Refugee Rights Month 2016 - 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 Singh decision in 1985. Join us this year to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the 'Singh Decision'.

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 and would like to list it here,
please contact us.

Download the Refugee Rights logos [V1 | V2]

What is Refugee Rights Month?

April 4, 1985 was a milestone for refugee rights in Canada. On that day, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of refugee claimants in Canada to life, liberty and security of the person, and that claimants are therefore entitled to an oral hearing, in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and international law. This 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.

To learn more about the 1985 Singh decision, check out this video with Barbara Jackman, one of the lawyers who argued the case.

Click here for resources and more information from Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR)

Refugee Rights Month events in Toronto

Monday February 29, 2016

Refugees Welcome Here! Advocacy Training organized by York University’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative and Osgoode’s International Legal Partnership

"Refugees Welcome Here" Advocacy Training with Osgoode '96 Alumna and Canadian Council for Refugees/Amnesty International Campaign Lead Christina Harrison Baird. Learn how to fight for MORE REFUGEES! FAIRNESS FOR REFUGEES! WELCOMING COMMUNITIES!

Click here to RSVP to this event


Osgoode Moot Court, Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignatt Kaneff Building), York University Keele Campus

This event forms part of York University's Refugee Advocacy Week (February 29-March 5 2016), organized by York University’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative and Osgoode’s International Legal Partnership.

Friday April 1 & Saturday April 2, 2016

Art Exhibition hosted by Quaker Committee for Refugees

Beyond Fear and Loss, Reaching for Hope: the visual expression of refugee experience of flight from homeland, and the journey to a new life in Canada. Curator: Helen Melbourne, assisted by Andie Wolf.
Deadline for Submission of artwork: March 14

Download PDF for more details
Download the Artist's Call for Submission PDF

Friday April 1, 4pm to 9 pm
Official Opening at 5 pm. (snacks will be available)
Saturday April 2, 10 am to 5pm.

Friends House at 60 Lowther Avenue in Toronto
(near the Bloor and St. George subway)

Monday April 4, 2016, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Forum on Refugee Rights in 2016 hosted by Refugee Rights Day 2016 Planning Committee

Panel presentation and discussion on Refugee Determination, Detention, Healthcare and more; and featuring Spoken Word performance by refugee youth.

For more information contact:
Register here

Reception: 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm (light refreshments)
Spoken Word, Panel presentation and Discussion: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Opening Statement by Loly Rico - President, Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR)


  • Meb Rashid - Medical Director of Crossroads Clinic at Women's College Hospital (WCH);
  • Junic Wambya - former Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, forced to flee Uganda due to persecution and now accepted as a protected person in Canada;
  • Syed Hussan - End Immigration Detention Network.
  • Moderator: Debbie Douglas - Executive Director, OCASI

Women's College Hospital (WCH) Auditorium
76 Grenville Street, Toronto
(North and West of College and Bay)

Friday April 8, 2016, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Making Toronto Home

What is 'home'? What does it mean to belong somewhere? How can we make Toronto more welcoming? On April 8, join us at The 519 Community Centre for an evening about making Toronto home.
Commemorating Refugee Rights Day and the 30th anniversary of the awarding of the Nansen Refugee Medal to the People of Canada, we want to continue the conversation on welcoming refugees to Toronto.

Making Toronto Home features:
1.) a panel and discussion with former refugees, who came to Canada after fleeing armed conflict and/or persecution in Eritrea, Iran and Sudan, moderated by Debbie Douglas
2.) community fair with info booths of local service providing organizations and programs
3.) concludes with a social and mixer

Arsham Parsi
Waleed Abdulhamid
Ruth Mathiang
Azaria Wolday
Moderator: Debbie Douglas!community-forum/co8


Download Flyer for more details

6 pm to 9 pm

The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St., Toronto

Saturday April 9, 2016, 7:00 pm

Romero Vive 2016 & Refugee Rights Week hosted by Salvadorian Canadian Association and Coalition of Service Providers for Refugee Claimants in Southern Ontario

A celebration of the life and contribution of Monseñor Romero, Bishop of San Salvador, in conjunction with Refugee Rights Week 2016 in Toronto. Featuring music, dancing, food and cash bar. Donation - $10. For more information phone: 416-577-6425

Download PDF for more details

April 9th, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

LIUNA Local 183, 1263 Wilson Avenue
(Keele Street and Wilson Avenue – free parking)

April 28, 2016, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Refugee Rights Day - A Day To Remember, Reflect And Celebrate

Panel Discussion on: Faster family reunification; Eliminating desginated countries of origin; Regularization for those without status; Resettling refugees from Syria AND all parts of the world.

  • Francisco Rico - FCJ Refugee Centre
  • Shelly D'Mello - Mennonite New Life Centre
  • Ibrahim Absiye - CultureLink Settlement and Community Services

Gift packages for newcomers courtesy of Frontier College New Readers Bookstore and Bookroom program, and Humber Employment Centre.
Music, Artistic Performances, and Dance!
Organized by Mennonite New Life Centre, in partnership with CultureLink, North York Community House, Eatonville Public Library and Mimico Public Library.

6:00 pm

Eatonville Public Library
430 Burnhamthorpe Rd, Etobicoke

Saturday April 30, 2016,

Art Competition organized by BCS

Theme: “Welcome to Canada” cards for our fellow refugees. Participation Age: 4 to 12. Contact BCS at 416-699-4484.

Download PDF for more details

2:30pm to 4:30pm
Registration starts at 2pm!

APOD, 3079 Danforth Avenue, Toronto

Saturday April 30, 2016, 3:30 pm

Walk for Refugees with Amnesty International!

Ryerson University, Oakham House, 55 Gould Street. We will make our way to Nathan Phillips Square at the TORONTO sign. We will end our walk at Trinity Bell Square for a public action in support of Refugee Rights and family reunification!

Bring your own refugee friendly banners & together we will declare "My doors are open for refugees!"

Walk begins at 3:30 pm

Walk begins at Ryerson University, Oakham House, 55 Gould Street, Toronto.
Walk goes through Nathan Phillips Square and will end at Trinity Bell Square

April 19 to May 8, 2016

Nightwood Theatre Presents Refuge produced by NIghtwood Theatre in association with Amnesty International

Inspired by the award-winning CBC Radio documentary Habtom’s Path by Mary Lynk, Refuge offers a penetrating look into Canada’s refugee system and confronts the heightened paranoia that can so tragically disrupt our capacity to trust.

Refuge was developed through The Collaborations, an initiative of Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre. 

Click here for details and to buy tickets.

Various times. Click here for details.

Tarragon Theatre - Extraspace. 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto (near Dupont Street and Bathurst Street).

See link for map: