It is late Spring, feeling and looking like summer, a few days after I returned to Ontario after being away for a week on vacation in Jamaica (yes, I voted in the advance poll!). I came home to a province of mixed political and emotional sentiments - A Progressive Conservative majority government which some find concerning, wondering and worrying if the public policies and programs that they’ve worked so hard and long to bring to fruition will be done away with.
In the Field
Mental health providers in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are sought to participate in interviews, for a study to develop best mental health practices for forced migrants.
The researchers would like to interview mental health providers serving any of the following groups: 1) The LGBTQ+ community; or 2) Forced migrants/refugees; or 3) LGBTQ+ individuals who are also forced migrants/refugees.
It is a windy, icy mid-April Spring morning as I turn my thoughts to the beginning of a new fiscal year and what it means, especially this year, for us as a Sector. While the new fiscal year began with the routine complaints – late contracts from funders, too tight timelines for financial claims for end of last fiscal year, inconsistency in communication from the federal funder, less than ideal communication from the provincial funder, there is a sense of anticipation in the air.
Social justice movements are striding confidently into 2018. From the #metoo movement, a decade old hashtag thought up by African American activist Tarana Burke and given new life by the celebrities of popular culture including the high priestess of them all Oprah Winfrey, who with her sister celebs evolved it into a multimillion fund for survivors of sexual harassment and a new hashtag #timeisup; to the thousands of women and their allies who showed up for round two of the women’s march, it feels as if we’re experiencing a seismic cultural shift here in North America and around the globe.
We begin the year in a celebratory and anticipatory mood in Ontario as we welcome the proclamation of Ontario’s Immigration Act on January 1, 2018 which received Royal Assent in May, 2015. The legislation “positions Ontario as a full partner in immigration with the federal government, with an enhanced role in immigration selection aimed at attracting more economic immigrants”, says the recently released 2017 progress report, Our Foundation for Tomorrow, Ontario’s Immigration Strategy.
The long awaited 2016 census on immigration and the ethno-racial diversity of Canada has been released. The numbers tell an exciting story of a Canada becoming increasingly racially diverse, a provincial nominee program regime that is meeting its overarching goal of destining immigrants (including refugees) away from the three major immigration hubs of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and the promise of younger immigrant and Indigenous populations. The shift in immigration numbers away from Ontario and British Columbia in the five years prior to 2016 also speak to the economic realities of the past decade where (other than the last two to three years) the extractive industries of Alberta and Saskatchewan attracted workers from the rest of Canada, including new immigrants.Farewell speech at OCASI Annual General Meeting by Ibrahim Absiye, President of OCASI.