“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)

When

  • December 2020 – March 2021

Who

  • 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

Where

  • 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)

When

  • April 2021 – July 2021

Who

  • 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

Where

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

Phase 3

Steady state

When

  • July 2021 onwards

Who

  • Adults 59 years and younger

Where

  • 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.

Youth Engagement Week

In connection with the CCR Youth Network‘s Newcomer Youth Civic Engagement Project, the FCJ Youth Network is organizing, this second week of March, the Youth Engagement Week.

The event is focused on offering newcomer youth an opportunity to be leaders in their communities and tackle issues that affect them.

The activities aim to help newcomer youth connect and engage with their communities, identifying key issues for newcomer youth and supporting them in exploring ways to address these issues within their communities.

Program:

  • March 9th – 8pm: Games Night
  • March 10th – 4pm: Talk to Action by CCR YN
  • March 11th – 4pm: Migrant Youth Engagement 101

To register and for further information:
fcjyn@fcjrefugeecentre.org

New Evening English Classes

We’re expanding our online courses with more English classes for beginners in the evening, Mondays and Thursdays, from 6.00pm to 7pm.

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 Zoom platform.

For more information and register, please click here.

Community Engagement Initiative for the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence

FCJ Refugee Centre is taking part of the National Action Plan to end Gender-Based Violence, with Women and Gender Equality Canada and YWCA Canada.

In order to make concrete changes, voices from the communities impacted are essential.

FCJ Refugee Centre is organizing a series of consultations in different languages. These consultations will provide a space to hear the important voices of women who have faced gender-based violence.

To learn more:

» After decades of talk, national action plan to protect women finally in the works (CBC News)

Human Trafficking is Still Happening in Canada

Human Trafficking Awareness Day
(February 22nd, 2021)

The Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network – TCHTN calls for awareness among all Canadians to recognize Human Trafficking as a growing concern across Canada.

Despite the pandemic, human trafficking continues to take advantage of systemic issues such as poverty, inequity, and legislation focused on prosecuting criminals, as opposed to empowering communities and supporting survivors. In fact, the pandemic has only highlighted the blatant social inequalities that allow human trafficking to continue.

Being united in combatting human trafficking, addressing systemic inequities, and knowing the warning signs are all important in its prevention. Collaboration and communication are essential in addressing this crime against humanity, labour and human rights.

We need to intensify our counter-trafficking collaboration and enhance communication among governmental and non-governmental agencies, to condemn all forms of human trafficking and slavery and provide support to those affected.

The TCHTN encourages Canadians to listen to victims and survivors of human trafficking and to raise awareness of the magnitude of this modern slavery and labour exploitation happening here in Canada and abroad.

We encourage local and national media to echo TCHTN’s call to promote voices, initiatives and efforts against human trafficking here in Toronto/the GTA, as well as across Canada.

Fighting against human trafficking is a commitment that inspires the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network every day to embrace principles of human rights, equity, anti-oppression frameworks and social justice.

Join the movement with us:

For those looking to know more about the TCHTN or to contact a representative from those organizations above, please do not hesitate to send a message to Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network – TCHTN coordinator, Luis Alberto Mata, or call him. He’ll get back to you asap:

  • Email: Lmata @ fcjrefugeecentre.org
  • Tel: (416) 469-9754 ext. 242

What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

COVID-19 vaccines will eventually be offered to all adults living in Canada. This fact sheet, verified by doctors, is the first in a series designed to give you accurate, verified medical information about these vaccines so you can make an informed choice.

Key Messages:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed.
  • The COVID-19 vaccines have been extensively studied in diverse populations and are considered safe and highly effective.

Why Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

  • For many years, people around the world have used vaccines to protect us from deadly infectious illnesses, such as measles, tetanus and polio.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 and for us all to return to life as normal.
  • The vaccine is an important part of stopping the spread of the virus to our families and communities, in addition to wearing masks, washing hands and staying at least 2 metres away from others.

How Does the Vaccine Work?

  • Vaccines do not cure you, they help to prevent you from getting sick in the first place.
  • The vaccine teaches your body what the COVID-19 virus looks like so your body can fight the virus if you come into contact with it.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine does this by providing instructions (“mRNA”) to your body to make spike proteins like those on top of the coronavirus. These proteins do not make you sick. Your body’s immune system then makes antibodies to fight the infection if the real virus does enter your body in the future.

How Effective Are the Vaccines?

  • Two vaccines are being offered in Canada so far, one by Pfizer/BioNTech and the other by Moderna.
  • Both vaccines are considered very effective in preventing COVID-19 illness after two doses. They were found to be 95% effective in large scientific studies.

What Are the Side Effects of These Vaccines?

  • The COVID-19 vaccines are considered very safe. In general, the side effects observed during the large scientific studies are similar to what you might experience with other vaccines. They included things like shoulder/arm pain at the site of injection, body and muscle pains, chills, feeling tired and feeling feverish. These are common side effects of vaccines and do not pose a risk to health. If any of these is experienced, it will typically resolve in about a day or so. These symptoms may occur after both doses of the vaccine.
  • As with all vaccines, there’s a very small chance of a more serious side effect, like an allergic reaction. This is why you will be asked to stay at the vaccination site (a clinic, or your doctor’s office) for 15-30 minutes after getting the vaccine, so medical staff can take care of you.
  • You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Where Can I Learn More?

Health Canada has also carefully reviewed the available medical evidence and no major safety concerns have been identified. Health Canada’s summary of the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in English and French are here:

Read this information in your language »

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