We’re back!


The ISSofBC Refugee Hub is back, providing information, resources, news, tools in our popular weekly updates, along with monthly newsletters.

We will post weekly updates every Monday for the week prior focusing on news/events/resources/programs and services for refugees across British Columbia. Monthly newsletters will be released in the last week of every month starting this month! If you have information to share with us to post on the RRH, please email us at refugeehub@issbc.org

In the past year the focus of the ISSofBC Refugee Hub (RRH) was mainly on “Operation Syrian Refugee”. Going forward we will focus on all groups of refugees resettling to British Columbia.

As a starting point, below are descriptions of different refugee categories arriving in Canada and the definition of each group, as many of the posts on the RRH going forward will make reference to these different categories.

Government-Assisted Refugee (GARs):

Under the GAR Program, refugees are referred to Canada for resettlement by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or another referral organization. Individuals cannot apply directly. Individuals must register for refugee status with the UNHCR or state authorities to be considered by a referral organization.

A GAR’s initial resettlement in Canada is entirely supported by the Government of Canada or the province of Quebec. This support is delivered by non-governmental agencies called service provider organizations funded by IRCC. GARs receive support for up to one year from the date they arrive in Canada, or until they are able to support themselves, whichever happens first.

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Government-Assisted Refugees Program

Privately-Sponsored Refugee (PSR):

If an individual is a PSR, it means that a group of people in Canada have volunteered to help the individual adjust to life here once resettlement has taken place. The sponsorship group will support the individual with finding a place to live, financial support, social & emotional support and food & clothing.

They have agreed to support the PSR for one year after you arrive or until you can support yourself, whichever comes first.

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Private Sponsorship of Refugee Program

Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program:

The BVOR Program matches refugees identified for resettlement by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) with private sponsors in Canada.

  • The UNHCR identifies the refugees.
  • The Government of Canada gives up to six months of income support.
  • Private sponsors give another six months of financial support. They also give up to a year of social and emotional support.
  • The Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program and provincial health care cover refugees for the length of the sponsorship (one year).

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Blended Visa Office-Referred Program

Refugee Claimant:

person in need of protection is a person in Canada who cannot return to their home country safely. This is because if they return, they would be subject to a:

  • danger or torture
  • risk to their life, or
  • risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment

Canada offers refugee protection to individuals in Canada who fear persecution or who would be in danger if they had to leave. These individuals are generally referred to as Refugee Claimants as they must make a claim for refugee protection to the The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) to legally stay in Canada.

Sources: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Refugee Claim Protection from Inside Canada and Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)