Islington United Church Has Been Sponsoring and Supporting Refugee Newcomers for More Than Forty Years

Refugee Sponsorship

The Refugee Support Ministry Committee at Islington United Church, in partnership with the United Church of Canada, has been sponsoring refugee newcomers since 1979 when the government of Canada established private refugee sponsorship to bring “Boat people” from southeast Asia to Canada. Since then, we have sponsored more than 105 people from 13 countries, including Vietnam, Kosovo, Iran, Colombia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yugoslavia, Peru, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria.

Celebrating 40 Years of Refugee Sponsorship: CBC News

How We Do It

It takes many hands to sponsor effectively with tasks such as setting up living accommodation, assisting with language and education needs, providing support to find employment, identifying health care professionals, providing social orientation and encouraging engagement in Canadian life, and sharing information about Canadian values and culture. We provide this support for 12 months with the goal of helping the sponsored newcomer begin and settle into a new life in Canada.

The Committee accepts gifts to make our work possible and each year we participate in the Toronto Waterfront Run/Walk, our main fundraiser. All funds raised go directly toward sponsoring a family with rent, food, and other needs.

What Sponsored Newcomers Say

Newcomers have expressed their appreciation for the family support, opportunities to practise English, invitations to dinner, tours of the city, special outings, finding their dream job, and the friendships that continue beyond the 12 months. Many have been able to become Canadian citizens within three to five years.


Our team includes both members and non-members of Islington United Church. If you would like to make a difference in someone’s life—give hope and support—or just want to learn more or know how you might be able to help, contact Dennis Bradley, Chair, at