PRESS RELEASE: Trebek Forum 2019 – “Humanizing Migration” through Private Refugee Sponsorship

OTTAWA – 13 June, 2019 – On June 20th, World Refugee Day, Canadian and international thought leaders from government, academia and civil society will come together at the University of Ottawa for the bilingual 2019 Trebek Forum on “Humanizing Migration: Rights, Refuge, Responsibilities”. The Forum will feature high-level speakers, workshops, and a screening of the documentary “I am Rohingya” with the aim of humanizing public debate on migration to Canada.

As we come together to enrich and broaden public debate on migration, Canada also celebrates 40 years of private refugee sponsorship in 2019. Canada’s Blended Visa Office Referred Program (BVOR) is a unique sponsorship program which allows Canadians and government to come together and help bring UNHCR referred refugees to Canada. Since 1979 Canadians have welcomed over 327 000 refugees to Canada who have enriched and emboldened Canadian communities.

Welcoming refugees through private sponsorship opens the door to humanizing migration. The Refugee Hub’s Director of National Programs, Emilie Coyle, shares: “Sponsorship is a shared recognition of humanity. When you’re in this extremely stressful, traumatic, and often scary situation, it is really helpful to know that other human beings see you and are willing to assist you. With BVOR, it’s a stranger who says ‘I see you as a human being, and even though I don’t know you, I welcome you. Let me help you on your journey toward finding shelter and safety’. Your biases, assumptions, and stereotypes are challenged when you have a real human being in front of you. That’s what happens with sponsorship.”

On May 2nd 2019, The Refugee Hub launched the 2019 BVOR Fund which facilitates sponsorship by allowing qualifying Canadian groups to have their portion of settlement costs fully covered by the fund. The goal of the Fund is to encourage sponsorship and allow all 1650 spots allocated to the BVOR program to be filled.

To learn more about the BVOR program, the 2019 BVOR Fund, and how to apply to sponsor, please visit or contact us a

To learn more about humanizing migration in Canada, please visit

The 2019 Trebek Forum is Co-organized and Co-hosted by:

The University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Université Saint Paul, Université du Québec en Outaouais, The Refugee Hub, and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre.