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The terms and definitions in this glossary are from the Dictionary of Terms produced by the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program.

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is a department of the federal Government of Canada. It was created in 1994 to:
  • link immigration services with citizenship registration
  • promote the unique ideals all Canadians share and
  • help build a stronger Canada.

IRCC's mandate comes from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act. The Minister for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada is responsible for the Citizenship Act of 1977 and shares responsibility with the Minister of Public Safety for the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Interim Federal Health Program (IFH)

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) established by IRCC  covers certain pre-departure medical services for refugees coming to Canada for resettlement. This coverage includes the following services:
The Interim Federal Health is a program also provides temporary medical coverage for refugees during the settlement period in Canada prior to their qualification for provincial health care coverage. Thereafter, refugees are eligible for partial limited coverage for the duration of the sponsorship period where provincial health care does not cover services provided by IFH.

Internal Flight Alternative

There is a fourth type of durable solution that may exist for refugees and persons in refugee-like situations who have not fled their country of nationality. There may be an internal flight alternative for the refugee. Internal Flight Alternative (IFA) involves the consideration of whether the individual could have found a safe haven in another location within the country of nationality or residence at the time of their flight. If so, they will not be viewed as needing Canada's protection.


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has a primary mandate to make arrangements for the organized transfer of foreign nationals, including refugees, displaced persons and other individuals in need of international migration services. It arranges transportation and medical examinations for refugees. The IOM provides an in-depth Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) program on a contractual basis, in some locations, to refugees and foreign nationals before they arrive in Canada.

Canada is a full member of IOM and works closely with the organization. The IOM has its headquarters in Geneva and has 72 offices around the world. 


IP 3 In Canada Processing of Convention Refugees Abroad and Members of the Humanitarian Protected Persons Abroad Classes refers to a chapter of the IRCC Inland Processing Manual that explains the policy and procedures for the refugee resettlement program in Canada, including the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PSRP) and Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP).


Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS)

A joint undertaking by a SAH or one of its CGs and IRCC to sponsor GARs requiring special assistance and whose admissibility depends upon this additional support to become established. Refer to Section 157 of IRPR, IP3 and REF-OVS-2-4 for details.

JAS provides the opportunity for the government and private sponsors to work together in the resettlement of these special needs persons who would not otherwise be accepted. The government provides income support for the period of the sponsorship and the private sponsors provide moral and emotional support and guidance while ensuring that the resettlement services required are provided.


Landing (Landed Status)

Means lawful permission to establish permanent residence in Canada .

Letter of Approval (LOA)

A letter signed by a person authorized to sign on behalf of the SAH, permitting a CG or cosponsor to enter into an undertaking to sponsor refugees on its behalf.

Limited individual agreement

 A sponsorship agreement that establishes a limitation on the number of persons the SAH or its CGs can undertake to sponsor for a specific length of time.  All Limited Individual Agreements include an expiry date.

Local Integration

Local integration is a durable solution and refers to a refugee's integration in their country of asylum. Refugees are considered to be locally integrated in the country of refuge if they have rights similar to those of citizens such as: they can move around the country freely; they are allowed to earn a living; their children are allowed to attend school; there is no threat of refoulement, etc.


Includes suitable accommodation, basic furniture and other household essentials.


Matching Centre (MC)

Office located at IRCC NHQ that is responsible for brokering between IRCC offices located in Canada and Visa posts overseas regarding the destining and matching to sponsors of selected refugees who have been successfully processed and are ready to travel to Canada. The MC is also responsible for the destining of some GARs as well as coordinating Notice of Arrival information.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

A memorandum of understanding is a document used to articulate an agreement between two or more parties.  The document may be used between SAHs, CGs/Co-sponsors to outline expectations, responsibilities, and/or financial arrangements for their particular sponsorships. Unlike the undertaking to sponsor document, which is a contract, a memorandum of understanding is not intended to be a legally binding agreement. 



A Notification of Arrival Transmission (NAT) advises the sponsor and/or Service Provider Organization (SPO), and the Port of Entry (POE) of the date of arrival and flight details of the refugee, and of pertinent details such as the names of sponsors, onward travel arrangements to final destinations, and special needs (e.g., wheelchair required), etc. NATs are required to maintain accurate statistics and are sent for all refugees. They include:
  • point of origin;
  • port of entry;
  • date of arrival;
  • flight details; 
  • special requirements; and
  • identification of special programs such as OYW or blended initiative.

NGO-Government Committee on the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (NGO-Gov't Committee)

A committee of elected SAH representatives and appointed IRCC representatives established in 1994 to provide an ongoing consultative mechanism for program partners in support of the PSRP. The committee is intended to be a facilitative mechanism and does not limit the avenues through which representations may be made of issues of concern to any interested party.

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