SPRING Research Project Podcast

This podcast series explores the nuts and bolts of the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, which empowers ordinary individuals to directly engage in the welcome and settlement of refugee newcomers.

Host/Institute: uOttawa Refugee Hub Knowledge Team
Critical Dates: September 2022 – June 2023

This podcast series explores the nuts and bolts of the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, which empowers ordinary individuals to directly engage in the welcome and settlement of refugee newcomers. You can also find all past episodes below and subscribe to future ones on Spotify, Stitcher, or Blubrry.  

Episode 1: The role of Sponsorship Agreement Holders in the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program  

Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) are local, regional, and national incorporated organizations that have signed agreements with the Canadian government to assume overall responsibility for management of multiple refugee sponsorships. In this episode, Eliza and Tiho are joined by Kaylee Perez (Mennonite Central Committee and co-chair of the Sponsorship Agreement Holder Council) and Geoffrey Cameron (Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at McMaster University and Research Associate at the Global Migration Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto). The discussion zooms in on the past, present, and future of SAHs, and on the crucial role they play in sustaining the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. 

Episode 2: Groups of Five in the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program: trends, challenges, and opportunities 

Eliza and Tiho are joined by Ania Kwadrans (University of Ottawa Refugee Hub) and May Amouri (Refugee Sponsorship Training Program) to discuss the importance of Groups of Five (G5) sponsors for the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. The conversation starts with an introduction to the policy framework that facilitates G5 sponsorships. Then, May and Ania discuss who G5 sponsors are, how they support refugee newcomers, what challenges they face, and what support is available to them. 

Episode 3: Lessons learned from the settlement of privately sponsored Syrian refugees in Canada 

In 2015, the Canadian government announced its plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees within just a few months. Many of the newcomers arrived in Canada through the PSR Program. In the subsequent years, the number of privately sponsored Syrians continued growing, reaching more than 37,000 in the period 2015-2022. In this episode, we discuss different aspects of the settlement of Syrian refugees in Canada with Prof. Michaela Hynie (Interim Director of the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University) and Maysoun Darweesh (program coordinator for migration and resettlement at the Mennonite Central Committee of Manitoba). 

To watch the presentation of Heba Gowayed’s book “Refuge: How the State Shapes Human Potential” (mentioned by Prof. Michaela Hynie in the podcast): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olbWsHqhQJs&list=PL_nkOWatePynQetK9kUJPZz__UzM6JzcW&index=1  

Episode 4: “Invisible” sponsors: the role of diaspora communities in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program 

Over the last three decades, there have been numerous indications that a large part of the sponsorships in the PSR Program are so-called “family-linked sponsorships”. These sponsorships are often initiated by recently arrived newcomers and members of diaspora communities, who seek to sponsor their relatives. Despite their importance for the PSR program, little is known about this type of sponsors: they rarely feature in academic research, policy publications, training materials, or public discourse. In this episode, we focus on the contribution of these “invisible” sponsors to the PSR program and on the challenges they face. Our guest speakers are Biftu Yousuf (PhD candidate at the Centre for Refugee Studies of York University) and Sabine Lehr (Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager at the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria). 

The book chapter of Sabine Lehr and Brian Dyck mentioned in the podcast is titled “‘Naming’ refugees in the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program: diverse intentions and consequences”. You can find it in the edited volume “Strangers to Neighbours: Refugee Sponsorship in Context” or watch Sabine’s presentation at the book launch event.  
See here an article co-authored by Biftu Yousuf, which discusses family-linked sponsorships (Hyndman, J., Reynolds, J., Yousuf, B., Purkey, A., Demoz, D., & Sherrell, K. (2021). Sustaining the private sponsorship of resettled refugees in Canada. Frontiers in Human Dynamics, 3, 625358).  

Episode 5: Sponsor-sponsored pre-arrival interaction and resettlement success in the context of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program 

In this episode, we discuss yet another quite unique element of the Canadian sponsorship model: the pre-arrival communication between sponsors and sponsored refugee newcomers. In most sponsorship programs, the first contact between sponsors and sponsored refugees is when newcomers arrive in their country of destination. In Canada, however, it is quite common that sponsors and sponsored refugees communicate extensively before the moment of arrival. This communication may have a lot of benefits, and in some cases, pre-arrival contact may even prove crucial for the success of the sponsorship. Our guest speaker is Dr. Christopher Kyriakides who holds the Canada Research Chair in Citizenship, Social Justice and Ethno-Racialisation at York University. 

Episode 6: Conflict resolution in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program 

Conflict situations involving refugee newcomers and their sponsors may emerge at every stage of the sponsorship process for different reasons: misaligned expectations, misunderstandings, miscommunication, confusion, cultural differences, different opinions, personality clashes, and so on. They may negatively affect the settlement of newcomers and the motivation of sponsors. In this episode, we discuss different ways to prevent, de-escalate, and resolve such conflicts. Our guest speaker is Rola Mustafa, who is an accredited Mediator and certified trainer from the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution. 

Episode 7: Refugee sponsorship in small towns and rural areas 

Most privately sponsored refugees live in large cities like Toronto, Winnipeg, and Ottawa. However, many also settle in small towns and rural areas across Canada. Evidence on rural sponsorship is quite limited and generally confirms the nuanced findings from research on rural resettlement. On the one hand, rurality is linked to peaceful life, relatively low cost of living, and strong community ties. On the other hand, it also relates to important structural issues, such as lack of job and study opportunities, limited access to social services, and inadequate public transport. In this episode, we focus on the challenges and opportunities that small towns and rural areas present to sponsors and sponsored newcomers. Our guest speaker is Don Boddy from rural Manitoba, who has both professional and personal experience with refugee sponsorship. 

The views expressed are those of the author/s, and are not attributable to the host organisations of the Resettlement.Plus website.

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