Kinbrace FAQs

Photo: Mark Janousek

Does Kinbrace assist refugees who are outside of Canada?
No. Many international organizations provide assistance and support to refugees. The refugee journey can be long, complex and often dangerous. Kinbrace’s role is to welcome refugee claimants when they arrive in Canada. We do this by providing safe, affordable housing and assistance as they take the first steps toward making Canada their home.

Canada helps refugees.  What are the different categories?
Refugees arrive to Canada in two ways:  by their own initiative as refugee claimants or as resettled refugees with the help of Canadians and the Canadian government.  The largest number of refugees Canada helps each year are those who come as refugee claimants and receive protection.

Who are refugee claimants?
A refugee claimant is someone who has fled their country and is seeking protection because they fear risk of persecution. This could be due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership in a particular social group. Canada has a well-respected refugee protection system. For more information, go to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada websiteRefugee claimant is Canada’s legal term for asylum seeker or asylum claimant.

How are refugee claimants different from resettled refugees?
Asylum seekers arrive in Canada seeking refugee protection.  When screened for security, identity, and flight risk, they enter Canada’s inland refugee determination system as refugee claimants.  The most vulnerable refugee claimants have no one to meet them, no housing in place, and have often spent all resources just to get to Canada.   While trying to meet basic needs and survive, refugee claimants enter the detailed and complicated process that leads toward the refugee hearing, where a determination is made whether they merit refugee protection or not.  It can take several months and sometimes more than a year to reach this point.  If they get protection, the person receives Convention Refugee or Person in Need of Protection status, which gives them safety as they then apply for Permanent Resident status.  The whole process from arriving in Canada to receiving Permanent Residence can take 2-3 years.  During this time they have temporary resident status, need a work permit for employment, and have a Social Insurance Number that starts with 9.

Resettled refugees (Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) and Government Assisted Refugees (GARs)) are identified as refugees oversees and brought to Canada by Canadian citizens or by the federal government.  When they arrive in Canada they immediately receive Permanent Resident status and have housing and integration supports available to them.

Are refugee claimants legal in Canada?
Yes, refugee claimants have legal status in Canada. They are accountable to Canada’s three immigration agencies (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)). For more information on refugee claimant facts, figures, and myths see the Canadian Council for Refugees website.

How many refugee claimants come to Canada / BC each year?
The numbers keep growing.  An increasingly urgent response is required.  In 2021, a total of 24,980 refugee claimants arrived in Canada, 3405 of these in BC (the vast majority arrived to Metro Vancouver).

How many refugee claimants does Kinbrace assist each year?
We provide transitional supportive housing to approximately 40 newly arrived refugee claimants each year. Across the country, Kinbrace’s collaborative My Refugee Claim resources help thousands of refugee claimants navigate Canada’s crucial yet complex refugee protection system.

How are refugee claimants referred to Kinbrace?
Kinbrace is an active member in the Multi-Agency Partnership of BC (MAP), a unique collaboration of over 40 agencies working together to understand and serve the needs of refugee claimants in BC.

How long do refugee claimant residents stay at Kinbrace?
Residents stay approximately 3 months.  We are interested that people are as stable as possible when they move from Kinbrace. Having a work permit and social insurance number gives people the capacity to find work and make enough money to afford housing in Metro Vancouver.

What are READY Tours?
READY Tours is a collaborative, national program that helps refugee claimants understand the refugee protection system and prepare for their refugee hearings. These free orientation tours connect refugee claimants and service providers to staff of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada where they learn about the refugee hearing event, who will be at the hearing, and get important information regarding Canada’s refugee protection system. Refugee claimants across the country are encouraged to register for a READY Tour in their region.

How long has Kinbrace been in operation?
Since July 1998.

Can I volunteer at Kinbrace?

We are grateful to the many volunteers who contribute to our community. If you are interested in volunteering, please apply by starting with the VOLUNTEER tab at the top of the webpage.  Unfortunately, we are not able host all applicants.

Who funds Kinbrace?
Refugee claimants find housing and support thanks to the generous and faithful support of private donors, churches, charities, foundations, and governments. Find out more about our partners here.  You can make a personal donation here.

Where are you located?
Kinbrace is a community located in two houses in east Vancouver, near Commercial Drive. As refugee claimants seek safe and affordable housing beyond Kinbrace, they settle into homes across Metro Vancouver.  The Kinbrace family keeps growing….

Since 1998, Kinbrace has provided supportive housing to almost 600 people seeking refugee protection. Tens of thousands have benefited from READY Tours and the multilingual Refugee Hearing Preparation Guide.