Rainbow Refugee Assistance Programs
Rainbow refugee programs are initiatives across Canada by non-profit organizations to sponsor LGBTQI people who face persecution in, or outside their home countries to come to Canada.
In many countries, LGBTQI people face persecution based on sexual orientation and/ or gender identity and expression. In some countries, they can even face the death penalty. Rainbow refugee programs across Canada have helped many LGBTQI refugees seek safety from state-sponsored violence. These programs assist LGBTQI people to travel to safety and may also privately sponsor them to come to Canada.
Since 2011, a pilot program sponsored by the federal government has assisted in the sponsorship of LGBTQI who were at risk of being arrested or killed in their home countries. With a network of people who can support them in the settlement process, Rainbow Refugee programs offer a short period of income support, and may provide refugees with orientation services, accommodation, basic household supplies, basic food supplies, clothing and ongoing food needs for the duration of the sponsorship period.
In March 2015, the program was extended, and will continue to offer a safe avenue for refuge for another two years.
You can help a LGBTQI person by donating to the cause, raising funds in your community by hosting an event or volunteering your time.
To learn more:
In Toronto, contact the Rainbow Railroad
In Vancouver, contact the Rainbow Refugee Canada
In Nova Scotia, contact the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia
For more information:
- Government of Canada to help gay and lesbian refugees fleeing persecution - Citizenship and Immigration Canada - 2011
- Refugees and Migration – Frequently Asked Questions - The United Church of Canada - 2014
- Sponsor a refugee. - Citizenship and Immigration Canada - 2015
- Information for privately sponsoring people to come to Canada as refugees.
-  - The Canadian Immigration for Same-sex Partners - 2015
- Information on who can make a claim.
- Positive Spaces Initiative - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) - 2012
- Initiative developed by OCASI to create a positive environment for LGBTQ communities in Ontario settlement agencies.