In the Field Newsletter Volume 34


OCASI In the Field
Volume 34
Message from the Executive Director

Debbie DouglasThis month marks the thirtieth anniversary (1985 Singh decision) of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision that recognized the rights of refugees to fundamental justice. It is a decision that we continue to celebrate. The anniversary, three decades later serves as a reminder of how collective activism can triumph and of the importance of supporting politically and financially, advocacy organizations like the Canadian Council for Refugees - who for over thirty-five years has led the national struggle for justice and fairness for those coming to our borders seeking protection and refuge.

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

OCASI Member Feature

Health Services for the Non-Insured in Toronto

The West End Non-insured Walk-in Clinic (NIWIC) was established in 2012 as a partnership of seven Toronto Community Health Centers (CHC) - Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre, Unison Health and Community Services, LAMP Community Health Centre, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Stonegate Community Health Centre and Rexdale Community Health Centre. The Clinic fills an unmet need: to provide care for those without health coverage whether due to precarious status, failed refugee claims or the three-month OHIP wait.

The NIWIC is located at AccessPoint on Jane (761 Jane Street, 2nd Floor, Ste 200B) in Toronto, and is open Mondays & Thursdays from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm

There is no cost for accessing services at the NIWIC and telephone interpretation is available;

NIWIC fact sheet for service providers: English - French

For more information about the NIWIC please contact Monika Dalmacio

Read more here

OCASI Happenings

Debbie Douglas Presents On Settlement Services

OCASI Executive director Debbie Douglas appeared as a witness before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to present on ‘Promoting Economic Prosperity through Settlement Services' on March 26, 2014.

Read more here

Envisioning LGBT Refugee Rights in Canada: The Impact of Canada's New Immigration Regime

This report focuses on the impact on LGBT asylum seekers in Canada of Bill C-31, which took effect in December 2012, now in force as the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act (“the Act”). The report examines Canada's international obligations, Canadian refugee jurisprudence and standards regarding LGBT asylum seekers, changes to Canada's refugee laws under the new Act, the particular impact of these changes on LGBT asylum seekers, and resettlement and sponsorship of LGBT refugees. The report was released in June 2014, and continues to be an important resource. OCASI is an Envisioning partner.

Read more here

Conditional Permanent Residency Should Be Evaluated

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration has recommended that the Government of Canada evaluate Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status of sponsored spouses. The Committee recommendation was one of five in the report, “Strengthening the Protection of Women in our Immigration System” tabled in Parliament on February 25, 2015. OCASI Executive Director Debbie Douglas had appeared as a witness before the Committee to recommend that the CPR requirement should be removed immediately because it can make sponsored spouses - particularly women - more vulnerable to domestic abuse.

Read more here

Refugee-Related Resources From OCASI

OCASI provides the following refugee-related resources / OCASI fournit les liens suivants concernant les réfugiés:

Comment les réfugiés peuvent-ils entrer au Canada ?

How does Canada's refugee system work?

Refugee Mental Health: Promising Practices and Partnership Building Resources
The material in this 2010 guide is one product of the Refugee Mental Health Practices study, conducted at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada.

What Are My Rights As A Refugee
A resource for youth.

Sector Happenings

Refugee Rights Day 2015: 30th Anniversary of the Singh Decision

Refugee Rights Day is commemorated on April 4 every year in Canada to bring attention to the 1985 Supreme Court of Canada ruling recognizing that refugee claimants are entitled to fundamental justice. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Singh Decision. The Mayor of Toronto has proclaimed Refugee Rights Day every year for several years, and community groups have come together to organize commemorative events. This year the Toronto Mayor's Proclamation of Refugee Rights Day was read at the commemorative event organized by West Neighbourhood House.

Click here to read about Refugee Rights Day

Canadian Council for Refugees Spring Consultation

Day Of Pink

21-23 May 2015, Winnipeg
Home, dignity: Human rights

With views from all Canadian provinces and with participants in fields as diverse as healthcare, housing and the law, this conference offers opportunities for professional development, networking and strategy.

Join us to explore questions affecting refugee protection and newcomer settlement at the CCR Spring Consultation Home, dignity: Human rights. All are welcome to participate!

Reserve hotel accommodation by 27 April 2015 and register by 1 May to take advantage of reduced rates.

Read more here

Human Trafficking and Trauma Counseling: Providing Accurate Support

Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network offers one-day training on trauma counseling to people that have been trafficked, featuring Dr. Jacqui Linder.

Dr. Linder is a registered psychologist and certified Clinical Traumatologist and founder of the Chrysalis Anti-Human Trafficking Network, a national helpline providing free, confidential telephone trauma counselling service to persons that have been trafficked/exploited for the purposes of commercial sex or forced labour.

On April 21, 2015 at 25 Cecil Street, Toronto (United Steelworkers venue)

For more information contact:
Varka Kalaydzhieva at or 416-469-9754, ext.228

Registration fee:
15$ (if the fee is obstacle for participation, let FCJ know)
For registration please follow the link here: Eventbrite

No Refuge: Hungarian Romani Refugee Claimants in Canada

Hungarian Roma who came to Canada claiming refugee status encountered unfair treatment by lawyers, politicians and government officials, according to a new study prepared by a team of legal researchers in Toronto. The report, entitled No Refuge: Hungarian Romani Refugee Claimants in Canada, was released on April 2, 2015 by a group refugee law experts from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. The group examined more than 11,000 refugee claimants in Canada between 2008 and 2012 and found that only 8.6 per cent of those claims were successful while more than half were abandoned or withdrawn. The report was prepared by Sean Rehaag, a law professor, along with Julianna Beaudoin and Jennifer Danch.

Read more here

Victims of Heating and Air Conditioner Scams?

Meet with lawyers to learn about your rights and legal recourse.

Have you been approached by salespeople at your home and duped into entering leasing agreements for your heating or cooling systems, then discovered an additional charge on your Enbridge bills?

Come to the meeting on April 30, 2015, to speak with lawyers Sam Marr and Anna Wong about your rights and options for seeking legal redress.

Date: April 30, 2015
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Place: 4002 Sheppard Avenue East Suite 501, Room 35 and 36 (CICS LINC Centre)

Read for more details

Apply to the Local Poverty Reduction Fund

Ontario has launched a six-year $50 million Local Poverty Reduction Fund to support innovative local solutions and help community organizations evaluate their programs. The Fund is one of the key commitments under the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy “Realizing Our Potential” . It was designed in direct response to feedback from many who, through participating in consultations on the new strategy, acknowledged the importance of tapping into local, community-driven solutions and fostering collaborative partnerships across Ontario.

Read for details and how to apply

Still Working on the Edge: Building Decent Work from the Ground Up

Workers' Action Centre has released a new report, ‘Still Working on the Edge: Building Decent Jobs from the Ground Up', exposing a deteriorating floor of labour standards that is contributing to low wage and precarious work. Powerful stories from workers interviewed for the report demonstrate how exemptions and gaps in the Employment Standards Act are giving rise to low wages, insecure work and the erosion of minimum standards.

The report provides comprehensive recommendations for developing a new legislative framework that supports decency in Ontario workplaces. The information can help to prepare for the Ministry of Labour public consultations for ‘The Changing Workplace Review', expected in Spring 2015.

Download the report and share widely! Visit: