Skip to main content

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

Browse the glossary using this index

Special | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | ALL

Page: (Previous)   1  2  3  4  5  6


Sponsorship Withdrawal

A cancellation by a sponsor of an undertaking before the issuance of a visa. It is the last option when all attempts to fulfill the conditions of the sponsorship have failed or when situations have changed.



A written undertaking to the Minister, sometimes referred to as an application to sponsor, to make provision for reception, care, lodging and settlement assistance for a refugee and their named accompanying and non accompanying family members in the expected community of settlement. The typical sponsorship undertaking is for a period of 12 months (longer in exceptional circumstances if agreed to by the SAH) from the date of arrival of the refugee or until the refugee becomes self-supporting and no longer requires settlement assistance, whichever is less. Refer to Sections 138 "undertaking" and 141 and Subsections 154(2) and (3) of IRPR.


UNHCR stands for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Commonly referred to as the the United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR has a mandate to lead and co-ordinate international refugee protection actions and support refugees in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. The UNHCR also provides humanitarian assistance to 'persons of concern' such as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and others in their countries of origin.

Urgent need of protection

Urgent need of protection means, in respect of a member of the Convention refugee abroad class and the Country of asylum class, that their life, liberty or physical safety is under immediate threat and, if not protected, the person is likely to be:
  • killed;
  • subject to violence, torture, sexual assault or arbitrary imprisonment; or
  • returned to their country of nationality or of their former habitual residence.

Urgent Protection Program (UPP)

A case in need of urgent protection is one where the life, liberty or physical well-being of a refugee is under immediate threat. These cases are assigned the highest processing priority to offer resettlement as a tool of protection. Resettlement in urgent protection cases is undertaken as a priority where there is no other way to guarantee the security of the person concerned. Resettlement in these cases is the best, and often the only protection response.


Voluntary repatriation

Voluntary repatriation (or resettlement in their country of nationality or habitual residence) is a durable solution. It should occur only when the situation in the country of habitual or permanent residence has changed in a lasting and meaningful way and refugees can return in conditions of safety and dignity. If the country is made up of many ethnic groups, officers should bear in mind that some individuals could be safely repatriated while others could not. There are a variety of reasons why some individuals may not be able to return safely when others can, including political opinion, religion and personal experience (e.g. survivors of torture or rape for whom it would be re-traumatizing to return, or individuals who would be social outcasts like the forced slaves of combatants.) The UNHCR is an excellent source of information on such conditions.


Visa office-referred sponsorship (VOR) refers to situations where a refugee has been determined to be eligible and is referred by a visa office for sponsorship. Either a sponsor requests the visa office-referred case or a visa office refers the case to the Matching Centre to find a sponsor.


"Vulnerable" with respect of a Convention refugee or a person in similar circumstances means that the person has a greater need of protection than other applicants abroad because of the person's particular circumstances that give rise to a heightened risk to their physical safety. Vulnerable cases are eligible for expedited processing. Expedited cases are not urgent and it is acceptable to have refugees in these cases en route to Canada within one to four months.


Women at Risk Program (AWR)

The Women-at-Risk Program (AWR) is designed to offer resettlement opportunities to women in:
  • perilous or permanently unstable situations; and
  • in situations where urgent or expedited processing is necessary.

  Women eligible under this program may:

  • not have the resettlement potential usually required by applicants under the Convention Refugee Abroad class or Country of Asylum class;
  • be marginalized or alienated in their communities;
  • be vulnerable to the threat of rape, other forms of violence to themselves or to their children;
  • be in such critical situations that urgent processing is required;
  • require help because their ability to start a new life is hampered by:
    • young dependent children;
    • poor ability to communicate in either official language; or
    • the lack of skills necessary for employment.
      In many cases, women eligible under the AWR and their dependent children:
    • experience more difficulties in resettling than other classes of refugees;
    • will require a Joint Assistance Sponsorship; and 
    • will need a longer period to become integrated and established in Canada.

Page: (Previous)   1  2  3  4  5  6

loader image