November has been filled with surprises so far. Here it is mid-month and at the time of this writing we are enjoying weather that reminds us of early Fall. The leaves are mostly gone but the memory of the glorious reds, yellows, oranges and browns are fresh in our minds and remind us of why we treasure our country and its changing seasons.
Debbie Douglas: Articles In Solidarity...
I invite you to check in this corner every month for information, for what's happening in our sector and for good conversations about us and how we're moving forward as an effective and necessary part of Ontario's social safety net.
Debbie Douglas is the Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI).
Executive Director’s Message - September 2016
This is the front page of Canada’s largest newspaper that greeted me last weekend. I had to read twice to ensure that I did not misread: “67. The percentage of Canadians who agree that immigrants should be screened for anti-Canadian values.” And this: “29. The percentage of Canadians who believe the state has a role in telling women what they can wear”. Excuse me?
There are two initiatives that have been my focus for the past few weeks that I want to share with you. While the links between the two may not be casually apparent, they are related as both their goals are about change – attitudinal and systems change.
Sometimes symmetry is what you don’t want to happen, even when it benefits one’s cause. This is the situation we find ourselves in as we launch the first phase of the Council’s campaign against racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. In our very many discussions and debates about the content, analysis, tone and messaging of the campaign we talked about competing isms, about intersectionalities, about social construction of identities and about the very real soul destroying experiences of individuals and communities who are marginalized, excluded and ‘othered’ within our society.
(This installment of the ED message is taken from a keynote address to the Employment Ontario Leadership Summit in May 2016. It has been edited for publication.)
It seems that every week there’s a good news policy story as we witness the federal government respond to years of advocacy from a broad network of groups, organizations and individuals concerned with creating an equitable society and committed to public policy that advances the wellbeing of those who are most vulnerable among us.
On the day that I am writing this blog, the 10,000th Syrian refugee landed at Toronto Pearson airport. This fact made a small splash in the media as the conversation about whether the federal government will meet its various deadlines and arrival numbers of Government assisted and privately sponsored or the ‘best of both worlds' (as a colleague recently said) the blended version (BVOR – Blended Visa Office Referral) continued.