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General News · 16th June 2016
Many of us have had the thought of sponsoring a Syrian refugee family on Cortes. I want to give you a summary of what that would take in hopes that those interested can begin a dialogue.

First, a quick background – Eva & Jamal have been working on ground level with Syrian refugees in Greece and Turkey since last fall. They have connected with 4 families who deeply desire asylum in Canada; family sizes range from 3 to a family of 8.

Currently these families are in Turkey where they are living and working in horrific conditions. If you want to learn more about this please email me at to receive Eva & Jamal’s update via email.

So here is what it takes through the Group of Five Sponsorship

Form a group of 5 Members:

-More people and community can be involved but these are 5 people who are on the application and signing on for the undertaking officially.

-Requirements: all over 18 years of age, Canadian citizens or permanent residents, Reside on Cortes

-3 out of 5 members need to contribute financial resources as income support during the sponsorship year

Overall, the group is committed to supporting the refugee family financially & providing settlement support for 12 months from their time of arrival.


We need to look at the figures estimated by the government on the Estimated Sponsorship Cost Table & what we can deduct.
see both tables here:

Here is an example for the cost of a family of 5:
- 12 months of income support $ 22 500.
- Start up costs $ 7 200. (Start up costs are furniture, linens, food staples, clothing, deposits for utilities, etc)
- Total cost $ 29 700.

There are 2 ways this number is reduced:

1. The group of 5 (and its extended community) provide free shelter, food staples, clothing, furniture for the year. This would reduce about half of the total so would look more like $ 15 000.
2. Fundraising and individual donations

Settlement Support – Details

We would need to:

- Give them access to services and agencies for Language training
- Services, agencies, programs to help them acquire skills necessary to gain employment in Canada
- Give them access to Immigrant Settlement Agencies – our closest is in Campbell River
- Must plan support or have service centers for persons dealing with trauma and/or crisis.
- Get them set up with social insurance cards, drivers licenses, IFH, etc.
- Enroll children in school
- Provide orientation to community
- Provide ongoing friendship and emotional support
- Help them become self sufficient

- There are no costs for Group of 5 applications.
- As of September 19th , 2015, the Canadian Government has temporarily exempt Syrians and Iraqis from the requirement to provide proof of refugee status in order to be sponsored by a Group of Five.

Links to Sites:

Group of Five

Refugee Fact Sheet


Group of 5 Application

Thank you for reading. Please let me know in email of your interests.

Happy day to you!
Comment by Ashley on 20th June 2016
I am also in. I think sponsoring these families in need here on Cortes Island would be great, not only for the families who could benefit from living in a healthy and peaceful rural environment, but also for our community, which could benefit from greater cultural diversity.

We have so much here to offer and sharing what we have with those in need will ultimately make our community healthier. I encourage everyone to get involved in supporting these efforts, whether as a sponsor, or as a supporter of the sponsors and families. Even if you can't offer space or money, consider offering English tutoring or helping organize fundraisers.

Every little bit helps. If we try to do this collectively, as a community initiative, we are more than capable of providing a healthy, welcoming and warm environment for these families who have endured so much.
Comment by dova on 18th June 2016
I'm in. I want to help, not sure what I can do but I'm willing. I put this idea forward a few months ago but was told it would be too difficult for refugees to live here. I disagree, I think this warm nurturing community would be perfect for a family especially if they already have lived a rural lifestyle. I feel very strongly that we can do this and as a community we should give it a good old Cortes shot.