Refugee Rights Month 2019 - Toronto


Celebrate Refugee Rights in Canada on April 4!

Refugee Rights Month is commemorated on April 4 every year in Canada to bring attention to the advances made in the protection of refugee rights in Canada as a result of the Supreme Court decision (the ‘Singh’ decision) in 1985. Join us this year to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the 'Singh Decision'.

Statement from Toronto Refugee Rights Month Planning Committee.

Scroll down to see a list of activities in Toronto that you can join.

Most activities are free of charge. Everyone is welcome.
If you are organizing a community event in Toronto and would like to list it here, please contact us at


Refugee Rights Month 2019 Launch

Thursday April 4, 2019
10 AM - 11 AM

Toronto City Hall – Members Lounge
100 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON
(Near Queen Street and Bay Street)

- Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson - Remarks and reading of Mayor's Proclamation
- Chenkplen Cox – A refugee’s journey
- Ahmed Adan – Spoken Word

All Are Welcome

Presented by Toronto Planning Committee for Refugee Rights Month 2019

For more information contact
Tel: 416-322-4950 x 239

Refugee Rights Day 2019 at York University

Thursday, April 4, 2019
12 PM – 2:30 PM

McLaughlin College Junior Common Room (014)
York University Keele Campus

McLaughlin College, the Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) and its Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, with co-sponsors the Department of Sociology and Centre for Public Policy (Osgoode Hall Law School), York University, are proud to present this event.

Panel Discussion, Syria Response and Refugee Initiative Reception and “The Road Less Travelled” Exhibit Launch

This event and day of reflection marks Refugee Rights Day in Canada (April 4th) and a reception to recognize the efforts of York-based refugee sponsors and mark the formal conclusion of York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative (SRRI), a Syrian refugee resettlement and education project (2015-2019) hosted by its Centre for Refugee Studies.


- Geraldine Sadoway, Human Rights and Refugee Lawyer (LLM), Author and Instructor
- John Carlaw, Project Lead, York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative and Graduate Fellow, Centre for Refugee Studies
- Humaima Ashfaque, Student Ambassador, Syria Response and Refugee Initiative and Student Refugee Program Coordinator- WUSC Keele Campus Committee
- Edwar Dommar, Amnesty International at York, WUSC Keele & Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge Volunteer

Discussion Chair: Michaela Hynie, Professor, Faculty of Health & Centre for Refugee Studies, York University
Welcome and Opening Remarks: Professor James C. Simeon, Head of McLaughlin College, School of Public Policy and Administration LA&PS, York University

This event will also mark the formal launch of a mixed media exhibition “The Road Less Travelled,” (at 2pm) by Professor Nergis Canefe of York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and Department of Politics, which will be displayed in the McLaughlin College Art Gallery (001 McLaughlin College) throughout the month of April.

Refugee Rights Day: Telling Our Stories

Thursday, April 4, 2019
11 AM – 1 PM

1365 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1M1, Canada

On April 4, 1985 the Supreme Court of Canada declared that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protected EVERYONE - including refugees.

Please join Parkdale Community Legal Services and Parkdale Intercultural Association on April 4, from 11 AM to 1 PM by celebrating the stories of Parkdale's refugee community.

Matthew House Presents – LIFEBOAT

Thursday, April 4, 2019
7 PM – 9:30 PM

TIFF Festival Tower, 80 John Street, Toronto, ON M5V 3X4

Volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts pushing off from Libya in the middle of the night. LIFEBOAT puts a human face on one of the world’s greatest contemporary, global crises and provides a spark of hope surrounding how civil society can intervene in the refugee crisis in a meaningful way.

Seating is limited; Get your free ticket here

Mixed Feelings: Leaving Home, Finding Home

EXHIBITION - April 3, 2019 10 AM – Apr 7, 2019 6 PM

RECEPTION - Friday April 5, 2019 (FREE Event)
6 PM – 8 PM

Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C7

Celebrated Musicians Naghmeh Farahmand, Roula Said & Demetrios Petsalakis will play during the Reception. Admission to the Reception is free. RSVP

Turtle House Ceramics is a special clay-making project by Turtle House Art/Play Centre for Newcomer artists and non-artists primarily from refugee backgrounds. In celebration of Refugee Rights Month this April, an exhibition will be on display in the lobby (April 3 to 7) featuring new works by participants of the project.

On April 4, 1985 the Supreme Court of Canada declared that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protected EVERYONE - including refugees.

Refugee Art Show: Finding Home

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
6 PM – 9 PM

1 Leaside Park Dr, Toronto, ON M4H 1R1

Please join us for an evening of art brought to us by 6 local artists who will share their stories of courage and guest speakers, Loly Rico (FCJ Refugee Centre) and Jehad Aliweiwi (Laidlaw Foundation). All are welcome.

Breaking Down The Walls

by FCJ Refugee Centre

Fri, 26 April 2019
6 PM – 9 PM 

MATTER GALLERY, 344 Westmoreland Avenue North #104a, Toronto, ON M6H 3A7

You are invited to an evening of visual art, music and stories in celebration of Refugee Rights Month. Through this event we are going to honour the contributions made by refugees, inviting them to showcase their works and artistic talents.
For more information please contact Marianna Tzabiras, Research and Resource Development by email

Once Upon A Refugee
Chapter II: The Unrehearsed Plan

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
6 PM – 9 PM

York Woods Library Theater, 1785 Finch Ave W, North York.

You are invited to a community education event celebrating the experience and contributions of refugees in recognition of Refugee Awareness Month. The event will include theatrical presentations, music and dance by refugees to Canada, digital stories, and refreshments.

Home Away From Home

by Quaker Committee for Refugees

Saturday 27 April, 2019
3 PM – 5 PM

Friends House, 60 Lowther Ave. Toronto, Ont. M5R 1C7

The Quaker Committee for Refugees celebrates Refugee Rights Month with the play, Home Away from Home. We invite the community to attend our interactive theatre performance, opening a dialogue on the complexities and challenges faced by newcomers to Canada. Admission free. The entertainment begins at 3:00 pm and the play starts at 4:00. For more information contact Eusebio Garcia, tel. 416-964-9669.

The annual book sale will be held at the same location on Saturday 27 April 2019, 10 AM – 4 PM; and Sunday 28 April 2019, 10 AM – 1 PM. All proceeds go to Toronto Friends Sponsoring Refugees. For details, contact John Gell, tel. 416-769 -2298.

Toronto Refugee Rights Month Planning Committee:

Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture | Canadian Friends Service Committee | Centre for Refugee Studies, York University | COSTI | CultureLink | FCJ Refugee Centre | Matthew House | OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants | Romero House | Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge | Salvadorean Canadian Association | Sojourn House | Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, York University | TNO - The Neighbourhood Organization | Turtle House Art/Play Centre