Refugee Sponsorship Training Program

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Sponsorship Agreement Holders

What is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH)?

A Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) is an incorporated organization that has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

The sponsorship agreement allows SAHs to sponsor a certain number of refugees each year for resettlement to Canada through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program.

A SAH may be a local, regional or national organization. SAHs differ in their activities, size, composition and geographical mandate.

SAHs may partner with groups or individuals to sponsor refugees under their agreements. These groups are referred to as Constituent Groups (CGs); any individuals that partner with SAHs are known as co-sponsors.

Currently, there are more than 120 SAHs throughout Canada (excluding Quebec).

The list of SAHs is available on IRCC’s website here.

How Does an Organization Become a SAH?

To become a SAH, an incorporated organization must submit an application package with the required supporting documents to IRCC during the annual three-month application window.

Organizations that would like to become SAHs must meet all of the following requirements:

  • They must have been incorporated for at least two years;
  • They must be physically located in Canada;
  • They must have the necessary financial capacity and the ability to provide copies of audited financial statements for the most recent two-year period with the application package;
  • Individuals at the organization must have completed the mandatory RSTP Becoming a SAH e-training course;
  • They must understand and uphold the objectives of the PSR program;
  • They must have a volunteer base and the capacity to sponsor more than five cases per year; and,
  • Individuals at the organization must pass a criminality check.

Further, detailed information about the requirements can be found in the becoming a SAH brochure that is available to download here.

Information on the application process, how to request a copy of the application package and the annual application window, can be found on the IRCC website here.

Responsibilities of SAHs

By signing the sponsorship agreement, a SAH is legally responsible for, but not limited to, the following:

  • Providing adequate financial and settlement support and care to the sponsored refugees for the duration of the sponsorship period in accordance with the the relevant IRCC standards and policies.
  • Pre-screening refugee sponsorship applications to ensure the refugees meet the eligibility and admissibility criteria of the PSR program.
  • Screening its CGs and co-sponsors to ensure they have the capacity to fulfill their financial and settlement responsibilities and that they are not a danger to the personal safety of the refugees.
  • Training, oversight and information sharing with their CGs and co-sponsors.
  • Keeping records and documenting the financial and settlement support provided to the refugees sponsored under their agreement.
  • Being prepared to provide financial and settlement support to the refugees sponsored under their agreement in the event that any CGs or co-sponsors they partnered with stop doing so.
  • Not profiting financially from refugee sponsorship.
  • Advising IRCC of any changes in the organization, such as the head of the organization, the main contacts or the signing authorities.
  • Keeping track of their annual allocations, how many have been used and submitting applications to IRCC in a timely manner by the relevant deadlines.
  • Preparing and submitting a report to IRCC at the end of each calendar year.

Resources for SAHs

The following documents have been shared with SAHs via the SAH email list. For your convenience, they have been compiled here for easy access: