Last Updated on June 21, 2021
Quebec’s first draw of the year for its Collective Sponsorship Program for refugees saw just under half of the applicants, or 750 of 1,546, given the nod to sponsor a refugee.
“On the contacts for the groups whose application was selected in this random draw have been contacted through their Arrima account,” the province’s immigration department noted in a statement.
“If the contact for your group has not been notified through his or her Arrima account, that means that your group’s application was not selected in this draw.”
Arrima is Quebec’s Expression of Interest system. It handles mainly skilled worker applications, but is increasingly being used for different types of applications and document uploads.
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The applications by groups of two to five people that were available to be drawn had been submitted during the month that ended May 5. This first draw of the year under the program was overseen by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton and conducted in the presence of two witnesses to ensure the integrity of the process.
In a decision published in the Gazette officielle du Québec on Nov. 1 last year, organizations were prevented from sponsoring refugees under the program for one year. The decision referred only to “serious concerns” which had to be examined.
At that time, Quebec’s immigration minister did not expand on that to the news media and refugee advocacy groups lambasted the government for that decision.
Action Réfugiés Montréal executive director Paul Clarke reportedly told the French-language daily newspaper La Presse the province was tarring all refugee organizations with the same brush and described Quebec’s decision as unfortunate.
“They are using a hammer when they should be using a scalpel (to do a job which requires surgical precision),” he said in French.
The program is officially dubbed the Programme des personnes réfugiées à l’étranger (Parrainage collectif). Under it, each sponsorship group can send a maximum of two applications but a Quebec citizen or permanent resident cannot be part of more than one sponsorship group.
The sponsors pledge themselves to provide for the basic needs of the candidate and his or her family for 12 months.
Those responsibilities include providing for:
- costs of getting settled in Quebec, including housing, furnishings, travel, food and clothing;
- expenses for health care, health services and drugs not covered or reimbursed by a public insurance plan, and;
- costs related to helping the candidate enter the job market or look for a job that are not covered by a government program.
The sponsor must also offer the candidate and his or her family help with integration, including:
- assistance in finding a job;
- help with school registration;
- support in accessing public services, and;
- support for participation in community life.
To qualify, the candidate must be a convention refugee or a member of the Country of Asylum Class.