If you are coming to Canada and are a refugee, you are likely experiencing a very turbulent time with much uncertainty. In particular, you may be wondering what kind of supports are in place in Canada when you actually arrive here! Here, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration doctors explain what benefits refugees are able to receive in Canada.
What benefits do refugees receive during the resettlement process?
If you are a refugee who will be entering Canada in the near future, you likely have a lot of questions. Traveling to a new place under any circumstances can be stressful and full of uncertainty and, as you well know, doing also as a refugee is even more so.
In the time leading up to and after your arrival in Canada, you may be wondering what awaits you here. What supports and assistance are offered to refugees by the Canadian government? here are three major programs offered to refugees in need of assistance in the leadup to and during their time in Canada.
The Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP)
The Resettlement Assistance Program (also called RAP) is a federal assistance program provided by the Canadian government to support eligible newcomers to Canada. Eligible newcomers include Government-Assisted Refugees, Government-assisted members of a Designated Humanitarian Asylum Class Country, and Privately-Sponsored Refugees.
The RAP generally involves two components: Income Support and Essential Services.
Essential services are generally provided within the first month and a half of a newcomer's stay in Canada. These services are generally provided by Service Provider Organizations and can include meeting you at the airport, temporary accommodation and basic orientation to Canadian life.
Income support takes the form of allowances and can come in two different varieties: basic and conditional. Basic allowances are provided to all RAP recipients, while conditional ones are only provided under special circumstances. You can find more information about allowances on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Immigration Loans Program (ILP)
The Immigration Loans Program is a financial aid service that provides eligible immigrants (mainly, but not only, refugees) with financial assistance that they wouldn't otherwise have when settling in Canada. Loans can be used to cover a whole range of expenses associated with resettling in Canada, including travel costs, costs associated with establishing yourself in Canada, and the Right of Permanent Residence fee.
To determine whether you qualify for the ILP and what kind of loan you are eligible for, visit the IRCC website.
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)
If you have been selected and approved the resettle in Canada with refugee status, the Interim Federal Health Program will help cover certain costs associated with the resettlement process. This can include immigration medical exams and follow-up treatments for health issues that would exclude you from resettling in Canada, vaccinations and medical support required for travel.
Notably, the IFHP does not cover the cost of health-care services that you may claim (fully or partially) under a private or public health insurance program. It also will not coordinate benefits with other insurance programs.
If you would like to learn more about the kinds of coverage offered through the Interim Federal Health Program, visit the IRCC website.
Settlement Assistance Programs
There are a wide variety of settlement assistance programs offered by a number of private settlement agencies across Canada. They are able to provide similar kinds of support to the Resettlement Assistance Program, including supporting refugees during their first few weeks of resettlement in Canada, as well as services like language training, job-related services and more.
You can find settlement assistance programs through directories like 211.ca.