Our Spring Newsletter is ready!

Our Spring 2021 Newsletter is ready! Check it out and find information about our new video, in which we tell you how we keep providing all our services during these difficult times; our Child Minding and English Classes programs; the FCJ Refugee Centre support in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign; our webinars, informative sessions and podcasts; the activities of the FCJ Youth Network, and much more.

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

Click to access Newsletter-Spring-2021.pdf


Supporting the vaccination of residents of Toronto without OHIP cards

The City of Toronto is partnering with the FCJ Refugee Centre to help people without an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card get the COVID-19 vaccine in Toronto.

The Province of Ontario has clearly stated that if you do not have an Ontario health card at all, you are still eligible for the vaccine.

Residents without an OHIP card who meet the current vaccine eligibility criteria may use other forms of identification to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

To get assistance booking a vaccination appointment at a City-operated immunization clinic, please send an email to vaccine@fcjrefugeecentre.org including:

  • Complete Name
  • Local Phone Number
  • Date of Birth

Or just fill out and submit the following form:

For any additional information, please contact vaccine@fcjrefugeecentre.org

Monthly Family Dinner: It’s Snack Time!

This April, the FCJ Youth Network is happy to be continuing our monthly family dinner tradition, this time with a twist!

For our Family Dinner: Snack Takeover, we invite the newcomer youth in our community to join us with their favourite snack.

During our virtual family dinner, everyone will share with the group why their snak is the tastiest, and we will bring out our competitive sides with various games.

Interested in joining us? Reach out to us via email at fcjyn@fcjrefugeecentre.org or via WhatsApp at 437-833-2427.

When: April 28, 4.00 – 5.30 pm.

Canada announces new pathway to permanent status for 90,000 essential workers and international graduates

The Federal Government introduced a new pathway to permanent residency for up to 90,000 foreign nationals working in Canada in essential jobs such as personal support and health services, and international graduates already in Canada, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced Wednesday.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada provided a list of occupations that are deemed essential. It includes people in a wide range of skilled trades, such as electricians and metal workers, along with farm workers, cashiers, home child care providers and French immersion teachers, among others.

To be eligible, workers must have at least one year of Canadian work experience in one of 40 different health care jobs or 95 other pre-approved essential jobs. Graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program over the last four years.

Warning: The information provided below has no legal value. This information was taken from the Immigration website on April 15, 2021 and is subject to change without notice.

This 90,000 permanent residencies are separated in two different programs:

1. Temporary Residents with recent work experience in Canada (50,000 applications):

Work experience needs to be equivalent to 12 months full-time work experience in Canada in the last 3 years and will be divided in two different streams:

  • Stream A (20,000 applications): Work experience in many health care occupations
  • Stream B (30,000 applications): Work experience in many fields like cashiers, construction, security, farm workers, cleaners, etc.

To be eligible, besides the 1-year work experience they also need:

  • English proficiency: CLB 4
  • Reside in Canada with valid temporary resident status (or be eligible to restore their status) and be physically present in Canada at the time the application for permanent residence is received and when the application is approved
  • Be employed in Canada in any occupation at the time that the application for permanent residence is received

For full information on this program and the full list of occupations that will be part of this program, please access:


2. Temporary Residents who graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution and were granted in the last 3 years (40,000):

  • A degree (Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate) which must be a degree issued on completion of a program of at least 8 months in duration;
  • A degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation issued on completion of a program of any duration leading to an occupation in a skilled trade
  • One or more diploma/certificate/attestation where the following conditions are met: For diplomas/certificates/attestations, each program of study must be at least 8 months in duration and the combined length of the credential(s) must be equivalent to a two-year credential (at least 16 months in duration).

Besides the post-secondary certificate(s):

  • English proficiency: CLB 5
  • Be employed in Canada with a valid permit or authorization to work pursuant to the Act and Regulations at the time the application for permanent residence is received and must not be self-employed
  • Reside in Canada with valid temporary resident status (or be eligible to restore their status) and be physically present in Canada at the time the application for permanent residence is received and when the application is approved

For full information on this program and the full list of skilled trades that will be part of this program, please access:


Both public policies come into effect on May 6, 2021 and will end on November 5, 2021 or once 90,000 applications have been received, whichever comes first.

Registration is open for a new semester of the Uprooted U program

We’re so excited to announce that the second semester of Uprooted U will begin on May 4th 2021. And we’re thrilled to be welcoming back our amazing co-teachers, Tyler Correia and Jesse Kohut.

Held over twelve weeks, this semester will offer a weekly two hour blended course, incorporating foundational academic skill building and advanced implementation of these skills.

Throughout the course, students will be guided in developing critical thinking, writing, and reading skills, while engaging in assignments to challenge themselves and expand their horizons.

This program will also offer weekly study hall sessions, and each student who successfully completes the course will be provided with a certificate.

This program is free, and open to all.

For more information, and to apply, please contact Natasha at
natasha.rollings @ fcjrefugeecentre.org

You can register by filling out the form below or by downloading and sending the registration form before April 23rd, 5.00 pm.

We are here for you

In solidarity with all of those who have been left behind during this pandemic, the FCJ Refugee Centre has been determined to be an open door in a global lockdown. We have been more active than ever, and we want to share some of this with you. Transparency is our way to say thank you to everyone helping us.

“A historical moment”: COVID-19 vaccination at the FCJ Refugee Centre

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Toronto has expanded to refugee homes in the city, with hospital teams operating several pop-up clinics.

On Tuesday, over 50 residents and staff at the FCJ Refugee Centre received their vaccines, in a vaccination day organized by the University Health Network’s Social Medicine Program and the Women’s College Hospital’s Crossroads Clinic for Refugees.

“This is a historical moment,” said Loly Rico, Co-Director of the FCJ Refugee Centre. “It is the first day of a vaccination campaign that we believe, and we hope, that we can continue doing,” she added.

“This is a chance for the society. The idea is to open thee space for people that need to have an easy access to the vaccine,” she explained.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Co-Director Francisco Rico-Martinez.

Rico-Martinez explained that, even if the vaccine is free and available to all residents in Canada, regardless of their immigration status, “some of our residents thought they wouldn’t get the vaccine because they aren’t citizens, or because they haven’t any immigration status or health coverage.”

“Sometimes they get the impression sometimes that they don’t exist in society, and they were recognized today,” he added.

More information: Webinar: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

Read also: ‘It’s a dream come true’ as COVID-19 vaccine rollout expands to city’s refugee homes (Toronto Star)

When you can get the COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario

Ontario has a three-phase plan that prioritizes COVID-19 vaccines for those at greatest risk of severe illness and those who care for them. The province is currently completing Phase 1 of the plan.

Phase 1

High-risk populations (approximately 1.8 million people)


  • December 2020 – March 2021


  • Congregate living for seniors
  • Health care workers
  • Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations
  • Adult chronic home care recipients
  • Adults over 80 years old


  • Distribution through hospital site clinics, mobile teams, site-specific clinics, mass vaccination clinics (late March)

Phase 2

Mass deliveries of vaccines (approximately 9 million people)


  • April 2021 – July 2021


  • Adults aged 60 to 79, in 5-year increments
  • High-risk congregate settings (such as shelters, community living)
  • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers
  • Those who cannot work from home
  • At-risk populations


  • Distribution through: mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies, primary care, site-specific clinics, mobile teams, mobile sites, public health units

Phase 3

Steady state


  • July 2021 onwards


  • Adults 59 years and younger


  • Distribution through: mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies, primary care, site-specific clinics, mobile teams, mobile sites, public health units

If there is limited supply, people will be vaccinated in the order in which they are listed. Learn how the priorities are determined.

All timelines are subject to change depending on vaccine supply.

Booking a vaccination

Ontario’s vaccine booking system is now available:

How to book a vaccine »

Check with your public health unit

Each public health unit is developing a vaccine plan tailored to their own community’s needs. Local plans will align with Ontario’s vaccine distribution plan and ethical framework. Find your public health unit and check their website for details about vaccination in your area.

Find your public health unit »

More information on the Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination plan website »

Women’s Entrepreneur Skills Workshops

Our Women’s Entrepreneur Skills Workshops are back!

Facilitated by Carolina Gajardo, the workshops aim to connect women with each other and help them develop business skills, using their cultural abilities and traditions.

Join us online every other Friday at 4:30pm, starting this Friday, March 12th.

Zoom meeting link: Click here.

Contact information:

Maria Alejandra Ramirez Bolanos

  • Email: maria.ramirezb @ fcjrefugeecentre.org
  • Tel. 416- 469 97 54 Ext. 232

English classes now also on weekends

We’re expanding our online courses with more English classes for beginners, now available also on weekends, every Saturday morning, from 10:00 to 11:00.

For the Beginner English Class we send to the students an email every week with the link and the material that we will use in the class.

This material includes basic grammar and vocabulary that they are interested in learning. We also include exercises that we do together in class, while reviewing all the material.

The classes are through the Zoom platform.

For more information and register, please click here.

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