The Rainbow Refugee Assistance Program receives third-party funding from the department as a pilot project to help cover the cost of sponsoring overseas LGBT refugees to come to Canada. When the program started, $100,000 was set aside to help sponsor LGBT refugees.
On Tuesday, activists from the Halifax-based Rainbow Refugee Association expressed concern the program would be cut, putting people in danger.
The federal program ensures there’s a separate category of refugees based on sexual orientation, and provides money to get setup in Canada and three months of living expenses. The amount is approximately $3,000 for each refugee.
“We fear that the end of this funding will seriously undermine the progress made in increasing the private resettlement of [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex] refugees,” wrote the private group on its website.
On Wednesday morning, Citizen and Immigration Canada said it’s considering extending the pilot program.
“We rely on Canadian citizens and permanent residents to come together to sponsor refugees and help them find protection and build a new life here in Canada,” said Nancy Caron, media relations advisor for Citizenship and Immigration.
“Private sponsors can help to resettle some of the people most in need of protection in the world, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered refugees.”
Citizen and Immigration Canada says since 2011, the program has helped sponsor 32 refugees. Nine live in Nova Scotia.
Over the past 18 months, the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia has sponsored five Iranians. They are still awaiting the arrival of two of them.