As celebrations of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund’s (PWRDF’s) 50th anniversary get under way, PWRDF representatives and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, met with Jason Kenney, minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They discussed the federal government’s support for one of PWRDF’s anniversary programs that will help parishes and dioceses across the country sponsor 50 refugee families.
PWRDF is providing about $2,000 for each family sponsored by a parish, and the federal government has agreed to match those funds. The exact amount will be pro-rated depending on the size of the family, says Carolyn Vanderlip, PWRDF’s 50th anniversary co-ordinator. “A larger family obviously is going to require more financial support, but it averages to $2,000 per family,” she said. Combined with the matching government funds, Ms. Vanderlip says the money should provide about three months of income support to each family.
PWRDF invited Mr. Kenney to come to General Synod offices in Toronto on April 24. “We want to establish a positive working relationship with the minister,” said Ms. Vanderlip.
The project “is an important expression of Canada’s humanitarian tradition of resettling victims of persecution. The Anglican church has always been a leader in this,” said Mr. Kenney. “We are happy to contribute matching funds to the seed funding for the 50 refugee families that Anglican parishes and dioceses across the country will be sponsoring.”
Three families have already arrived. They are Colombian, ethnic Karen from Burma and Ethiopian-Sudanese. “We’re not focusing on any one area; we’re just focusing on where there is a need,” Ms. Vanderlip said. All of the families are “visa office-referred families, which means that they have already been selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for resettlement,” she added.