In preparing to write my first blog of the year, the word ‘Hope’ came to me with a feeling of urgency. That this is the message that needs to go out into the sector as we head into 2019 and what could be a most contentious year of political posturing on all sides of the political spectrum; as we as a province and country face the potential loss of ground on progressive policies that we’ve fought for, disappointment in the promises not fulfilled by our elected officials, and a growing feeling of being unsettled within civil society especially in our for public benefit organizations as we are challenged to walk our talk in a time of political uncertainty.
In the Field
As we wind down the year, it is time to take a step back and reflect on what has been accomplished, what positive change or impact we have had, and how we will appreciate our accomplishments through self-care and organizational care. We do not do enough of this as advocates and practitioners in the public benefit sector. This is as good a time as any to start.
It has been a very busy last few weeks as we prepared for and welcomed over two hundred sector leaders to our biennial Executive leadership conference; and marked forty years of OCASI’s policy advocacy, activism and sector development with a successful gala. It was a time of celebration, of congratulatory remarks, and acknowledgement of the resiliency of the sector and the impact it has had on the lives of tens of thousands of refugees, (im)migrants and Canadians. We laughed, we danced and we debated and we learned.
July 2018 - The Friday before the long weekend and our national recognition and celebration by some and resistance by others of the formation of our country Canada, we were greeted with unexpected and disappointing news. The newly elected government of Ontario had decided to disregard tradition and do away with the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. The Ministry has played an important role in Ontario’s economic development plans.
It is late Spring, feeling and looking like summer, a few days after I returned to Ontario after being away for a week on vacation in Jamaica (yes, I voted in the advance poll!). I came home to a province of mixed political and emotional sentiments - A Progressive Conservative majority government which some find concerning, wondering and worrying if the public policies and programs that they’ve worked so hard and long to bring to fruition will be done away with.
Mental health providers in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are sought to participate in interviews, for a study to develop best mental health practices for forced migrants.
The researchers would like to interview mental health providers serving any of the following groups: 1) The LGBTQ+ community; or 2) Forced migrants/refugees; or 3) LGBTQ+ individuals who are also forced migrants/refugees.