A couple of weeks ago, OCASI hosted a meeting of colleagues from across the country. The one thing they all had in common is a strong belief that the sector is changing and as sector leaders they needed to be ahead of the curve, to influence, since we can't control the changes that are taking place. It was quite a collection of folks. From almost every province, they primarily came from immigrant and refugee serving agencies but also from umbrella organizations like OCASI and from universities.
Executive Director's Message
At the end of May, I received an e-mail from my colleague-friend Anon who indicated that news was expected from the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration - news that would be pleasing to OCASI. Now news from the Minister isn't surprising. We've had at least one policy announcement or regulation change or musings from the Minister on a daily basis (or so it seems) since he was appointed the Immigration, Citizenship and Multiculturalism portfolio. But pleasing to OCASI? Long story short, a few days later Twitter was abuzz with the news. Access to citizenship would be made easier.
The gorgeous weather we've been experiencing here in Southern Ontario makes one hopeful that we've turned the corner on winter's cold and damp and that we're settling into Spring. There's a sense of hope in the air as I meet and converse with my colleagues from across the province and country; a particular optimism, a sense of ‘can do' that we haven't seen in many years.
The Federal Government Temporary Foreign Workers Program exploded onto the front page of major newspapers, lit up social media boards and started conversations in the hallways of service organizations, on buses and in corner stores this past week. This was not anticipated.
As a sector concerned with immigrants' and refugees' settlement and integration, our collective attention has been riveted on the myriad of changes to the Immigration system and to the Refugee determination system, sometimes applauding, but for the most part bemoaning the transformation of Canada away from our traditional priorities of providing refuge to the world?s persecuted and marginalized.