First, I want to apologies for not posting any updates since Christmas. I have been hoping that we would be Welcoming a family to Canada and I would be writing to tell you all about them and how they were adapting to their new home here in Toronto.
Unfortunately, the government has been very slow to offer Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR), for sponsorship. It appears the government has been focusing on Government Assisted Refugees, (GARs): those who are most vulnerable and requiring the greatest level of support. This includes large families of up to 13 or more.
BVOR is a program that matches refugees identified by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The goal is to engage in a 3-way partnership between the Government of Canada, the UNHCR, and private sponsors (us). If we stay with BVOR the government will provide up to 6 months of income support (worth approximately $10,000) and cover the flight to get them here (which could again be as high as $10,000). The majority of the Groups such as ours that have come together to sponsor families are under the BVOR program.
We have been offered the option of doing a named private sponsorship (PSR). This would mean no help from the government and I have heard that as of the end of February we would have to cover the cost of the flight. An additional consideration is that some of the private sponsorships are economic refugees – not families escaping from refugee camps.
I am trying to keep our options open and hoping that there will be an increase in the number of BVORs being offered soon. In the meantime, we continue to prepare. We have collected household items, linens, kitchen supplies, and some furniture. A big thank you goes out to Lisa & Paul Denhartog, and to Nadia Kainiev from S & Sons Moving for helping us to get our collection to warehouse space that has been so generously offered by Rotarian Neil Phillips from DGN Marketing Services. We could not have done it without their help and support.
I will continue to attend meetings, monitor the situation, and keep you posted. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Thanks again to everyone for your support and your patience.