Refugee advocates urge Ontario to stay at the table


Refugee advocates urge Ontario to stay at the table

Toronto/July 6, 2018/ – Ontario civil society groups and refugee advocates urge the Government of Ontario to remain engaged in intergovernmental collaboration to resettle the large numbers of refugee claimants arriving irregularly in Canada from the United States.
The Ontario government has indicated it will step back from cooperating with the federal government on resettling refugee claimants. The Ontario response was reported by media following a recent meeting of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration attended by Lisa McLeod, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
“We believe Ontario must be at the table to speak to the interests and priorities of municipalities that are trying to resettle refugee claimants in their communities” said Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. “The right of refugee claimants to seek protection is safeguarded in Canadian law, which builds on Canada’s international obligations” she added.
“Ontario has called on the federal government to cover the costs of refugee resettlement. If they really want the province and municipalities to be compensated they must be at the table” said Francisco Rico-Martinez of the Coalition of Service Providers for Refugee Claimants in Ontario. “It is inhumane to risk making refugee claimants homeless to make a political statement. It is in violation of our international obligations and tradition, and Canadian values of social justice and human rights” he added.
“We are deeply disturbed by politicians and media inaccurately describing refugee claimants as illegal entrants into Canada. Asylum seekers have the legal right to cross the border to make a refugee claim” said Lobat Sadrehashemi, President of Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.
The Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States prevents asylum seekers from making a refugee claim at a regular border crossing. As a result they are entering Canada irregularly in order to ask for asylum, which is not illegal.
“Refugee claimants are among the most vulnerable in our society. We all have a responsibility to treat them with respect and dignity and ensure their rights are protected” said Shalini Konanur, Executive Director of South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario. “Most importantly our own laws and the international treaties signed by Canada require us to do so” she added.
“Toronto and many of the surrounding municipalities had housing challenges long before the current increase of refugee claimant arrivals. Blaming Ontario’s housing crisis on vulnerable refugee claimants who cannot fight back is reprehensible and does great harm to claimants” said Avvy Go of Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change. “Refugee claimants should never be used as pawns by anyone, let alone our political leaders” she added.
Ontario leads the country in the resettlement of refugees, playing a prominent role in fulfilling Canada’s international humanitarian commitments. We have a strong tradition of welcoming refugees and refugee claimants, and they require coordinated assistance from all three levels of government in order to succeed.
As civil society groups and refugee advocates that support this statement, we call for leadership from all three orders of government in the resettlement of refugee claimants. We also call on political leaders and media organizations to respect the rights of refugee claimants. This includes using responsible language and factual reporting in order not to inflame anti-refugee sentiment.
Released by OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, Coalition of Service Providers for Refugee Claimants in Ontario, Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change, OHIP For All, Refugee Lawyers Association and South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
Debbie Douglas, OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants or Amy Casipullai, OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Francisco Rico-Martinez – Coalition of Service Providers for Refugee Claimants in Ontario
Avvy Go – Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change
Ritika Goel – OHIP For All
Raoul Boulakia – Refugee Lawyers Association
Shalini Konanur – South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario

Thank you for your support at the Street Party

Our Diverse Residents One Community Celebration  as a successful event thanks to each one of you.

We appreciate it very much your support.

Thank you





Every year we celebrate diversity and the welcoming spirit of Canadian society. Join us, have fun, build community with us this Saturday July 14 from 1:30 to 8:30 pm

free food
bouncy castles
face painting

For more information you can contact us any time at our front desk with
Liduvina or Tseday: 416-469 97 54 or



World Refugee Day

FCJ Refugee Centre is celebrating the strength, courage, and determination of refugees around the world. Every year, World Refugee Day marks a key moment for raise awareness and show support for refugees.

JUNE 20: World Refugee Day “Refugees Belong” Walk

We Are Proud To Announce The June 20, 2018, “Refugees Belong” Walk, In Commemoration Of World Refugee Day.

The event is being co-organized by: Neighbourhood Legal Services, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, Sojourn House, Regent Park Community Health Centre, Central Neighbourhood House, FCJ Refugee Centre, COSTI, and the Oasis Centre des Femmes.

The “Refugees Belong” Walk will commence at the Yonge and Dundas intersection at 9:30 am (in front of the Refugee Law Office at 20 Dundas Street West) and will end with lunch and performances from 12-2 pm in Regent Park.

The “Refugees Belong” walk is an opportunity to reflect not only on the obligations of governments under the Refugee Convention to provide safe haven to persecuted people (and on Canada’s own track record in the Trump era), but also to dispel the myths that persist about refugees as a burden on the Canadian public.


At a time when refugee claimants in Canada continue to endure egregiously long waits to have their refugee claims determined at the Immigration and Refugee Board, and continue to face prolonged separation from their families, refugees and claimants must also contend with stereotypes – that refugees just want to take advantage of Canada’s social programmes, for example; refugees take jobs from Canadians; refugees are ‘illegal’.

The World Refugee Day “Refugees Belong” walk aims to encourage Canadians to choose facts over fears! Stops this year will be at local community organisations, so that participants get insight into the work being done on the ground to support refugees. At each stop, community members who arrived here as refugees and are now successful teachers, business owners, service providers, will map their journeys to belonging in Canada, as well as some of the challenges faced along the way. Speakers will also include community workers and lawyers.

Join us and show your support!




World Refugee Day

FCJ Refugee Centre is celebrating the strength, courage, and determination of refugees around the world. Every year, World Refugee Day marks a key moment for raise awareness and show support for refugees.

Come and support refugees on Wednesday June 20 to celebrate World Refugee Day. The walk will start at 9:00 am at the Yonge and Dundas intersection (Dundas Square)

Come and support refugees on Wednesday June 20 to celebrate World Refugee Day.The walk will start at 9:00 am at the Yonge and Dundas intersection (Dundas Square)

Nearly 1,800 immigrant families separated at U.S.-Mexico border in 17 months

Nearly 1,800 immigrant families were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border from October 2016 through February of this year, according to a senior government official, as U.S. President Donald Trump implemented stricter border enforcement policies.

The numbers are the first comprehensive disclosure by the administration of how many families have been affected by the policies. Previously, the only numbers provided by federal officials on family separations covered a single two-week period in May.

The government official, who agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity, said he could not provide up-to-date statistics, but acknowledged the number of separations had risen sharply in recent weeks, largely because of new administration policies.

In May, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy in which all those apprehended entering the U.S. illegally would be criminally charged, which generally leads to children being separated from their parents

Canadians see welcoming refugees as our top international contribution, survey finds

Canada can be a role model for the world when it comes to global migration say survey respondents – but advocates question if that’s enough.

Canadians increasingly believe multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion are their country’s most notable contribution to the world — a shift away from peacekeeping and foreign aid, according to a survey of over 1,500 Canadians released today.

The 2018 Canada’s World Survey, conducted by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, is an update to a survey they first conducted in 2008. It measures how Canadian attitudes have shifted and looks at issues that have emerged over the past decade.

Despite major world events — from the global recession, terrorist attacks, increasing tensions with North Korea and growing frustration with Western governments — Canadians’ opinions have remained mostly consistent.

A majority of Canadians continue to see Canada as an international role model with 86 per cent of respondents saying the country can have a positive impact on world affairs — both in 2008 and in 2018.

Global migration and accepting refugees is the top global issue where Canadians believe the country can make a difference. Thirty-eight per cent of those surveyed say Canada can make a big difference, 44 per cent say the country can make some difference while 16 per cent said we could make little or no difference.

At the same time, 25 per cent of respondents think the most important contribution the country can make to the world is accepting immigrants and multiculturalism, a shift from ten years ago when peacekeeping topped the list.

Spring cleaning: Recycle and help others

SPRING IS HERE!! If you want to help others, this is the perfect time to do it!!

We are organising the FCJ Refugee Centre ANNUAL GARAGE SALE!!!!!
Start your spring cleaning! Clean your garage!
Donate to the FCJ Refugee Centre sidewalk sale!!!!

We will take gently used households items, shoes, kitchen items, toys, self-care items, stationery items, jewelry, arts and crafts stuff, sheets, blankets, tools, bits and pieces from your craft making tool collection…!

The garage sale is scheduled for mid to late June at the FCJ Refugee Centre.

For donations please contact us at   or call us 416-469- 9754



The MIGRANT PROTECTION CLINICS increase access to justice and service delivery for precarious populations, as they will be able to receive a broader range of services and supports from local and familiar organizations.

Identify the date you would like to schedule the IMMIGRATION PROTECTION CLINIC.
To schedule a date contact Carolina Teves at:
After booking your IMMIGRATION PROTECTION CLINIC you are able to promote your clinic and book appointments for your clients.
Staff from FCJ Refugee Centre go to the agency who is organizing the Migrant Protection Clinic. During the visit FCJ Refugee Centre staff will provide orientation and immigration support to clients attending the clinic.
Also we can combine a training or presentation and the clinic the same day of the visit.

Check the flyer:






The Migrant Protection Clinic Program is made possible by the generosity of 

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