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Office for Refugees, Archdiocese Toronto (ORAT)


Pope Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Posted date: July 03, 2024

The theme announced by His Holiness Pope Francis for the 110th World Day of Migrants and Refugees is “God Walks with His People.” In his message, Pope Francis encourages us to unite in prayer for all those who have had to leave their land in search of dignified living conditions. May we journey together with them and entrust them to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary… as they continue their journey.”

To read Pope Francis’ complete message click here.


WDMR Poster 2024


10 years after Islamic State group's bloody rampage, Iraq's displaced Christians still struggle

Posted date: June 25, 2024

Source: The Catholic Register June 2024

For Iraqi Catholics, June 2014 marks an unforgettable and devastating chapter in their history. The Islamic State group's takeover of Mosul initiated a brutal campaign that ravaged the region Christians had called home for 16 centuries. The traumatic experiences of refugees like Rita, who fled Mosul with her family, highlight the profound impact of this conflict. Many now find refuge in Jordan, supported by Father Khalil Ja'ar and his parish, Mary Mother of the Church, who provide vital assistance such as schooling, healthcare, and emotional support. Despite ongoing challenges, these refugees remain steadfast in their faith and resilience, embodying a profound strength in the face of adversity.

Click here to read the full article.


UNHCR Operational Update Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia

Date posted: May 31, 2024 

Source: Operational Data Portal April 2024

On April 15, we marked one year of the conflict in Sudan, which has forced 8.6 million people to flee their homes, enduring countless tragedies along the way. With no end to the conflict in sight, the UNHCR urgently calls for an immediate ceasefire to alleviate the unimaginable human suffering. UNHCR continues to provide critical protection, healthcare, and humanitarian assistance to Sudanese refugees arriving in Ethiopia. Since April 2023, over 53,000 people from Sudan have sought safety in Ethiopia, highlighting the ongoing need for international support and intervention to address this crisis.

Click here to review the full report.


We ignore religious freedom ‘at our own peril’

Posted date: May 23, 2024

Source: The Catholic Register article by: Susan Korah

John McKay highlights the often-overlooked issue of Christian persecution, as evidenced by the 2024 World Watch List. This report underscores the plight of 365 million oppressed Christians globally, particularly focusing on the double jeopardy faced by Christian women. McKay calls for renewed government action, advocating for initiatives like the reinstatement of the Office of Ambassador for International Religious Freedom. To read the full article please click here.


Clarification of Immigration Canada's Policy "To Facilitate the Sponsorship of Specific Refugees Previously Sponsored by a Sponsorship Agreement Holder"

Date Posted:  May 14, 2024

Immigration Canada recently introduced a temporary public policy titled "To Facilitate the Sponsorship of Specific Refugees Previously Sponsored by a Sponsorship Agreement Holder.". This policy targets Principal Applicants (PAs) sponsored by a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) whose agreement is suspended or revoked. It allows affected PAs to seek an alternate sponsor, such as a Group of 5 or a Community Sponsor. Notably, Immigration Canada waives the requirement for the PA to possess a valid Refugee Status Document (RSD), which is mandatory for these sponsorship streams.

It's crucial to clarify that this policy has no impact on ORAT (Office for Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto) or any of its cases, as ORAT maintains good standing with Immigration Canada.


Artsakh’s Armenians: the forgotten refugee crisis

Posted date: May 7, 2024

Source: The Catholic Register

Amidst April's vibrant blooms in Nagorno Karabakh, a silence fills the air. For the first time in centuries, church bells remain still, marking the absence of the Armenian community. With Artsakh abolished, 100,000 Armenians now rebuild their lives in Armenia. Among them, Srbuhi Hayrapetyan's journey from Martakert reflects their resilience. Caritas Armenia provides solace, yet their needs outweigh available aid. Private citizens and advocates like Rupen Janbazian stand with them, amplifying their voices. In a world often overlooking their plight, these Armenians persevere, seeking to preserve their identity against erasure. To read the full article please click here.


Global Religious Restrictions Peak as Social Hostilities Decline

Posted date: May 2, 2024

Source: Pew Research Center

14th annual report includes a look at countries that restrict religious practices and grant benefits to religious groups at the same time. For further details and to review the study statistics, please click here.


Religious Restrictions Around the World

Posted date: May 2, 2024

Source: Pew Research Center

For more than a decade, Pew Research Center has been tracking global patterns in restrictions on religion – both those imposed by governments and hostilities committed by individuals and social groups. Click here to explore restrictions in 198 countries and territories and see how each country’s restrictions have changed since 2007.


Interested in temporarily hosting a family new to Canada?

Date posted: April 22, 2024

COSTI is committed to aiding recently arrived families in Canada as they navigate the challenges of settling into a new city. Your willingness to welcome a newcomer into your home for a short period can have a meaningful impact. To know more please see poster below.

New2Canada Host Prog Flyer


Gaza: “This is a very special Easter; we are closer than ever to the crucified Savior”

Posted date: March 19, 2024

Source: Aid of the Church in Need International

The Christian community in Gaza is going through the worst period since the outbreak of the war. Another Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) project partner, whose phone line is stable, but who the charity prefers to keep anonymous for fear of reprisals, says: “Our people are constantly suffering. Every time both sides talk about a truce, the intensity of military operations increases.” For the past two weeks the Al Zeyton neighbourhood, where the Holy Family parish is located, has suffered intense military clashes and shelling. 

Click here to read the full article.


Another Wave of Violence in Haiti & Immigration Canada’s Humanitarian Pathway for Haitian Nationals

Posted date: March 15, 2024

Source: The Catholic Register article by OSV News

As the wave of violence torments gang-decimated Haiti, six male religious, a lay teacher and a priest were kidnapped in two separate incidents that took place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. Click here to read the full article.

In November of last year, IRCC announced a new humanitarian pathway for Colombian, Haitian, and Venezuelan nationals with family in Canada.  For further details about this program please click here.


ACN to focus on Middle East, Sahel and Latin America in 2024

Posted date: March 15, 2024.

Source: Aid of the Church in Need International

Regina Lynch, executive president of Aid to the Church in Need, highlights the worrying increase in religious freedom violations around the world, but also the positive reaction to ACN campaigns such as Red Wednesday and One Million Children Praying the Rosary.

To Read the full article click here.


Check out Open Door’s 2024 World Watch List Report

Posted date: March 6, 2024

Source: Open Doors

Every year, Open Doors produces the World Watch List to rank the top 50 most dangerous countries in which to live in as a Christian. It is the product of extensive desk and field research and is the only document of its kind.

Click here view the full report.


Pope Francis Urges Respect for Places of Worship After Burkina Faso Attacks

Posted date: March 5, 2024.

Source: The Catholic Register article by Justin Mclellan, Catholic News Service

Following deadly attacks that claimed 15 lives at a Catholic church and a mosque in Burkina Faso, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of respecting places of worship, calling for an end to violence and the promotion of peace. The pope's sentiments were conveyed through a telegram signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, to Bishop Laurent Dabiré of Dori, president of the bishops' conference of Burkina Faso.

Click here to view the full article.


Deadly Attack on Catholics During Mass in Burkina Faso

Posted date: March 5, 2024.

Source: The Catholic Register article by OSV news

Recent reports confirm that at least 15 individuals were tragically killed during an attack on Catholics attending Sunday Mass in a village in Burkina Faso on Feb. 25. Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré of the Diocese of Dori has urged prayers for the deceased, healing for the wounded, and peace for the nation amidst escalating violence and unrest.

Click here to view the full article.


Bishop Affirms Christian Genocide in Nigeria

Posted date: March 4, 2024.

Source: National Catholic Register

Bishop Anagbe, who leads the Makurdi Diocese, warned that if greater action is not taken he believes the Christian population, roughly half of the total Nigerian populace, could disappear entirely in the next few decades.

Click here to view the full article.


Christians in Nigeria Demand Action After Massacres

Posted date: March 4, 2024.

Source: National Catholic Register

Thousands of Christians gathered at the governor's office in Plateau state, Nigeria, to demand action following the brutal Christmas massacres that claimed over 200 lives. The attacks, spanning from December 23 to Christmas day, have left Christian communities in the region devastated, with heartbreaking images showing villagers burying their loved ones in mass graves.

Click here to view the full article.

Persecution of Christians is the new normal in India

Date Posted:  February 13, 2024

Article written by: Ed Condon from The Pillar

In a statement this week, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, which includes the Latin, Syro-Malabar, and Syro-Malankara Churches, warned that “Destruction of homes and churches, harassment of personnel serving in orphanages, hostels, educational and healthcare institutions on false allegations of conversion have become common.”

The persecution is real, and it comes from the government as much as from the streets. 

The bishops noted that an increasing number of Indian states were implementing anti-conversion laws, “creating an environment where any Christian who shares their faith can be accused of a crime, intimidated, harassed and even met with violence.”

The statement comes two days after police arrested Fr. Dominic Pinto, a priest of the Diocese of Lucknow, and six others following claims that they had sought to convert Hindus in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. 

A spokesman for the Lucknow diocese said there was “not an iota of truth” in the accusation.

To Read the full article click here.


Alarming Exodus: Christians Fleeing Iraq

Date Posted:  February 2, 2024

Two prominent Church leaders urgently appeal for international assistance as violence escalates. Among them is Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, who representing the fearful people of Iraq, particularly minorities who suffer disproportionately, pleads for an end to war.

Click here to view the full article.


Anticipating Changes: A Glimpse into Canadian Immigration in 2024

Date Posted:  January 25, 2024

In 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is implementing significant changes.  Please click here for further information on Department and Program specific changes, including Express Entry, Provincial Nominee, International Student and Parents & Grandparents programs.


Nigerian Bishops Raise Concerns after Christmas Attacks on Christians

Date Posted:  January 25, 2024

In a series of coordinated attacks from Dec. 23 to Christmas Day, Fulani assailants reportedly killed 295, wounded 500, and displaced 10,000 in Nigeria's Plateau State. Primarily targeting Christian farming communities, victims faced delayed security responses, labeling the assailants as bandits. Analysts cite governmental neglect, ethnic conflicts, and Fulani economic struggles. While some blame climate change, Aid to the Church in Need-USA rejects it as the sole cause, emphasizing well-armed attackers and suggesting radicalization funding. Bishop Kukah warns of Christian distrust in government protection amid ongoing violence, signaling potential escalation. U.S. Congress proposes a special envoy, highlighting concerns over Nigeria's religious freedom violations. For more details click here


Filing Fee Increased to $525

Date Posted:  January 02, 2024

Every 5 years, each Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH), like the Archdiocese of Toronto, signs an agreement with Immigration Canada, which allows it to resettle refugees to Canada.  The Agreement stipulates the filing fee that SAHs can collect from cosponsors or Constituent Groups who wish to sponsor a refugee family.

In the prior 2018 Agreement, SAHs were able to collect a filing fee of $250 for each case that it submitted to Immigration Canada.  The current Agreement, signed in late 2023, allows SAHs to collect a filing fee of $525 to address rising administrative expenses associated with refugee sponsorship.

In keeping with the new Agreement and to offset the rising administrative costs, ORAT has raised its filing fee to $525 for each refugee sponsorship application submitted to Immigration Canada.

We sincerely appreciate the understanding of those impacted by this change, as it plays a necessary role in securing the continued success of our commitment to refugee sponsorship. Together, we strive to provide refuge and support to those seeking a new beginning.


New Permanent Pathway for Ukrainian Nationals

Date Posted:  December 22, 2023

Amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Canada is committed to aiding those escaping violence. The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), providing temporary refuge since March 2022, has supported over 185,000 Ukrainians; overseas applications closed on July 15, 2023. A new permanent residence pathway is now open, offering Ukrainian nationals in Canada with temporary status the opportunity to build their lives alongside family. The application period extends until October 22, 2024. Details and application instructions are available online.


Reconnecting Yazidi and Daesh survivors with their Families

Date Posted:  December 22, 2023

Canada addresses challenges for Yazidi and Daesh survivors, offering over 1,400 the chance to start anew. Reuniting families is key for integration and recovery. Beginning on December 1, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has allowed applications to be submitted under this temporary public policy. Up to 400 principal applicants, along with family, can come to Canada. The policy is in effect until the set number is reached or by December 31, 2026. Eligibility criteria include Iraqi nationality residing in Iraq and plan to live outside Quebec. Approved applicants receive one-year income support and 12 months of mental health coverage. To learn more about eligibility and applying click here.


Immigration Canada Announces New Pathway for Columbians, Haitians, and Venezuelans

Date Posted:  December 1, 2023

Immigration Canada has recently announced a new humanitarian pathway for Columbian, Haitian, and Venezuelan nationals who have family in Canada.  For further details about this program please click here.


West Papuans in Papua New Guinea: A Forgotten Refugee Population

Date Posted: November 13, 2023

It is a refugee crisis few have ever heard of, people from West Papua, part of Indonesia, have been fleeing conflict by crossing a porous international border on the same island to reach safety in Papua New Guinea, ever since a referendum considered seriously flawed took place more than 50 years ago.

Click here to view the full article.


Public Registration Update

Date posted: November 3, 2023

The online registration for the General Public program, which had run from Oct 23rd, 2023, to Oct 30th, 2023, has now been closed. A total of 322 applications were received, representing 1,121 refugees. The following table provided registration statistics based on the refugees' Country of Origin/Citizenship.

Post Public Registration

Due to the high demand for this program and the limited allocation provided by Immigration Canada, a random draw of registrants was conducted in the coming weeks. All cosponsors had an equal chance of being selected to proceed with their application through ORAT. Those selected received an invitation from ORAT to attend the virtual Introduction to Resettlement information session.

For those who were not contacted by ORAT, we encouraged them to reach out to other Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) in their area to explore the possibility of sponsorship through their organization. A list of SAHs could be found here.


Aid to the Church in Need Publications

Date posted: October 31, 2023

🌍 Every year, Aid to the Church in Need unveils its comprehensive global report, offering crucial insights into the persecution faced by Christians worldwide. Dive into the latest 2023 report to discover the highlights of this profound study. Click here to explore ACN's eye-opening report on the state of Christians across the globe. 📖


Letter from Archbishop Francis Leo on the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Date Posted:  September 28, 2023

His Grace, Archbishop Francis Leo has shared a letter on the occasion of the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.  Click here to see a copy of it. 


109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Date Posted:  September 27, 2023

Together with the community of Jesus the King Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Archdiocese of Toronto commemorated the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees at a special Mass that was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Markham, Ontario.  Monsignor Makarios Wehbi presided at the Mass with His Excellency Bishop John Boissonneau, Senior Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto, giving the homily.  Please click here to see the Mass and program. 


Canada must continue to open doors for refugees

Date Posted: September 29, 2023

Prayers were offered during the Archdiocese of Toronto’s commemoration of the 109th World Day of Migrants & Refugees for all refugees who have been forced to flee their homeland.  In a particular way, the suffering Christian community was remembered.  For further details of this event, please click here.


Catholic bishop hopes 'history will not repeat itself' after ceasefire in Armenian enclave

Date Posted: September 29, 2023

An Armenian Catholic Bishop said that he hopes "history will not repeat itself" following a Sept. 20 ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.  For further details click here


The persecution of Christians in Pakistan persists

Date Posted: September 29, 2023

In the face of this adversity, persecuted Christians proudly proclaim, "We are willing to sacrifice our lives for the sake of Jesus." This resolute stance comes as the world observes a day of awareness for violence based on religion. For further details click here


Pakistan Strengthens Already Harsh Laws Against Blasphemy

Date Posted: August 8, 2023

Earlier this year, Pakistan’s government expanded the reach of its Blasphemy Law.  While it is already a capital offense to insult Islam or its founder, Muhammad, the expanded law now provides for significant jail time for those who insult people connected to Muhammad.  This is a serious threat for all religious minorities in that country.  Please pray for this country and those affected by this insidious law. For further details click here.


Martyrs of the Third Millenium

Date Posted: August 8, 2023

Please join the Chaldean community in remembering and praying for religious minority populations who are facing great persecution and ongoing suffering.  For further details click here.


Chaldeans shocked by patriarch's removal of status

Date posted: August 1, 2023
Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid’s recent decision to revoke the official status of Patriarch Cardinal Louis Sako as the head of the Chaldean (Eastern-rite Catholic) Church of Iraq has left the country’s dwindling Christian community and the entire worldwide diaspora deeply hurt, said Bishop Robert Saeed Jarjis. Click here to view the full article.

Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay - For many today, migrating is the only choice

Date posted: July 31, 2023

What can we do so that migration is only one of several options, rather than the only choice? Building on Pope Francis' message for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees "Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay", a reflection by the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Card. Michael Czerny SJ, and a testimony from Syria. Click here to watch the full video.


Armenia in Crisis: The World Over 

Date posted: July 26, 2023

Sam Brownback, former US Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom, and Most Rev. Mikael Mouradian, bishop of the Armenian Eparchy of the US & Canada discuss the plight of Armenians & Armenian Christians in the face of a months long blockade by Azerbaijan. Click here to watch the whole interview.


Archbishop Leo receives pallium from Pope Francis

Date posted: July 7, 2023

Archbishop Francis Leo of Toronto joined 31 other metropolitan archbishops appointed over the past year who received their pallium from Pope Francis after Mass for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29. Click here to read the full article.


A Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

Date posted: June 14, 2023

Young Iraqi refugees are learning culinary and management skills in a program established at the church to help them when they reach their final destination in other countries. Click here to read the full article.


The Coming Christian Persecution: Tom Williams with Raymond Arroyo

Date posted: June 6, 2023

Dr. Tom Williams, Breitbart Rome bureau chief discusses his new book, “The Coming Christian Persecution”. On a global scale, Christian communities are being targeted for their beliefs, whether through violence or public policy, and it's a trend that continues to escalate. Dr. Thomas provides insight into what it means for the Church, how these outrages can be remedied and what Christians can do to prepare for what is to come. Click here to watch the full interview.


Pope Francis adds 21 Coptic Orthodox martyrs to Catholic list of saints

Date Posted: May 23, 2023

Pope Francis announces with Pope Tawadros II that 21 Coptic Orthodox martyrs will be inserted into the Roman Martyrology of the Catholic Church as a sign of the spiritual communion of the two Christian Churches. Click here to read the full article.

Sudan Conflict: Canada's Immigration Measures to Support Refugees and Families

Date Posted: May 17, 2023

The Canadian government has recently announced several steps that it is taking to help support refugees and families affected by the conflict in Sudan. Please click here for further information.


Update on Sudan from Immigration Canada

Date posted:  May 2, 2023

Immigration Canada is aware of the current state of emergency in Sudan and is closely monitoring the development of the situation. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of refugees extremely seriously and we continue to do everything we can, alongside its partners, to bring refugees safely and quickly to Canada as circumstances allow. For additional information, please refer to the Government of Canada news release .  In the meantime, should there be any changes to the PA’s  personal circumstances or whereabouts, including updates in your contact information, please notify the Rome Visa office as soon as possible, copying oratcases@archtoronto.org.


China-Vatican Deal Violated: Steven Mosher with Raymond Arroyo

Date Posted: April 24, 2023

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and China expert discusses the CCP's recent appointment of a Catholic bishop without Vatican approval, and China's increasing aggression toward Taiwan. Click here to watch the video.


More Than 5,000 Christians Were Killed in Nigeria Last Year

Date Posted: April 19, 2023

A new report found that last year, 5,068 Christians were killed in Nigeria and more than 3,000 others were kidnapped. President of the Religious Freedom Institute, Eric Patterson, joins to share what is behind the violence and kidnappings and whether anything is being done to put a stop to it. Click here to watch the full video.


Nigerian seminarian killed for  being Christian

Date Posted: April 17, 2023

Michael Nnadi, one of four philosophy students kidnapped in 2020 from a seminary in Nigeria's Sokoto diocese, was later found dead. Click here to read the full article.


Pakistan’s High Court Bar Association Threaten Religious Minorities with “Blasphemy”

Date Posted: April 11, 2023

Lahore’s High Court Bar Association has released an “extremely concerning” announcement, calling for a witch hunt against alleged “blasphemers” in Pakistan.  This is a real threat to all religious minorities across Pakistan.  For further information please click here.


Mass of Installation for Most Reverend Francis Leo

Date Posted:  March 27, 2023

On March 25, 2023, the Most Reverend Francis Leo was installed as Archbishop of Toronto, following the retirement of Cardinal Thomas Collins.

This event marks a new chapter for the Catholic Church in Toronto.  Please join us in praying for Archbishop Leo as he begins his work as the chief shepherd of this Archdiocese. 

To view the livestream of the Mass of Installation, click here.

Archbishop Leo-Official Portrait



Open Doors Releases its 2023 World Watch List

Date Posted:  February 13, 2023

More than 360 million Christians face high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith in Jesus. Click on the link below for the Top 50 countries where Christians face significant persecution.  World Watch List | Top 50 Countries of Persecution | Open Doors Canada


Christian leaders in Holy Land: Refugees suffer like Holy Family did
Date Posted: December 28, 2022

Comparing the suffering Jesus and the Holy Family endured to the way many people and refugees are suffering today, the patriarchs and heads of churches of the Holy Land reminded the faithful of the "deep and abiding love" God has for all his people. Click here to read the full article.


𝐒𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐧 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫, 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞: 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐝𝐨𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐦
Date Posted: November 18, 2022
In a speech that touched on social services, religious freedom, Christian persecution, healing and reconciliation, Cardinal Thomas Collins urges people of faith to be courageous in the face of an aggressively secular society. Pray for all those who are persecuted because of their faith, and do whatever we can to speak against this injustice and to provide support to those who are suffering.
Click here to view the full text of the address delivered by Cardinal Collins' at the 43rd annual Cardinal's Dinner on November 15, 2022.

IRCC Delayed in Issuing Application Numbers (G Numbers)

Date Posted: November 4, 2022

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been overwhelmed with responding to the Afghan refugee crisis and to those displaced by the war in Ukraine. This has caused considerable delays in processing the Private Sponsorship applications and has resulted in a substantial delay IRCC’s issuance of application numbers (G#) for the submitted cases.

Please note that ORAT has submitted all of its 2022 cases to Immigration Canada. 

We ask all cosponsors to be patient as we wait for the IRCC to issue the application numbers.  We have reached out to IRCC asking for an update on G numbers. We will update cosponsors and constituent group (CGs) as soon as an update is available from IRCC.


Canada deaf to persecuted Christians' cries

Date posted: July 22, 2022

The protection of persecuted Christians (and other faith minorities) is not at the summit of the Canadian government’s priorities. This was glaringly obvious to me as I attended the Summit on International Religious Freedom, hosted recently in Washington by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Click here to read the full article. 


'God opens the door' to Pakistani Catholic refugee family 

Date Posted: June 21, 2022

Younis Gil is a small man who struggles with English. Years of stress, uncertainty and hard labour have left an imprint. But he squares his shoulders, straightens his back, meets your gaze and smiles. With his wife Saleema Bibi and surrounded by three of his adult children plus a son-in-law, he is a proud pater familias embracing a life that a few months ago was hard to imagine. Click here to read the full article.


Update on Ukrainian Crisis

Date posted: March 23, 2022

With almost 4 million Ukrainian refugees hosted in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova, many are asking what can be done to assist them. The following is an overview of current and potential options to assist.

Ukrainian Relief Fund:   In addition to praying for the situation, the Archdiocese of Toronto has created the Ukrainian Relief Fund to help suffering Ukrainians. Funds raised will be directed to ORAT and CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association). This fund will provide humanitarian aid and refugee resettlement support to Ukrainians.  Donations can be made online by clicking here, or through parish donations, when the donation is designated to the Ukrainian Relief Fund.

Current Immigration Pathways

  • Immigration Canada Pathways: At present, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not established a refugee resettlement pathway for Ukrainians. Instead, they have created a number of programs to assist Ukrainian nationals, including an expedited travel visa process. Click here for further information on this program.  For information on other IRCC programs, click here
  • Ontario Pathways: Ontario’s Minister responsible for Immigration, Monte McNaughton announced a 5-point action plan to welcome those fleeing the crisis.  Among the programs is Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program.  For further information, please visit our website at orat.ca and search for the March 15th post entitled “Provincial Nominee Program Now Prioritizing Ukrainian Applicants”.

Hosting a Ukrainian Family:  We have received a number of inquiries from those who expressed a desire to host a Ukrainian family travelling to Canada under the expedited visa process.  We are currently in discussions with both Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox eparchies to explore how to facilitate this work.  We will provide further updates on this program as details emerge.

Refugee Resettlement: Once IRCC establishes a refugee pathway for Ukrainian nationals, ORAT is ready to launch a multi-pronged strategy to assist refugees, including:

  1. Parishioner Sponsored Family Program (family linked cases): ORAT will launch a program to assist parishioners of Latin Rite, Ukrainian Catholic, and Ukrainian Orthodox parishes who wish to sponsor a family member that has fled Ukraine.  These sponsorships are fully funded by the sponsoring family, who will also work to welcome and help integrate their sponsored family;
  2. Parish Sponsorship of a Ukrainian family (sponsoring the stranger program): ORAT will conduct mission trips to neighbouring countries of Ukraine that are hosting refugees.  We will select families to sponsor who have no family link in the west that are able to support them.  These families will be matched with parishes and community groups throughout the Archdiocese who wish to sponsor a family. While limited funds are available to sponsor these families, fundraising efforts are encouraged from participating groups.

Please let us know if you would be interested in participating in the “Hosting a Ukrainian Family” program and/or in the “Parish Sponsorship of a Ukrainian Family” program.  Kindly send your response by email to oratrefugeeoffice@archtoronto.org using the subject line “Help Ukraine”.  Further information on these programs will be provided as details emerge.


Provincial Nominee Program Now Prioritizing Ukrainian applicants

Date posted:  March 15, 2022

Ontario’s Minister responsible for Immigration, Monte McNaughton, has worked closely with Premier Doug Ford to help Ukrainians settle and find good jobs here in Ontario.

On March 15, Minister McNaughton shared five actions that his ministry is taking to welcome those fleeing this crisis. Building on actions already taken across government, Ontario is working with employers, labour leaders, faith organizations and community groups to stand with the people of Ukraine.

  1. Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program is now prioritizing Ukrainian applicants; 
  2. Our expanded Second Career program is providing up to $28,000 for Ukrainians who want to train for a new career;
  3. Employers all across Ontario have stepped forward with ~30,000 well-paying jobs;
  4. The third round of our Skills Development Fund will prioritize projects that upskill and train Ukrainian arrivals for in-demand jobs;
  5. Ontario’s settlement services are currently providing translations and support for recognizing Ukrainian education, licensing and certifications. 





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