Migrant Workers in Ontario: A report card to evaluate protection for migrant workers

Ontario members of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) and CAW – Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy @ Ryerson University invite you to the launch of  Migrant Workers in Ontario (and Canada)

Registration click here
WHERE:     Ryerson Student Centre (Oakham House)
Layton Room (2nd floor)
63 Gould Street Toronto
(Yonge and Dundas)

WHEN:       THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2013
10:00 AM-12:00 NOON

Featuring: Loly Rico (President, Canadian Council for Refugees), Catherine Manuel (Caregivers Action Centre), Chris Sorio (Migrante Canada) and representatives from other migrant justice groups.


Please RSVP to amy@ocasi.org or epanlaqui@thorncliffe.org


The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) issued in May 2013 a series of report cards, summarizing the approaches of the provincial and federal governments in protecting the rights of migrant workers in the “low-skilled” streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Ontario has a lot of work to do particularly in the following areas: (1) extend the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act to all migrant workers; (2) implement a registration system for employers and recruiters to better detect exploitation; (3) proactive enforcement of employment standards; (4) provide pathways to permanent residence for all migrant workers in collaboration with the federal government.

pp pictures




Workshops for mental health professionals and support workers

Offering Mental Health Support to Victims/Survivors of Human Trafficking: (The workshops will be available at the FCJ Refugee Centre, or we can come to your organization if there is interest.)
For mental health professionals and support workers.
Join us to engage in an in-depth dialogue about multifaceted mental health support for survivors of human trafficking.
You can book a training at your location or either you can join us any of the following dates:
(Please confirm the day you will be able to attend)

Dates:      June 25, July 10, July 17, and July 23
Time:        From 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Place:      208 Oakwood Ave. ON. M6E 2V4   

√Access to crucial training material
√Access to specialized information on mental health models
√Tools to provide better services to people who have been trafficked

For more information please contact:

Tanya Aberman  tanya.aberman@fcjrefugeecentre.org or Carolina Teves  cteves@fcjrefugeecentre.org
Phone:  416-469 -9754

Offering Mental Health Support to Victims June and July
Offering Mental Health Support to Victims June and July

A unique and colorful festival will take place on June 21 during the PRIDE Week

FCJ Refugee Centre is organizing the Diverse Residents One Community Celebration where many LGBTQ newcomer artists will have the opportunity to express their talents and gain community support.

This event is possible thanks to the support of the Community festivals and Special Events of the City of Toronto, who always is looking to create spaces of non-discrimination and inclusion.All steps of this festival have been developed through an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, feminist framework. Beside the City of Toronto, there are a lot of hands of volunteers from different organizations, such Sherbourne Health Centre, The 519 Community Centre, Black- CAP, and OCASI, who are helping with the promotions and preparation of the festival.

The event is going to take place at the Artscape Wychwood Barns located in 76 Wychwood Ave, Toronto, ON M6G 4C6 (Wychwood Ave and 601 Christie St.), from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

The performers of the day will put on shows such as live dance performances, singing and modelling shows. Also, with the presence of food and Art Vendors from different cultures and backgrounds is going to be a variety of food and artistic products displayed from almost all parts of the world, Spanish, Mexican, Turkish,  Asian, North and South American, African and more which will suit out goal of diverse community celebration.


The coordinators of the event expect “that people who have just arrived and self-identify as members of LGBTQ communities will be able to connect with a wide arena of support – meet other people going through the same experience, and connect with community agencies that work with LGBTQ populations.”

One of the motivations on the creation of this festival is because despite the progress Canada has made in including and promoting equality for LGBTQ populations, there are multiple oppressive and homophobic systems still at play that are negatively impacting these populations.


For FCJ Refugee Centre events like this are becoming more important to offset the vast disparity that still exists, and work towards a Canada that we can be proud of – a Canada that recognizes the barriers that LGBTQ refugees face and actively welcomes communities from around the world.

For more information:

Contact: Destin Bujang
416-469-9754 ext 223

or visit our website:  http://www.diversecommunity.tk/


Junio 21_poster_11x17

FCJ Refugee Centre received Pioneers for Change Award

“Access to information means access to justice; access to knowledge and the tools necessary to mobilize that knowledge and lead to integration”.

With this affirmation the co-directors of FCJ Refugee Centre received the Pioneers for Change Award in Literacy and Access to information 2013.

 During the ceremony they highlighted that access to information means access to justice; access to knowledge and the tools necessary to mobilize that knowledge and lead to integration; in only one kind of integration and is called successful integration. It means access to equity; access to civil society, wherever is defined by them; access to social services and diverse arenas of support; access to fair and sustainable housing; access to healthcare. And despite the progress that has been made in the past, avenues to access have become increasingly narrowed, particularly with the disturbing changes that have taken place over the past year.

Also they mentioned that the access to Information for the diverse populations needs to be underlined with ideas of self-determination and self-identification. Pathways to access need to be paved with anti-oppression and Positive Spaces. “ Information needs to be readily available for members of diverse communities-whether someone identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or straight, information and dissemination of information needs to reflect the multiple needs and intricate fabric of our identities” said Loly Rico during her participation at the ceremony.

Francisco Rico mentioned that as the doors close, and our society seems to be moving in retrograde, precarity increases for many newcomers. At the FCJ Refugee Centre we have always served anyone seeking assistance, regardless of their immigration status. And with recent changes, such as the addition of designated countries of origin (called by the media “safe” countries… is Mexico safe?), new gradations of status are emerging, and putting people at greater risk. And as the number of precarious migrants is steadily on the rise- we are talking about non-status people… What they called “illegals”), we need to be steadfast in our response.

They finished their participation thanking for this recognition: “we feel that this award is a symbol of the work we’re doing, and support to continue our walk with uprooted people. At moments like this, the words of Antonio Machado come to mind… “Traveller, there is no road; the road is made by walking.” Thank you for helping us make this road.”

Se necesita un programa nacional de regularización para los indocumentados en Canadá


Por Francisco Rico-Martínez

 Se necesita un programa nacional de regularizar para los indocumentados en Canadá

TORONTO. El Ministro de Inmigración y Ciudadanía, Honorable Jason Kenney, ha dicho en varias ocasiones que el sistema canadiense de refugio y migración es uno de los más justos y generosos en el mundo y que continuará siéndolo aún bajo el nuevo sistema que él ha propuesto. Ahora bien, no es posible usar sendos términos como “justo” y “generoso” para definir un sistema, cuando dicho sistema no posee una alternativa de regulación o legalización para los migrantes más vulnerables, marginalizados y discriminados por nuestra sociedad.

Sí, estoy hablando de los migrantes en condición de precariedad migratoria que viven entre nosotros. Aquellos que el gobierno llama “ilegales” y que nosotros, los trabajadores sociales, les llamamos “personas sin status migratorio”.  

Muchos países, incluyendo Canadá, han implementado previamente programas muy exitosos de regularización migratoria. Lo justo y generoso de una sociedad se mide por la forma en que dicha sociedad trata a los más vulnerables, en este caso que nos atañe, la justeza y generosidad de la ley migratoria se mide por la existencia o no de un programa de regularización que le permita a los migrantes en condición de precariedad migratoria alcanzar la igualdad de derechos y oportunidades que la sociedad en donde viven les otorga a sus habitantes. 

En otras palabras, la existencia de estos “estatus migratorios ilegítimos” son el resultado de la naturaleza injusta, inequitativa y restrictiva del mundo en que vivimos, lo cual se materializa en un sistema de refugio y migración que refleja esa naturaleza antes mencionada. Como todos sabemos, esta naturaleza injusta es la que hace que migrantes en situación de irregularidad sean tan vulnerables ante muchas formas de abuso, y que las leyes vigentes de los respectivos países en donde ellos habitan, en principio y práctica, no logran protegerlos ante estos abusos. 

El número de migrantes precarios viviendo en Canadá sin la protección de un estatus migratoria se calcula anecdóticamente en alrededor de 350,000 personas.  Este número es equivalente al 1% de la población total que vive en Canadá y se calcula por la sumatoria de los siguientes rubros: El número de solicitudes de refugio pendientes; el número de solicitudes pendientes por razones humanitarias;  los peticionarios de refugio rechazados esperando ser removidos de Canadá; los miles de casos que tienen una orden de deportación vigente y que las autoridades canadienses desconocen su paradero; los miles de personas que deciden quedarse por más tiempo del que las autoridades los han autorizado y siguen viviendo en Canadá sin ser detectados; y los miles que han entrado a Canadá sin ser detectados y siguen viviendo acá de la misma forma.  Como puede verse, 350,000 personas en ilegalidad en Canadá es un estimado conservador. 

El ignorar los derechos y necesidades de los “defacto” residentes de este país, que son un número de personas equivalente al 1% de la población canadiense, es una muy mala política pública por muchas razones. A continuación se discutirán las dos que se consideran las más importantes. 

La primera, si lo vemos a través del lente de la seguridad pública y social. Viéndolo de una forma muy sencilla: El gobierno necesita saber quién vive en Canadá, a dónde están y qué están haciendo, y la única forma de saberlo es si el gobierno abre una iniciativa nacional de regularización para esta población, en donde todas las personas en esta condición sean motivadas  a salir de la “ilegalidad” y presentar una solicitud para su regularización migratoria. No más “second class” individuos. 

La segunda, la falta de una alternativa de regularización migratoria, transforma a la familia en una institución ilegal, sin derechos, sin protección. Y la destrucción de la familia, como un efecto no deseado de la política migratoria restrictiva, genera problemas sociales mucho más agudos que lo que la ley migratoria aspira a resolver a través de deportaciones y procesos larguísimos de reunificación. 

A muchas familias se les ve afectada su estabilidad y su naturaleza por la falta de alternativas migratorias de regularización, y un programa de regularización motivaría a estas familias a salir de la “ilegalidad” y cobijarse a los miles de programas de apoyo y protección que existen en esta sociedad. No más “second class” familias.

En nombre de la seguridad pública; en nombre de la protección de la familia; en nombre de la comunidad de migrantes sin estatus migratorio que viven en Canadá… Sr. Ministro, implemente un programa nacional de regularización para migrantes en condición de irregularidad que viven entre nosotros. 

Se están cerrando las puertas para los migrantes irregulares o en condición de precariedad



 Por Francisco Rico-Martínez (Published 09 de mayo de 2013 )

 Se están cerrando las puertas para los migrantes irregulares o en condición de precariedad

TORONTO. Para muestra un botón. Hay más de 20,000 casos de solicitudes por razones humanitarias ante Migración Canadá en este momento. Por si eso fuera poco, Migración Canadá dice que el tiempo de procesamiento estimado de estas solicitudes es entre 30 a 42 meses. 

Las preguntas son: ¿Cuántos de estos casos son peticiones de refugio fallidas? ¿Cuántas de estas aplicaciones son de migrantes que simplemente decidieron hacer su solicitud después de quedarse sin status? ¿Cuántos de estos han entrado al país sin ser detectados y han decidido hacer la solicitud para quedarse permanentemente en Canadá? ¿Cuántos tienen muchos años de estar establecidos en Canadá y al final deciden jugar suerte con Migración?

Con la forma en que Migración lleva las estadísticas, no es posible responder las preguntas anteriores. Todas las solicitudes entran el hoyo negro de Migración y salen, aceptados o denegados, cuando salen.

El proceso y los criterios de las solicitudes por razones humanitarias fueron cambiados a finales de junio de 20212 con la aprobación de la “Ley de Protección al Sistema Migratorio Canadiense”.  Este cambio creó una avalancha de solicitudes de este tipo que incrementaron el inventario ya existente ante Migración Canadá y por ende, aumentó el tiempo de procesamiento.

Los cambios implementados en esta época fueron muy restrictivos y prohibitivos para los peticionarios de refugio.

Los cambios son los siguientes: primero, mientras una persona tenga un caso pendiente de refugio, no se puede introducir una solicitud por razones humanitarias. Después del 29 de junio del 2012, si un solicitan de refugio quiere presentan una solitud humanitaria, tiene que retirar el caso de refugio. Dicho de otra manera, no puede haber una solicitud refugio que sea paralela a una solicitud por razones humanitarias.

El Segundo cambio se refiere a la imposibilidad de presentar una solicitud ante Migración Canadá por razones humanitaria mientras no hayan pasado 12 meses de haber recibido la decisión negativa emitida por el Consejo de Migración y Refugio sobre dicho caso de refugio.  Esto genera un efecto no deseado puesto que la ley no especifica que la espera de estos 12 meses tiene que ser gozando de un status legal en el país.

Ante el cierre de esta opción procesal, los migrantes en condiciones de precariedad que no tienen ningún futuro en sus países de origen, simplemente tratan de no ser detectados hasta que logran tener el tiempo para presentar la solicitud de razones humanitarias.

Hay dos excepciones para poder presentar una solicitud por razones humanitarias antes de tener los 12 meses antes explicados: La primera es el mejor interés del niño, y la segunda es si hay algún riesgo a la vida por la remoción del país debido a una condición médica.

En una forma sarcástica, se cree que estas dos excepciones sólo pueden ser usadas en condiciones casi perfectas. Por ejemplo, con respecto al mejor interés del niño, el menor no puede ser ni tan menor que no se dé cuenta de lo que está pasando, o tan mayor que pueda continuar sus estudios o vida en el país de origen sin ningún problema.  La misma lógica aplica para la condición médica: ni tan grave que sea muy caro el tratamiento, o que sea poco seria que no pueda ser tomada en serio por los agentes migratorios. Si es una condición mental, ni siquiera es entendida por los oficiales a cargo del caso.   

Para cerrar el círculo, incremento en recursos para la salida voluntaria, y si no se quiere ir, incremento en recursos para remoción violenta de los migrantes en condición de precariedad. Sí, la Agencia Canadiense de Servicios Fronterizos ofrece el pago de pasajes y hasta $2,000 Cdn en servicios por cada persona que acepte salir voluntariamente. Por si no le gusta el programa voluntario antes mencionado, se han incrementado los oficiales de remoción que localizan, capturan y remueven a los migrantes sin status.

En otras palabras, es un ataque frontal contra los migrantes que necesitan pedir refugio para legalizarse en Canadá. Ataque a todos aquellos que no son considerados “la crema de la crema”, o que no vienen de países considerados “desarrollados”. Es un ataque a los tristes más tristes del mundo, mis compatriotas en pobreza, mis hermanos y hermanas que son pobres y vienen de continentes pobres.  Dígale a todo el mundo…

25 for 25 Fundraising Campaign

The FCJ Refugee Centre is celebrating 25 years of working with uprooted people. In order to celebrate our 25 years, we identified 25 values that represent the ethos of the FCJ Refugee Centre.

We would like to invite you to help us keep celebrating by donating $25.00 (or more) to ensure our continued commitment to “walking with uprooted people.”

You can choose one or more values above, click on the value and make your donation. Before you choose the values take a look at the following video:


FCJ Refugee Centre’s model of care is holistic, focusing on improving mental, physical and spiritual health. Through a variety of supportive programs and initiatives, the Centre has helped newcomers to take control of their bodies, minds and lives thus improving their overall wellness. We aim to help individuals to de-stress and cope with the challenges of living in a stressful environment.



Recreation is crucial to human development, supporting creativity, health and social interaction. At the FCJ Refugee Centre, we strive to offer recreational opportunities for the youth network, the residents and other members of our community. Through these activities we have not only learned and taught new things, but were able to express ourselves in new ways.


The FCJ Refugee Centre believes that vulnerability is often a consequence of oppressive and exclusive social, economic or political policies which fail to address the needs of the society members in an equitable manner. We prioritized the needs of vulnerable communities and individuals, particularly women and children, through our integration/settlement services, specifically transitional housing; our immigrant and refugee protection program; the popular education services; our ever growing youth group and our coordination of the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network.


The FCJ Refugee Centre considers gender as relational and self-defined as opposed to assigned, and recognizes the power relations involved in gender hierarchies. The Centre values the uniqueness of individuals’ self-defined identity, personality and character, and strives to fight gender-based oppression. In this context, the Centre aims to offer extra support to vulnerable individuals, particularly self-identified women.


The FCJ Refugee Centre offers to uprooted people, regardless of immigration status, a holistic approach which integrates their compelling story, their unique set of needs and their own barriers.  As such we attempt to offer the greatest quantity and quality of services and supports possible.



Access to information is a fundamental right, as it enables people to make empowered decisions. Thus, FCJ Refugee Centre places access to information as one of its top activities, through legal education, popular education and ongoing support. Uprooted people in particular need timely and accurate information so that they can establish their lives in Canada.


The FCJ Refugee Centre believes that for uprooted people, refugees or newcomers, the best way to get integrated in a society is through peer mentorship… equals helping equals. For any uprooted person who arrives in this new land, to meet with a peer, seasoned or not, is a way to share experiences, insights, and expertise. The mentoring could include socialization, orientation, advising etc., which are pivotal to life in the new country.


The FCJ Refugee Centre recognizes that all uprooted people have strengths and capacities to contribute to the host country where their migration status is irregular. We understand and empathize with the experiences of precarious migrants who are viewed as disposable/temporary labour in Canada.  The Centre strives to offer holistic support and find ways and means to formalize status where possible.


The FCJ Refugee Centre sees education and the access to it, as a human right and as the most powerful instrument for humanity broadly, and for every individual as a human being. As such, the Centre works hard to increase access to education at all levels, for everyone, particularly for uprooted youth, regardless of their immigration status. Educated youth are the future of this country.


The FCJ Refugee Centre tries to materialize the right of any person to seek and enjoy refuge; recognizes all uprooted/forcefully displaced persons as an asset to their receiving country and believes that the host country needs to create a welcoming environment for the newcomers to realize their full potential. Throughout history, people who were welcomed as refugees have had a huge impact on their host countries and the world. The Centre’s door is open to all people seeking refuge and sees them not as clients who need immediate support, but also as citizens of humanity, future citizens of Canada, with rich potential.


The FCJ Refugee Centre respectfully acknowledges our location on the traditional land of the different indigenous communities who have walked here; we recognize all people on this land as Treaty people, and stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities striving for self-determination. We also recognize that refugees, migrants and the Indigenous Peoples of Canada have shared similar experiences with injustice due to persecution, oppression, colonization, discrimination, stereotyping and exclusion, and we work to illuminate those connections in our community.


Members of the FCJ Youth Network have defined youth engagement as “the meaningful and ongoing inclusion and participation of self-defined youth in the activities of the FCJ Refugee Centre – including program development, program implementation, planning, decision-making and even employment.” The FCJ Refugee Centre believes that youth are the driving force for the advancement of any society and is committed to offering a space that is an easily accessible and inclusive where the youth will be fully valued, recognized and engaged. We believe that this space is shaped by the youth, and as such should continually acknowledge and celebrate their talents, resiliency and contributions to society.


The FCJ Refugee Centre has an established recognition for assisting refugees and non-status people who might not otherwise benefit from legal services or the legal system itself, thus denying them access to justice. We also support uprooted people in seeking justice in a variety of areas, advocating where necessary and empowering people to demand their rights.


The FCJ Refugee Centre is an open space that welcomes all uprooted persons, and works from an intersectionality lens to offer client-centred services. Many of the people that come to the Centre for support may have experienced various forms of oppression, thus we strive to ensure spaces that are safe and free from discrimination. Through our vast networks and close ties, we are able to effectively direct and support people as they make their new path.



The FCJ Refugee Centre considers itself as part of the national and international community in the support of and advocacy for refugees. We work and network with different national and international organizations, partner with local organizations and develop relationships with diverse individuals.


One of the core services we provide is the transitional housing program for recently arrived women and their children. We welcome refugee women from all around of the world, who are able to build new and diverse communities. The FCJ Refugee Centre also prioritizes the need for shelter by reserving emergency spaces so that there is always a bed available.


The fundamental unit of any society is family, biological or not. In our office we feel like a family and interact like a family. We care for each other as members of one family, and our family keeps growing. That is why FCJ gives high priority to family integration, as all families should be united.


The FCJ Refugee Centre deeply understands the feeling and value of the kitchen in the culture of uprooted people. Once people are uprooted, it may be a long time before they can get settled in their own home and at their own kitchen table. Not only do staff, students and volunteers eat together every day, but our vision of community welcomes newcomers to join us around our kitchen table and feel that they are at home away from home. For a family, eating together in a kitchen is the utmost expression of solidarity, safety, of feeling at home.


The FCJ Refugee Centre is a grassroots organization. Yet, while we are small, we are able to accomplish many things! The Centre believes that issues, particularly marginalization and oppression, can be addressed from the ground up through grassroots-level work. By walking with uprooted people, we identify gaps in systems and services and try to remedy them with few resources but plenty of peer and ally heads and hands.


The FCJ Refugee Centre’s moto is to never send anyone away with empty hands. Whatever the issue, worry or concern that someone might have, the Centre either provides appropriate services directly, as we may already offer that service or people gave us the chance to learn with them, or we refer the person to the right place where they can get the services they need.


The FCJ Refugee Centre works with survivors of human trafficking offering support with immigration and settlement needs and advocating at the municipal, provincial and federal level to ignite political change to improve protection for them. The Centre believes: 1) human trafficking is largely driven by social, economic and political inequities; 2) the best protection for any trafficked person is his/her integration in the society that witnessed the human trafficking exploitation and cruelty and; 3) this phenomenon will continue to flourish as long as these local and global factors are not addressed by government policy in a coherent and strategic manner.


The FCJ Refugee Centre recognizes that there is a vast and ever-growing constellation of identities within the LGBTQ+ community(ies). We also recognize that oppression and discrimination for individuals within this constellation take many different forms. As such, the Centre works to be organic in our reception and response, working towards creating a positive space free from judgement, assumption and discrimination.


The FCJ Refugee Centre recognizes that while people become uprooted for many different reasons, they each have an unedited and untold personal history. At the Centre, we walk with, support and empowered uprooted people to navigate their own path. We also feel that Canadian society can only grow in richness and strength when people learn about each other’s histories and why/how some of us were uprooted from our original homes.


The FCJ Refugee Centre understands intersectionality as intersecting social identities, such as age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, class, social status, immigration status, sexual identity, experiences with authority, violence, etc., shape our uniqueness and inform our complicated relationships with power, privilege and oppression. Intersectional approaches invite us to value the diversity of those around us rather than make assumptions.


The FCJ Refugee Centre is not limited to the pursuit of short term solutions for refugees, but engaged   in social justice oriented advocacy and the promotion of newcomer rights in their new society.  The Centre works to impact policy makers to develop a broader view of migrant issues in order to formulate sound policy at the municipal, provincial and national level.



1 21 22 23