A group of migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, on their way to seek asylum in Germany or Austria, walk along the frozen route from the border between Serbia and Macedonia to a temporary camp for migrants. The Archdiocese of Toronto has applied to sponsor another 4,000 refugees this year. CNS photo/Djordje Savic, EPA

Archdiocese looking for huge jump in refugee sponsorships

By 
  • March 23, 2016

The Archdiocese of Toronto is asking Ottawa for the chance to sponsor another 4,000 refugees over the coming year, said Martin Mark, director of the refugee office.

But the ambition of Toronto Catholics may be on a collision course with a hard cap on the number of private sponsorships Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is willing to process.

This year’s request for 4,000 spaces is a 74-per-cent increase over last year’s request for 2,300 places for Archdiocese of Toronto-sponsored refugees.

In an effort to winnow down a backlog of 51,683 applications in the private sponsorship system, Ottawa is limiting the number of new private sponsorship applications in 2016 to 10,500.

“The purpose of the caps is to reduce processing wait times,” Immigration spokesperson Jessica Seguin told The Catholic Register in an e-mail. “Lengthy delays create frustration for sponsors and are inhumane to refugee applicants.”

Somali refugees currently wait an average of 45 months (almost four years) from the time the Nairobi visa post receives an application to when Immigration makes a final decision.

Though the cap on private sponsorship applications has more than doubled from last year’s 5,000 limit, this year’s national quota includes Iraqis and Syrians. Last year, applications to sponsor refugees from Syria and Iraq were unlimited — free reign that the Archdiocese of Toronto and other sponsorship agreement holders fully exploited.

Ottawa plans to admit between 15,000 and 18,000 privately sponsored refugees, between 24,000 and 25,000 government-assisted refugees and between 2,000 and 3,000 in the blended category. Added to the sponsored refugees are between 10,000 and 11,000 refugees who apply for protection after arriving in Canada plus reunification of refugees in Canada with family abroad. In total, Canada plans to admit between 51,000 and 57,000 refugees this year — more than half of whom will be Syrians.

Currently, the Canadian visa office in Amman, Jordan, has a backlog of more than 9,000 mainly Syrian refugee sponsorship applications.

In addition to asking for almost 40 per cent of Ottawa’s self-imposed quota for refugee applications, the Archdiocese of Toronto finds itself in competition with the generosity and eagerness of churches and community groups across the country who are trying to sponsor as many refugees as they can. 

The Catholic Church in Toronto is one of 100 sponsorship agreement holders which feed into the private sponsorship system. Those organizations have already submitted about 4,000 applications this year, even though Ottawa asked they hold off on new applications until Immigration assigns a quota to each sponsorship agreement holder. Sponsorship agreement holders will receive their 2016 application quotas early in April.

The archdiocese respected the request to hold back, but now finds itself wondering whether it will lose quota to the more aggressive groups who continued to submit during the moratorium.

“In its final allocation of spaces, (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) will take into account what submissions are currently in the system as well as new expressions of interest submitted by the SAH (sponsorship agreement holder) community,” said Seguin.

The 2016 refugee target of 55,800 is an 80-per-cent increase over the 2015 target of 24,800.

The Office of Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto will lead a volunteer expedition to Lebanon starting March 28 to select new refugees for its sponsorship program.

Comments (10)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

One historical fact that no one should ever forget is the United States over threw the government of Syria in 1948, as well as over throwing Iran in 1953, by the US gov/cia operation tapajax. The United States instilled dictators over the...

One historical fact that no one should ever forget is the United States over threw the government of Syria in 1948, as well as over throwing Iran in 1953, by the US gov/cia operation tapajax. The United States instilled dictators over the people, Iran was ruled by the USA puppet sha of Iran.

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The US puppet sha of Iran, ruled by torture and murder of the people till he was ousted by the Islamic, without firing a shot. The Islamic rose up against the Sha of Iran, he exiled to the US.. Saddamn Hussina, Iraq came to the US , gave a...

The US puppet sha of Iran, ruled by torture and murder of the people till he was ousted by the Islamic, without firing a shot. The Islamic rose up against the Sha of Iran, he exiled to the US.. Saddamn Hussina, Iraq came to the US , gave a catholic church 250,000.

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Saddamn, Iraq, was made an honorary citizen of Detroit Michigan. Ronald Reagan/Donald Rupsfeeler then gave Iraq, saddamn 5oB in arms, nukes, and chemical weapons that started the Iran/Iraq war, murdering over a half million humans, changed, NOTHING.

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WE as Catholics are to stand against murder, war, and the overthrowing of Governments is a high moral obligation of Catholics, recognizes the US over threw Guatemala in 1953, Dulles family could seize 42% the land for United Fruit, a USA....

WE as Catholics are to stand against murder, war, and the overthrowing of Governments is a high moral obligation of Catholics, recognizes the US over threw Guatemala in 1953, Dulles family could seize 42% the land for United Fruit, a USA. operation to murdered, 200,000Catholics murdered in America.

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Genocides by the US in America, Guatemala (1953) El Salvador 50,000 humans civilians murdered in (1979) Nicaragua (1981) Haiti 1915-35, 100,000 humans perished, Brazilian coup in 1964, Chilean in 1973, Argentina in 1976, and in 1981 ,Nicaragua’s.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Genocides by the US in America, Guatemala (1953) El Salvador 50,000 humans civilians murdered in (1979) Nicaragua (1981) Haiti 1915-35, 100,000 humans perished, Brazilian coup in 1964, Chilean in 1973, Argentina in 1976, and in 1981 ,Nicaragua’s.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

what Is most sick today, that is failed to be stood against is the US over throw of people elected leader of Haiti.Eight months after being elected by the People, Aristide was deposed by Haiti’s US trained military, the United States itself in...

what Is most sick today, that is failed to be stood against is the US over throw of people elected leader of Haiti.Eight months after being elected by the People, Aristide was deposed by Haiti’s US trained military, the United States itself in 1990, to which Haiti ranks as poorest nation.

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Haiti, as Syria has had people elected governments over threw by the US gov, Haiti is Catholic, and the Catholics don't care, know, or give a rip, but they do want death to the Islamic for standing against US corruption in Syria and Iran, and Iraq.

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How can it be the US over throws Catholic countries in, America, and fellow Catholics don't care. but the Islamic stand against US corruption, and catholics want the Islamic murdered for standing up against corruption. don't make no sense.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Lyle, your historical ignorance is beyond imagining. As for war, "Just War" is very much, Catholic. As for Islam, it and it's murderous, perverted false prophet who was an antichrist is straight out of Hell. The Lebanese of my name should...

Lyle, your historical ignorance is beyond imagining. As for war, "Just War" is very much, Catholic. As for Islam, it and it's murderous, perverted false prophet who was an antichrist is straight out of Hell. The Lebanese of my name should indicate a bit more knowledge than your Marxist diatribe.

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