Housing Needs and Refugee Updates Webinars


1.The Impact of COVID-19 in the Immigration System

Date: Wednesday August 12 at 10:00 am

OCASI – The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants is pleased to announce a webinar for frontline workers on: The Impact of COVID-19 in the Immigration System: Measures in the Refugee Process

Presented by Francisco Rico-Martinez Co-director, FCJ Refugee Centre

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced government institutions to work differently. This webinar will present an overview on the impact of COVID-19 on the immigration and refugee system, including measures by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). We will look at how the IRB is gradually re-opening, how the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) is resuming in-person hearings, the option of a file review and the video-conference hearings pilot, IRCC changes on inland refugee claims and more.

Register here:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUvdeqorz4uG91b9g2r1BP1cxnc6y-k1UOB

2. Housing needs for immigrants and resources

Date: Thursday August 13 at 10:00 am

During this webinar we will provide an overview on the challenges that refugee claimants and precarious migrants face in finding a place to stay in the city, whether that is a temporary shelter or more permanent housing through the rental market. Join us on this webinar and learn about the housing situation for immigrants, what to do in emergency cases, how to find a shelter, how to search for a house. Also we will talk about resources like rent support from Ontario Works, furniture bank, etc.

Registration:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6759701139307944976


3. Updates about Refugee Hearings and Procedures

Date: Thursday August 13 at 2:00 pm

Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services and FCJ Refugee Centre invite you to attend a Virtual Info Session for refugee claimants. This is a free online information session on August 13, Thursday, at 2 pm. Learn about the new way of making a refugee claim inside Canada, the option of file reviews the resumption of in-person hearings at IRB’s Refugee Protection Division, the pilot project of video-conference hearings, and many more.

To register, please click this link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/105627192305978380


Webinar on the Humanitarian and Compassionate application

The first week of August we are facilitating an informative session on the Humanitarian and Compassionate application in English and Spanish.

For registrations:

Wednesday August 5th at 10:30 am :

Para inscribirte en la sesion en espanol presiona el enlace y llena el formulario con tu nombre










Thursday August 6th at 10:30 am:
To register follow the link:




Solidarity Steps for the FCJ Refugee Centre

We’re excited to announce that we’re beginning an exciting new fundraising campaign! Solidarity Steps for the FCJ Refugee Centre!

Take from us what you need, and give to each other what you can.
This is the guiding philosophy of not only the FCJ Refugee Centre, but is at the very core of our common humanity. In recent months, we have seen an enormous shift in the ways in which we interact, live our daily lives, and see the world around us. We have seen the turmoil that can be brought out in people when they are forced into situations of fear and vulnerability – circumstances so many of us who grew up in Canada with so many privileges have never had to face. But we’ve also seen the generosity of the spirit of our community. Our mandate is to support all uprooted people, and to keep our door open to the community.

From our homes to yours, we stand with you in solidarity. Our door is open today as it will be tomorrow.

Please check out our page, and stay tuned for more updates, weekly calls to action, how you can stay engaged, and more information about our upcoming walk-a-thon!

Stay safe, stay well, and stay kind.
In solidarity,
The FCJ Refugee Centre Community





Refugee Hearing Preparation / Preparandote para tu Audiencia de Refugio

You are invited to participate in our upcoming webinar on how to get ready for your refugee hearing . The webinar will be provided in  2 languages:Spanish and English

Te invitamos a participar en la sesion informativa virtual (webinar) sobre como estar preparad@ para tu audiencia de refugio. La sesion sera facilitada en Ingles y Espanol

Miercoles Julio 22 Sesion en Espanol
 Para registrarte sigue el enlace siguiente: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4203938037125854989









Thursday July 23:   Webinar in English
For registration follow the link:



Virtual English Class on Monday July 20

FCJ Refugee Centre is starting the Virtual English Classes in Summer.

If you are interested in participate you only need a computer, tablet or phone with a webcam, access to internet and a quiet space.


Below you can find the Registration  link for the first English Class

Monday 2:00 pm (class is full, no more registrations available)

Monday 3:30pm : https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/381666183158347020


El Centro de refugio inicia en Julio  las  clases de ingles online. SI estas interesad@ te invitamos a registrarte en la clase de las 3:30 pm 



O Centro para Refugiados FCJ vai iniciar aulas virtuais de inglês na próxima semana. Caso tenha interesse de participar só é necessário ter acesso à um computador, celular ou tablet com camera, acesso à internet e um espaço silencioso.




The impact of the COVID 19 in the refugee process update: resumption of refugee hearings, refugee claim inland changes. Webinar provided in 4 languages

Learn how the Immigration and Refugee Board is gradually re-opening its doors. During the presentation we will talk about the RPD resumption of in-person hearings, the option of a file reviews, pilot of video-conference hearings, new refugee inland claim procedures, etc.

The session is for refugee claimants who are waiting for their refugee hearing. Front line workers are also welcome to join the sessions.

FCJ Refugee Centre is offering special info sessions talking about the IRB announces in 4 different languages as follow:





July 15th 10:30 am English https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9045915666323481357


July 15th 2:00 pm Spanish https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6624409531425971213


July 16th 10:30 am Arabic https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2687991877578287631


July 16th 2:00 pm Portuguese https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1166492085261977101




COVID-19 Hitting Canadian Farms: “There had to be one dead for the authorities to react”

COVID-19 Hitting Canadian Farms: “There had to be one dead for the authorities to react”

COVID-19 Hitting Canadian Farms: “There had to be one dead for the authorities to react”

Every year more than 50,000 foreign farmworkers, mainly Mexicans, come to Canada. Until now, three of them have died for COVID-19 and hundreds are sick. Photo: Isabel Inclan


COVID-19 Hitting Canadian Farms: “There had to be one dead for the authorities to react”

After three farmworkers die in Ontario and hundreds are infected of COVID-19, authorities are finally reacting. Migrant workers’ advocates, health specialists and academics are calling on the federal government to protect them and to clear the path for them to become permanent residents.

Isabel Inclan July 6, 202

After three farmworkers die in Ontario and hundreds are infected of COVID-19, authorities are finally reacting. Migrant workers’ advocates, health specialists and academics are calling on the federal government to protect them and to clear the path for them to become permanent residents.

The spread of COVID-19 in several farms across the country and the death of three Mexican farmworkers in Southwestern Ontario has exposed the overcrowding in which they live on some farms, the lack of official inspection to guarantee distance and protection during the pandemic, and even suspicions of labour exploitation.

Many workers in places surrounded by the risk to get coronavirus are reluctant to be tested for COVID-19. Why? Their temporary immigration status makes them feel afraid to be returned to Mexico if they are positive, as reported by migrant workers´ advocates.

Because of the lack of local labour force to work at farms, every year more than 50,000 foreign farmworkers, mainly from Mexico, Guatemala and Jamaica, come to Canada under bilateral programs signed decades ago. For periods between three and eight months, they work at farms and earn an average of $14.18 an hour.

The majority (27,000) come from Mexico under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). In 2018, Mexico sent 25,331 farmworkers; in 2019, 27,000, according to Mexican authorities.

Gabriel Morales, coordinator of the SAWP at the Mexican Embassy, said that this year 6,000 Mexicans arrived before March 18 and 11,000 between April and June. Around six or seven thousand are pending to arrive for the rest of the year.

He detailed that until June 24, there was a cumulative of 327 Mexican farmworkers infected with CO

Between May 30 and June 20, three Mexican farmworkers died: Bonifacio E. Romero (31), Rogelio Santos Muñoz (24), and Juan López Chaparro (55). All of them were working in farms of Southwestern O

Fidel Guzman Martinez (47) is part of the 65 Mexicans working in a grape farm in Niagara on the Lake.  “Because of the COVID-19, the farmer provides us with sanitizer, gloves and masks. Every day our temperature is checked and we have to fill a questionnaire about our health condition,” said Guzman, who has worked for the SAWP for 20 years. “I am in charge of cleaning the van every time I transport the workers to the store or the field.”

Selene Marfil Basto (45) was on a Simcoe farm during the pandemic´s peak without a job and payment for two months. The SAWP transferred her to a Hamilton farm where she is in quarantine as a precaution measure. She is sharing the house with 11 female farmworkers. “We are keeping our sanitary measures. I don´t know sick co-workers in this region, but it was very sad to know about the three dead Mexicans. They died without their families around.”

Guzman mourned the death of the three Mexicans but admitted that among the farmworkers “there is a fear of being tested because they think that they will be returned to Mexico.”

Leah F. Vosko, professor at York University and member of Migrant Worker Health Expert Working Group (MWHEWG), said that any fears migrant farmworkers have about testing “cannot be separated from deeply-rooted power imbalances in the employment relationship stemming, in part, from workers’ precarious residency status and employer-specific work permits, conditions that have historically allowed employers to repatriate sick or injured workers.”

The MWHEWG was created on June 14 by health professionals and academics from across Canada to honour the death of Bonifacio E. Romero and to bring attention to the “unsafe working conditions” at Canadian farms. In their report, sent to the Employment and Social Development Canada, they recommend “in-person and unannounced inspections on farms, without supervisor/employer involvement.”

Mexican diplomats assured that workers resulting positive for COVID-19 will not be repatriated or lose their jobs. They clarified that the request for foreign workers “should exclude the so-called hot spots and high risks areas for the contagion of COVID-19 until the local health authority determines that conditions are met for a safe and secure work environment.”

From the three unfortunate workers´ deaths, one case took special attention. The 24-year-old Rogelio Santos Muñoz did not have immigration status, was not part of any agricultural program and, as far as it is known, he was recruited and taken to work on a farm in Leamington.

“Rogelio did not go to the farm alone. Someone took him there. Recruiters are not regulated in Ontario and when they employ precarious immigrants, they dominate the labour situation,” said Loly Rico, co-director of the FCJ Refugee Centre (Toronto) and anti-human trafficking specialist.

Rico pointed out the lack of awareness in foreign workers’ population about labour exploitation in Canada. They don´t know that they have labour rights even if they don’t have status. “Rogelio’s death could have been prevented,” she added.

She called to a deep review of the SAWP because leaving workers subject to a single employer puts them at a disadvantage. “The program continues to treat farmworkers as commodities. Unfortunately, there had to be one death for the authorities to react,” she added concerning the current review on the farms after the three deaths.

While the bodies of the first two dead Mexicans have been repatriated and the third is in process, migrant workers´ advocates highlighted the conditions in which workers live and work that put them on risk to get sick during the pandemic.

“They are working inches away from each other, are separated by cardboard partitions, living in trailers without sinks and using porta-potties 10 or 20 at a time,” said the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

In the report Unheeded Warnings: COVID-19 and Migrant Workers in Canada they said migrant workers are the real food producers accounting for 41.6 per cent of all agricultural workers in Ontario, and over 30 per cent  in Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia in 2017.

The Alliance has collected over 6,000 signs to support the petition for the federal government “to give farmworkers the power to protect themselves by giving permanent resident status.”

Health Care for Uninsured Migrants during the COVID-19

The webinar is focused on the services we are providing on our Primary Care Clinic and other health care services throughout Toronto for non-status populations.  During the session, we will talk about how the clinics are working during COVID, and what is going to happen in the following months.

Toronto is a Sanctuary City, meaning no one can ask information regarding immigration status when accessing city services. Also, in an emergency, you cannot be refused service at the hospital, even without a health card. The conversation will include what to do during those emergencies.

Take advantage of this informative session and feel free to ask any questions related to the services we are providing.

For registration follow the link:


Importance of Migrant Workers, challenges and options during COVID-19 WEBINAR ON JULY 8

Durante la conversación del miercoles haremos una revisión de la condición laboral de trabajadores temporales extranjeros, las dificultades que están enfrentando debido al COVID- 19 y las opciones de ayuda.
Hablaremos de los programas actualmente disponibles para trabajadores migrantes y alternativas cuando no son elegibles. El FCJ Refugee Centre sigue brindando servicios a los trabajadores migrantes, haciendo referencias, representando casos ante inmigración y otras autoridades.
Nuestro programa busca crear conciencia sobre la problemática de la trata de personas, en particular sobre casos internacionales y explotación laboral. Nuestro equipo de trabajo tiene capacidad de apoyar en diferentes idiomas (español, portugués, y francés entre otros); Si usted esta experimentando cualquier tipo de explotación, contáctenos en nuestra oficina 416-469-9754 o en nuestro teléfono WhatsApp 647-9712153. Los trabajadores migrantes siguen llegando a Canadá. Debidoa la pandemia la situación para los migrantes sin estatus es más difícil: el aislamiento, la explotación y los abusos aumentaron en el último periodo


Registration to the Virtual Info Session/ Webinar:



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