Rainbow Refugee Assistance Pilot Program extended
Government of Canada will work with stakeholders to strengthen their settlement and integration services for LGBTQ2 refugees
March 23, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced today that the Government of Canada has renewed a cost-sharing agreement with Rainbow Refugee Society until March 31, 2020. As of April 1, additional funding of $100,000 will be made available to support refugees sponsored under the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Pilot.
“Our commitment to providing protection to the world’s most vulnerable people is fundamental to our identity as Canadians, and I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish through the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Pilot Program. LGTBQ2 refugees face unique settlement and integration challenges. Our Government is committed to working with the LGBTQ2 community and private sponsors to ensure that the necessary supports are in place for those that we are resettling and welcoming to Canada,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
The goal of the pilot is to increase awareness of the unique needs of LGBTQ2 refugees amongst Canadian sponsors, and to strengthen overall sponsorship of this vulnerable group. Through the pilot program, the Government of Canada and private sponsors have increased the number of LGBTQ2 refugees Canada has provided protection to in recent years.
“LGBTQ2 rights have no borders, and in this respect Canada is seen as a champion of human rights protection around the world. Canada strives to be a country where people feel safe and free to be who they are. The extension of the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Pilot Program is another concrete example of the Government of Canada listening and responding to the needs of the community. I am proud of the progress that we are making to ensure that LGBTQ2 refugees are welcomed to Canada,” said Randy Boissonnault, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues.
The Government will collaborate with Rainbow Refugee Society and LGBTQ2 stakeholders to increase the resettlement of LGBTQ2 refugees in Canada, along with developing a longer-term strategy to support the resettlement of this vulnerable group. It will also continue to work with LGBTQ2 stakeholders and key partners to help ensure the necessary supports are in place to make refugees’ integration in Canada as smooth as possible.
The funding provided through this initiative by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada supports refugees’ initial costs when they first arrive in Canada. This includes start-up funds to buy clothes and basic household items. It also provides privately sponsored refugees with three months of income support for their first year; private sponsors provide the remaining nine months. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada currently funds 10 service provider organizations that give specialized support to LGBTQ2 refugees.
Although the department does not track refugees by ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, we are aware of at least 7 sponsorship agreement holders who are currently active in resettling LGBTQ2 refugees. They also help to educate and raise awareness of refugee protection needs within the LGBTQ2 community. Budget 2017 announced an investment of $3.6 million over 3 years to establish an LGBTQ2 Secretariat within the Privy Council Office. This secretariat supports the Government-appointed Special Advisor to the Prime Minister in developing and coordinating government initiatives on LGBTQ2 issues.