In the Field Newsletter Volume 17


OCASI In the Field
Volume 17
Message from the Executive Director

Debbie Douglas Canada's immigrant and refugee-serving sector is heading to Ottawa next week (November 13-15) for the first National Settlement and Integration conference in a decade. The last national gathering was held in Calgary in 2003. What a difference a decade has made, yet how things have stayed the same.

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

OCASI Member Feature

Urban Crisis: The Untold Story of Poverty in Hamilton

In recognition of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre launches Urban Crisis: The Untold Story of Poverty in Hamilton, a video presentation.

As a trusted health service provider and strong advocate, Hamilton Urban Core has worked closely with individuals, families, and communities over the course of many months, and in some cases years. During this period people have graciously shared their lives and experiences with the agency – experiences of living in poverty, of isolation and exclusion, and most importantly, of not being heard.

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OCASI Happenings

OCASI Launches Citizenship Website for Youth is a new national website - with FREE Android/iPhone apps - that helps young people study for the citizenship test and learn about the benefits of Canadian citizenship., the most recent addition to OCASI's web initiatives, encourages youth to earn “badges” as they complete educational tasks. This motivates users to learn whilst keeping track of their progress. Youth can also share their badges on Twitter or Facebook, and compete with others to get high scores on the online citizenship quiz. Check out the Android App and iPhone App and let us know what you think on Twitter.

Webinar on the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Program

The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) program is a Government of Canada pilot that provides support to unsuccessful refugee claimants in or around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who voluntarily leave Canada.

OCASI offers a webinar that will give participants an introduction to the AVRR program; how it operates, how to refer clients to the program, and an opportunity to ask detailed questions of IOM and CBSA representatives.

OCMS Demo Webinars

The OCASI Client Management System (OCMS) is a newly developed, powerful and sophisticated website that can be used by multi-service agencies across Canada to record and retrieve important client information while generating detailed real-time reports on individual and group activities. To find out how OCMS can help you, sign up for one of the training/demo webinars. You can learn first hand how the database works and experience some of its great features, including its compatibility with iCARE.

Introducing the Redesigned OrgWise Website

As part of OCASI's commitment to continuous learning, organizational development and accessibility, the Council is proud to introduce the redesigned and enhanced OrgWise website. This new website is a holistic market place with a broad array of capacity building resources to support the development of your organization's systems.

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In-House Group Training

The Professional Education and Training Project (PET) is still accepting applications for in-house group trainings on Organizational Change Management. Training on this topic will prepare settlement professionals to respond and adapt to changes; make improvements; and enable other staff doing similar jobs to apply best practices.

Any immigrant service organization that is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and/or the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) is eligible to apply. Upon completion of the training your organization will be reimbursed up to $2000.00 (plus any taxes incurred) for the workshop facilitator's fee. Apply online or contact Beverly Lawrence-Dennis, PET Project Coordinator, at

Sector Happenings

Shadow Economy Pervasive in Toronto

A research study conducted by Toronto East Local Immigration Partnership (Toronto East LIPs) shows that many newcomers survive by participating in a shadow economy, often facing exploitation in substandard work conditions, even in established businesses. The study found newcomers working and living in the informal economy, revealing a high number of working in poor in substandard jobs where bullying and harassment are common and few employment standards are known or followed. Click to read more.

Immigration Beyond MTV

This paper by Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) focuses on the integration of immigrants into the labour market outside of major urban centres. The study shows that very recent immigrants and employability training organizations located outside the major Canadian cities face a double challenge that pairs typical integration difficulties with region-specific obstacles. The report can be downloaded.

Better Legal Information Handbook

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) announces its new Better Legal Information Handbook: Practical tips for community workers. Those who create legal information for the public will find this is a helpful resource. It includes practical tips about format, plain language and design, ensuring accuracy, and user testing to name a few. An online version of the handbook is available with active hyperlinks and information about how to order a hardcopy.

LGBT Equality Litigation in the Caribbean Panel Discussion

Today, same-gender intimacy is criminalized in 11 of the 12 Commonwealth countries of the Caribbean under laws introduced by British colonialism. Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights invites you to a panel discussion on LGBT Equality Litigation in the Caribbean to discuss the advancement of LGBT rights in the Caribbean. The panelists will focus on the work and history of LGBT activism in Jamaica and Belize as well as current litigation to advance LGBT rights. For more information, email or visit