June 20: World Refugee Day

We invite you and your church to set aside one Sunday to focus on the plight of refugees.  Click here to download an excellent resource including stats, prayers and sermon starters to help you plan a meaningful worship service on the theme of refugees and hospitality.

(produced by the Mennonite Central Commitee of Canada)

Afghan and Ukrainian Refugees


Canada has committed to resettling 40,000 Afghan refugees over two years. This initiative focuses on particularly vulnerable Afghans and their families. Applications under this initiative will be expedited. Review eligibility here.


Canada is offering temporary visas to Ukrainians both in and outside of Ukraine. This does not fall under the sponsorship program. You can find out more about this program here. Contact your MP or local councillor to indicate your interest in supporting Ukrainian newcomers to your neighbourhood. Connect with settlement agencies in your area and volunteer.

No one is a refugee by choice. Thousands of people are forced to flee their homes out of fear for their lives and liberty. Imagine leaving behind everything you know – food, culture, friends, family. Imagine leaving behind your home, your possessions, your security. Imagine arriving in a strange land with only what you can carry. Imagine finding yourself in a refugee camp, living in a tent, wondering if you will ever be home again.

If this is all new to you, start by downloading Welcoming the Stranger, a Canadian Church Guide to Welcoming Refugees produced by EFC.

CBOQ supports refugees in two different ways:




Refugee Sponsorship

The Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees program uniquely allows groups to sponsor refugees. Sponsorship is a commitment to ensure that sponsored refugees have the necessary support to integrate into life in Canada. This is a legal commitment providing basic financial support and care for the sponsored refugee(s) for 12 months.

CBOQ acts as the “Agreement Holder” with the Government of Canada. CBOQ member churches may sponsor refugees as Constituent Groups under this overarching agreement.

The process can be challenging but also fulfilling. Helping a refugee resettle in Canada gives them a chance to be home again, a chance to rebuild their lives. You can help.

Matthew House

There are some refugees who arrive with literally nothing. They are not sponsored by any individual, church or group – but simply cross our border with no way to navigate on their own. These are known as refugee claimants. In 2017 there was a significant increase in the number of claimants arriving in Canada. In 2018, more than 55,000 people arrived in Canada seeking asylum, 90% arriving in Ontario and Quebec.

We are grateful for the ministry of Matthew House that offer appropriate shelter geared specifically toward the unique settlement needs of refugee claimants. The first Matthew House, in Toronto, grew out of the vision of the need and a passion to respond, of Anne Woolger. As the Executive Director of the Toronto Matthew House, Anne and staff regularly speak at churches and other groups, educating the public about the plight of refugees and the need for people to reach out to them. There are now four Matthew Houses in Ontario: Matthew House Fort Erie, Matthew House Ottawa, Matthew House Toronto, Matthew House Windsor.

When a refugee is ready to settle and begin their new life in Canada, the gift of friendship and encouragement can make an immeasurable difference.

Interested in refugee ministries?

Photo by Mstyslav Chernov

There are many ways to serve refugees. Contact Kevin Long CBOQ’s Refugee Liaison to explore opportunities.

How Can I Pray

Prayer prompts to guide you as you pray for refugees and those who serve them.

Are Refugees Good for Canada?

Preparing to Sponsor

Only CBOQ Member churches can sponsor under our Sponsorship Agreement. To assess your capacity and get started, download the Sponsorship Handbook.

Each year Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issues allocation to Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs). This represents the maximum number of people we can submit sponsorship application for in any given year. CBOQs allocation limit is small and we maintain a wait list.

If you would like to pursue a sponsorship, please contact Carol Gouveia.

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