Syrian Refugee Situation

Canada’s initiative to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees

As a settlement service provider, the Squamish Settlement Services/ Welcome Centre welcomes the federal government’s plans to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada. Our aim on this page is to provide information and updates on the resettlement initiative, on the supports available to refugees, on the process to sponsor refugees to our community, and on settlement services available in Squamish.

 Information and updates on the resettlement initiative

Visit for a Federal webpage aiming to centralize donation, sponsor and volunteer information. You will also find information on where and how many refugees are being resettled. If you are thinking about sponsoring a refugee, this is a good place to start. And there are many other ways to help.

Information about the refugee initiative in BC is available through AMSSA (Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC) who are issuing daily bulletins, updates and information at

On December 2, the provincial government announced plans to support refugees arriving to BC. For details, see

As part of that announcement, ISSofBC is being funded to provide supports to settlement service providers across the province. For information on how this will work and to see how you can help with Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) arriving in Vancouver visit the ISSofBC Refugee Crisis link at

We’re also posting updates on our facebook page at

Support for Refugees

For more information about Federal supports for Government Assisted Refugees, click here.

For more information on the Canada Job Grant and how to apply, please visit:

 Privately Sponsoring Refugees

Canadians can sponsor refugees in three different ways:

  • Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) are groups that have signed agreements with the Government of Canada to sponsor refugees. They are generally large, well-established organizations that are trusted resettlement partners. Connecting with an established SAH is the quickest and easiest way to sponsor a refugee to come to Canada, and many SAHs have sponsored refugees who will be arriving in the near future and who would benefit from community support when they arrive. A list of the SAHs in Canada is updated regularly to reflect all groups/organizations which have signed sponsorship agreements with the Government of Canada;
  • Groups of Five (G5) are five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who combine efforts and resources to sponsor refugees living abroad to come to Canada. Please note that processing applications from new sponsors may take longer than other options. We therefore encourage Canadians wishing to become involved in sponsorships to connect with an established SAH; and
  • Community Sponsors (CSs) can be an organization, association or corporation that seeks to sponsor a refugee. Again, please note that processing applications from new sponsors may take longer than other options. We therefore encourage Canadians wishing to become involved in sponsorships to connect with an established SAH.

During the Sponsorship Period the SPONSORING GROUP promises to provide:

Reception- Meet the refugees upon arrival in the community, provide an orientation to life in Canada.

Lodging- Provide suitable accommodation, basic furniture, and other household essentials

Care- Provide food, clothing, local transportation costs and other basic necessities of life

Settlement Assistance and Support

  • Help the refugees:
  • Complete required forms including health insurance, social insurance, and child tax benefits
  • Learn English or French (e.g., help them with getting into an ESL or FSL class)
  • Understand the rights and responsibilities of permanent residents
  • Find employment
  • Get access to resources including community support groups, settlement services, etc.
  • Register children in school and guide them in dealings with the school system
  • Locate a family physician and dentist
  • Become independent.
  • Sponsors provide ongoing friendship and emotional support.

However, SPONSORING GROUPS are NOT responsible for:

  • Repaying any immigrant (transportation, admissibility or assistance) loans.

For more information go to

Settlement Services available to newcomers in Squamish

IRCC (formerly Citizenship & Immigration Canada) Settlement Services for newcomers to Canada:

  • Needs Assessments and reassessments, development of personalized settlement plans, Referrals to CIC-funded settlement services and services that are not funded by CIC
  • Information & Orientation, information provision, orientation sessions, promotion and outreach, individual and family consultations, information and referral
  • Community Connections: community activities, services connecting clients to public institutions and their communities, cross-cultural activities, mentoring and networking. Specific support services include:
  • ESL conversation groups and one-to-one tutoring
  • drop-in settlement support and connections
  • volunteer programs (newcomers & Canadians)
  • life skills development programs for immigrants
  • Settlement support on request to schools

Service Provider: Capilano University with local service partners, Squamish Immigrant Services & Welcome Centre.

Contact details in Squamish: Program Manager, Pam Gliatis tel. 604.892.5322 email:

Settlement Worker: Hasrat Grewal-Gill tel. 604-567-2222 email:

Contact location:  Hotspot @ 38027 Cleveland Ave, Squamish, BC, V8B0B8

LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada)

Classes for adults age 17 and older. English Language Assessments for class placement and referrals to formal language training classes:

  • Face-to-face classes for CLB levels 4 to 6 in Squamish 2-4 days per week (6-12 hours) or 2 nights per week plus online (9 hours – 6 class hours plus 3 online hours)
  • Face-to-face classes for CLB levels 7/8 in Squamish 2 days per week (6 hours) or 2 nights per week plus online (9 hours – 6 class hours plus 3 online hours)
  • Online LINC instruction for CLB levels 4 to 8 available across region: Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish, Sechelt, Gibsons (9 hours a week)
  • Waitlist for CLB 1-3 beginner class – potential start date: April 2016

Service Provider: ISSofBC (Immigrant Services Society of BC)

Contact details in Squamish: Site Manager, Tara Ramsey tel. 604.567.4990 email:

Contact location: ISSofBC Squamish, 101 – 38085 2nd Avenue, Squamish, BC V8B 0C3

Squamish FAQs

When will refugees be arriving in Squamish?

We don’t know. Government Assisted Refugees will all go to Vancouver. Some Squamish members are preparing to sponsor refugees to come here. The sponsorship application includes the development of a detailed settlement plan by the private community members ‘Groups of 5’, and could take as long as 6 months to 1 year. Contact us (link for email) for a copy of the Sponsoring Group Handbook for Groups of Five.

In Squamish, some Groups of Five are already setting up. To connect to the community of folks who are preparing to help refugees via Facebook and website:

What is the role of Squamish Immigrant Settlement Services and the Welcome Centre?

For those sponsored privately by ‘Groups of 5’, the sponsors are responsible to support the refugees (and their families) financially through the initial settlement process (see above) for a minimum of 1 year, to a maximum of 3 years, depending on the needs of the refugees.

Squamish Immigrant Settlement Services (IRCC funded settlement service) works in partnership with Capilano University and Welcome Centre located at Hotspot to deliver the services listed overleaf. All sponsors will be able to introduce their sponsored refugees to these services once their basic requirements are fulfilled.

How can you help?

If you would like to get involved, we offer volunteer tutor and translator training. We welcome everyone, including the refugee families to participate in cultural sharing activities, events and programs at the Hotspot/Welcome centre.

For more information on our programs and events: