Guide for Submitting the Welcoming Communities: Community Partnership Settlement Plan



Resettling refugees is a proud and important part of Canada’s humanitarian tradition. It reflects our commitment to Canadians and demonstrates to the world that we have a shared responsibility to help people who are displaced and persecuted. Canada has now welcomed more than 25,000 Syrian refugees as part of the #WelcomeRefugees initiative.

Communities across Canada that traditionally do not resettle refugees have expressed strong interest in supporting the Syrian refugee movement. In response, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has launched the Welcoming Communities Initiative, a three-part approach to support the expansion of the current network of communities across Canada that can provide the supports and services necessary to resettle Syrian GARs and other newcomers in the future. This initiative is comprised of:

  1. an open intake process for new Resettlement Assistance Program centres, which was open from January 13, 2016 to March 11, 2016;
  2. an opportunity for communities to develop Community Partnership Settlement Plans that articulate their ability to resettle and retain refugees; and
  3. information to communities on other ways they can be involved in supporting refugees, focusing on private sponsorship.

Part 1 of the Welcoming Communities Initiative entails an open intake process for settlement service providers currently in receipt of IRCC funding who can apply to become a new RAP SPO. This process is now closed.

Part 2 of the Welcoming Communities Initiative and the focus of this Guide is to provide municipalities (or other interested parties), outside of Quebec, an opportunity to demonstrate via a Community Partnership Settlement Plan that necessary settlement supports and services are in place/or will be put into place, to resettle Syrian GARs in their community.

Part 3 of the Welcoming Communities Initiative will consist of IRCC giving information to communities to facilitate other means of supporting refugees, such as private sponsorship.

Purpose and Benefits of a Community Partnership Settlement Plan

The Community Partnership Settlement Plan is a process and platform for communities, under the lead of the municipal government or other interested party, to demonstrate their current and planned capacity for Syrian GAR resettlement support and services. It serves as a systematic way for a community to assess its readiness, ensure that necessary partnerships and services are in place, and confirm that the key factors have been taken into consideration that can help in both attracting and retaining newcomers in the long-term.

A Community Partnership Settlement Plan must provide Provinces and Territories and IRCC with a summary of a community’s support and service capacity in the following key areas: the availability of a broad set of settlement services; availability of community infrastructure to serve the needs of Syrian GARs (e.g. permanent housing, employment, etc.); and established partnerships with stakeholders (e.g. provincial/ territorial government, RAP and Settlement SPOs, Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) and Réseaux en immigration francophone (RIFs) or equivalent planning and coordination bodies). Plans must also explain how the community will quickly address any gaps they have identified through their self-assessment, and demonstrate the resources and capacity to implement.

Roles and Responsibilities

Provinces and Territories (PTs) have a significant role in the Community Partnership Settlement Plan review process. PTs will undertake the initial assessment of your municipality’s Community Partnership Settlement Plan and will advise IRCC during the review and approval process.

If your Community Partnership Settlement Plan is approved by IRCC, the lead proponent and partners in the community will then be responsible for implementing its Plan, addressing gaps if required, and working with an existing RAP SPO to identify opportunities for Syrian GARs to find permanent accommodation in the community.

The lead proponent of the Plan will continue to engage with established networks to provide adequate supports to newcomers, such as settlement sector umbrella organizations, long-standing service provider partners, and private sector partners. These key partners can support a community in welcoming refugees, and help in determining where further supports can be provided to ensure capacity and readiness.

The approval of a community’s Plan may not guarantee that Syrian GARs will be resettled in their community, as this will be based on the capacity of a community with a RAP SPO to permanently resettle the GAR family as well as other factors. The intent of this process is to facilitate communities building and strengthening relationships with their partnering RAP SPOs. RAP SPOs will then be able to access more options outside of their immediate community to locate appropriate accommodation and supports for GARs. In addition, any steps taken by communities to strengthen partnerships to support Syrian GAR resettlement will ultimately serve to foster more welcoming communities and attract all newcomers, including other resettled refugee populations, on an ongoing basis.

Please note that IRCC funding is not available to directly fund municipalities or provincial/territorial governments for the development or implementation of the Community Partnership Settlement Plan. However, IRCC funding could possibly be made available for existing IRCC-funded settlement and resettlement organizations that are involved in the implementation of the Community’s Plan who may experience an increase in refugee client volumes.

Who can Submit a Community Partnership Settlement Plan

Municipalities or other interested parties who can represent the community (outside of Quebec) are to be considered the lead proponent of the Plan submission.

A municipality or a party other than the municipal government who is best positioned to lead and form partnerships with key actors in the development of the Community Partnership Settlement Plan may apply. Eligible parties other than municipal governments are: Chambers of Commerce or LIPs/RIFs (or equivalent planning and coordination bodies). However, the partnership and endorsement of the municipality must be demonstrated where another party is leading the development of the Plan. A Settlement or RAP SPO may not serve as the proponent for this process; however, they would be engaged in the development of the community’s Plan.

Community Partnership Settlement Plan: Key Steps

Step 1: Review Criteria and Complete Self-Assessment

As a first step, you are encouraged to conduct a self-assessment using the checklist of criteria. This exercise will help to inform the development of your Community Partnership Settlement Plan, as you can identify which supports and partnerships already exist within the community, and what gaps/challenges would need to be addressed going forward. This will help you determine for your own purposes if your community is well-positioned to welcome Syrian GARs and other newcomers in the future.

Step 2: Build and Strengthen Partnerships within your Community

Working through existing LIPs, RIFs, or similar planning groups in your community, identify and explore key partnerships that will ensure that the appropriate supports are in place for Syrian GARs (based on the criteria in the Self-Assessment Checklist).

Partnerships must include engagement with existing settlement SPOs within your community; and should include private-sector partners, and the voluntary sector. In addition, you should engage with an existing RAP SPO to plan how a GAR that settles permanently in your community would receive all immediate and essential services from the RAP SPO and be connected with settlement services in your community so that they receive the full continuum of supports. As part of your engagement with RAP and Settlement SPOs, you may explore various models to ensure that Syrian GARs that settle in your community have access to the appropriate services.

For example, a possible approach could resemble a “hub and spoke” model, where GARs would arrive in one of the existing RAP Centres outside of Quebec and receive some immediate and essential services from an existing RAP SPO. The GARs would then be linked with available permanent housing in a new Welcoming Community where additional RAP supports (such as life skills training and orientation to the new community) could be provided on an itinerant basis by the RAP SPO or by others in the community, as appropriate.

IRCC recognizes that the community (in partnership with an existing RAP SPO) may be best-placed to identify the model that is most appropriate.

Step 3: Develop a Community Partnership Settlement Plan

In consultation with existing LIPs, RIFs, or similar planning groups and the resettlement and settlement sectors, you will develop a Plan that addresses the mandatory criteria and guiding questions in the following template Community Partnership Settlement Plan to demonstrate that the community meets (or can quickly address) the criteria for a Welcoming Community with the appropriate supports in place to welcome Syrian GARs.

Your Plan must also demonstrate how support will be sustained over the medium and long-term so that GARs succeed and remain in your community. If the success of your plan is dependent upon support (either financial or in-kind) from others, you must demonstrate that this support has been obtained and indicate how long it will be provided for (i.e. is it available in the short, medium, or long-term). For example, “the provision of discounted transit fares would be provided as an in-kind donation from the local transportation authority for X months.”

Step 4: Submit your Community Partnership Settlement Plan

Submit your completed Community Partnership Settlement Plan to IRCC: IRCC will forward your Plan to the appropriate provincial/territorial government contact. This process is open ended and proposals will be accepted until the need to resettle Syrian GARs has been met.

Community Partnership Settlement Plan: Review and Approval Process

Submission to Provincial/Territorial Government:

Upon receipt of completed Community Partnership Settlement Plans, IRCC will forward your Plan to a provincial/territorial government contact. The Province/Territory will do an initial assessment of your Plan to confirm appropriate settlement supports and community services, and review overall resource capacity as they have a more comprehensive understanding of communities in the jurisdiction.

Provinces or Territories will then provide advice to IRCC on the Community Partnership Settlement Plans for IRCC’s further consideration during the review and approval process.

Submission to IRCC:

IRCC will review the Plan for each community based on considerations included in this document that reflect the community’s potential to foster positive settlement outcomes for Syrian GARs and other newcomers in the future.

Communications with IRCC:

IRCC will keep you informed on the processing of your application. You will receive confirmation of the following as soon as they are available:

  • Acknowledgment: confirmation that the Community Partnership Settlement Plan was received by IRCC upon submission of the application.
  • IRCC Approval/Decision: confirmation by IRCC of a decision on whether the Community Partnership Settlement Plan has been approved.

These confirmations will be communicated electronically.

For additional questions or clarifications, contact IRCC will make every effort to respond to each inquiry in a timely fashion.

Date Modified: