In the Field Newsletter Volume 21


OCASI In the Field
Volume 20
Message from the Executive Director

Debbie Douglas In Search of Diversity in the Non-Profit Sector Often when I find myself the lone African-Canadian woman in overflowing meeting rooms I mumble to myself “All the Blacks are men, all the women are White, but some of us are brave… a take-off on the title of a book by African-American feminist writer Gloria T. Hull. It is my way of bringing some levity to a growing frustration of mine that leadership in spaces where I often find myself hasn't changed much over the past quarter of a century.

In spaces where race is the paramount discourse I'm surrounded by my brothers taking leadership roles as their due; where the primary occupation is gender or more specifically “women's issues”, then my White sisters hold down positions of expert or leader. And in all other spaces White men rule the day. But as I said, some of us are brave.

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

OCASI Member Feature

London InterCommunity Health Centre: Women of the World (WOW) Program

The WOW program is focused on helping immigrant and newcomer women who are isolated and in need of support to address barriers faced whilst adjusting to life in Canada. Through the WOW program, women have the opportunity to benefit from a social support network of other women in their cultural community and to build leadership skills by volunteering to help other women. Through the program women are able to promote their own health and the health of other women through mutual support. This takes place in two aspects:

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OCASI Happenings

Roundtable Discussion

OCASI invites settlement sector and disability sector employees to a round table discussion. The objective of the round table is to provide the disability and settlement sectors an opportunity to discuss the gaps that exist in serving newcomers with disabilities and to develop strategies on how to effectively support newcomers with disabilities. The Roundtable Session will include:

  • Overview of the Accessibility Training and Preliminary Findings
  • Discussion on how to build partnerships and bridge the gap between the settlement and disability sector

Lunch and an opportunity to network will be provided. Please register today!

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.


How Parents Can Assist Children in Making Informed Career Choices

Settlement.Org's new article How can I help my child with making an informed career choice? provides advice for newcomer parents on how to guide their children as they make important life decisions. Some of the tips which can help youth succeed include: selecting high school courses carefully, seeking the advice of counsellors, researching labour market trends and making career choices that offer a good balance between financial security and personal satisfaction.

Regional Champions Across Ontario

The OCASI Positive Spaces Initiative is very pleased to announce the selection of 17 Regional Champions! Representing all seven OCASI regions across Ontario, the Champions are a diverse team of well-qualified, enthusiastic, and dedicated volunteers. They will be contributing their time, energy, and local expertise and connections to reach out, build networks, and coordinate events in support of LGBTQ+ newcomers and service providers in their home regions. The Champions are responsible for:

  • Performing outreach and referrals within their region. This includes promoting the OCASI Positive Spaces Initiative and its tools, resources, and training opportunities to local and regional immigrant- and refugee-serving agencies. Maintaining lists of community resources for LGBTQ+ newcomers and service providers within the region.
  • Coordinating regional events to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ newcomers, and to bring people together for greater resource-sharing and collaboration.
  • Establishing informal networks within the specific regions. This may include coordinating online and offline meetings, mobilizing LGBTQ+ and newcomer communities at the local level, encouraging volunteerism, and stimulating community interest and engagement.

If you would like to get involved in your regional Positive Space network, please contact Erin Ewing, PSI Project Coordinator. Erin will be happy to you in touch with Champions near you!

Sector Happenings

Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion Presents

Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) presents Turning Talk Into Transformation, a one day conference that will bring together experts in the field to share best practices; examine challenges and barriers; and inspire increased action for embedding diversity into workplaces, institutions, and organizations across the community.

The conference is designed to help participants:

  • gain creative strategies that move your diversity and inclusion efforts forward
  • learn to enroll, engage and inspire others for greater participation and involvement
  • renew and revitalize yourself through networking with Diversity and Inclusion leaders, practitioners and colleagues
  • celebrate the launch of the Advantage Diversity Awards

Visit HCCI for more information and to register for the conference.

Housing and Homelessness Conference

Community Development Council Durham invite you to Leading Durham: Building Our Collective Impact on Housing and Homelessness conference on March 21, 2014. As part of the national Homelessness Partnering Strategy, this conference aims to build upon the knowledge and experiences in the region in order to gain a better understanding of how to collectively address housing and homelessness in Durham. With the recent release of the draft Durham Housing Plan 2014-2024, it is time to come together to determine how end homelessness. For more information, please contact Jaclyn San Antonio.

Human Rights and Creed Report

The report summarize the findings and analysis conducted to date by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on key creed-based human rights issues, options, and debates. The report will help OHRC clarify its interpretation of human rights based on creed under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), and provide a better context for understanding and addressing contemporary creed-based human rights issues.

Mapping the Mental Health System in Peel Region: Challenges and Opportunities

One in five people in Canada will experience a diagnosable mental health illness in their lifetime; in Peel that represents 259,362 residents.

Concerned about the impact of mental illness on poverty in Peel, United Way commissioned and led a year-long initiative to to better understand the mental health services available to the residents of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. The research focused on how people access and navigate services and supports.

Last month the United Way of Peel, together with their ten project partners, released the final report - Mapping the Mental Health System in Peel Region: Challenges and Opportunities.

National Day of Action for a New Health Accord

March 31, 2014 marks the expiry of the 2004 Health Accord and the federal government has refused to negotiate a new accord. The Ontario Health Coalition is sounding the alarm to alert everyone about the end of federal leadership in health care and to cuts of $36 billion to health transfers over 10 years. The Coalition is encouraging everyone to organize action in their community on March 31st. Action could take the form of a rally, distribution of pamphlets, organizing a public forum, or gathering in front of Conservative MPs' offices. For more information, contact Emily Smith van Beek.

HealthyMinds Problem-Solving Tool

The Royal - one of Canada's foremost mental health care and academic health science centres - has developed HealthyMinds, a problem-solving app for youth. It is designed to help young people cope with life by providing ways to deal with their emotions and the stresses encountered both on and off campus. HealthyMinds emphasizes the importance of taking care of one's brain health as part of overall physical well-being.