What you need to know to help Syrian refugees settle in Toronto
A how-to guide for those who want to get involved in the effort to help Syrian refugees
The stories and images chronicling the flight of men, women and children from their homeland in Syria has mobilized many Canadians to help those looking to come to Canada.
So, here at CBC Toronto, we've put together a how-to guide for those interested in sponsoring a refugee as part of a group, and we've collected other resources for those interested in helping in other ways.
Who can sponsor a refugee?
Right now, there are three options for those wanting to sponsor a refugee: a group of five people can apply together, a community organization — like a church, school or other group — can become a sponsor, or another organization that has ties to refugees and "a formalized agreement" with Citizenship and Immigration Canada will also qualify.
Check out the fine print here.
Take the test
If you've got a group of like-minded people wanting to pitch in, take the test here to see if you qualify.
As a sponsor, you're required to cover the essential costs of living for a refugee — or a refugee family if you sponsor more than one person — for a year. Make sure your budget includes: rent, furniture, transportation and food. Many refugees will have very few personal possessions so you also need to factor in clothing, especially winter items, as well as notebooks and other school supplies if you're sponsoring children.
What are my responsibilities?
Think about the things you need to organize when you move outside the province: finding a doctor, a dentist, a new home, identification and a job.
As a sponsor, you're responsible for helping a refugee organize all of those things. But there are also other possibilities: arranging for an interpreter, language classes and child care. Often groups that act as sponsors designate responsibilities to people based on expertise — a local doctor may help arrange for health care, a teacher may help organize English classes.
What can I do instead?
For those who want to help, but not act as a sponsor themselves, they can donate to other groups that are already established.
Private sponsors need to commit to raising $12,700 to support an individual refugee for a year — or about $27,000 for a family of four.