Media Release: Refugee Rights Day 2013 - Toronto



Refugee Rights Day 2013 - Toronto

 April 3, 2013/Toronto – A Toronto coalition of community-based agencies has organized several exciting events to commemorate Refugee Rights Day 2013.

Refugee Rights Day is commemorated on April 4 every year in Canada to bring attention to the 1985 Supreme Court of Canada ruling recognizing the rights of refugee claimants under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Refugee Rights Day” gives us the opportunity to celebrate the advances made in the protection of refugee rights in Canada as a result of that very important ruling made twenty-eight years ago”, said Debbie Douglas - Executive Director of OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.

The Supreme Court ruling has become known as the 'Singh decision' in recognition of Harbhajan Singh, Sadhu Singh Thandi, Paramjit Singh Mann, Kewal Singh, Charanjit Singh Gill, Indrani and Satnam Singh who brought their cases to the Court.

“This commemoration reminds us that Canada has a responsibility to continue protecting refugee rights”, said Loly Rico - Co-Director of FCJ Refugee Centre.

“Human rights belong to everyone, wherever they were born. The Singh decision recognizes Canada's commitment to refugees, and the need to assure refugees the widest possible exercise of their fundamental rights and freedoms”, said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv - Director, Equality Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

The Toronto community events are free of charge and are open to everyone. A complete listing is below, and at the link:


Amy Casipullai – Senior Policy and Communications Coordinator, OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants  tel: 416.524.4950 email:

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv - Director, Equality Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) tel: 416.363.0321 x 226                email:

Carolina Teves – Communication Coordinator, FCJ Refugee Centre  tel: 416.469.9754 x 226                                                    email:




Refugee Rights Day 2013 events in Toronto

Tuesday April 2 - Friday April 5, 2013

Refugee Rights Day Display

Time: All day

Where: Rotunda, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West

What: Visual display featuring information on recent changes to refugee system and its impact, and information tables by community organizations.

Wednesday April 3, 2013

Subway Smart Mob

Time: Between 5pm and 6pm

Where: The TTC Subway Line (meeting at Dundas Square)

What:   Click here for details, and how to participate.

Thursday April 4, 2013

Salvation Army - Harbourlight Ministries Refugee Rights Day Commemoration

 Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Where: 160 Jarvis St, Toronto (Jarvis & Shuter)

What: Salvation Army - Harbourlight Ministries presents a Refugee Rights Day commemoration focusing on the issues of homelessness and refugees.

Event Contact: Rochelle McAlister – Tel. 416.682.2515

Click here for event flyer

Refugee Law: What's new for front-line workers

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Where: Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 3

What: A chance to hear about the impact the new legislation is having on refugee claimants and to explore CLEO's new website Refugee Rights in Ontario: Information for front-line workers. Presented by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) and Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS).

Click here for event flyer.


Refugee rights are human rights

Time: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Where: Beit Zatoun – 612 Markham Street (Bathurst & Bloor St. West)

What: Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Roma Community Centre present an evening of art, presentations and conversation about Canada's changing refugee policies and the Roma community, followed by the gala opening of Roma Rising Art Exhibit.

Click here for event poster.

Wednesday April 17, 2013


Refugee Rights Celebration  

Time: 7:30 pm

Where: 519 Church Street Community Centre, 519 Church Street (Church & Wellesley)

What: CultureLink in partnership with 519 Church Street Community Centre and Express group from Supporting Our Youth (SOY) a program of Sherbourne Health Centre.

Event Contact: Carolina G'ala, CultureLink Settlement Services tel: 416.588.6288 x 240 email:

Please RSVP by Friday, April 5, 2013.