In the Field Newsletter Volume 31


OCASI In the Field
Volume 31
Message from the Executive Director

Lives Matter

Debbie DouglasThe end of 2014 was a contradictory mishmash of feelings: anger, frustration, optimism and hope. All feelings shared by many around me whom I know and even more folks whom I do not know. From Lagos to New York; from Toronto to Johannesburg we heard the shouts of ‘Black Lives Matter' as Africans in the diaspora bore the brunt of violence against their (primarily) male bodies and bore witness to the callous disregard shown to Black lives by the responses of the systems – legal, political, economic and social.

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

OCASI Member Feature

1 OPen Door

Unpack MagazineYork Region is one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in Canada, and Jewish social service agencies have been growing to meet the increased needs. At 1 Open Door JIAS (Jewish Immigrant Aid Service) Toronto, JVS Toronto, Circle of Care and Jewish Family & Child (JF&CS) are working together to address the social, education, vocational, settlement, mental health, home care, safety and emotional needs of the community in one shared space.

The new and unique 1 Open Door recently received the United Way York Region Bhayana Family Foundation Award for Community Partnership. The social service hub is located at Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan. For more information contact Sandi Pelly at or at 416 631 5717.

OCASI Happenings

OCMS turns 1!

OCMS - OCASI The OCASI Client Management System (OCMS) went officially online in January 2014. Over the past year we have accomplished a great deal and have worked with our users to create a tool that strives to meet the needs of today's modern multi-service agency.

Our goal has always been to create a tool that is agency-, worker- and client-focussed while fulfilling funder requirements for reporting. We spent the year adding new features to make sure we are meeting this goal. We know there is much more to do and we are excited about the many new tools and modules we will be adding this year.

Year in review:

  • 29 agencies now using the system (BC and Ontario)
  • Nearly 1000 users logging in daily
  • 277,963 services logged
  • 184,206 records “Bulk Uploaded” to iCARE
  • 22,178 attachments added
  • 84,807 referrals and tasks recorded


To learn more about OCMS join one of our webinars:

This holiday season, let's give the gift of status

OCASI collaborated on an Opinion/Editorial on people living in Canada without immigration status. The piece was published in the Toronto Star on December 22, 2014. It continues to be current and relevant as we move into the 2015 calendar year and look ahead to the April 1, 2015 deadline that is expected to impact thousands of migrant workers in Canada.

Read more


Online Accessibility Course Now Available in French

Accès aux services d'accueil pour les immigrants ayant un handicap (auto-dirigée)

The self-directed online course, Access to Immigrant Settlement Services for People with Disabilities, is now available in French on OCASI's online learning platform at Learn At Work.

This training covers barriers to wholistic settlement services for newcomers with disabilities experience. It is specifically targeted to train front-line settlement workers and management staff to support the integration of this marginalized group.

Source: OCASI (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants)

OCASI OrgWise Organizational Standards Project

Unsure of how healthy your organization is? Then OrgWise can help! The OrgWise Organizational Standards Assessment tool allows organization leaders' to better understand their organization's strengths, champion successes and identify areas for growth. Once areas of limitations are discovered Orgwise will link you to free resources that will help you to strengthen your organization systems, set priorities, articulate clear objectives, and forecast the future in terms of anticipated shifts in political and economic realities.

Read more here: OCASI OrgWise Organizational Standards Assessment Tool

Sector Happenings

Diversity@Work 2015 - Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Conference

Skills for Change has announced the 6th annual Diversity@Work conference : Exploring the Complexities of Diversity : Age, Gender, Culture and Competencies. In its 6th year, the Diversity@Work Conference brings to light the true value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace showcasing diversity in its full complexity and re-discovering it from new angles.

Event details:
Thursday, 19 February 2015 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (EST);
The Cathedral Centre, 65 Church St, Toronto, ON

Visit this link for details:

Launch of the CERIS Research Synthesis Reports

CERIS invites you to the launch of its research synthesis reports on migration and settlement. Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, these reports provide a comprehensive look at existing research, policy, and practice in Canada, focusing on five core areas: Settlement and Integration, Foreign Credential Recognition, Citizenship, Multiculturalism, and Refugees. Key themes from the syntheses and recommendations for future research will be discussed.

Event details:
Friday, January 23, 2015, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Kaneff Tower, Room 519.

Space is limited. RSVP at


Extending OHSA Protections To Co-Op Students And Other Unpaid Learners

The Ontario Legislature has passed the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, which extends the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to unpaid co-op students and other unpaid learners. It received Royal Assent on November 20, 2014. Unpaid students, learners and trainees are now defined as "workers" under the OHSA, and have the same rights and duties as the paid workers they work alongside.

Learn More

A vision of universal child care in 2020 Better Child Care

What could childcare look like in 2020, if our federal and provincial governments actually invested in a universal and affordable system? Comprehensive universal childcare for the next generation. That is the vision of Childcare 2020. Like the video? Read the full vision paper in English and French. ChildCare 2020, the first national child care policy conference in a decade - was held in November 2014.

Watch the video of the Childcare 2020 vision: