Mayor Olivia Chow proclaim April 2024 as ‘Refugee Rights Awareness Month’ in the City of Toronto

On the occasion of Refugee Rights Day, celebrated every year in Canada on April 4, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow has proclaimed April 2024 as “Refugee Rights Awareness Month” in the City of Toronto.

Refugee Rights Day is celebrated in the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1985 ruling that stated that refugee claimants are entitled to fundamental rights.

In this ruling, known as the Singh Decision, the Supreme Court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights of refugees.

The Court decided that “everyone” includes refugee claimants in the sentence: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Following is the full text of the Toronto City Council’s Proclamation:

Whereas this month we acknowledge and recognize the April 1985 Supreme Court of Canada decision that everyone, particularly refugee claimants in Canada, have the right to be treated fairly and equally in a court of law. This decision has been recognized under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Toronto strives to be a welcoming and inclusive city for everyone, including refugees who choose to make Toronto home. We recognize the important contributions that refugees make as valued members of our communities and we must do better to ensure all refugees feel safe and welcomed in our city.

The City’s Toronto Newcomer Office coordinates City divisions and collaborates with community partners to ensure that support systems are effectively mobilized for the arrival of incoming refugees. Through official initiatives such as the Refugee Resettlement Program, Refugee Capacity Plan, and Toronto Newcomer Strategy (2022 – 2026), the City of Toronto aims to provide responsive supports to assist refugees as they settle in our city.

The City of Toronto gratefully acknowledges the tremendous community efforts that are taking place across Toronto to provide emergency supports. As we engage in the important work needed to make Toronto a place of safety, security and belonging, we will continue to listen and learn from the best practices, and models of excellence led by our valued community partners.

We are stronger when we work together to make Toronto an equitable and inclusive place for all and a city where everyone feels welcomed and valued.

Now therefore, I, Mayor Olivia Chow, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim April 2024 as “Refugee Rights Awareness Month” in the City of Toronto.

Gallery: April 2024 exhibition in the Toronto City Hall Rotunda, showcasing artwork and stories from undocumented residents in Toronto sharing their experiences, as well as information about Refugee Rights Day.
Photos: Toronto Newcomer Office.