REALIZING RESETTLEMENT: EXPERIENCES OF PRIVATE SPONSORS OF SYRIAN REFUGEES IN NOVA SCOTIA
van Buren, Inge
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While Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program has existed since 1976, it has seen a notable resurgence in the Canadian imaginary since 2015. Drawing on data collected through fifteen qualitative interviews with members of sponsorship groups and sponsorship service workers, this thesis explores motivations, experiences and challenges of private sponsors of Syrian refugees in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Through this research, I provide insight into the everyday and social settings of the PSR program. My findings suggest that ethical considerations, media coverage and political engagement were important motivators for sponsorship involvement. Contextualized by Canada’s broader immigration policy setting, I argue that for the people I spoke to, private sponsorship was experienced as a way to meaningfully exercise their own citizenship. In recounting their sponsorship narratives, participants emphasized the significance of the social relationships with those they sponsored, while also pointing to dynamics of inequality and frustration embedded within them.