In the Field Newsletter Volume 15


OCASI In the Field
Volume 15
Message from the Executive Director

Debbie DouglasIt was about five years ago that then Premier McGuinty announced Ontario's 25 in 5 campaign. The pledge was to reduce poverty by 25% in 5 years. Well the time has come and gone and depending on what social research you read or who you talk to, the growing consensus is that poverty is more entrenched than ever.

Read more of Debbie's observations on change happening in the sector.

OCASI Member Feature

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization: iContribute Campaign

Did you know that Ottawa is the second largest recipient of immigrants in Ontario, after Toronto? By 2017, immigrants will account for 27% and visible minorities 28% of Ottawa's population.

By helping to create a rich cultural diversity, bring vibrancy to their community and making their own unique contributions, immigrants are helping Ottawa to flourish — and contributing to its image as a world-class city.

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OCASI Happenings

OCASI Celebrates 35 Years of Excellence

On October 21, 2013 OCASI celebrates its 35th year of excellence in immigrant advocacy. The Council invites you the cocktail reception to celebrate our achievements and to show appreciation to our members and allies. The reception will take place downtown Toronto at PwC Tower, after the ED Forum. Buy your tickets now!.

OCASI Training - Violence against Immigrant and Refugee Women

OCASI is pleased to offer a Free Online Facilitated Training Course to its member agencies, titled: Understanding and Responding to Violence against Immigrant & Refugee Women.

This 8-week (October 1 to November 19, 2013) online facilitated course provides settlement professionals with information and tools to respond to violence against women. The course aims to increase the participants' ability to provide meaningful referrals and to engage in community mobilization and development to engage community members around addressing violence against women.

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Executive Directors Forum 2013

The annual Executive Directors' Forum takes place on Monday, October 21, 2013. It is an opportunity for sector leaders to engage in open dialogue on sectoral priorities, issues and concerns with their peers, and with representatives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and other stakeholders. The Forum also provides an opportunity to strengthen organizational capacity among OCASI members through new learning and sharing knowledge and expertise.

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Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights

OCASI is a partner in Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, an international community-academic project based at York University. It is exploring the experiences of LGBT refugees in Canada, and the experiences and organizing work of LGBT groups in Uganda, Botswana, Kenya, India, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Guyana and Belize. OCASI is an active participant in the Canadian research, and has been working with the community and academic partners to organize a roundtable and focus groups with LGBT refugee clients and service providers. While data collection will continue until Winter 2014, more information along with the first report is available on the OCASI website.

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OCASI OrgWise Governance and Strategic Leadership Webinar Series

In recent years, the topic of governance and strategic leadership has risen up the agenda of not-for-profit organizations everywhere. Increasing demands for accountability to funders and other stakeholders as well as compliance with relevant government regulations have made clear the contribution of an effective Board to organizations' performance. To this end, OCASI developed a series of six (6) webinars to help organizations strengthen their governance capacity.

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Agency of the Future Project

The Agency of the Future project, which began life as a partnership between Pathways to Prosperity and OCASI, focuses on developing a new business model for settlement agencies, one that is better attuned to emerging opportunities and constraints, as well as the sector's comparative strengths.

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Sector Happenings

Digital Stories 

Ten newcomer seniors from the Chinese and Latin American community produced videos to tell stories of migration, integration and family life in Canada.  

Newcomer Seniors engaged: Reflections of Canadian Life


Social Planning Toronto - Report on Services for Undocumented Resident

Social Planning Toronto
Non-status residents who live and work in Toronto face a number of barriers in accessing critical health, legal, housing and employment services that place them at greater risk of poverty and poor health and make them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Social Planning Toronto (SPT) has released a report on the inconsistent access to services faced by non-status residents, including migrant workers and refugees, despite the best intentions of social service workers.

Accessing community programs and services for non-status immigrants in Toronto: Organizational challenges and responses


Bringing Migrants' Voices to the UNHLD

The Global Coalition on Migration is organizing People's Global Action (PGA) 2013 on September 30 to October 4 in New York City, to advance human rights, justice, and respect for migrant workers and members of their families. The PGA is an independent civil society and grassroots people's event held in conjunction with the 2013 UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (HLD).

The PGA creates space for communities to critically engage the UN HLD process and hold governments accountable to their international human rights and community development commitments. This year, civil society and grassroots groups from Canada are engaged in planning the PGA. More information available here.

Toronto Agencies to Provide Legal Aid Services to Refugees

As part of a one-year pilot agreement with Legal Aid Ontario, Centre Francophone de Toronto and Rexdale Community Legal Clinic will provide legal aid services to refugees who do not have their own lawyers. There are two parts to the organizations' responsibility:

a) prepare Basis of Claim (BoC) forms and for filing them with the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board, and

b) prepare for and represent claimants during RPD hearings, until a decision has been rendered.

LAO pilots provision of refugee services at two legal aid clinics

Four Months to AODA Deadline!

The 2014 compliance requirement for large organizations is only four months away. This next set of requirements is the creation of written policies and procedures for each of the four IASR Standards, as they relate to your organization. Large organizations must also develop Multi-Year Accessibility Plans which are to be posted publicly, such as on your website, by January 1, 2014.

Small organizations must also create policies for Integrated Accessibility Standards, but have until January 1, 2015 to comply.

For more information about the standard and requirements visit the ministry's website

Help is available from Accessibility Ontario to create your organization's policies, contact them at

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