Francisco Rico-Martinez, co-director of FCJ Refugee Centre, has passed away

Simran Singh, Toronto Star

Francisco Rico-Martinez, co-director of FCJ Refugee Centre, passed away on Friday.

After coming to Canada from El Salvador with his wife and two children at the time, Francisco became committed to issues of social justice as a lawyer and economist.

He began his work with human rights in El Salvador and continued with solidarity work in Europe before settling down in Canada, where he began working for refugee rights.

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Francisco Rico, 1958-2021: una vida dedicada a los refugiados e inmigrantes en Canadá

Lattin Magazine

Francisco Rico-Martínez, codirector del Centro de Refugiados FCJ, y una de las caras más conocidas en la lucha por los derechos de refugiados e inmigrantes en Canadá, falleció este viernes en Toronto a los 63 años de edad, víctima de un cáncer.

Nacido en 1958 en la ciudad salvadoreña de Santa Ana, Francisco llegó a Canadá como refugiado en 1989, junto con su esposa, Loly, y sus dos hijos (un tercero nacería ya en su nuevo país de residencia). Dos años después, bajo el paraguas de la organización religiosa FCJ (Fieles Compañeras de Jesús), la pareja puso en marcha el Centro de Refugiados FCJ, del que Loly Rico es codirectora, y que este año celebra su 30 aniversario.

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Réquiem por Francisco Rico-Martínez, el revolucionario pacífico de la inmigración canadiense

Óscar Vigil, Debate

Canadá está de luto. Este viernes, alrededor de las 3pm, falleció en Toronto uno de los más destacados defensores de los derechos de los inmigrantes, y particularmente de los refugiados y de las personas sin estatus migratorio en el país: Francisco Rico-Martínez.

Este día cayeron lágrimas del cielo. Las nubes cubrieron como un manto la ciudad que hace más de tres décadas le abrió las puertas y lo adoptó como un hijo muy querido, cuando llegó a Canadá en busca de refugio proveniente de su natal El Salvador, un país que en esos momentos se batía en una de las más violentas guerras civiles del continente americano.

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‘It’s a dream come true’ as COVID-19 vaccine rollout expands to city’s refugee homes

Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star

With COVID-19 vaccinations in Toronto’s homeless shelters already underway the vaccine rollout has expanded to refugee homes in the city, with mobile hospital teams operating several pop-up clinics in recent days.

Residents and staff at the FCJ Refugee Centre, Romero House and Adam House all received their vaccines on Tuesday.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Francisco Rico-Martinez, co-director of the FCJ Refugee Centre, where 50 people were vaccinated on Tuesday. “We’re delighted.” […]

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‘I’m living in fear’: Undocumented workers worry that getting the COVID-19 vaccine could lead to unwanted immigration woes

Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star

As a personal support worker in a long-term-care home, Lily has been eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since the first shots were administered back in December. But she hasn’t been vaccinated yet because she’s afraid — not of the vaccine itself, but that getting it could lead to losing her job or being deported.


The City of Toronto has partnered with the FCJ Refugee Centre since the beginning of the pandemic to ensure undocumented residents were able to access a range of services, from income supports to COVID-19 testing, and co-director Francisco Rico-Martinez said that partnership is continuing. He said he has met with city officials regarding vaccine access for undocumented people.

“They understand the issue,” he said. “They’re very open about our ideas, but they didn’t say yes to any of them.” […]

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Interview: Francisco Rico-Martinez on the FCJ Refugee Centre

Pascal Fillipi, CJRU 1280 AM

Since the pandemic, the lives of refugees and asylum claimants has changed. The vast majority of the people that make a claim between November 2020 up to January 2021 are in limbo.

The number of Asylum Claimants processed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has drop significantly from around 4000 to 1000 between January 2020 to December 2020.

Francisco Rico-Martinez was a refugee himself and now he is the co-director of the FCJ Refugees Centre. He speaks to CJRU about his own trajectory, services offered by FCJ Refugees Centre and how the pandemic is changing operations.

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

Isabel Inclan, New Canadian Media

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. […]

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