OCASI welcomes Bill 173 passing 2nd reading in the Ontario Legislature



Toronto / April 19, 2024 - OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants welcomes Bill 173: Intimate Partner Violence Epidemic Act, 2024 passing 2nd reading in the Ontario Legislature, and its’ referral to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy. This brings us closer to having intimate partner violence declared an epidemic in Ontario. We also urge the Government of Ontario to immediately implement the 86 recommendations of the 2022 Renfrew County Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of three Ontario women – their lives lost to IPV.

OCASI is the umbrella organization and collective voice of the Ontario immigrant and refugee serving sector. The Council has more than 240 member agencies across Ontario, including women’s shelters and many other organizations working to address intimate partner and gender-based violence.

For over four decades, OCASI has been at the forefront of advocating for the rights of non-status, refugee, and immigrant (NSRI) women against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). OCASI also coordinates the Immigrant and Refugee Communities - Neighbours, Friends and Families (IRCNFF) campaign, a provincial initiative dedicated to raising awareness and supporting women facing intimate partner violence and domestic violence.

The femicide in Renfrew County in 2015 was a stark illustration of the urgency of addressing intimate partner violence. The harm caused by gender-based violence reaches into all communities, affecting our children and future generations. Indigenous women and girls in Canada are 16 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than non-Indigenous women. Non-status, refugee, and immigrant women are at greater risk of violence and abuse due to their precarious immigration status.

We look forward to Bill 173 passing third reading and swiftly enacted as law in Ontario. We are at this point today in part due to the courage and advocacy of NSRI and other survivors and the communities, service providers and organizational leaders that support them. They must be centered at every stage, in all efforts to combat intimate partner violence.

[Updated April 24, 2024]