Our Mission

The Community Refugee Fund is available to economically disadvantaged persons in the refugee claimant stream until their establishment and financial independence in Canada. Refugee claimants: those who flee from danger and arrive in Canada any way that they can, and who make a refugee claim with Immigration Canada.


Currently, our three priorities are:
  1. Family Reunification
  2. Food, Medicine and Other Basic Needs Upon Arrival of Refugee Claimants in Canada
  3. Legal Fees
  1. Family Reunification
Refugee claimants are those who are are successful at their Refugee Hearings in Canada. After presenting their case to the Immigration and Refugee Board, they are declared to be ‘Convention Refugees’ and are eligible to apply for permanent residence for their spouse dependent children under 18 yrs old who are outside of Canada. However:
  • The costs of requirements for family reunification (i.e. DNA testing, police clearances, etc.) have risen substantially at the same time as Immigration deadlines have been significantly shortened.
  • The costs and deadlines for just submitting the Immigration Fees for Applications for Permanent Residence and family reunification are financially prohibitive for many due to recently delayed work permits until after a successful refugee Hearing.
Therefore, many families would not be reunited if the Community Refugee Fund had not financed their costs before the Immigration deadlines expired. The costs of family reunification are currently draining the Community Refugee Fund and the reason for our current fundraising efforts. Our supporters are a part of the effort to reunite refugees who flee to Canada and are financially unable to apply for their spouse and dependent children under 18 yrs old to join them and be a family again.
  1. Food, Medicine and Other Basic Needs Upon Arrival of Refugee Claimants in Canada
Under the new Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) system, refugees are not able to access any social and health care system until they have submitted their claim, and found to be eligible as refugee claimants. For many refugees, the time to gather evidence to support their claim, translate documents, get an appointment to meet with a lawyer and, finally, prepare to make the refugee claim can take weeks, and sometimes even months. The time between the day of arrival and the actual refugee claim application submission leaves a huge gap putting lives of refugees in danger.  The Community Refugee Fund does its best fill in the gap and ensures the well being of individuals who were forced to flee their country and seek refuge in Canada. In addition, the Community Start-Up Fund previously available through Social Services, which offered to assist newly arrived refugee claimants establish a new and safe life in Canada, was abolished. When this happened, it left yet another layer of financial burden for refugees as they attempt to begin their new life of freedom and independence.
  1. Legal Fees
Legal Aid Ontario’s stricter guidelines on eligibility have left many refugee claimants with no access to lawyers, particularly refugee claimants included in the list of Designated Countries of Origin. More refugee claimants are turned down for legal aid, which results in refugee claimants facing their Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) hearing with no legal representation, unless they get assistance from the Community Refugee Fund. It is the goal of the Community Refugee Fund to ensure that the rights of refugee claimants are protected by giving them access to counsel to represent them at their refugee hearing. Furthermore, appeals of negative IRB decisions to Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court are rarely covered by Legal Aid Ontario. This puts refugee claimants, who were wrongly denied at their IRB hearing, with no means to other available legal recourse that can lead to a positive decision.

The Community Refugee Fund is currently held 'In Trust' by the Sisters of the Holy Names in Windsor, Ontario.