The Private Sponsorship of Refugees to Canada

Everything you wanted to know with Ronalee Carey

After viewing the shocking photos of the little Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach in the fall of 2015, the global plight of refugees was brought to the forefront of public consciousness.  Since that time, many people have expressed a sincere interest in knowing exactly how to Privately Sponsor a Refugee to come to Canada. In this episode, I had the opportunity to catch up with Ronalee Carey, an Immigration Lawyer practicing in Ottawa, who was able to share some unique insight into this process. She definitely inspired me to become more involved.


Ronalee’s practice focuses on finding immigration solutions for individuals and families through family sponsorships,  the Express Entry program and provincial nomination programs.  She assists with visa applications to visit, study or work in Canada, and helps those with criminal inadmissibility issues.

In addition to her private practice, Ronalee is also a Refugee lawyer. She is part of a group in Ottawa that provides pro bono services regarding the Private Sponsorship  of Refugees. When I learned of her involvement with Refugee work, I thought it would be a great topic for our Canadian Immigration Podcast.

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If you are someone who is interested in knowing how the process works, this episode will point you in the right direction.

After listening to Ronalee explain the refugee sponsorship process in great detail, I came to the realization that this is something that any of us could consider doing in our own communities. Her passion for this area and sincere desire to help those less fortunate than us in Canada, really struck a cord with me. It was an absolute pleasure having her on the Podcast.

During my interview with Ronalee, we discussed the following areas:

  • How Ronalee got into the immigration field.
  • Her involvement in Private Refugee Sponsorship Work.
  • What is the University of Ottawa’s Refugee Sponsorship Support Program?
  • How did she get matched to the G30+ Ottawa constituent group?
  • How does the group go about finding refugees to sponsor and their experiences in settling the refugees who have arrived in Canada.
  • Discussion on the Government of Canada partnering with Canadians to jointly assist refugees through the Blended Visa-Office Referred (BVOR) program.
  • How has the government has handled the sponsorship of refugees so far and what the future holds for the private sponsorship of refugees in Canada.
  • How to go about sponsoring a refugee from Syria or elsewhere.

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Time Stamped Quick Reference Guide

In order to help you jump to the areas of most interest to you, I have included below some time stamps for some of the significant topics covered in this episode.

02:15 – Who is Ronalee Carey?

04:00 – How she got into the immigration field?

06:55 – How did she get involved in private refugee sponsorship work?

07:34 – How the process works when Privately Sponsoring Refugees to Canada.

08:03 – Who screens the Refugee before they come to Canada?

09:25 – What is the uOttawa Refugee Sponsorship Support Program (RSSP)?

18:29 – How did Ronalee get matched to the G30+ Ottawa constituent group?

18:59 – How did the group link up with the Anglican Diocese?

21:45 – How did the group go about finding refugees to sponsor?

23:40 – Who has the group sponsored so far?

28:45 – What are the qualifications to become a Sponsor and the obligations towards the Blended Visa-Office Referred (BVOR) candidates that are selected?

32:00 – How has the private sponsorship process worked out for her group?

34:00 – How is the government handling the sponsorship of refugees, now that the initial election promise to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees has been fulfilled?

35:48 – Is there still a strong interest from the Canadian public to sponsor refugees? How has the government responded to the significant interest generated in the private refugee sponsorship programs?

41:07 – If someone was interested in sponsoring a refugee, from Syria or elsewhere, how would they go about it?

45:38 – How to contact Ronalee Carey.

Additional Resources:

Listen to Mark Holthe’s Canadian Immigration Podcast

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