Increases in displacement and forced migration is an enduring feature of many countries. Resettlement is a policy response to displacement, that relocates refugees from a country of asylum to a safe third country. Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program is noteworthy. It allows non-profit organizations and volunteer groups to support newcomers during their first year in Canada and has especially aided resettlement of Syrian refugees on an international scale. We take a critical look at this programme by focusing on the social implications of private sponsorship and Syrian newcomers’ experiences of resettlement. We view private sponsorship initiatives as furthering processes that privatise decision-making, identify specific sponsorship groups as objects of policy, and transfer public authority to private citizens and non-profit organizations to encourage refugee resettlement. We argue that the privatising processes defining private sponsorship are further complicated within localised settings. Based on scholarly, policy, and programme documents, and extensive semi-structured interviews with Syrian newcomers in southern Ontario, Canada, we illuminate what we call “localising the privatisation of refuge,” which calls attention to the various networks, activities and relations of power that define and shape the local, and the processes and experiences of refuge that take place within.