Toronto / September 2019 - The rallying cry for Labour Day 2019 in Ontario was ‘Unite Against Racism’. The slogan and sentiment meant to acknowledge the troubling rise in white supremacy and xenophobia across the province and the country signaled a coming together of progressive forces to combat this scourge that has a material impact on the lives of Black, Indigenous and people of colour, including racialized (im)migrants and refugees.
Integration and Settlement
Presentation by Debbie Douglas at the Cities and Migration plenary at the International Metropolis Conference 2019.
Gatineau, QC / June 28, 2019
Good morning. I would like to begin by acknowledging the privilege to speak here on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg.
On June 16, 2019 we read in the media that a majority of Canadians polled – approximately 63% - believed the federal government should limit the number of immigrants to the country. The poll was conducted by Leger between June 7 and 10.
OCASI sent a letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Justice Minister David Lametti asking for urgent federal government action to provide financial support for community legal clinics.
Community Legal Clinics (CLCs) are funded by Legal Aid Ontario. On June 12, 2019 Legal Aid Ontario announced funding cuts that will result in a decrease to the clinic system budget of approximately $15 million, or 16%. Among those most affected are certain specialized legal clinics and Toronto neighbourhood clinics - clinics that engage in test case and law reform work.
The federal government has proposed an Open Work Permit program for migrant workers facing abuse or the risk of abuse, as well as for their families in Canada. The proposal was published in the Canada Gazette on December 15, 2018 as a notice to amend Immigration and Refugee Protection Act Regulations. Click here for the Gazette Notice.
June 21, 2017/ Toronto
OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants acknowledges the traditional territories of the peoples of Turtle Island and thanks Indigenous peoples for allowing us to settle on these lands. We affirm our commitment to the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the collective voice for Ontario’s immigrant and refugee-serving sector, and within our organization and in our governance.
OCASI is deeply disturbed by the rise in hate crimes in 2015, particularly the rise in Islamophobia and targeting of Muslim and Arab residents. The findings on "Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2015" confirm how much work there still is to be done to counter the prevailing and pervasive anti Black Racism, Islamophobia and anti- Semitism, and that as Canadians we can't be complacent about these realities.
OCASI wrote to the Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario, to express profound concern about Legal Aid Ontario's plans to cut funding to Immigration and Refugee law (IRL) services in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. We encourage you to send your own letter to the Attorney General and send a copy to your MPP. Click here to find your MPP and contact information. Keep OCASI informed by sending an email to [email protected].
The Canadian Senate has adopted a motion to amend Bill C-6 (the Citizenship Bill) to increase the requirement of language and knowledge test for citizenship from age 55 to 60. The Bill is almost at the final stage of becoming law, but is yet to receive final approval in Parliament.
As far as we understand there are other pending amendments to which we must pay attention. For example, the clause dealing with dual citizens and the government right to deport based on criminality or ‘treason’ we know will be cause for great debate. Organizations like OCASI and the National Council of Canadian Muslims among other progressive organizations spoke out strongly against giving the government the power to revoke citizenship and deport dual citizens arguing that this set up a two tier citizenship regime which is fundamentally unfair. We argued that citizenship is a fundamental right that cannot be taken away. Our current federal government agrees and is seeking to reverse this part of the Citizenship Act through Bill C6.