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

ORAT is currently waiting to receive our 2019 allocation from Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC). Until we receive our 2019 allocation we are not able to submit any sponsorship applications to the government.

Once the allocation is received we will determine whether additional "Introduction to Resettlement" Information Sessions are needed.  Attendance at this session marks the first step in sponsoring a refugee through ORAT. Should the Introduction to Resettlement sessions be needed, we will post information on our Website and Facebook page directing you to our Eventbrite page, where you can register for this session.

We are requesting individuals interested in sponsorship to continue to monitor our website and Facebook page for this future announcement. Be advised that we do not have a waiting list. All calls to our office requesting to be put on a waiting list will be redirected to our Facebook page and our Website.

If you wish to sponsor a refugee, we encourage you to also consider alternative options that may be available, such as Group of 5 Sponsorship, Community Sponsorship, or other non-refugee immigration avenues.

You may also wish to contact other Sponsorship Agreement Holders in your area to see if they are accepting applications for sponsorship.

 (February 1, 2019)


Volunteer Opportunity at ORAT

Volunteers Job Description

The work of ORAT in 2018

ORAT 2018 Infographics

Vatican Releases Anti-Trafficking Resource

Geneva, 22 January 2019 - A new resource aims to inspire Catholics in their ministries both to eliminate human trafficking and to support its survivors.

The Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking were released in January by the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section. The publication provides in-depth insight into the issue of human trafficking, which Pope Francis has called a “crime against humanity.”

Migrant women who survived human trafficking playing soccer at an Italian reception center managed by nuns. © UNHCR/Jordi Matas “One of the darkest aspects of contemporary history,” states the new publication, “human trafficking victimizes millions of people all over the world.” Amongst its victims are the most vulnerable in society, including women, children, the disabled, the poorest and those who come from difficult family and social situations.

Human trafficking takes different forms, including sexual exploitation, forced marriage, slave labor, servitude, forced begging, organ-harvesting and reproductive exploitation among others.

Examining ten dimensions of this complex phenomenon as defined by international law, the new resource outlines a framework for the Church to respond. Its ten chapters explore the causes of human trafficking and why it persists today. They also examine how it operates and why it remains hidden from public view.

In the document’s preface, Frs. Fabio Baggio and Michael Czerny, Undersecretaries of the Migration and Refugees Section, explain that the publication aims to “motivate and sustain the much-needed long-term struggle” to eradicate human trafficking.

The new resource responds to Pope Francis’ declaration that “the Catholic Church intends to intervene in every phase of the trafficking of human beings.” Its development took six months of church-wide consultation with leadership, scholars and organizations working in the field.

Invited by the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section, the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) contributed insights for the development of the resource based on its past and present experience in responding to survivors of trafficking and of sexual and gender-based violence.

“ICMC and our national member organizations in many countries are committed to serve those who have been subjected to such abuse and to take strong action to eliminate these crimes. The Vatican resource will help us to become more effective in our efforts,” says ICMC Secretary General Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo.

Frs. Baggio and Czerny note that the publication’s guidelines are “deeply grounded in the Church’s reflection and teaching and its longstanding practical experience responding to the needs of men, women, boys and girls caught up in human trafficking and in slavery, both past and present.”

They hope the new resource will motivate and inspire the Church’s anti-trafficking ministries in dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, schools, universities and other organizations. The guidelines will also be useful as key messages for use in pastoral and educational work.

https://www.icmc.net/newsroom/church-news/vatican-releases-anti-trafficking-resource


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.


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.

h

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.


Mission

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.


Values

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.


Mandate

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:

   ShareLife logo