Refugee Sponsorship Application Process - Announcement

In preparation for the 2019 refugee sponsorship period, the Office for Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto (“ORAT”) will be holding a number of information sessions, entitled “Introduction to Resettlement”, in the coming weeks.  Attendance at one of these sessions marks the first step for those who wish to sponsor a refugee through this office.

All attendees will have an equal opportunity of sponsoring through ORAT regardless of the session date. Attendees will be asked to submit the completed document, entitled “Sponsorship Steps at ORAT”.  The document will be uploaded on our website shortly and can be found here. Completed documents will be reviewed by ORAT on a first come first served basis.   

We expect to receive our 2019 allocation from Immigration Canada in late February, 2019.  As such, we will not be in a position to confirm whether that we are able to move forward with your refugee sponsorship application until that time.  Please be patient.

Registration for these Information Sessions will be available on our Eventbrite page at Please make sure to check our Eventbrite page often since the specific date and time that registration will begin for each session will not be announced.

Please note that seats for these sessions are limited.

Christians in the Middle East 2018 Benefit Dinner

Please join Cardinal Collins and Bishop Soro for an evening of friendship, education and fundraising in support of Christians in the Middle East. Ticket for this event are available at a cost of $75 or $540 for a table of 8.  Monies raised from this event go to help dioceses, religious orders and other Catholic groups deliver pastoral care and essential needs to Christians in places like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

If you are not able to attend this event, please consider assisting this suffering community with your prayers.

poster for benefit dinner

2018 ICMC Conference

In his message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees Pope Francis expressed the Church’s concern for migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking, and encouraged efforts at all levels of Government (Ecclesial and Political ) to help welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees. Like ORAT, many Catholic organizations strive to heed Pope Francis’ call to be like Christ, who identifies Himself with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.

One particular organization to highlight is the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC). ICMC is an international non-governmental organization whose mission is to protect and serve uprooted people, including refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, victims of human trafficking, and migrants - regardless of faith, race, ethnicity or nationality.

At the ICMC Council meeting in Rome from March 6 – 8, Pope Francis affirmed and encouraged ICMC members to continue the vital work they do saying “I would like to reaffirm that the cause of this organization is the cause of Christ Himself.” The ICMC Council, composed of representatives of all bishop’s conferences, met to accomplish a number of items, including the election of ICMC’s President, and approve membership of ICMC’s Governing Committee. His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, continues to be a member of ICMC’s Governing Committee. Video highlights of this year’s meeting are available on our Facebook page.  The videos showcase some of the efforts that the Church continues to make to address the plight of migrants and refugees.

Moral Sponsorship for Refugee Sponsorship Applications

ORAT recently held an information session for members of the general public (potential cosponsors) who wished to sponsor a refugee(s) for resettlement. One of the requirements that we placed on the attendees to the Information Session is that they secure a pledge of Moral Sponsorship from a parish within the Archdiocese.

Important Note: The member of the general public approaching a pastor should have attended ORAT's recent, mandatory information session, entitled "Introduction to Resettlement".  When a pastor is approached by a member of the general public who has not attended the Introduction to Resettlement Information Session, or by an overseas refugee seeking sponsorship, we would encourage that they be directed to contact ORAT.

By providing a Moral Sponsorship, a parish commits to assisting the cosponsor with the logistical elements of resettlement in the unlikely event that he or she is unable to do so. If your parish has or is planning to form a Resettlement/Constituent Group, I would ask that you please consider providing a Moral Sponsorship if you are approached by a member of the public who has attended the Information Session.

It is important for a parish to recognize that there is no financial obligation associated with a Moral Sponsorship. The full financial liability is deposited with the Archdiocese by the cosponsor at the time that the sponsorship application is submitted to Immigration Canada.

Please note that it is not ORAT's policy to direct potential cosponsors to a particular parish. We have asked that each potential cosponsor arrange to meet with a pastor in a parish near their residence and ask if they would be willing to provide moral sponsorship of their refugee sponsorship application.

If you have any questions about Moral Sponsorship, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 416-934-3400 x804 and ask to speak with someone from our Outreach team.

Update on Introduction to Resettlement Information Session

Please be advised that the Information Session entitled "Introduction to Resettlement" is full.

Due to the very limited spots provided to us by Immigration Canada and the overwhelming interest in Refugee Sponsorship the online registration was completed almost immediately after the registration opened. There were almost 18,000 hits on the Eventbrite website for this session. We understand that the vast majority of those who tried to register for the event were unable to do so. Please be assured that the registration was open and fair.  We understand that many are disappointed. We would recommend that you contact other Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) to see if they have spots available. A list of SAHs is available online at You may wish to also consider Community Sponsorship or Groups of 5 option. You can check the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program website ( ), who from time to time hold workshops on Groups of 5 and Community Sponsorship.

We have received a huge volume of phone calls as a result of today’s registration, please be patient and we will respond to the messages as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Cheque Requisition Form

Throughout the years ORAT has made several changes to the Cheque Requisition Form, which is used by Cosponsors and Constituent Groups alike to access monies that they have deposited with the Archdiocese of Toronto for the settlement of their newcomer.  Unfortunately, many cosponsors and Constituent Groups are making use of older and out-of-date forms.  This has introduced an unnecessary level of complexity into the process. 

As such, we are asking that all Cosponsors and Constituent Groups use the current Cheque Requisition Form that is available on our website.  Please click on the following link to access this document Resettlement funds deposit release - public.

For those that are accessing Project Hope funds, we would ask that you make use of the Project Hope Cheque Requisition Form, which is also available on our website at Resettlement funds deposit release - Project Hope

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

To Sponsor a Refugee through ORAT

For those who wish to sponsor a refugee through ORAT you are required to attend the Information Session entitled “Introduction to Resettlement.” The session will be held on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 from 11:00am to 1:00pm (EST). The location of the Information Session will be sent to attendees 24 hours in advance of the event.

Registration for the event will open online on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 11:00am (EST)

Below is the link to register on Eventbrite once registration opens:

2018 Allocation from Immigration Canada

ORAT has received its 2018 quota from the Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Unfortunately the quota is extremely limited. For those who wish to sponsor a refugee we will be posting information shortly regarding the Information Session “Introduction to Resettlement.” You will be informed how to register for this session at that time. Space is quite limited and seats for this event will be allocated on a first come/first served basis. Please stay tuned for more information.

Be advised that we do not have a waiting list and thus calls to our office requesting to be put on a waiting list will be redirected to our Facebook page and our Webpage.

Awaiting 2018 Allocation from Immigration Canada

We have received many calls inquiring about our allocations for 2018 (the number of refugees that ORAT can submit refugee sponsorship applications for). Please note that we are still waiting for Immigration Canada to provide us with information about our spots. We ask you to be patient and we will post the information once it becomes available, including the steps that you would have to take to sponsor a refugee.

ORAT Office Changes

I wish to share with you an update regarding some staff changes at the Office for Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT).

We extend our deep gratitude to Dr. Martin Mark for his 15 years of faithful service, passionately advocating for refugees worldwide. Martin is leaving his leadership role in the Office for Refugees to pursue other opportunities outside of the Archdiocese of Toronto. He has built a strong team and has implemented systems that will position ORAT for continued success in the future.

There was an opportunity to publicly thank Dr. Mark after the World Day of Migrants and Refugees Mass that took place on Sunday, January 14 at the Good Shepherd Chaldean Cathedral in Thornhill.

Cardinal Collins has appointed Deacon Rudy Ovcjak to serve as Director of the Office for Refugees moving forward. He has managed the operations for the office since 2016, overseeing the day-to-day work of the department and its dedicated staff. 

As we have marked the occasion of the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, please join me in offering our prayers for the countless refugees throughout the world, for Dr. Martin, Deacon Rudy, and for the countless volunteers across our parish and community groups who are involved in the important work of addressing the plight of refugees.

In Christ,

Fr. Ivan Camilleri
Moderator of the Curia, Archdiocese of Toronto

104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees

World Day of Migrants and Refugees – Mass & Reception

Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 1:00 P.M.

The theme announced by His Holiness Pope Francis for the 2018 World Day of Migrants and Refugees is “Welcoming, Protecting, Promoting and Integrating Migrants and Refugees”. In his message, Pope Francis reminds us that “every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.”

A special Mass commemorating the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be celebrated on Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Chaldean Catholic Cathedral, located at 2 High Meadow Place in North York.  Bishop Kirkpatrick will be the homilist for this Liturgy.  A reception will follow with a number of dignitaries in attendance. All are welcome to attend!

Please click here to see Pope Francis’ entire message.

Update from the Office for Refugees of the Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT)

Please note that ORAT has used up its annual quota for 2017, which was allocated by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Therefore we are no longer able to submit applications to the government this year.

If you wish to sponsor a refugee, we encourage you to consider alternative options that may be available, for example, Group of 5 Sponsorship, Community Sponsorship, or other non-refugee immigration avenues. More information about these methods is available on

To stay up to date, and to know when ORAT will be accepting applications again, please visit our website or link to the Facebook page.

If you have a general inquiry or you need any clarification, email us at: 

(May 2, 2017)

The work of ORAT in 2016


Support available from ORAT

  • Provides information sessions for the general public regarding refugee resettlement as well as other Canadian immigration options.

  • Is the liaison between parishes, the Archdiocese and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in refugee resettlement.

  • Assesses resettlement applications and settlement plans.

  • Monitors all procedures before and after submission of a resettlement application and the integration process.

  • Invites you to enroll in the resettlement email distribution to receive information about refugee related issues regularly.


ORAT assists the faithful and enables them to provide assistance for uprooted people by helping parishes, religious orders, Catholic institutions and others to find durable solutions for refugees in need. Additionally the ORAT provides similar services to Christian communities in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Toronto. 
ORAT is a venue of communication, cooperation and collaboration for refugee serving organizations in the Archdiocese to improve the level of services provided by Catholic organizations.

ORAT works with partners nationally and internationally to ameliorate the situation of uprooted people.


ORAT operates in accordance with the Ten Building Blocks of Catholic Social Teachings and with the generally respected values, philosophy and principles of the Catholic Church.


ORAT facilitates the Sponsorship Agreement of the Archdiocese of Toronto; animates and coordinates the Catholic network on refugee assistance; liaises with other civic sponsors, dioceses and archdioceses, and international organizations such as ICMC (International Catholic Migration Commission), UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and other refugee serving members of the international community on issues such as resettlement, protection and social justice.

ORAT's mandate covers the entire geographic area of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto and where members of resettlement groups reside beyond these geographical boundaries.

ORAT is also mandated to link and network with organizations nationally and internationally for greater cooperation.

Services Offered

Information Sessions: ORAT provides general immigration and refugee information sessions open to the public on a regular basis. The goal of these sessions is not only to ensure that people understand the Civic Resettlement of Refugees (CRR) Program, but that they are also empowered with the knowledge on all the ways a person can legally enter into Canada.

Parish Information Events: ORAT is available to provide support with information nights to parish councils, committees or just simply, interested parishioners, on general refugee issues, on civic sponsorship opportunities, etc. Please inquire with the Resettlement Educator if you are interested in hosting information sharing event or the monthly seminar.

Training: ORAT provides training to those interested in learning more about settlement and integration on an ongoing basis. Additionally, ORAT publishes a newsletter to give updates regularly.

Referrals: Although ORAT's main focus is the civic sponsorship work, ORAT can assist parishes, religious orders, chaplaincies, Catholic institutions and related groups in finding professional service providers with regard to refugee and immigrations issues or advocacy needs.

ORAT is funded by:

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