OCASI School of Social Justice


OCASI is proud to announce the launch of our School of Social Justice (SSJ) in the Spring of 2013! We are now accepting applications until February 8th.  

Applications will only be accepted from individuals working at OCASI member agencies. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to respond to inquiries from non-OCASI members. 

The SSJ is a participatory capacity building initiative to be held over three two-day training sessions for both new and experienced change agents to strengthen analysis, community organizing and action on social, political and economic justice. OCASI believes that the SSJ is the beginning of a transformational process for sector practitioners to become empowered leaders of social change in their communities. SSJ participants will become champions for their clients and communities as well as a resource for the Council. Through this process, OCASI expects to build within the sector, a broader vision for equity and justice for all Canadians. More background information can be found at the bottom of this page. 
Over the course of three two-day training sessions over three months, 12 participants from OCASI member agencies will:
  • Build capacity to understand and analyze the underlying reasons for poverty, discrimination and oppression and how it operates in society;
  • Build skills for social and political analysis, and develop capacity for public policy and advocacy;
  • Build skills to organize and mobilize communities;
  • Build capacity to recognize allies and build alliances across and between sectors and issues; and
  • Build technical skills in communication and media engagement, including writing and disseminating policy briefs, media releases and background papers.
Key Themes/Issues and Skills Areas included in the Training:
  • Understanding key concepts and principles related to “social analysis”, in the context of immigration and settlement programs;
  • Integration of anti-oppression analysis based on race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and other power relations, as essential to “social analysis”;
  • Integrating service programs with advocacy: possibilities and constraints; conceptual framework and operational models;
  • Application of specific skill areas, adapted to OCASI's advocacy and programmatic priorities:
    • Historical analysis of policy issues;
    • Structural or systemic analysis, identifying historical (i.e. structural) roots of issues and identifying key trends;
    • Conjunctural analysis (i.e. analysis of issues in the context of the current socio-economic moment, and naming economic, cultural, political, and social forces that help or hinder long term/short term goals;
    • Developing action-strategies, i.e. coalition building (short and long term); political and educational campaigns; and community organizing
  • Analysis of the media and how grass roots agencies can engage with the media for social change;
  • Strategies to engage in social change, within the framework of CRA regulations.
Who Should Apply:  Any staff employed at any OCASI member agency regardless of position within the agency and with a demonstrated interest in social justice.  Applications from non-OCASI members will not be considered.
Space Availability:  12 spaces will be made available across the province
Training Dates:
  • Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12, 2013
  • Monday, April 22 and Tuesday, April 23, 2013
  • Monday, May 27 and Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Eligibility Criteria:
  •  Current employment at an OCASI member agency;
  • At least 2 years of experience (work or volunteer) with the non-profit human services sector;
  • Demonstrated involvement in social justice/community development work
  • Availability for all scheduled training dates; and
  • A passion for advocacy and an interest in learning more! 
Please Note: Participants will be expected to have their organization's support in carrying out short “homework” assignments between training sessions and on-going advocacy work after the training. 
Required Documents:
  • A completed application form;
  • A copy of your updated resume;
  • If you are not an Executive Director, a support letter from your Executive Director (a form letter is provided with the application form).
Deadline for Applications:  Please submit a full application (contact Martha or Erika to get a copy), including supporting documents, by Friday, February 8, 2013.  Candidates will be informed of the results of the application process by February 22, 2013.
Contact Information:
To request an application form and ED form letter, or for questions, please contact Martha Orellana at morellana@ocasi.org or Erika Gates-Gasse at egates@ocasi.org
  • Participation is free of charge;
  • All training sessions will be held in Toronto;
  • Training sessions include lunch;
  • For those coming from outside the GTA, travel and accommodations will be covered according to our guidelines;
  • For promotional and proceeding purposes, videos and photographs will be taken at the training sessions;
  • OCASI strives to be a scent-free space. Fragrances and other scented products affect the health of many people. We ask that you refrain from wearing scented products at the training sessions. We appreciate your co-operation.
Immigration has been the main driver of Canada's population growth since the beginning of 2000, and has been important to Canada for much longer. In the context of that reality, Canada's treatment of immigrants can be held as a barometer of the state of social justice in the country. Like a canary in a coal mine, immigrants' well-being or its' lack can signal whether all Canadian residents benefit equitably from Canadian laws and policies.
Recent cohorts of immigrants are doing much worse economically compared to those who arrived ten to fifteen years ago. Canada's public discourse on immigration and refugee protection has undergone a significant change for the worse. Governments at all levels, but particularly the federal government, have been moving forward on austerity measures that disinvest in services. The federal government's pursuit of a law-and-order agenda will result in a disproportionate negative impact on foreign-born Canadian residents of racialized background.
This political moment is an opportunity for the immigrant and refugee-serving sector to actively and creatively engage with community to advance social justice for immigrants and other equity-seeking Canadian residents.
The OCASI School for Social Justice (SSJ) is a learning opportunity for sector practitioners to build on talents and skills so that they become stronger social change agents in their communities. The OSSJ recognizes the leadership of sector practitioners, and also recognizes the need to strengthen our collective and individual social justice analysis, facilitate leadership development, build solidarity across sectors and issues, and strengthen our skills in organizing and communications.