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Office for Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT)


PRSN workshop: Accessing the Trades in Ontario - February 25, 2023

Date Posted: January 31, 2023



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.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Date Posted: December 24, 2022

May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Nativity 2022
𝐒𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐧 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫, 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞: 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐝𝐨𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐦
Date Posted: December 19, 2022
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic woman who escaped death for alleged blasphemy and who now lives in Canada, has appealed for the protection of victims of blasphemy laws in her home country. Click here to read the full article.


Employment Opportunity


Office for Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT)

830 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON M5R 3G1

Full time (35 of hours per week)


The Office for Refugee at the Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT) is seeking a full time Resettlement Educator and Data Specialist to develop, organize, and present information sessions about the administration of the Sponsorship Agreement of the Archdiocese of Toronto allowing parishes to resettle overseas refugees. Reporting to the Manager of Case processing, this role oversees the production of ORAT’s monthly newsletter, is responsible for volunteer recruitment & coordination and manages the case management system.



  • Database Development & Management – Development/management of ORAT’s Master Excel Sheet to ensure for accurate record keeping of sponsored cases;
  • Information Session Presentations – Organize, coordinate and present Information Session; including scheduling of events on Eventbrite and on ORAT’s Outlook calendar;
  • Content Development – Develop content for new Information Sessions; and ensure all Information Session content is up to date;
  • Responsible for content development of ORAT’s monthly newsletter;
  • Resettlement Support – As required, assist with Case Assessments and with the review of Document checklist materials for cases that are to be submitted to Immigration Canada;
  • Volunteer Coordination – Recruit, facilitate screening, and coordinate use of volunteers for various tasks;
  • Other duties, as required.


General Requirements:

  • College degree with focus on forced migration, social justice or equivalent is preferred;
  • Detailed knowledge of Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program;
  • Exceptional technical skills, including: advanced knowledge of MS Excel, and strong knowledge of PowerPoint and MS Word
  • Very strong knowledge of MS Access, SQL and TSQL, and VBA is preferred
  • Strong knowledge of Adobe Premier and other video editing programs
  • Good knowledge of Eventbrite and virtual webinar platforms (e.g., GotoWebinar, MS Teams and Zoom)
  • Excellent public speaking & group animation skills, and written & oral communication skills;
  • Strong organizational and time management skills;
  • Experience in working with Catholic parishes and religious orders is an asset;
  • Ability to speak Arabic and/or French is an asset;
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends and willingness to work additional hours when required
  • A criminal background check will be required of the successful applicant.

Those wishing to be considered should submit their resume and cover letter in MS Word or PDF format noting position number 2022-25 to: Stephanie Nargoz, Director, Human Resources at hr@archtoronto.org. Deadline for receipt of applications is December 5, 2022. We thank all applicants, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

 In compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the Archdiocese of Toronto provides reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If contacted for an interview, applicants should make any accommodation needs known at that time.

Red Wednesday unveils horrors faced by persecuted Christians

Date Posted: November 21, 2022

Forced conversions, lost childhoods, years of hiding, living in limbo — the persecution Christians face around the world was given specific, concrete shape by the testimony of survivors at the annual Red Wednesday vespers in Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica. 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.


108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Date Posted: September 29, 2022

On Sunday, September 25th we marked the 108th World Day of Migrants & Refugees at St. Joseph Syriac Catholic Church, in Mississauga.  Mass was celebrated followed by a reception.  His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins presided at Mass, with Bishop Paulos Nassif delivering the homily.  A number of dignitaries were also present, including: Rechie Valdez, MP for Mississauga—Streetsville, Ontario, who brought greetings from the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada;  Jasraj Singh Hallan, MP for Calgary Forest Lawn, Alberta., (Conservative Shadow Minister for Immigration); Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore; Aris Babikian, MPP for Scarborough-Agincourt; and Sheref Sabawy, MPP for Mississauga-Erin Mills. Special thanks to Fr. Manhal Abboush and the Refugee Committee at St. Joseph Syriac Catholic Church for the wonderful job in hosting this event.

Click here to view the Mass and  subsequent speeches.


The 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees – Sunday, September 25, 2022

From: Deacon Rudy Ovcjak, Director

The theme announced by His Holiness Pope Francis for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees is “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.” Click here to see Pope Francis’ entire message.

This occasion will be marked with the celebration of Mass, which will take place on Sunday, September 25, 2022 at 10:30 AM at St. Joseph Syriac Catholic Church, located at 999 Lakeshore Road East, Mississauga, ON. Cardinal Collins will preside and Bishop Paulos Nassif will be the homilist. A reception will follow. All are welcome.

Please click here to obtain a soft copy of the poster for this event.  Consider making this available to parishioners.

I invite you to mark this day in your parish. Included below are some suggestions for the day:

  1. Refer to the day, and the issue of migrants and refugees in the Prayers of the Faithful;
  2. Recognize any refugee families that your parish community has sponsored in the past few years; and,
  3. Recognize the work of your parish refugee committee in helping address the plight of refugees.

Suggested Prayers of the Faithful

  1. For all people displaced around the world, driven from their homeland because of war, persecution and injustice. We pray to the Lord.
  2. For migrants and refugees, that in the hospitality of Christians, they may experience God’s compassion. We pray to the Lord.
  3. For the many volunteers who carry out loving deeds and who are dedicated to welcoming refugees, may they know the love and blessing of God. We pray to the Lord.

Suggested Bulletin Announcement

The theme announced by His Holiness Pope Francis for the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees is “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.” In his message, Pope Francis reminds that inclusion of those most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in God’s Kingdom. Indeed, the Lord says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:34-36).

WDMR 2022

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.


IRCC Announces 2022 Allocations

Date Posted, July 18, 2022

Immigration Canada (IRCC) has just announced to Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) their allocation for 2022, which is the number of refugees that a SAH is able to sponsor this year.  In the coming weeks we will be submitting applications to IRCC that we have already received from cosponsors.  Since we have fulfilled our allocation for this year, we are unable to process any additional applications.

We encourage you to monitor our website for further information on the Public Session Registration, which we plan to hold later this year.


Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees: a future to build together

Date posted: July 4, 2022

Building the future with migrants and refugees is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 108th World Day of Migrants & Refugees (WDMR). In order to walk together towards the WDMR, which will be celebrated on Sunday, September 25, 2022, the Migrants and Refugees Section (M&R) is setting up an itinerary that begins with the Holy Father's Message, where he emphasizes the fact that a better future is only possible if it is achieved together with the most vulnerable. Pope Francis reflects on the sub-theme "a future to build together" and involves us by directly asking us a question. Along with the Holy Father’s, there is also a witness from His Eminence Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, who shares his experience of living together with migrants on the island of Lampedusa. 

Click here to watch the full video.


Many Come to Thank Cardinal Collins for His Support of Refugees

Date Posted: June 24, 2022

Hundreds came together from various communities, including Chaldean, Ge’ez Rite, Melkite Catholic, Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Latin Rite and others to thanks Cardinal Collins for his support of refugees.  Since 2009, the Office for Refugees from the Archdiocese of Toronto has worked under the leadership of Cardinal Collins to resettle thousands of refugees to Canada.  Click here for a detailed report on this event.


Thanks to our Event Sponsors

We wish to thank the following sponsors of the event which thanked Cardinal Collins for his support of refugees. The platinum sponsor of this event is RAFAT General Contractor Inc. The Gold sponsor is Zayouna Law Firm. For further information click here.


'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.


Thank You Event for Cardinal

Date posted: May 8, 2022

ORAT has been working closely with a number of Eastern Rite Catholic and Orthodox churches, whose communities have been greatly helped by Cardinal Collin’s support of refugee resettlement.

These communities wished to express their thanks to Cardinal Collins for his leadership in this area; a leadership that has helped to save over 5,000 refugees from terrible persecution and violence since 2009, giving them new hope and a new life in Canada. A banquet has been organized to thank Cardinal Collins for his work.

The banquet will take place at 6PM on June 18th at the Toronto Grand Convention Centre. Mass will be celebrated at 4PM on the same day at the Good Shepherd Chaldean Cathedral. Tickets for the banquet are $75.00.

Consider attending this event to thank His Eminence and to show your continued support of this important work. Please contact Eleanor D’Souza at oratrefugeeoffice@archtoronto.org or by phone at (647) 494-5419 ext. 4 if you would like to purchase tickets for this event.

Cardinal Collins Thank You Celebration


Easter Wishes

Date posted: April 19, 2022

Wishing you and your family a very blessed and joy-filled Easter. 

Let us give thanks to Him who has conquered death and who invites us to share in His resurrection.

Christ is Risen!  Indeed He is truly Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!!

Easter 2021


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.


IRCC Announces a Further Delay for 2022 Submissions

Date Posted: March 16, 2022

The Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has just announced to Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs), of which ORAT is one,  that they will not be able to submit any refugee sponsorship applications to IRCC until the beginning of May. It was also announced that submissions at that time may be significantly restricted.

For those that have begun the refugee sponsorship process with ORAT in late 2021 or in 2022, we ask that you continue to exercise patience, that you monitor our website for further updates, and that you refrain from contacting our office to inquire about any 2022 cases.


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. 


Aid to the Church in Need Publications

Date posted: March 10, 2022

On an annual basis Aid to the Church in Need releases a published global report which include highlights of persecution of Christians around the world. Click here to view ACN's latest 2021 report on Christians worldwide.


Prayer, charity, and fasting are 'weapons of the spirit' for Ukraine, Pope says

Date posted: March 7, 2022

Pope Francis said that “prayer, charity, and fasting,” are “weapons” that can change history and are especially needed today in his prepared remarks for Ash Wednesday. Click here to read the full article.


Additional Immigration Support for Those Affected by the Situation in Ukraine

Date posted: March 4, 2022

In response to the current conflict, Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is implementing a series of measures to aid Ukrainians and people residing in Ukraine to seek harbour in Canada. Click here to read the full article.


Canada to Welcome Those Fleeing The War in Ukraine

Date posted: March 4, 2022

In support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is introducing new immigration streams for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily or permanently. Click here to read the full article.


Date posted: March 2, 2022


Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent, in which all Catholics are called to prepare for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery; that is the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Lent continues for 40 days until the beginning of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a privileged time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving, providing an opportunity for Catholics to renew and deepen their relationship with Jesus, and to amend their lives, so that they might live as He taught.

On this Ash Wednesday, and in response to the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, Pope Francis has asked that all believers pray and fast for peace in this troubled part of the world. “I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on this day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”

Wishing you a blessed and fruitful Lent.


Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief

Date Posted:  March 1, 2022

In response to the unfolding crisis in the Ukraine, the Archdiocese of Toronto has launched a humanitarian relief effort to help the Ukrainian people.  Funds raised will be directed to ORAT (Office for Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto) and CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association).  Please click here for further information about this appeal and to learn how you can help.


The Canadian Government's Response to displaced Ukrainians

Date Posted:  March 1, 2022

The Canadian government is working quickly to assist those that have been forced to flee war in the Ukraine.  Please click here for further information.


Statement from the CCCB on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Date Posted:  March 1, 2022

The Executive Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) condemns the escalation of tensions and violence in the Ukraine marked by Russia’s invasion, which was seen today, Thursday, February 24, 2022, in the form of militarization and bombing in various Ukrainian cities.

In solidarity with the Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, in unison with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the people of Ukraine as well as with Canadians of Ukrainian origin and descent, we encourage the faithful and all people of good will to pray for the imminent restoration of peace, dialogue and human fraternity.

Conscious of the regrettable lessons about violence which we have all learned throughout human history, we implore all involved to pursue non-violent means to resolve disputes and disagreements. The use of military force does not favour dialogue and peace; rather, it endangers innocent human life, the dignity of the human person and the security and safety of all the people caught up in this conflict.

Jesus came to bring the gift of peace, and it is through Him that new pathways of dialogue can be opened, even when all other avenues appear closed. With Pope Francis, who has entrusted this situation to the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, we ask Our Lady, through her powerful intercession, to open hearts so that anger, resentment and division may start to be healed and that any further escalation of unnecessary violence may be avoided.

War in Ukraine
Date Posted: February 25, 2022
Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, in response to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, has asked that prayers be offered at all Masses this weekend for those suffering in this war. Many have been displaced and have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries. The Office for Refugees is carefully monitoring this situation to see how we are able to assist those who have been forced to flee their homeland. Please click on the attach link for further information about this unfolding humanitarian crisis. Click here to read the full article.

Update on 2022 Submissions

Date Posted: February 1, 2022

In the fall of each year, ORAT begins its work to register cases for the upcoming submission year. In the past several years, Immigration Canada has allowed Private Sponsors to start submitting cases as early as January 1st.  Unfortunately, this is not the case this year.  Immigration Canada is currently not accepting refugee sponsorship applications from Private Sponsors.  We are waiting on Immigration Canada to announce to Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH) when they can begin to submit applications.

For those that have begun the process with ORAT in late 2021, we ask that you continue to exercise patience.  We will announce when Immigration Canada begins accepting applications.  In the meanwhile, we would ask that you monitor our website for updates and that you not contact our office to inquire about the status of your case.

It is also important to note that Immigration Canada is currently experiencing a 12 week delay in processing cases (i.e., cases that were submitted in 2021).   Under normal circumstances, Immigration Canada issues Approval Letters and G Numbers 1-2 weeks after receiving the application.  This is now taking up to 12 weeks. 


UPDATE: Public Registration & Operation Afghan Safety Registration

Date Posted: January 20, 2022

The online registration for the General Public and Operation Afghan Safety(OAS) programs, which took place simultaneously from January 3, 2022 to January 9, 2022, has closed.  A total of 439 eligible applications were received, representing 1,414 refugees.  The following table provides the registration statistics based on the refugee’s Country of Origin.

2022 Registration Statistics

Given the high volume of demand for these programs, and the limited allocation provided to us by Immigration Canada, we will conduct a random draw for both programs.  All cosponsors will have a equal chance to be selected to move on with their application with ORAT. Those selected will be invited by ORAT to attend the virtual Introduction to Resettlement information session. This is a mandatory session for cosponsors, and marks the first step in sponsoring a refugee through ORAT.


We are currently waiting on Immigration Canada to provide us with further information on the 𝐎𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐟𝐠𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐭𝐲 (OAS) program. Once we have received this information we will proceed with the draw.  

We would like to thank all registrants for their continued patience, as we await further information from Immigration Canada.

We will provide a further update when we are able to proceed with the draw.


Afghan Human Rights Defenders Arrive in Canada

Date posted: January 20, 2022

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced the arrival in Canada of over 250 Afghan refugees, including 170 human rights defenders, as government-assisted refugees. Canada has a long and proud tradition of standing up for human rights at home and abroad. Click here to read the full article.


Research Participants Needed

Date posted: January 19, 2022


General Public Registration & information on Operation Afghan Safety

Date Posted: December 24, 2021

ORAT is pleased to announce the details of the following two refugee resettlement programs.  Cosponsors for both programs must reside in the Greater Toronto Area.

  • General Public Registration: This program is intended for member of the General Public who wish to sponsor family members who are in need of refugee resettlement. This programs is not intended for cosponsors who are parishioners of Catholic Churches, or of Eastern Rite Catholic or Orthodox churches within the Archdiocese of Toronto, with whom ORAT has developed specific programs for its members; and
  • Operation Afghan Safety: This program has been developed in conjunction with Immigration Canada as a response to the unfolding refugee crisis in Afghanistan.  This special program is intended to assist those who wish to sponsor an Afghan refugee from specific vulnerable populations, which Immigration Canada has defined.

Online registration will take place simultaneously for both programs and will begin on Monday, January 3, 2022 at 12:01AM and will close on Sunday, January 9, 2022 at 11:59PM. 

If you wish to sponsor a refugee for either program, please click on the following link:  https://intro-to-resettlement-public-2022.eventbrite.ca.

Given the expected high level of demand for these programs, registrants will be limited to sponsor 1 (one) family.  Families, as defined by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), are comprised of mother, father and dependent children under the age of 22.  Exceptions may be granted to those who wish to sponsor more than one family when there are compelling reasons to do so.  Please note that we will not consider any changes to the name of the Cosponsor or the name of the Principal Applicant (i.e., head of the refugee family) once the registration form has been completed.

Also, it is important to note that registering for these programs is NOT a guarantee that you will be able to sponsor through ORAT. Given the limited allocation given to ORAT by Immigration Canada for each program, and the expected large number of registrants, ORAT will be holding a draw for each program.  All registrants within each program have an equal chance of being selected and invited to attend the “Introduction to Resettlement” Information Session.  Only those with winning draw numbers will be invited to attend the online information session.  For those invited, attendance is mandatory, marking the first step in sponsoring a refugee family through this office.

While Refugee sponsorship is not without cost, there is NO fee for registering for this program.  However, those cosponsors that are allowed to proceed with the sponsorship process, will be required to deposit 100% of the liability with ORAT prior to the case being submitted to IRCC.  These monies are held in trust for the refugee and are disbursed on a quarterly basis upon their arrival to Canada.   We ask that you not register if you are unable to deposit the required monies. 

The estimated average processing time for Immigration Canada for applications submitted to them in 2022 is 3 years.  The table below outlines the estimated cost of sponsorship for refugees that arrive to Canada in 2025.  Please note that additional monies are required to sponsor senior citizens.  A table of these additional costs has also been provided.

Sponsorship Cost Table

Sponsorship Cost Table

Additional Funds Required for Seniors

Additional Funds required for Seniors


Afghanistan: How many refugees are there and where will they go?

Date posted: December 2, 2021

Thousands of people are scrambling to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban seized back control of the country, almost two decades after they were ousted by a US-led coalition. Experts expect that most new Afghan refugees will flee to neighboring Iran and Pakistan, where hundreds of thousands of Afghans already reside. Click here to read the full article.


The 2021 World Day of Migrants & Refugees

Date Posted: November 26, 2021

The celebration of this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR), on Sunday, September 26, is now a happy memory. The words of Pope Francis in the Angelus in St. Peter's Square, in ardent affection and support for migrants, refugees and those who assist them, continue to inspire us.

The video below was created to preserve and share the beautiful highlights of that Day. In addition to the Holy Father’s words, it shows scenes from celebrations of the WDMR in various parts of the world as well as in Rome. 

Migrants & Refugees 26-Nov-21


Red Wednesday honours persecuted Christians

Date: November 23, 2021

St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica once again stood up for persecuted Christians — one of dozens of cathedrals around the world illuminated for Red Wednesday. On a night dedicated to modern martyrs, Cardinal Thomas Collins urged Christians to “thank God for the gift of martyrs” and to “imitate them.” Click here to read the full article.

Red Wednesday          St. Michael's Cathedral Red Wednesday


Quarantine Requirements for Privately Sponsored Refugees Q&A

Date Posted:  October 25, 2021

Question:  When is a PSR newcomer exempt from the requirement to quarantine? Is there any documentation provided to the newcomer in this regard?

 Answer: Immigrant Reception & Information Services (IRIS) at Toronto Pearson Airport provide assistance to all Government Assisted Refugees and Privately Sponsored Refugees. Travelers who have been exempt from the mandatory quarantine are given a handout titled “Mandatory Requirements for Fully Vaccinated Travelers without COVID-19 Symptoms Arriving in Canada by Land, Air, or Water.”  However, Immigrant Reception & information Services (IRIS) has indicated that they have not seen a lot of resettled refugees (PSRs and GARs) receive this document.

Question:  What is the meaning of the circular lime-green ‘PHAC’ sticker that has been placed on a newcomer’s Single Journey Travel Document?

Answer: Immigration Reception & Information Services (IRIS) advised that when the travelers, including resettled refugees, are told they are exempted from quarantine, the CBSA officer will put a lime green circle sticker (printed with PHAC) on their documents, so, they will not need to line up to receive the COVID-19 test at the airport and quarantine. There are security guards checking every passenger’s document before they are permitted to go outside to the public area. Please note that this is the current procedure at the Toronto Pearson Airport.


Special Program for Afghans Who Assisted Canada

Date Posted: August 30, 2021

In response to the unfolding situation in Afghanistan; Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) initiated a special program to help Afghanis. This program aims to resettle Afghan nationals from within Afghanistan whose employment involved a significant and/or enduring relationship with the Government of Canada, which could be, but is not limited to:

  • Interpreters who worked with the Canadian Armed Forces
  • Local staff who currently or used to work at the Embassy of Canada in Afghanistan

Recently, IRCC has updated the eligibility requirements for this special program. Right now, Afghan nationals do not need to currently be in Afghanistan to apply for this program. If they and/or their family members leave or have left Afghanistan (on or after July 22, 2021), they may still apply if invited to do so, and their application will still be processed under the Government-Assisted Refugees Program.

Applicants do not need to return to Afghanistan to finalize their application or to provide biometrics or have a medical exam.

For more information please click Here .


"Towards an ever wider WE": A Church that reaches out

Date Posted: July 6, 2021

Caring for those who are wounded: this is another step along the way to the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2021. Pope Francis asks the Church “to go out into the streets in the existential peripheries to heal those who are wounded and to seek those who are lost”, fearlessly and without discrimination. Click here to watch the video.


Getting Involved in Refugee Sponsorship

Date Posted: June 30, 2021

Please click here to access a video produced by Immigration Canada, which presents the beauty of refugee resettlement, and some ideas on how to mobilize volunteers to assist in refugee resettlement.


"Towards an even wider WE": One Church, one home, one family

Date Posted: June 4, 2021

In his new video, the Holy Father invites every baptized person to feel part of a single Church, a single home, a single family. The video contains the personal testimony of migrants who feel part of this “we”. Their experience of being welcomed in a parish shows that the dream of Pope Francis can be realized. Please click here to watch the full video.


Authorities in northern China arrest bishop, priests 
Date Posted: May 28, 2021
Authorities in northern China have arrested a Vatican-appointed Catholic bishop, his seven priests and 10 seminarians in what is seen as part of a renewed crackdown on the underground Catholic Church in the communist country.
Please click here to read the full article.


Report Finds Most of the World's Population Lives in Countries Where Religious Freedom is Violated

Date Posted: April 22, 2021

Religious Freedom Threat

In its 15th Report on Religious Freedom in the World, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) warns of severe threats to this fundamental right worldwide. The report has been produced by international Catholic pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), notes that religious freedom is violated severely in one out of every three countries. According to this report-officially presented in Rome and in other major cities around the world today. This fundamental right was not respected in 62 (31.6%) of the world's 196 countries between 2018 and 2020. Marcela Szymanski discusses report findings and sheds light on what concrete things are being done to defend religious freedom around the world.

To watch the full video, please click the following link:



Refugee endowment keeps on giving!

Date Posted: October 29, 2020

Please click on the following link to learn more about how endowments can assist the church's work in assisting refugees.



ORAT's Sponsor Resource Toolbox

Date Posted:  June 15, 2020 

As part of our continued effort to support sponsors in their work to settle and integrate newcomers to Canada, we have put together a toolbox of information about various aspects of settlement, as well as links to some of the most commonly provided services for newcomers.  This information has been compiled into a kit entitled the "Sponsor Resource Toolbox", and is intended to be a quick reference tool for Constituent Groups (CGs) and Cosponsors to locate services for their newcomers. It is our hope that along with the CG Handbook, the Sponsor Resource Toolbox will assist you in the work of settling newcomers within the Archdiocese of Toronto.  

The Sponsor Resource Toolbox is a searchable pdf document, and is designed to be as accessible as possible. By simply clicking on the relevant subject matter in the Table of Contents, the user is automatically brought to the corresponding section in the toolbox.  

To access this document, visit the "Resources" section on ORAT's website or click on the following link: https://www.archtoronto.org/refugee/Documents/O%20Sponsor%20Resource%20Toolbox%2011-Jun-20.pdf 

We hope that you find this toolbox to be a helpful resource in your work to support your newcomer.   If you have any feedback and/or suggestions to improve this document, please contact us at (416) 934-3400 x804 or by email at oratouteach@archtoronto.org



Date Posted: May 29, 2020

Thank you to the many people involved in refugee resettlement, who through their tireless efforts have supported refugees sponsored through the Office for Refugees at the Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT). 

In an effort to help current and future sponsors, we have developed the Constituent Group (CG) Handbook. In a special way, this resource has been developed to assist CG's who are making use of donated funds and who are sponsoring refugees that ORAT has named through its overseas missions (i.e., Project Hope cases).  At the same time, we believe that it is a helpful resource for sponsors who have named their own refugee.  

The handbook provides CGs with a framework, principles, best practices and over-arching information on various aspects of refugee sponsorship.  It provides CGs with an approach that helps the refugee achieve the best possible outcome and helps to ensure for the long-term sustainability of the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program.  The best practices have been gathered from CGs throughout the Archdioceses and from our own experience, having seen what has worked and what has not worked. 

To obtain the document, visit the "Resources" section on ORAT's website or click on the following link: https://www.archtoronto.org/refugee/Documents/O%20CG%20Handbook%2028-May-20.pdf.   

The document, as a searchable pdf document, is designed to be as accessible as possible. Simply click on the relevant subject matter outlined in the table of contents and you will automatically be brought to that section in the handbook.  

It is our hope that this document will be a help for you and assist you in the work of refugee resettlement. Please let us know if you have any feedback and/or suggestions on how to improve the document.  You can contact us at (416) 934-3400 x804 or by email at oratouteach@archtoronto.org



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