Please donate to support refugees coming to Canada

August 5, 2019

Operation #Not Forgotten is a project to sponsor 200 refugees living on Manus and Nauru Islands and in Papua New Guinea in order to support their resettlement in Canada.


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While the majority of the men and women still being detained on these islands have been accepted for resettlement to the United States, there are approximately 200 individuals who currently have no hope, no options, no future.

Canada Caring Society and MOSAIC – along with partners in Australia – are working together to raise the required sponsorship funds. For 200 people, this amounts to approximately $3.3 million.

Settlement support services – finding employment, accommodation, medical care – will be provided by volunteer teams who will be trained and coordinated across the country by Canada.

100% of donations will be used to support the sponsorship and settlement of refugees. Donations will be received by MOSAIC in Vancouver, BC and Canadian donors will receive a charitable tax receipt.

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Who are the detainees and why are they being detained by the Australian government?

All of the detainees are people who were seeking asylum in Australia. They were detained after an announcement on July 19, 2013 by the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Under the Regional Resettlement Arrangement between Australia and Papua New Guinea, all “unauthorised maritime arrivals” were detained  on Manus Island with no possibility of attaining Australian residency. Additional detainees were also transferred to the Australian facility on Nauru. Many have been trapped on the islands for up to six years, in brutal living conditions and with no hope in sight for resettlement to a safe country.

How many men and women are in detention?

There are approximately 880 detainees – men and women – on Nauru and in Papua New Guinea (including Manus). Exact numbers are difficult to obtain, but the most recent figures released by the Australian government in May 2019 indicate that there are approximately 350 detainees on Nauru, including 24 women. In Papua New Guinea and Manus, there are approximately 530, all men.

Over 70% of the detainees have been officially recognized as refugees, while others are still waiting for their status determination.

Where are the refugees from?

The refugees are from countries including Iran, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Iraq. Some of them are stateless. They fled war, violence and political and ethnic persecution in their countries and cannot return there.

What are the conditions like where the refugees are held?

For several years, people sent to Manus Island and Nauru were held in detention facilities described by Amnesty International and others as “open air” prisons and concentration camps. Officially, the detention centres are closed but many of the refugees and asylum seekers remain in camp arrangements with restrictions on movement and little capacity to get on with their lives. Many of them are dealing with mental health issues like depression and anxiety as a result of their lengthy incarceration and their lack of hope for the future.

Why are Canadians offering to sponsor the refugees?

Canadians are uniquely positioned to help refugees. Canada has the largest, longest established and most flexible private sponsorship program for refugees, allowing citizens and community groups to come together and sponsor refugees they nominate as needing resettlement. The program was developed in the late 1970s to address the desire by Canadians to assist Vietnamese refugees and the system is still in place today.

Under the private sponsorship program for refugees, the sponsors are responsible for providing all of the necessary funds and settlement support. It is a very cost-effective approach and studies have shown that privately sponsored refugees integrate much more successfully that those who come through the government refugee program. This is primarily because they have a group of people from the community who have agreed to take on the responsibility to assist them with starting their new life in Canada.

How much will it cost to sponsor the refugees?

Under guidelines established by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada each individual will require $16,500 to cover set up costs and support for their first year in Canada.

Based on sponsoring 200 individuals, the total amount required would be $3.3 million CAD. Australian citizens who are concerned about the welfare of the detainees have already raised over $100,000.

What settlement support would be required for the refugees after they arrive in Canada?

Each refugee will be assigned a settlement support team of five people to help them settle into their new community. Settlement support includes helping the newcomer fill out the necessary applications to get required documents, such as a Social Insurance Number. They will also help them access medical services, educational opportunities and assist them with finding employment and accommodation.

“Operation Not Forgotten” will be recruiting volunteers from across Canada, as well as working with Rotary International to recruit and coordinate settlement support teams. Training and support for these settlement groups will be provided by Canada Caring Society and MOSAIC.

Who are the people behind Operation Not Forgotten?

Laurie Cooper is a former journalist and the founder of Canada Caring Society. Laurie has been involved in sponsoring over 50 people to come to Canada under the Private Sponsorship program.

Hassan Al Kontar is a refugee advocate from Syria who received international media attention after spending 7 months in a Malaysian airport and 2 months in detention before coming to Canada as a refugee in November 2018. He now volunteers with Canada Caring and speaks widely on issues pertaining to refugees and settlement.

Saleem Spindari came to Canada as a refugee and is now Senior Manager of Refugees and Migrant Workers Programs for MOSAIC and sits on the Canadian Council for Refugees.

CANADA CARING SOCIETY is a registered non-profit society which has been offering support to refugees in Canada and overseas since 2016. Canada Caring Society has also been involved in many private and community sponsorships. To learn more, please visit

MOSAIC is a registered charity serving immigrant, refugee, migrant and mainstream communities throughout the province of BC and overseas via online programs. MOSAIC is recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder and is one of the largest settlement organizations in Canada. To learn more, please visit