Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Thank you for helping to recruit private sponsors of refugees. The following information will help potential sponsors make informed choices about refugee sponsorship. For more information, please refer to IRCC’s Guide to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

A. Sponsorship Options

What are the sponsorship options?

  • Refugees may be sponsored by Community Sponsors (CS), Groups of Five (G5), or Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH).
  • Groups of Five are private individuals who provide financial and settlement support to a refugee family for one year.
  • Community Sponsors are organizations or companies that provide financial support to a refugee family for one year. A Community Sponsor’s volunteers and/or staff provide settlement support to refugees.

What are sponsors’ obligations?

  • Sponsors must provide funds and settlment support for the refugee family’s first 12 months in Canada.
    • In rare cases, and by prior agreement with IRCC, a sponsorship may be for up to three years. In those cases, IRCC pays for some or all of the sponsorship costs.
  • Sponsors agree to provide the financial support stated in their sponsorship application. The exact amount will depend on where the refugee family lives, their family type, and in-kind sponsorship.
    • For one individual refugee, the amount is $12,600, minus up to $8,500 in in-kind sponsorship such as housing, furniture, and start-up costs, for a minimum of $4,100 in funds required.
    • For a typical refugee family of five, the amount is $29,700, minus up to $17,100 in in-kind contributions, for a minimum of $13,575 in funds required.
  • The sponsorship period (one year) and required finances (up to $12,600 per refugee) are the same for both Community Sponsors and Groups of Five.
  • Sponsors are responsible for teaching refugees how to manage their finances. If a refugee family has to receive social assistance from government, the sponsors may be financially responsible to repay that support later.

Will I get a tax receipt for donating to sponsorship?

  • Community Sponsors that are registered as CRA charities may be able to issue a tax receipt for your donations.
  • Tax receipts are not usually issued by, or to, Groups of Five.

Will sponsoring a refugee family affect other immigration sponsorships?

  • Members of Groups of Five who sponsor or plan to sponsor other refugees must have the time and funds to meet all of their sponsorship obligations.
  • Volunteers for Community Sponsors may sponsor multiple immigrants at the same time. Volunteers for Community Sponsors are not financially responsible for sponsored refugees.

What will a Community Sponsor or Group of Five do?

  • At least a couple members of each CS or G5 should have work flexibility or vacation time to drive refugees around during their first weeks in Canada to complete paperwork, attend medical appointments, register for education, show refugees how to buy food and live in Canada, etc.
  • Each CS or G5 will need a settlement plan for their refugee family to help them integrate in Canada. We will help each CS or G5 complete a settlement plan.
    • We will also connect each CS or G5 with settlement services for sponsored refugees.
  • To reduce financial costs, a CS or G5 may provide contributions in-kind such as a furnished home, reliable used vehicles, household goods, etc.
    • We will work with organizations to provide some food, clothing, linens, etc. which can be sponsored in large quantity.

What will sponsorship cost?

  • The following table lists the financial contributions (in dollars) required to sponsor a refugee family. The total contribution required may be reduced through in-kind contributions of rent, clothes, furniture, household goods, and food.
Refugee Family Size: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Each member
6+ add
Sponsorship costs without in-kind contributions
12 Months of Income Support * 9,800 16,800 17,700 20,000 22,500 24,500 1,550
PLUS Start-up Costs 2,800 4,400 5,300 7,000 7,200 8,000 1,000
EQUALS Total Contribution Required from
Community Sponsor or Group of Five
12,600 21,200 23,000 27,000 29,700 32,500 2,500
Total Contribution Required from each G5 member 2520 4240 4600 5400 5940 6500 500
Sponsorship costs With in-kind contributions
Total Contribution Required 12,600 21,200 23,000 27,000 29,700 32,500 2,500
MINUS Maximum in-kind Contributions 8,500 10,700 12,375 13,950 16,125 17,100 2,025
EQUALS Minimum Financial Support Required from
Community Sponsor or Group of Five
4,100 10,500 10,625 13,050 13,575 15,400 475
Minimum Financial Support Required from each G5 member 820 2100 2125 2610 2715 3080 95
  • IRCC will look for cash plus in-kind donations that add up to at least the minimum income support that would provided by the province’s social services for the refugee family.
    • For example, to sponsor a family of five refugees, a CS or G5 could put $12,000 into a trust account, have three sponsors pledge $3,000 each, and provide a house with furniture worth $9,600 in rent per year and $3,500 in furniture; to total $21,000 in cash plus $9600 in rent plus $3500 = $34,100. That’s more than the required $29,700, plus some margin for GTA, Vancouver and Alberta being expensive than the Canadian average.
  • Each CS or G5 would need to provide approximately $7,000 in resources per sponsored refugee (for a refugee family size of 4-5).
  • Note that some refugee families may be partially or fully financially sponsored by the government.
  • Sponsors may also decide to pay for the refugee family’s pre-travel medical exam costs, and costs of travel to Canada. This is not required for sponsorship.

What is an account in trust

  • A CS or G5 may set up a bank account in trust to for donations to their sponsored refugees for direct settlement costs.
  • The account in trust is a savings account which has notes:
    • that the funds are for the refugees’ direct settlement costs
    • requiring more than one signature from the G5 to with draw funds
    • about what happens to the funds if sponsorship does not work out (e.g., returning donated funds to donors, or using funds to sponsor a different refugee family to be determined)
  • We can help a CS or G5s set up accounts in trust.

Where can funds for accounts in trust or sponsorship come from?

  • For IRCC, funds for accounts in trust or sponsorship can come from any source except the refugees themselves.
  • Please consult your accounting professional about CRA, charitable use, and other implications of different funding options.

When will refugees arrive?

  • We expect refugees to start to arrive in the upcoming months.
  • Each Community Sponsor or G5 will be in contact with their refugee family days to weeks before arrival.



B. Community Sponsors

Who can become a Community Sponsor?

  • Any Gurdwara, company, community organization, charity, or other group can become a Community Sponsor.
  • Community Sponsors do not have to be legally incorporated.
  • The Community Sponsor should be in the same community (city or region) as the city where the refugees will settle.

How many refugees can be sponsored at one time?

  • IRCC does not limit the number of refugees a Community Sponsor can sponsor. If an organization has more volunteers and more funds, they can sponsor more refugees.

 What is needed to become a Community Sponsor for refugees?

  • The Community Sponsor must show an organizational commitment to sponsoring each refugee family. This can be done through a Board motion or a letter from the business owner which states:
    • the organization’s desire and commitment to sponsor the refugee family,
    • the dollar amount of the organization’s finanical commitment, and
    • the person responsible for refugee sponsorship.
  • The CS must also provide financial documents:
    • Last year’s audited financial statement from the sponsoring organization;
    • An original letter from a Canadian financial institution attesting to bank account details;
    • An original letter from the organization guaranteeing a cash donation; or
    • Proof(s) of alternate source(s) of funding.



C. Groups of Five

What is a Group of Five?

  • Sponsors will work in teams of five (or more) adults aged 18 or over who are Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. Each team is known as a Group of Five (G5).
  • Each G5 will sponsor one refugee family of one or more people for one year.
  • At least three of the members of a G5 must contribute funds to the sponsorship. Members can contribute different amounts of funds.

Who can be in a Group of Five?

  • Each member of a G5 must be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident when their sponsorship begins, and live in the same community (city) as the refugee family.
  • Each member of a G5 must aged 18 or over at the time they sponsor refugees.
  • The members of a G5 may be all from one family, from several families, from a team at a workplace, etc.
    • We will help sponsors who do not have five members in their group to find additional members.
  • Each individual sponsor may be part of more than one G5, or sponsor family members, etc. in addition to refugees.
  • No member of a G5 may have been convicted of a serious criminal offence or is in default of a court ordered judgment.

What is needed to form a Group of Five?

  • Each G5 member must show proof of Canadian Permanent Resident or Citizenship status (passport, citizenship card, PR card, OR Canadian birth certificate).
  • Not all G5 members need to contribute financially. Each G5 member who contributes funds must show enough income and/or savings—CRA Notice of Assessment, bank records (account statements), a letter from their employer stating income and term of employment, OR audited financials for self employed individuals—to financially support themselves and their family before their share of the cost to sponsor refugees.

How many refugees can a Group of Five sponsor at one time?

  • Each Group of Five can sponsor one refugee family.
  • A person may be part of more than one Group of Five at the same time. A person can sponsor more than one refugee if they have the funds and time to provide settlement support.


Sponsorship Agreement Holders

  • Organizations that plan to sponsor refugees on an ongoing basis can apply to become a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with IRCC. For more information, please refer to IRCC’s documentation or contact us at the information below.


D. Next steps

  • You can help members of a CS or G5 collect information to complete a sponsorship application such as financial records, suitable homes for the refugees, in-kind donations, etc.
  • Gather information to complete a sponsorship application. Please see our page Documents and Forms for Refugee Sponsorship for more details.


E. Contact information

For more information, please contact: