Refugee Resettlement


In conjunction with the federal government, Kingston has recently been named a Resettlement Assistance Program Centre. As a site where many new refugee families will begin to resettle, it is important that newcomers are provided with the quality health care they need. As a primary care provider, your role in providing health care to refugees is a vital one. In order to provide proper care to your newcomer patients, it is important to know about the people you will be treating. The Government of Canada and Citizen and Immigration Canada website provides a strong base of information about the refugee process as well as resettlement of refugees.

There are three main ways that refugees can be resettled in Canada:

Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs)

  • These are Convention refugees whose initial settlement (for up to one year) is financially supported by the Government of Canada or by the province of Quebec.
  • They are referred to Canada for resettlement by a referral organization like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs)

  • These are refugees who meet either the Convention refugee or the Country of Asylum 
  • They are referred for resettlement to a private sponsor in Canada who agrees to provide financial and other support for the refugee for up to one year. 

Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugees (BVORs)

  • These are Convention refugees referred by the UNHCR who are matched with a private sponsor in Canada.
  • The Government of Canada provides up to six months of income support through the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), while private sponsors provide another six months of financial support and up to a year of social and emotional support. 

All three resettlement types are covered by a form of health-care insurance during refugees' wait for OHIP. This coverage is known as the Interim Federal Health Plan. To learn more about the coverage of this plan and how to bill with it, click here.