Government Assisted Refugees (GARs), unlike other categories of refugees, are resettled to Canada by the Canadian government and are identified as Convention Refugees Abroad and Humanitarian Protected Persons Abroad classes. Based on the enactment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in 2002, (GARs) are selected based on their need for protection rather than their ability to resettle. The result of this action is a higher number of GARs arriving in Canada with significant high needs, which can include, but are not limited to:
- Diverse previous living conditions: rural, urban or refugee camps across the world
- Experienced trauma, incarceration, torture or witnessed atrocities
- Numerous health, including serious and acute conditions, and mental health needs (i.e. post-traumatic stress)
- Low literacy skills and lack of formal education
- Low English and French language skills, Canada’s official languages
- Diverse family composition, including extended families and single parents with a larger number of children
GARs receive services in a different manner than other resettled refugees. They are referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), receive funding assistance by the federal government as well as initial orientation and settlement services by RAP.