed for success.

In recent years, parishes and groups of parishes have supported refugee sponsorship applications for families from Afghanistan, Colombia, and Myanmar.

Parishes who have been active in refugee sponsorship include the parishes with North Vancouver Regional Council; St. Helen, Surrey; and St. David, Delta.

The Refugee Unit calls on parishes to actively consider how they can help.

For More Information

The Unit would welcome new members, especially from parishes eager to undertake refugee sponsorships. Contact the Chair of the DRU, Shannon Muir through the diocese by email.

Contact the Refugee Coordinator



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