City Of

Remember those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Hebrews 13:3



COVID-19 Update

From Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC):


  • PLEASE READ:Guidance-for-Private-Sponsors-Regarding-COVID.pdf
  • All refugee arrivals after March 18th through to the end of April have been cancelled. There will be no additional arrivals or new flight bookings until further notice.
  • We can expect delays in processing of applications abroad because Canadian embassies and visa offices, the IOM (International Organization for Migration) and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) have all seen their operations affected.
  • All area trips (to interview refugees who are far from visa offices) are cancelled, so too are most interviews and medicals. 
  • No visas or travel documents will be issued until further notice. 
  • When privately sponsored refugees are allowed to travel into Canada again, there will be a system put in place to triage based on exit permits, urgent needs, and expiry of medicals.
  • Ottawa is still accepting refugee applications submitted by email and continuing the “in Canada” portion of processing. However, where possible, their staff are working from home.
  • Settlement Agencies have stopped providing all non-essential services.
  • The government has decided to suspend its immigrant loan collection activities for a period of 6 months, until September 2020.
  • some Canadian embassies and consulates have either reduced their operations or closed their offices until further notice. Due to the evolving situation, there may be delays in the processing of applications, regardless of type/category. 



Who are We?

City of Refuge is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) with Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Our refugee sponsorship ministry is funded by the Free Reformed Churches of North America.

 Our mission is to encourage churches to consider the needs of refugees, and to welcome them to Canada.


Who is a Refugee?

No one becomes a refugee by choice. All kinds of people are refugees. Refugees are forced to flee from their country of origin due to fear for their lives and liberty. The United Nations defines a refugee as a person who ”owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” This definition was established in the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees.


International Response to Refugees

The international community helps refugees find lasting, or durable solutions to refugee situations. Before considering a refugee for resettlement the visa officer will consider whether conditions have sufficiently changed in their Country of Origin to allow them to return in safety and with dignity. The second consideration would be whether local integration may be possible if their Country of Asylum grants them the right to work, attend school, and freely move about the country. Only if neither of the first two options is possible, will the refugee be considered for resettlement. Less than 1% of refugees are resettled internationally each year to a third country.



Canada’s Response to Refugees

The 1976 Immigration Act was a milestone in Canada’s response to refugees, establishing refugees as a class distinct from immigrants. The 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act clarified the humanitarian goals of the program which was established to offer protection and a durable solution to refugees in need of resettlement.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world which annually offers resettlement to thousands of government and private sponsored refugees. Private sponsorship does not rely on public resources but rather taps into the energy and funds of faith communities, ethnic groups, families, and other benevolent associations. Private sponsors may name the refugee they wish to offer the opportunity to be interviewed by Canadian Immigration for resettlement and offer the refugee personalized local support which the government is not able to provide.


Our Priorities

City of Refuge bases its mandate to provide assistance on Gal 6:10 “as we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Canada's private sponsorship program increases the number of refugees resettled to Canada, however, all refugees must be interviewed by a Canadian Visa officer to determine if they meet Canada’s criteria for eligibility as well as admissibility requirements.


Persecuted Christians

Many people flee because of religious persecution. The map below created by Open Doors shows the levels of persecution experienced by Christians all around the world - based on the degree of freedom a Christian has to live out their faith in five spheres of life (private, family, community, national, and church life).


Want to Sponsor?

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