WHAT WE DO
Bringing together knowledge, experience and commitment to the work of immigration and resettlement.
Northern Lights Canada stands with refugees – and their friends and supporters – as they navigate the process of immigration and resettlement. We provide guidance, share resources and build on our collective strengths as we work alongside people who have been forced to flee their homes, celebrating as they begin new lives and make the most of their boundless potential.
Because every contribution helps, and each additional person adds exponentially to our reach and impact. Whether you have time, money, energy, a lot of friends or just a big heart, we need you.
WHAT WE DO
We are volunteers, whose strength comes in working together.
By networking with other volunteers of all stripes - professionals, philanthropists, newcomers and advocates - we aim to:
Connect refugees and newcomers with the resources, contacts and organizations they need to find better opportunities to live, work and study.
Promote a great understanding of the realities of displacement and migration, both in Canada and globally.
Recruit and educate volunteers to take part in the private sponsorship process to bring deserving refugees to Canada.
Aim to be an advocate and support for refugees and asylum seekers, to amplify their voice, tell their stories and share their unique gifts with the world.
Develop tools to help sponsors support refugees in culturally-responsive and meaningful ways.
Network with other groups and private citizens who are making a difference in the lives of the displaced – through medical, education, employment, resettlement and advocacy efforts.
Do our best to help newcomers find jobs, apartments, furniture, professional contacts and friends.
What We Don't Do
Since we're volunteers and limited in number, we cannot sponsor all the refugees who need it. And because we are not an NGO or Sponsorship Agreement Holder, we also cannot influence government policy or influence which refugees are accepted into this country.
Our purpose is to answer questions and encourage connections with Canadians who want to become sponsors. But not to be in charge of these connections!
SOUND INTERESTING? JOIN US
STRONGER TOGETHER: Together we’re building a network of volunteers and humanitarians to find hope and opportunities for displaced people worldwide.
IN THE MEDIA
CBC The Current (at 8:15)
CTV and here and here and here
Global News and here and here and here
Toronto Star and here and here
Globe and Mail and here and here
Refugees in Indonesia
CTV News online and here
Radio New Zealand and here and here
HOW WE GOT STARTED
In the Fall of 2019, some friends and private sponsors came together to ask, “How can we share what we know to help make things better?"
Motivated and inspired by the newcomers they had met and helped settle in Canada, they asked themselves, "How can we build a network of like-minded people to join us on this amazing journey?”
Since that time, we have reached out to organizations, advocates and everyday citizens to bring energy and scale to our efforts.
Why We Do It
There are plenty of resources to help guide people on the private sponsorship journey. The Refugee Sponsorship Training program has produced a terrific website and some great videos that tell you everything you need to know. And the most exhaustive guide of all is offered by Canadian immigration.
What's missing, perhaps, is the why of sponsorship - the reason why everyone should consider getting involved in this terrific effort to help refugees build a new life. As Canadians, we have this incredible privilege of living in a country that offers us relative peace and stability. With that privilege comes a responsibility to help those who lack such things.
Lending a Hand
That's where Northern Lights comes in. Whether you're writing a letter to your MP, putting together a new sponsorship team, or lending a helping hand to someone already in this country, we are excited to be part of the journey. And hopefully we'll give you advice and insights - and a sense of community - you won't find anywhere else.
Through the power of inspiration, education and a little perspiration, let's come together to find a local, made-in-Canada solution to a global crisis.
OTHER PROJECTS AND PARTNERSHIPS
WHO WE ARE
Ruth Elizabeth Bromstein
is the founder of Walk Like a Refugee and the Westside Refugee Response, and an outspoken ambassador for the refugee cause and for the Canadian private sponsorship of refugees program. She leads creative fundraising campaigns and witnessed the life-changing impact of helping the world’s most vulnerable people.
is the strategic lead for Northern Lights Canada. He also serves in a leadership role at the Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative, and is a member of the Refugee Advisory Network and the Expert Consults on Race, Borders, and Digital Technologies. A public speaker, advocate and writer, Jaivet is community manager at Needslist and a student of Political Economy at the University of Toronto.
is a co-founder of Northern Lights Canada and Northern Lights West. A marketing manager at the University of Toronto, he has volunteered extensively since 2016 to bring over 100 refugees to Canada and help them – and other newcomers – make the most of their lives in this country. Recipient of the Irv Carvalho Humanitarian Award at the National Citizenship and Immigration Conference (2020). In 2021, Northern Lights was shortlisted as a finalist from among 500+ entries for the Charity Village awards for Most Outstanding Impact - Volunteer (individual). In November 2021, he received the inaugural Charity Village award for 'most outstanding impact - volunteer'.
is the co-founder of Northern Lights West. During his time in Indonesia, he co-founded the Refugee Learning Centre, was one of two refugees employed by the UNHCR to advocate on behalf of refugees, a speaker and member of the Asia Pacific Summit of Refugees and a speaker at TEDxUbud.
is founder and president of Barnes Management Group, a collaborative firm that aims to amplify the potential of First Nations people. After earning a MSW from Wilfred Laurier University and launching a career in social work, he joined Homes First, a Toronto agency providing housing and support for the homeless. He has become active in private sponsorship and advocacy on behalf of refugees.
is a journalist and editor of The Archipelago, the magazine and writers collective. As a university student in Myanmar, Jonaid was forced to flee into exile. Now living in Toronto, he contributes to film and publishing accounts of displaced people and advocates, and volunteers with Northern Lights Canada to help refugees find a safe and durable solution globally.
is an advisor to Northern Lights Canada. Heather serves as a private sponsor and coach for other sponsor teams, and has become an indispensable force in our efforts to complete and submit applications to bring vulnerable refugees to new lives in Canada. Professionally she is the principal of HeatherFinley.com, and her prior clients include Bell Canada, The Ontario Science Centre, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the SickKids Foundation.
is an advisor to Northern Lights Canada. He is the founder of the African Youth Action Network, co-founder of the Refugee-Led Organizations Network, the Network of South Sudanese Civil Society Organizations in Uganda and the Global Youth Advisory Council at the UNHCR, spokesperson for Right to Play, head of the initiative Youth Advocacy Network for Social Cohesion and founder of the Hope and Resilience Initiative.
is a photographer and videographer for Northern Lights Canada and Hazara Refugee Collective.