Frequently Asked Questions

While this FAQ will provide brief answers, it is designed to point you towards online resources for additional information.  Click on highlighted links to find out more.

How does sponsoring refugees work?

Better Together is working through the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program (BVOR) with a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH).  Our SAH is the Justice and Compassion Department of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. Each sponsored family requires five local community members (what we refer to within our group as a “core team”) and approximately $34,000 of raised funds to support them for a year.  There is more information on this provided below.

Who are the people you intend to sponsor?

Better Together intends to sponsor Syrian families, including female-headed households, with children. These families have been identified by the UNHCR as some of the most vulnerable – those whose life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at the greatest risk – and then referred to the BVOR program. With millions of women and children trapped in these camps and living in dire conditions, we feel compelled to provide security and safety to those most at risk.

What about the security and safety of our community?

All refugees coming to Canada, whether through BVOR, government, or private sponsorship, are rigorously vetted through a three tiered security screening.  This begins with UNHCR, and continues with Canadian security checks including CSIS, RCMP, and health screenings for communicable diseases.  An outline of the process is provided here.

Are refugees of all religious beliefs welcomed?

The Better Together Refugee Sponsorship group falls under the umbrella of a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH), in our case, the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Canada. SAHs have an existing partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and mediates the process of sponsoring for groups like us. Under that agreement, we are legally bound to a non-discriminatory selection process.

We also believe that it is our mandate to come alongside anyone in need, no matter their religious beliefs. Our choices of families will not be based upon their religion in any way.  Additionally, the information we are provided by which we choose a family to sponsor is extremely basic, and may not state religious affiliation.

What happens when they arrive? How does the year of sponsorship work?

Each family we sponsor will have a core team of five or more people dedicated to ensuring the smoothest possible transition for their family.  These core teams are supported by each other and the larger Better Together partnership as a whole.  Our SAH further provides us with initial training and ongoing support in handling the difficulties our families will face in their transition.

While we want to provide as much assistance as possible, our aim is to empower, encourage independence, and assist the integration of families we sponsor so they have the skills to rebuild their own lives in our society.

With the support of local agencies and organizations our core settlement teams are responsible for anything and everything pertaining to settling into a new country and culture.

Some of the responsibilities include:

  • picking up the family from the airport
  • providing accommodation, including furnishings, clothing, food
  • providing a budget and helping a family understand and work within it
  • acclimatising the family to life in Northumberland (shopping, transportation, recreation,  etc)
  • applying for health card, SIN card, Canada Child Benefits, etc.
  • setting them up with health care, including trauma support if necessary
  • school registration, including ESL
  • job search support
  • providing emotional support and other logistical settlement assistance

The goal for the one year sponsorship is to support the families to acclimatize, adapt and eventually integrate into our community. By the end of the year, we hope for the families to be able to carry on independently, though we also hope to all become and remain friends, growing and learning from one another for the rest of our lives.

How much money do you need and where is it going?

On top of government subsidies that vary according to family size, we are seeking a minimum of $250,000 in funds.  This will support our families for one year, allowing for a reserve emergency fund for unforeseen costs.  A budget was created by our finance committee, which included a careful and reasonable assessment of the cost of living. Based on this evaluation, it breaks down to $34,000 needed to be raised, per family, for their first year.  Through Better Together, 100% of funds raised will go directly to families in the form of income support throughout their first year in Canada.

How do I donate?


CLICK HERE to donate online through Northumberland United Way

  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the page or click “Donate Now”.
  2. Enter your donation amount.
  3. Use the drop down menu to select Better Together Refugee Sponsorship.

In partnership with Better Together, Northumberland United Way is graciously waiving their usual processing fee. However, Canada Helps charges a 3.5% fee on any donation for the use of their online fundraising platform. You will receive a tax receipt for 100% of your donation.


Cash or Cheque

  1. Make your cheque payable to ONE of our partnering churches (choose ONE listed below).
  2. You must indicate “Better Together Refugee Sponsorship” in the memo line.
  3. Cheques may be mailed or delivered in person to the receiving church you choose:

Tax receipts will be issued directly from the receiving church.

Where can I get additional information?

Other great FAQ’s and resources are available here:

Lifeline Syria FAQ and Facts and Statistics

New Canadians Centre

Are you a teacher and want to know how to welcome children into your school?  Check out these amazing resources –

UNHCR Teacher Resources

Schools of Sanctuary – an excellent national program changing the face of education in the UK.  Check out their resources too!