Thanks to civic sponsors, in the past 35 years, hundred thousands of refugees
from around the world have been able to find a safe haven in Canada. Individuals
with communities can initiate to bring refugees to Canada – through a group of
five, a community organization or a sponsorship agreement holder. ORAT - the
Office for Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto provides advice, support and
assistance if you want to initiate a sponsorship/ resettlement. Additionally,
ORAT works with parishes, religious orders and Catholic institutions in the
Archdiocese, enabling them to participate in this rewarding program.
Support available from ORAT:
ORAT provides information sessions for the general public regarding refugee
resettlement as well as other Canadian immigration options.
ORAT assesses resettlement applications including the refugees’ story or
general inquiries, and settlement plans.
ORAT monitors all procedures before and after submission of a resettlement
application and the integration process.
ORAT invites you to enrol in the resettlement email distribution to receive
information about refugee related issues regularly.
ORAT is the liaison between parishes, the Archdiocese and Immigration Canada
(CIC) in refugee resettlement:
The Office assists the faithful and enables them
to provide assistance for uprooted people by helping parishes, religious orders
and Catholic institutions within the Archdiocese of Toronto to find durable
solutions for refugees in need. Additionally ORAT provides similar services to
Christian communities in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Toronto. The
Office 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. The Office works with partners
nationally and internationally to ameliorate the situation of uprooted people.
The Office 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.
The Office 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.
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 ORAT if you are interested in hosting
information sharing event or the monthly seminar.
Training: The Office 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, the Office 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
Overseas Referral Agency: The Office is currently in the
process of developing an overseas referral agency. Our goal is to establish an
agency overseas that would be able to refer refugees to the government
resettlement programs as well as the CRR program.
Dr. Martin Mark