In 2011, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched a new pilot program, called the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Pilot. Between 2011 and April 2019, more than 80 LGBTQIA+ refugees were resettled in Canada through the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Pilot.
In June 2019, IRCC announced that Canada was introducing the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership (RRAP), a program which supports a greater number of Canadians hoping to privately sponsor LGBTQIA+ refugees fleeing violence and persecution. The aim of this new blended sponsorship program is to encourage more Canadians to support LGBTQIA+ refugees, with a target number of 50 privately sponsored refugees per year. With the RRAP, “Canada recognizes the specific vulnerabilities that LGBTQIA+ refugees face and will continue to work closely with the community to help them make Canada their home”.
Under the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership, the government of Canada will provide start-up costs and 3 months of support to LGBTQIA+ refugees who are privately sponsored by Canadians. The monthly income support for the remaining nine months of the sponsorship is provided by the sponsoring group. Because the costs are shared between the government of Canada and the private sponsors, it is called a blended sponsorship program. Rainbow Refugee Society, in collaboration with Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH), is responsible for submitting all applications under this partnership. The number of refugees sponsored through this program will not be deduced from SAH cap allocation.
For more information
- Rainbow Refugee Society – The community group IRCC partnered with to establish the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership
- Sponsor a refugee – This webpage from IRCC provides information about the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program
- Can I apply for refugee status as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning (LGBTQIA+) person? – This article includes information about applying for refugee status in Canada if you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning (LGBTQIA+).
- Lesbian and Gay Immigration Taskforce (LEGIT) – Information for same-sex individuals and couples who are sponsoring a partner, immigrating to Canada, or claiming refugee status due to their sexuality.
- EGALE – A Canadian LGBTQIA+ human rights organization that advances equality, diversity, education and justice.
- Positive Spaces Initiative Community Links – A listing of resources for the LGBTQIA+ community including advocacy groups, health services, support groups, public education, family services, faith groups and more.