In the Field Newsletter Volume 24


OCASI In the Field
Volume 24
Message from the Executive Director

Debbie DouglasFinding a topic of interest on which to comment proved particularly difficult this month. Not because of a lack of subject matter but of competing interests- between the angst that the new bill amending the Citizenship Act is causing many of us concerned with issues of immigration and citizenship; and the fiercely fought Ontario provincial election that's just days away, there's much food for thought and commentary here. So I'll indulge myself and write of both. The Citizenship Bill first.

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

OCASI Member Feature

Roots of Risk

Black CAP logoBlack CAP provides a wide range of free, confidential supportive and practical services to men, women, youth and children living with HIV/AIDS.

Roots of Risk is a community level HIV prevention campaign that uses a mix of evidence-informed approaches to provide information and support to Black youth living in Toronto. The Roots of Risk project uses a combination of the POL (popular opinion leader) model, creative social marketing methods, and youth engagement opportunities to deliver prevention education programming to straight, gay, bi, lesbian and trans Black youth at heightened risk for HIV. The Roots of Risk project leverages the social networks of youth in Toronto and uses personal and social relationships to transfer important information related to risk reduction. The project is also focused on the promotion of two previously developed HIV prevention campaigns through popular media.

The program has several objectives, from increasing access to sexual health information for Black youth at heightened risk of HIV infection to increasing leadership opportunities in high poverty neighbourhoods in Toronto for at-risk youth.

Program activites include working with 50 youth to act as popular opinion leaders (POLs) in their communities and providing youth with the means to distribute resources and information through the technologies they use to communicate with their peers, create traffic to two of Black CAP's websites for youth ( and, answer questions their peers have about HIV and sexual health in person and over the phone, distribute condoms, and promote HIV testing sites in their local communities.

If you would like to become involved in this project please contact Kelisha Peart, Roots of Risk Coordinator at 416-660-7325 or email her at

Visit this link for more information.

OCASI Happenings

Refugee Pride 2014

OCASI and FCJ Refugee Centre are co-hosting Refugee Pride 2014: A Mosaic of Expression at the 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto on Saturday, June 14 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. You are invited to join us.

  • Listen to LGBTQ + Refugees share their experiences
  • Simultaneous translation of panel into Russian and Urdu
  • Show your community pride
  • What the premiere of a local documentary
  • Learn the vogue!

This is a free event. Everyone is welcome. Free food and banana cake. Music and dance from around the world. Wheelchair accessible. Gender neutral washrooms. Check out our community mural.

LGBTQ + Settlement Network at World Pride Parade

Join the LGBTQ + Settlement Network at the World Pride Parade 2014! Meeting point: Intersection of Bloor St. East and Ted Rogers Way (East side); Sunday June 29, 12 p.m. Show your pride. March with other LGBTQ + newcomers. Wear traditional cultural clothing OR plain rainbow coloured T-shirt (without logos). Join the fun!

Contact: for more information.

Learn more about the World Pride Parade 2014.

Sondages sur les besoins des nouveaux immigrants et réfugiés francophones LGBTQIA en matière d'établissement et d'intégration

À l'heure actuelle, il existe très peu d'information sur les expériences et les besoins des nouveaux immigrants et réfugiés francophones LGBTQIA en Ontario, en matière d'établissement et d'intégration. Participez à un sondage qui fournira des données importantes pour sensibiliser le gouvernement et les fournisseurs de services aux besoins de ces personnes et pour mieux servir celles-ci!

Pour plus d'information, cliquez ici.

Join OCASI and Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project at World Pride 2014!

Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights Project logoEnvisioning is an international community-academic partnership that seeks to address the intersections between criminalization, colonialism, sexuality and gender, and OCASI is an active research participant in the project. For more information on the project, go to

Envisioning World Pride Events:

1) Imagining Home: Resistance, Migration and Contradiction: An exhibition in the Archives Gallery of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 34 Isabella Street, Toronto.

  • Opening Reception: Tuesday, June 24 – 5pm to 8pm
  • Open from June 24 to October 5
  • Curated by Karen Stanworth. Includes video portraits from Envisioning's work in India, Africa and the Caribbean, and other exhibits relating to LGBT refugees in Canada.

2) Envisioning is bringing 18 leading international LGBT activists to present five panels at the World Pride Human Rights Conference, June 25-27, at the University of Toronto, including:

  • “Challenging the Colonial Anti-Sodomy Law Legacy”
  • “We are here: LGBTI Resilience and Resistance in Uganda”
  • “Botho: LGBT Lives in Botswana”
  • “Telling Our Stories: LGBT Lives in the Caribbean”
  • “Is Canada a Safe Haven For LGBT Refugees?”
Sector Happenings

Lucya Spencer Recognized at the Senate

Lucya Spencer recognized at the SenateOn Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Senator Mobina Jaffer addressed the Senate to recognize Lucya Spencer for her exceptional work in Canada.

Lucya Spencer is the Executive Director of Immigrant Women Services Ottawa (IWSO) a community-based agency providing services in Ottawa to women and children of diverse cultural background including those who are victims/survivors of violence. She is a former President of OCASI.

Lucya has demonstrated outstanding leadership in advancing the issues that affect the lives of immigrant, visible minority and refugee women. Her focus on violence against women in the wider context of settlement and integration issues, health and education is reflected in her work and her involvement on several boards and committees.

A tireless worker, Lucya currently serves as President of LASI/World Skills. Some of her previous involvements include Past Chair of the Ontario Government's Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism - Selection Committee; Guest Editorial Board - Canadian Women Studies; President, Children's Aid Society of Ottawa - the first woman of colour to hold this position; and President, National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada.

Lucya's work has been recognized by many testimonials and awards including: OCASI Award of Excellence, Ontario Immigrant and Visible Minority Women's Organization - Woman of Excellence Award, Ontario Government Volunteer Service Award, Phenomenal Woman Award, Life Time Achievement Award from the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada, the United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award, the Femmy Award, and, most recently, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada recognition award for long-standing service to the Settlement and Integration Community.

OCASI congratulates Lucya on this richly deserved recognition. For more information, please visit here.

World Refugee Day 2014

World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20. It is a special day when the world takes time to recognize the resilience of forcibly displaced people throughout the world.

First marked in 2001, following the decision of the UN General Assembly, World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20. The annual commemoration is marked by a variety of events in more than 100 countries.

In Toronto, eight organizations, Amnesty International, the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, COSTI, Sojourn House, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office and the UN Refugee Agency will be holding a celebration at the Daniel Spectrum Artscape Lounge and Aki Studio with entertainment, food and a cash bar. Refugees will be telling their stories throughout the evening.

Visit the UNHCR Canada website for more information on World Refugee Day 2014 and events being organized across Canada.

The alarming new blueprint for Canadian citizenship and immigration policy

Posted by Luin Goldring in the Broadbent Blog

Important changes to Canadian citizenship and immigration policy have broken into the headlines of late, from the introduction of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to serious abuses of the controversial temporary foreign worker program to refugee determination concerns.

One can think of the changes underway as renovations to what former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney liked to describe as the “house” of the Canadian nation.

Showing how seemingly disconnected floors and rooms of the "house" are related reveals a troubling blueprint of change — a renovation that will overhaul the very architecture of rights and membership in Canada.

See more at the Broadbent Institute.

Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation and Your Nonprofit

What is the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)?

CASL was developed to deal with electronic spam and has two main objectives:

  1. To limit the ability of companies to send emails that are unwanted and unasked for;
  2. To prohibit and control unwanted downloads of programs onto people's computers.

CASL limits electronic communications between parties to those instances “where the party communicating a commercial message has the express consent of the recipient.” Commercial messages include any communication that involves a sale or fee.

Why are nonprofits affected?

Many nonprofits generate their own revenue, by charging fees for products and services and participation in activities and programs. Unfortunately, the legislation and proposed regulations were drafted initially for commercial businesses and did not accommodate for the unique activities of the nonprofit sector and its community-building work. This means that many revenue-generating activities of the nonprofit sector, however small the fee, fall under the anti-spam legislation.

What are our obligations as nonprofits and charities under CASL?

CASL requires that a message with a commercial purpose only be sent to individuals who have:

What this means in practical terms is nonprofit organizations will have to ensure they get permission before adding people to their permanent mailing lists, visibly identify their organization in emails, and include an unsubscribe option in their emails and on their websites. For registered charities that have separate mailing lists for fundraising purposes only, those mailing lists will be exempt from complying with CASL.

Certain other communications are exempt from CASL for all nonprofits. This includes day-to-day communications with other organizations, since CASL is mainly focused on commercial communications with the public.

Read the regulations and an explanation of the changes on the Federal Government's website.

Top 9 things nonprofits need to know about anti-spam legislation:

  1. Legislation covers “commercial” electronic messages only. So if no transaction is involved, CASL doesn't apply.
  2. Fundraising emails from charities are exempt.
  3. Other revenue-generating activities by nonprofits and charities are not exempt.
  4. Legislation will be proclaimed on July 1, 2014 (but organizations will have 3 years to get permission where required).
  5. Commercial electronic messages must have an unsubscribe function.
  6. Commercial electronic messages must clearly identify the organization.
  7. If people signed up for your newsletter directly, it's ok to continue communicating with them.
  8. You'll need permission before you can add people to other lists (like adding program graduates to your general newsletter list).
  9. Day-to-day communications are exempt, so most routine work/ activity emails to other organizations or to volunteers are ok.

When does my nonprofit to have to do something about this?

The legislation will be proclaimed July 1, 2014 and while some provisions will immediately come into effect, organizations have three years to comply.