In the Field Newsletter Volume 9


OCASI In the Field
Volume 9
Message from the Executive Director

Debbie DouglasAs a sector concerned with immigrants' and refugees' settlement and integration, our collective attention has been riveted on the myriad of changes to the Immigration system and to the Refugee determination system, sometimes applauding, but for the most part bemoaning the transformation of Canada away from our traditional priorities of providing refuge to the world's persecuted and marginalized.

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

OCASI Member Feature

Communities on the Move

Metrolinx is in the midst of a public consultation process around its 25-year plan, The Big Move, and how to pay for it. Newcomers and our diverse communities will have a special opportunity to participate in this consultation through Communities on the Move, a series of roundtable discussions organized by CultureLink Settlement Services with funding from Metrolinx and support from OCASI.

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OCASI Happenings

How Refugee Claim Decisions are Made

The Settlement.Org website provides current and useful information on a range of subject matters. The "How is a refugee claim decision made?" article is one such piece of information.

The department of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) that hears refugee claims is the Refugee Protection Division (RPD), which is responsible for deciding who is granted refugee protection among the many claimants who come to Canada each year.

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Positive Spaces Initiative (PSI) Positive Spaces

The Positive Spaces Initiative (PSI) aims to support the immigrant and refugee-serving settlement sector to more effectively serve LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or questioning) newcomers. PSI encourages training, education, leadership and resource sharing to support LGBTQ newcomers, staff, volunteers and community members.

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OCASI and ERDCO Roundtable on Accessibility

OCASI and the Ethno Racial Disability Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO) formed a two year (2011 – 2013) partnership to train immigrant and refugee-serving settlement sector employees on the needs of newcomers with disabilities. This partnership is representative of the collaboration of both settlement and disability sectors working together to reduce barriers to holistic settlement services. Through this partnership OCASI and ERDCO developed accessibility training for sector service providers, with the aim to build community partnerships with leaders in the area of disability specifically within ethno-racial minority and newcomer communities and continue to promote an understanding of the Accessible Customer Service Standard within the settlement sector.

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Sector Happenings

Abuse of People with Disabilities

The People's Law School's Fact Sheet explains what abuse is, and what measure can be taken to prevent it. Anyone can experience abuse; however, knowledge is the key to prevent it. Abuse of people with disabilities, like all forms of abuse, is an abuse of power and control.

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A Blueprint for Supporting Emergent Bilinguals in Your Program: Roma Chumak-Horbatsch's Linguistically Appropriate Practice

A new classroom practice known as Linguistically Appropriate Practice (LAP) offers guidance for those working with young children who arrive in childcare centres and schools with little or no proficiency in the classroom language. Linguistically Appropriate Practice details over fifty classroom activities that can be adapted to match both the developmental level of the children and the classroom curriculum. Read more.

New Refugee Rights Website Launched

CLEO is pleased to announce the launch of a new website: Refugee Rights in Ontario: Information for front-line workers. This site will provide essential information for community organizations serving refugee claimants about the new rules of the refugee determination process.

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Voting Rights for Permanent Residents in Municipal Elections: Citizen Engagement or Citizenship Devaluation?

Hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents pay local taxes and use city services, but have no say in who represents them, because they are not yet Canadian citizens.

placing a vote

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Public Consultation on Integrated Occupational Health and Safety Strategy

The Ministry of Labour is consulting with stakeholders and the public on developing the first-ever integrated occupational health and safety strategy for Ontario. The strategy will establish a clear vision, goals and priorities that will guide the work of the ministry and its partners in the years ahead.

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From Counting People to Making People Count: Workplace Inclusion Conference

Workplaces are challenged to comply with equity legislation, respond to changing demographics and build inclusive, effective organizations. It can no longer be about ticking the checkboxes, rather it is about making people count and building excellent inclusion practices, policies and workplace cultures. The The Making People Count conference is an opportunity to learn from experts and get in-depth training, obtaining practical skills and concrete resources to use at work.