Refugee Crisis: How You Can Help

Sep 4, 2015 | CIJA Publications, Media, Middle East

Like many in Canada and around the world, the Jewish community is watching the unfolding refugee crisis in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe with increasing alarm and concern. Our thoughts and prayers are with the hundreds of individuals who have perished in their attempt to seek a better life, and with the tens of thousands of families who continue to flee a conflict that is being fueled by ethnic and religious extremism.

CIJA has received queries from organizations and individuals in our community asking what they can do to help.

As we reflect on our commitment to Tikkun Olam and the plight of desperate refugees in particular, we urgently request that you share this information with your congregations and community networks.

Sponsor a Refugee

Canada has welcomed more than 6,000 refugees from Iraq and Syria and has committed to resettle 25,000 more refugees by February 29, 2016. Many other refugees need to be sponsored by private groups. There are several ways to sponsor refugees:

Sponsorship Agreement Holders. A number of groups across the country have signed agreements with the Government of Canada to support refugees. They are known as Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH). Working through an SAH is the simplest and most expedient way of sponsoring a refugee.

  • In the greater Toronto area JIAS (Jewish Immigration Aid Services) Toronto, among others, is party to such an agreement. JIAS is working closely with Lifeline Syria – a grassroots organization of concerned citizens that has been established to help those interested in sponsoring Syrian refugees. Lifeline Syria has extensive resources to assist individuals and organizations interested in sponsoring Syrian refugees.
  • Elsewhere in Canada (excluding Quebec, which has a separate process described below), organizations and individuals should contact a local SAH in their area. A full list SAHs can be found here.

Groups of Five. A group of five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents over the age of 18 can sponsor one or more refugees to come to Canada and settle in their area.

Community Sponsors. Some community groups can also sponsor refugees.

Quebec. Quebec has its own process to sponsor refugees. To find out more, click here.

To learn more about sponsoring a refugee to Canada, please consult the Citizenship and Immigration website.

Helpful information can also be found at Lifeline Syria.


In addition to sponsoring refugees to Canada, there are many worthy organizations – like the Canadian Red Cross – accepting donations to assist the hundreds of thousands of refugees being sheltered in camps throughout the region.

Partnership with Jordan

This week, a CIJA delegation led by National Chair, David J. Cape, held high-level meetings with the King of Jordan and His Majesty’s senior advisors. CIJA proposed a partnership between the Canadian Jewish community along with other stakeholders in the private sector and Jordan directed at addressing and alleviating the acute humanitarian conditions for the growing refugee population currently situated in Jordan.

King Abdullah welcomed the initiative and over the coming weeks, CIJA will be working directly with His Majesty’s staff to develop the proposal and share with other potential partners here in Canada.



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