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Creating Canadians through Private Sponsorship

  • Stacey Haugen (a1), Patti Tamara Lenard (a2) and Emily Regan Wills (a3)


We investigate how refugee sponsors and sponsorship groups approach their responsibility to “create new Canadians.” We set the stage by reflecting on the history of Canada as an immigrant-receiving, multicultural country, as well as on the role of acculturation attitudes of host community members in establishing the integration environment for newcomers in general. We use findings from nearly 60 interviews with sponsors in the Ottawa area to outline the different approaches that sponsors take. Approaches to sponsorship fall into three general orientations: paternalistic, passive paternalistic and mutualistic. These approaches manifest in the actions that sponsors take during the sponsorship process. In our discussion, we consider the implications of these approaches for the sponsor–refugee relationship, as well as the broader project of Canadian multiculturalism. We argue that mutualistic approaches best demonstrate welcoming acculturation orientations to newcomers, and that they are an important component of supporting privately sponsored refugees to become Canadians.


Nous étudions la façon dont les parrains et les groupes de parrainage de réfugiés assument leur responsabilité visant à « créer de nouveaux Canadiens ». Le sujet est introduit par une réflexion sir l'histoire du Canada en tant que pays multiculturel d'accueil, ainsi qu'au rôle des attitudes d'acculturation des membres de la communauté de parrainage dans l'établissement d'un environnement facilitant l'intégration des nouveaux arrivants en général. Des constatations se sont dégagées à l'issue d'une soixantaine d'entretiens avec des parrains de la région d'Ottawa pour décrire les différentes approches adoptées. Celles-ci se répartissent en trois orientations générales : paternaliste, paternaliste passif et mutualiste. Elles se manifestent dans les actions que les répondants entreprennent au cours du processus de parrainage. Dans notre discussion, nous examinons les implications de ces approches pour la relation entre parrains et réfugiés ainsi que pour le projet plus large de multiculturalisme canadien. Nous soutenons que les approches mutualistes sont celles qui démontrent le mieux les orientations d'acculturation accueillantes pour les nouveaux arrivants, et qu'elles constituent un élément important du soutien apporté aux réfugiés parrainés dans la sphère privée pour qu'ils deviennent Canadiens.


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Creating Canadians through Private Sponsorship

  • Stacey Haugen (a1), Patti Tamara Lenard (a2) and Emily Regan Wills (a3)


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