Proactively planning for

the settlement of refugees


In late 2015 the B.C. government created a $1 million Refugee Readiness Fund, designed to augment federal government efforts in aid of Syrian and other refugees. Half of the funds were earmarked for five regional refugee response teams formed to proactively plan for the settlement of refugees in their communities. The Metro Vancouver Refugee Response Team (MVRRT) is one of the five, responsible for an area that includes the following nine municipalities: Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Coquitlam, the North Shore, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Tsawwassen.

Click here to download our fact sheets:

“All refugees in Metro Vancouver have access to the information, services and supports to ease their settlement and expedite their integration into the community.”
The MVRRT was established in early 2016, under the leadership of MOSAIC, a multilingual non-profit organization established more than four decades ago and dedicated to addressing issues that affect immigrants and refugees. The MVRRT membership represents organizations spread throughout the region and across a diverse sphere of activities, from ethnic and faith-based organizations, through immigrant and mainstream service providers, through health and education authorities and the business community. To view membership list, click here.
The B.C. government provided the following objectives to guide the work of the MVRRT:

  • To identify and prioritize refugee service needs by community, based on local experience and expertise as well as available federal data on refugee flow and settlement.
  • To identify existing refugee services and supports to eliminate duplication of provincial and federal settlement and employment services.
  • To develop a Community Refugee Response Action Plan to address urgent, short-term needs or issues in support of refugees.
  • To support the Refugee Readiness Hub operated by ISSofBC through the provision of community data and information.
  • To oversee a coordinated approach to implementation of the team’s action plan.
March 2016

  • Action Plan developed and approved


  • Communication plan developed
  • Working groups for five priority issues established


  • MVRRT micro-site launched
  • First of four fact sheets published
  • Inventory of community-based language services compiled
  • Employer job leads questionnaire produced


  • Inventory of refugee programs and services developed and posted to micro-site
  • Inventory community-based language services developed and posted to micro-site
  • First of nine monthly refugee sponsor group networking events hosted


  • First monthly list of job leads for refugees posted to micro-site


  • Curriculum of public education workshops developed
  • Best practices guide for community volunteers developed
  • Best practices guide for community language training and support developed.


  • First two public education workshops delivered
  • Healthcare road map produced in English


  • Final two public education workshops delivered


  • Metro Vancouver refugee competency / occupational profile

January 2017

  • Healthcare road map produced in Arabic


  • High-level report on refugee healthcare service priorities, needs and gaps compiled
Government Assisted Refugees (GAR)
Convention refugees whose initial settlement (for up to one year) is entirely 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 UNHCR.

Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSR)
Refugees who meet either the Convention refugee or the Country of Asylum definitions. They are referred for resettlement by a private sponsor in Canada who agrees to provide financial and other support for the refugee for one year. Over 90% are family reunification cases.

Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR)
Convention refugees referred by the UNHCR to a Canadian Visa Officer who are matched with a private sponsor in Canada. Unlike PSRs, the sponsoring group does not have any ability to identify the individual(s) they would like to sponsor (e.g. family reunification). The Federal Government 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.