On May 9, 2017 Daily Xtra reported: What will happen to queer refugees if Canada’s pilot project loses funding
Canadian groups that have brought dozens of LGBT refugees to safety since 2011 are asking the federal government to make their pilot program permanent. But the federal government might instead fold the program into a general private-sponsorship system.
The Rainbow Refugee Assistance Program (RRAP) brings LGBT refugees to Canada with the help of volunteer groups across the country. Originally launched under the former Conservative government for three years, the program has been renewed twice, with Canada’s immigration department providing a total of $300,000 for refugees’ first three months of living expenses.
Donors have contributed $1.4 million to the groups, which shows enthusiasm for the program, according to Capital Rainbow Refuge coordinator Lisa Hébert.
“The Rainbow RAP makes the settlement of LGBTQ refugees human and welcoming because it provides ongoing support,” Hébert said at a May 3 news conference.
The immigration department says 69 cases have been identified for sponsorship through the RRAP, of which 57 were resettled, 18 are in process and four have withdrawn. The cases span 13 different countries and some involve two people.
Roughly half those refugees were referred to Canada by the UN Refugee Agency, while the rest avoided UN registration and connected directly with Rainbow Refugee groups because they live in “states that can jail or kill LGBTQ people,”Hébert says.