The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is a Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This Agreement allows our congregations to privately sponsor refugee families from war-torn countries.
Sponsoring congregations, such as Toronto First, are responsible for the “financial and moral” well-being of our sponsored families during their first year of residence in Canada.
As Syria completes its fifth year in conflict with no end in sight, more than half of the country’s population is displaced, with 5 million outside the country as refugees. This remains a humanitarian crisis of unimaginable proportions. Syrian refugees are suffering in brutally difficult and horrendous circumstances in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. Fortunately, Canada has agreed to open its doors to 25,000 refugees by the spring of 2016. This 25,000 number includes a large number of private sponsorships.
In December 2015, we decided to sponsor 5 Syrian refugee families through the private sponsorship program. These families have close connections with Syrian Canadians here in Toronto (uncles, aunts, brothers, cousins, close family friends). Together, First Unitarian Toronto has partnered with the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) to help settle them in Toronto. For each family of 4, we have raised approximately $40,000 (plus $5,000 for each additional family member) to help with rent, furniture, food, clothing, medical aid general living expenses. We are focused on family reunification: re-uniting Syrian Canadians with their Syrian refugee family members. We will be fully responsible for all their needs for one full year.