Diocese of New Westminster - Sponsorship Agreement Holder

 The Diocesan wait lists for refugee applications are FULL for this year, including regular applications and Afghani applications. Therefore, we will not be accepting any applications at this time. We will accept applications for 2023 beginning in January of 2023.  

We suggest you contact other Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) to check their availability.  You can search for other SAHs near your location here:

We will consider all other Expressions of Interest for 2023 from January 1, 2023 onwards.

Shakuntala Soden

Jibril Mohamed

Shannon Muir, ODNW



The Diocese of New Westminster is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder. This means that it has a formal agreement with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to authorize Constituent Groups (this is the formal name given to Sponsoring Groups) to sponsor refugees to come to Canada under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. The diocese receives a yearly allocation allowing it to authorize a few sponsorships per year and has been authorizing refugee sponsorships since the late 1980s.  

The Constituent Groups we authorize usually consist of at least one Parish connected to the diocese.  The authorized group is completely responsible for the financial, practical and emotional aspects of settlement when the refugees arrive in Canada for a period of at least one year.  The diocese is only able to authorize a limited number of sponsorships each year.  In addition, it must be convinced that the Group will be able to carry out its settlement responsibilities and of course that the refugees are likely to meet Canada’s eligibility requirements.

Canada Guide for Private Refugee Sponsorship Program (PSR)

We welcome involvement from other faith groups, however, we restrict our partnerships to faith groups whose teachings align with the Anglican Church of Canada in matters regarding human rights, including rights of women and people who identify as LGBTQ2S+.

The Diocesan Coordinator is Dr. Shakuntala Soden, her email is linked.


DRU Report from Chair, Shannon Muir, ODNW - January 31, 2022

01-10-2022  Mount Pleasant Family Centre Society Circles of Care and Connection Program information and referral form. ( Circles of Care and Connection is a unique FREE program which serves families living in the City of Vancouver proper who come to Canada as refugees with young children ages 0-6 years old. )

Community connection reunites Syrian brothers. Follow this link for the story on the website news pages.

August 17, 2020: Here is the COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Refugees distributed by the Government of Canada

On Friday, June 12, 2020, Diocesan Refugee Unit, Dr. Soden forwarded a letter from Suneet Kharay, Senior Trainer for the Refugee Sponsorship Training program in Scarborough about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and refugee eligibility. Here is the letter:

Dear SAHs,  

IRCC has shared letter templates that sponsors can adapt for use with the newcomers they sponsor so they:  

Understand the consequences of applying and receiving funds from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) if they do not meet the eligibility requirements of the program; and, Understand that any funds received from the CERB is considered to be earned income and that sponsors are able to reduce the level of monthly financial support they provide if the funds the newcomer receives from the CERB reaches the 50% threshold for earned income.  

The letter templates (are available for downloading below in .DOCX) are attached and are also available in English and French on the COVID-19 hub of the RSTP website 

Further information about the CERB, and when sponsors can begin making deductions to the monthly financial support they provide on the basis of newcomers receiving funds from the CERB (i.e. the 50% threshold), can be found in the April 24, 2020 edition of the RSTP Bulletin   

Pleas for sponsorship. A message from DRU chair, Shannon Muir sharing stories of folks that need sponsorship.

PLEASE! Use this link to access Shannon Muir's comprehensive article (September 10) on sponsorship and co-sponsorship of refugees. This article answers MANY of the questions that parishes wishing to engage this ministry are or should be asking.


Refugee Response in the Diocese - article for the February 2017 issue of Topic published on the diocesan website news pages, December 16, 2016

The Executive Archdeacon announced on November 21, 2016 that Dr Shakuntala Soden has begun her work as Diocesan Refugee Coordinator. Dr. Soden brings a strong passion for refugees and a strong skill-set in the area of immigration.

Shannon Muir has accepted the Bishop's appointment as the Chair of the reconstituted Diocesan Refugee Unit (DRU). Shannon has brought considerable skills to the diocese's response to ministry with refugees.


Zakarya, the first member of a group of Syrian refugees arriving in Canada through the Diocese of New Westminster as Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) but sponsored by a group from St. Helen’s, West Point Grey arrived from Frankfurt at 2:30pm on Thursday, October 13, 2016.

Ali Salat Bugare aka "Bukare"(to his friends) arrived September 12, 2016. He is sponsored by REST.

Good news for Alsaleh and his family and for St. Alban's, Burnably, click the link to access the story on the Burnaby Now website.

The North Vancouver Regional Ecumenical Support Team (REST) is a partnership of 10 churches and individuals who have come together to support the sponsorship of refugees. The group operates in close cooperation with the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.

Visit the R.E.S.T. blogsite for updated information and upcoming events to aid the refugee resettlement.

On December 21, 2015, former bishop of the diocese, the Most Reverend Melissa Skelton announced the establishment of the Bishop's Fund for Refugee Resettlement. Click the link to learn about this fundraising initiative.


The Refugee Unit provides advice about the regulations and mechanisms involved in bringing refugees to this country under the auspices of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

The Unit’s mandate is to inform our Anglican community of the needs of refugees around the world, and to provide information about how some of them can be helped through parish sponsorships to start a new life in Canada.

For decades parishes in the diocese have supported refugees, often in conjunction with family members already arrived. The Unit guides the sponsoring groups through the extensive paper work and advises them about what is needed for success.

In recent years, parishes and groups of parishes have supported refugee sponsorship applications for families from Afghanistan, Colombia, and Myanmar.

Parishes who have been active in refugee sponsorship include the parishes with North Vancouver Regional Council; St. Helen, Surrey; and St. David, Delta.

The Refugee Unit calls on parishes to actively consider how they can help.

For More Information

The Unit would welcome new members, especially from parishes eager to undertake refugee sponsorships. Contact the Chair of the DRU, Shannon Muir through the diocese by email.

Contact the Refugee Coordinator

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