Given the high profile that refugee resettlement received over the past five or so years, it is not surprising that there is widespread public awareness. More than eight in ten Canadians say they know their country accepts refugees from Syria and other countries for permanent resettlement, and one quarter know or believe there are refugees currently living in their own community.
What is the potential interest in getting involved in sponsoring a refugee or refugee family? Among Canadians in the target population (who have not already become involved), close to one-fifth say they could definitely (2%) or likely (15%) see themselves participating in the program at some point over the next few years. This translates into a pool of approximately four million Canadians who are open to potential recruitment into the program (with more than 450,000 in the “definite” consideration category).
Canadians who would consider getting involved in refugee sponsorship are open to helping in a variety of ways. Among options presented, Canadians expressed the strongest interest in helping with language training and assistance with paperwork, but many also identified such tasks as driving refugees to appointments, helping with education, skills training and finding employment. Some expressed a preference for interacting directly with refugees while others would prefer working in the background, but a plurality say they are fine with taking on both roles.
In conclusion, private sponsorship of refugees in Canada (and the BVOR program in particular) is well positioned to be more actively promoted among Canadians. The reality of refugee resettlement and private sponsorship is well known, and the program is well regarded by most, despite the absence of the type of advertising and communications often employed by governments to promote awareness and support for public-facing programs. The number of Canadians open to considering participation in the program is more than sufficient to provide the basis for addressing the current and future need for BVOR sponsors.
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