[Anglican Journal] The pandemic has dealt a huge blow to Canadian refugee sponsorship – but there is some hope that things will soon become easier for both those who hope Canada will make it their home and those who help them come here, say some Anglican refugee workers.
Tony David, coordinator of refugee sponsorship at the Diocese of British Columbia, says the attempt to sponsor refugees during COVID-19 meant a “roller coaster” challenge.
The pandemic has placed many practical restrictions on the ability of churches to sponsor, he says. Closed churches mean fewer donations, and events the congregations used to raise money — church dinners, picnics, and backyard sales — are nearly thwarted by COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Federal Government’s Mixed Visa Reference Program (BVOR), with which private sponsors (church congregations, for example) have partnered to share costs, has been suspended since the pandemic began. Prior to March 2020, BVOR provided approximately 40% of the settlement costs in these partnerships; now private sponsors had to raise all the money themselves.
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