Office for Refugees,

Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT)

The Archdiocese of Toronto is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) that has an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to resettle refugees from overseas.
ORAT – Office for Refugees is a department of the Archdiocese of Toronto that administers the agreement and coordinates the resettlement program.



1. Who may be resettled in this program?

Based on the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act: those who are in refugee-like situation outside of their own country and outside of Canada, and their life would be at risk upon return to their homeland, AND who have no other durable solution.

2. Can I sponsor people who are still in their home country?

No, you should not even start any process if the people are still in their own country of origin. Keep in mind that they might be excluded from the program if they relocate only for resettlement purposes.

3. Who can sponsor/ resettle a refugee?

Group of Five (G5)– at least five Canadian citizens or permanent residents can initiate refugee sponsorship, if they fulfill the criteria.
Community Organization– incorporated or unincorporated organization, association, or business, based in the community where the refugees are expected to settle.
Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) – there are nearly 100 different faith related and ethnic organizations that have Sponsorship Agreements with the Government of Canada (CIC). ORAT represents the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto – with their Resettlement Groups (RGs); parishes, convents, religious institutions.

4. What role does ORAT play in the resettlement program?

ORAT administers the agreement between the Archdiocese and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC): acts as a bridge between the sponsors and the government. ORAT assesses cases and processes applications. ORAT’s work is financed by ShareLife. ORAT can help you learn more about resettlement through electronic newsletter and online forum, monthly seminars and workshops. ORAT does not sign or provide funding for sponsorships.

5. Do you have to be Catholic to be resettled or to use the services ORAT provides?

No, the services are provided to everyone regardless of religion, race, gender, political opinion. Being Catholic is not a requirement in order be sponsored by a parish
To initiate a sponsorship, after the orientation session please send all your answers on the questions provided on the session to:
Details are given in the orientation. Pre-registration is at ORAT:
Phone: (416) 645-0827 ext. 101 or
371 Old Kingston Road - Unit A, Scarborough ON, M1C 1B7

6. If I initiate a sponsorship for a refugee, what are my responsibilities as a co-sponsor?

Providing basic financial support – lodging, clothing, food, etc… – and care for the resettled refugee from the welcome at the airport until the end of the sponsorship period, usually for one year.

Sponsors need to complete a detailed settlement plan outlining the settlement arrangements put in place for the sponsored refugees. This lays out the logistical arrangements of the resettlement detailing who and how will help the refugee locate suitable housing, learn the official language, get a job, open a bank account, etc…

Sponsors work in tandem with ORAT both during the application process and throughout the resettlement period. This high-level of communication ensures the best possible situation for the arriving refugee.

7. I was referred to ORAT by a church…

ORAT can help you, but ORAT is not actually the resettlement group: the Office for Refugees only facilitates the resettlement done by you as a (co)sponsor and by Catholic institutions, parishes or religious orders. If a church that has referred you to ORAT is willing to help you in resettling your friend, ORAT can process your application: we can help you on how to do it.

8. Where can I find a list of Catholic parishes or other churches or groups that could act as a sponsor? What if I am not Catholic?

It is your responsibility to look for a parish that is willing to participate in the resettlement of your relative/ friend. You can use public sources to find parishes nearby you. You don’t have to be a Catholic or be affiliated with the church to get their help. Several non-Catholics are sponsored by Catholic churches. It is a good idea, but not the only option to approach the nearest parish to your home and talk to the parish priest. ORAT can advise you on how to approach a church. Request for Volunteers

9. I was told that I have to deposit money, but I do not need anything from the church and I can host the refugees when they come to Canada.

You do need to deposit money for covering the liability created by the resettlement process. It is considered as a safety deposit, so if you or the newcomer doesn’t use it, then the funds go back to the depositor after the resettlement process ended. The exact amount might vary as the parish determines it. It is used in case there is an emergency or sponsorship default. You need to clarify this with the parish. ORAT helps in the process but it is something that differs from parish to parish.

10. If I decide to use G5, in what way can ORAT assist me?

ORAT can refer you to counsellors at different settlement or community agencies, and to help you in preparing your application, usually free of charge. If you need a reliable lawyer or immigration consultant, ORAT can refer you there also, but keep in mind that you have to cover the retainer fee there.
ORAT can also provide answers to questions you may have about the process.