Alliance for Racialized, Refugee, and Im/migrant Women

Graphic of six immigrant women

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The Alliance for Racialized, Refugee, and Im/migrant Women was funded by Women and Gender-Equality Canada (WAGE) from February 2021 to August 2023. 

Since the end of the project funding in August 2023, the Alliance has evolved into a collaborative initiative co-organized with several volunteer Coordinating Committee members. We encourage community members from nonprofit organizations or grassroots groups across the country that are focused on dismantling systemic barriers for racialized, refugee and im/migrant cis and trans women and gender-diverse people to engage with this initiative! 

To learn more about the Alliance for Racialized, Refugee, and Immigrant Women, read our first joint public statement [PDF] and our Final Summary report [PDF].


The Alliance for Racialized, Refugee, and Im/migrant Women was an initiative exploring the need and feasibility of forming a feminist and anti-racist alliance of organizations and individuals who share common priorities in advancing justice and equity for racialized, refugee, and im/migrant cis and trans women, girls, and gender-diverse people in Canada.


  • Co-create a space for people to convene and organize around shared priorities;
  • Build relationships and share knowledge;
  • Explore the interest, need, and potential for forming an anti-racist and intersectional feminist alliance. 

For more information on how we work, please see the KEY CONCEPTS section below. 


The primary activities carried out during the Alliance initiative (2021-2023) are listed below. 

  1. Environmental Scan/Needs Assessment (June 2021 - January 2022)
  2. Community outreach and mobilization in both English and French;  (June 2021 - June 2023)
  3. Establishing a core group of members (advisory committee) (March 2022- May 2023)
  4. Virtual roundtables in 5 different regions (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, and Pacific) to learn of regional priorities for racialized, refugee and im/migrant women and gender-diverse people ( November 2022 - January 2023)
  5.  1 in person national roundtable & 1 virtual national roundtable (May & June 2023) 
  6. Evaluation Activities led by external evaluator (see Evaluation Report) (Jan. 2022- July 2023)

Advisory Committee Members: 

Advisory members played a critical role in the strategic direction, decision-making, and overall process of the project. 

The 2022-2023 Advisory Committee Members were: 

  • Joanne Owuor & Solange Mudahogora, Uzima Network
  • Mbalu Lumor, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT)
  • Jhevoi Melville, Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST) 
  • Jennifer Chew, South Asian Women’s Community Centre of Montreal (SAWCC)
  • Shalini Konanur, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO)
  • Nuzhat Jafri, Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW)
  • Mariam Bouchoutrouch, Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (PIRS) 
  • Debbie Douglas, OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
  • Saadatou Abdoulkarim, Table de Concertation des organismes au service des personnes Réfugiées et Immigrantes (TCRI) 
  • Sobia Shaheen Shaikh & Maria Dussan, Anti-Racism Coalition of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARC-NL) 
  • Paula Calderon, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA)
  • Ijeoma Nwamuo (International Women of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
  • Ellen Gahigi (North End Women’s Centre, Manitoba)
  • Karyna Enriquez (Accueil Liaison Pour Arrivants, Quebec - until August 2021)


Our collective work is guided by anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices, intersectional feminist and decolonial principles. Central to these efforts is our commitment to active solidarity with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, girls, and two-spirited peoples.

The following is a brief description of the key concepts used as guiding values and frameworks for the Alliance project.

Gender Identity is a person’s internal and individual experience of gender. This is different than ‘sex’, or the anatomical classification of people as male, female or intersex, usually assigned at birth. The term ‘trans’ is used to describe persons who identify with a different sex than the one assigned to them at birth. The use of the words woman and women in this project are inclusive of trans women. The term gender-diverse refers to persons whose gender identity is at odds with gender norms, including those who do not place themselves in the male/female binary.  

Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive (ARAO) practices work to challenge, prevent, eliminate, and change the values, structures, policies, programs, actions, and behaviours that perpetuate racism and oppression, and in particular Anti-Black racism in our society.

Intersectional feminism asserts that gender equity cannot be reached without understanding how the systems holding power in our society exclude and oppress certain women because of their multiple and intersecting identities. In practice, intersectional feminism requires challenging and resisting the systems, institutions, and cultural traditions that dismiss the experiences of women on the margins, such as Indigenous, Black and racialized, disabled, im/migrant, transwomen and LGBTQ2+ identified people.

Intersectionality is a framework for understanding how multiple forms of discrimination intersect to create a disproportionate impact for certain groups of people based on their identity and social location. Kimberlé Crenshaw first began using this term as a way to explain the multiple forms of oppression collectively facing Black women survivors of violence in the United States.

Decolonial and anti-colonial frameworks acknowledge the violence and genocide perpetrated under colonialism and settler-colonialism towards Indigenous peoples in Canada and in the Global South. Decolonization is the intentional process of working to oppose, challenge, and replace colonial oppression in its many shapes and forms in our society and relationships. Committing to decolonial practices means acting in concrete ways to resist colonial oppression in solidarity and support of Indigenous communities.

Racialized is used as a term to describe people who are non-White and encompasses all people who self-identify as racialized. People can be racialized not only based on skin colour but also other perceived characteristics such as their culture, language, customs, ancestry, country or place of origin. Typically, racialized is not used to describe First Nations, Métis or Inuit peoples within Canada, but may include Indigenous peoples from the Global South. 

Racialization refers to the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal. Racial categories are not based on science or biology but on differences that society has chosen to emphasize.

The word refugee is inclusive of asylum seekers, displaced people, refugee claimants, status and/or resettled refugees. 

Im/migrant is an umbrella term used to describe persons who are not born with Canadian citizenship. This includes those who have moved away from their place of usual residence temporarily or permanently, including those without a legal immigration status.

Precarious immigration status is an immigration status in Canada that is temporary and does not entitle the person to full legal rights, protections, and services. Some examples of precarious status include: refugee claimants, temporary residents, migrant workers, international students, sponsored individuals, and those without an immigration status.

Systemic change is about dismantling the structures that hold inequities in place, such as the laws, policies, institutions, cultural norms, and practices that create unjust conditions within a community. Such inequities are based on race, gender, class, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and other personal characteristics and factors. Structural change seeks to rebuild these systems and structures in order to make our society a more just and equitable one. 

This project is funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada.

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