Last Updated on December 3, 2021
Canada welcomed the first group of privately-sponsored Afghan refugees on Thursday, with a plane carrying 250 people landing at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.
The group arrives under Canada’s world-renowned Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, which sees Canadians or organizations such as faith groups and cultural associations support their arrival in host communities.
“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,” said a press release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
The new arrivals are vulnerable Afghan refugees, including ‘women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted minorities, LGBTI individuals and journalists’, the statement said.
This humanitarian program is running alongside the special immigration program for Afghans who worked for Canada during and after the military mission in Afghanistan.
Overall, Canada has welcomed almost 4,000 Afghan refugees.
The new arrivals faced a rigorous screening process, including a medical exam, being offered routine vaccinations and COVID-19 screening. Those not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 will follow the quarantine plan put in place by their sponsors.
“For those newly arrived in our big, cold country, private sponsors offer a warm welcome,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“It’s no wonder that many refugees think of their sponsors as family. As we welcome Afghan refugees, private sponsors are essential in helping vulnerable newcomers thrive in their new communities. I look forward to welcoming many more new arrivals in the weeks and months to come.”
How Does Private Sponsorship Work?
Sponsors support refugees by helping them find schools, open a bank account, and covering expenses for food, rent and clothes. Refugees can also access government-funded settlement services.
Since the 1970s, Canada has welcomed 330,000 privately-sponsored refugees.