Statement on the Passing of Nell Toussaint

Nell Toussaint

Nell Toussaint

The FCJ Refugee Centre community received with deep sadness the passing of Nell Toussaint, a giant defender of a basic human right: access to health care.

For more than 2 decades, she was fighting for the right to life and non-discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

FCJ Refugee Centre stands in solidarity with the family of Ms. Toussaint and all those who are facing challenges accessing health care.

Vulnerable populations with precarious migration are at high risk and are facing the same challenges Nell fought to eliminate.

At FCJ Refugee Centre we strongly believe everyone has the right to access basic health care and the government should take action instead of creating more barriers to essential services and rights for people with irregular immigration status.

As an organization supporting precarious populations, we are making a call to the government to implement treaties in good faith, including the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which Canada voluntarily ratified to give the UN Human Rights Committee jurisdiction to hear individual cases.

More information:

Amnesty International Joint Statement

The international human rights movement is saddened by the passing of groundbreaking human rights defender and champion Nell Toussaint on 9 January 2023.

Ms. Toussaint fought courageously for equal access to essential health care for people with irregular immigration status in Canada, herself having been denied access to public health benefits due to her irregular migrancy status, placing her life at risk and leading to serious long-term health consequences. When the Canadian justice system failed to recognize her claim to the right to life and non-discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Ms. Toussaint successfully brought her case to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee, achieving a precedent-setting decision in 2018 that the right to life under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) covers “essential health care to prevent a reasonably foreseeable risk that can result in loss of life.” The decision also stressed that these guarantees apply without discrimination against persons with irregular migrancy status. This was the first decision of its kind and represented a significant advance in the equal protection of migrants and access to essential health care under international law. Keep reading »

She went from undocumented to undeniable. Advocate whose fight against Canadian government reached the UN remembered as an ‘inspiration’ »
By Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star

Nell Toussaint clears legal hurdle for health care for migrants without status in Canada »
By Tracy Glynn, Canadian Health Coalition

Join the FCJ Youth Network Winter Activities!

The FCJ Youth Network doesn’t stop for the winter! There is still time to register for our activities:

Free music classes for kids

As a part of our Uprooted Junior Program, FCJ Refugee Centre and Musicbox Children’s Charity are offering free music classes. Come build musical foundations through fun, educational and engaging activities. Classes are open to kids 6-12, and hosted by skilled volunteers that speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Filipino, and Spanish.

Learn more and register »

Webinar: School Enrollment

Due to the increasing need for support with school enrollments and recognizing that January is usually a busy school season, we are hosting a webinar on the school enrollment process for elementary and secondary schools in the TDSB.

Learn more and register »

Free Music Classes for Kids at FCJ Refugee Centre

Musicbox LessonsAs a part of our Uprooted Junior Program, FCJ Refugee Centre and Musicbox Children’s Charity are offering free music classes.

  • Where: In-person at the FCJ Refugee Centre’s Great Hall (208 Oakwood Ave., Toronto, ON M6E 2V4)
  • When: Fridays
  • Time: 4pm-5pm & 5pm-6pm
  • Start Date: January 13, 2023

Come build musical foundations through fun, educational and engaging activities!

Open to kids 6-12!

Hosted by skilled volunteers that speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Filipino, and Spanish.

For more information, please contact Stefan:

To register, please fill out and submit the following form:


Refugee Help in Refugee Hands: The Francisco Rico-Martinez Endowment Fund

In 2020, as he did every year, our beloved late director Francisco Rico-Martínez adopted for the last time the role of Santa Claus, to bring joy, hope and gifts to the children of refugees, immigrants and undocumented people during the holiday season.

The FCJ Refugee Centre’s Francisco Rico-Martínez Endowment Fund, created in Francisco’s memory, seeks to keep alive that tradition of help and solidarity, so we can continue our work in favour of the most vulnerable populations.

This holiday season, you can contribute to keep refugee help in refugee hands.

Please make your donation here:

FCJ Refugee Centre relies on supporters like you to carry out important work. We support refugee claimants, those without status, migrant workers, women and children in need of housing, victims of human-trafficking… We also have a free health clinic, run a vibrant youth group and organize many other important initiatives that need support.

Thank you so much for your help. Every act of generosity counts.

Our Fall Newsletter is ready!

Our Fall 2022 Newsletter is ready! Check it out to find information about this Season of Giving and the different ways you can contribute to keep refugee help in refugee hands, including our new Francisco-Rico Martinez Endowment Fund. Learn also how you can support your community with initiatives like Bag of Toronto, and read about the campaign Open Work Permits Now, the Regularize Now Quilt Project, the Canadian Council for Refugees Consultation, the FCJ Youth Network activities, and much more.

Click here to access the document if you can’t see it in this page.

Newsletter Fall 2022


Bag of Toronto: Support Us by Supporting Local Business


During this holiday season when you support local business you are supporting us!

Bag of Toronto sells neighborhood-themed gift bags filled with goods from small businesses. During these holidays if you buy a bag of goods, proceeds will be donated to FCJ Refugee Centre!

Thanks to Bag of Toronto for choosing FCJ Refugee Centre as the charity of this year in the Oakwood neighborhood.

Bag of Toronto is a non-profit organization selling curated bags of local goods to support small businesses in Toronto. It started during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and offer a way for Torontonians to support the businesses they know and love, all in one purchase.

This holiday season Bag of Toronto is back to invite local residents to choose from eight curated bags from distinct neighbourhoods (Bloordale, Bloorcourt, Ossington, Queen West, College Promenade, Riverside, Kensington Market, and Oakwood).

Purchase a bag for a family member, friend, or to treat yourself! Every purchase makes a positive impact on 80+ small businesses and any profits are donated to eight charities, one in each respective neighbourhood.

Highlights from the project include:

  • Distributing over $160,000 to local businesses during a time of great need.
  • Over 3000 bags have been sold, along with $12,000 raised in donations.
  • In each bag, customers receive 5-6 items sampled from small businesses.
  • Partner vendors pay NO FEES to be included. Bag of Toronto purchases directly from the local businesses.

This program was made possible in partnership with eight BIAs (Bloorcourt, Bloordale, College Promenade, Ossington, Queen West, Riverside, Kensington Market, and Oakwood).

If you’re interested to learn more, reach Bag of Toronto at or visit Purchases can be made at

A new edition of the Youth Network ‘Bestie Book’ is out there!

The FCJ Youth Network invites you to read the Summer 2022 Edition of our Bestie Book!

As both a recap of our past couple of months, and a celebration of the members of our network, the Bestie Book is a space to amplify the voices of all migrant youth. So we want to hear from you! Send us your pictures, recipes, poems, stories – everything and everyone is welcome! Reach out to us any way, any day!

Contact us:

Click here to access the document if you can’t see it in this page.

Bestie Book Summer 2022


Open Work Permits Now

Migrant workers work essential jobs and contribute to our communities. But many are denied their fundamental and basic human right to change employers freely.

There is no debate, employer-specific work permits put migrant workers at a higher risk of abuse and mistreatment. Enough is enough, it is time for Canada to end this unjust and discriminatory policy.

Workers and their supporters are calling on the Canadian Government to abolish employer-specific work permits and need your support.

Sign the petition demanding that employer-specific work permits be replaced with open work permits.

Sign here »

Want to learn more about the issue and keep up-to-date on the campaign? Check out our social media platforms and help amplify the call for Open Work Permits Now!

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