OCASI Letter to Minister Maryam Monsef (Status of Women)

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January 13, 2017

The Honourable Maryam Monsef
Minister of Status of Women
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Monsef,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, it is our pleasure to congratulate you on your appointment as Minister of Status of Women.

OCASI is the umbrella organization for immigrant and refugee-serving agencies in Ontario. We are a registered charity founded in 1978, and now have 220 member agencies across the province. OCASI member agencies provide settlement and other services for immigrants and refugees.

We offer our assistance as civil society partners in implementing the priorities identified by your government with respect to strengthening women’s economic, social and political role and participation in Canadian society, particularly for immigrants and refugees, as well as migrant workers and international students, as you begin to implement your vision in this new role. We have worked closely with Prime Minister Trudeau’s administration since November 2015 on the major priority of refugee resettlement, and are encouraged by the implementation of some of the key commitments of that will benefit immigrant women such as ending conditional permanent residence for sponsored spouses.

We look to your leadership on addressing other urgent priorities recognized by your government, including many that would be of particular interest to immigrants and refugees, such as:

  • Gender violence strategy and action plan;
  • Gender sensitivity and cultural awareness training for federal law enforcement; and
  • Applying a gender-based analysis to government policy-making.

We look forward to engaging with you on these priorities, as well as further exploring the last priority above to ensure that the government’s gender equity lens is comprehensively informed by the particular experience of immigrant and refugee, as well as racialized women.

We respectfully request an opportunity to meet with you to offer the Council’s expertise and experience in helping to meet your stated commitments, and to share some of the main priorities for Ontario’s immigrant and refugee-serving sector. 

We welcome your leadership on this portfolio and wish you all success as you embark in your new role.

Yours truly,

Debbie Douglas                                    Ibrahim Absiye
Executive Director                                President