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 »

Child Minding Program

Child Minding is a program funded by the City of Toronto and is looking to support children with their homework and other recreational activities after class.

Kids can have support with Math, English or any homework from school. Also they can spend time learning how to make some crafts, easy recipes, music, doing some exercise with dancing class, learn how to draw with new techniques, practicing their reading and interacting with other kids, in a safe environment.

You only need to have internet and any device (cellphone, tablet or computer) and we will provide a link where you can join the group. Kids will receive the material for the class when it is needed.

For more details contact Melina Caroprezo at:

melina.caroprezo @ fcjrefugeecentre.org

Temporary COVID Isolation Emergency Support Fund

The temporary COVID Isolation Emergency Support Fund (COVID IESF) has been established to assist individuals who due to a severe financial hardship are not able to access COVID testing and/or complete the required period of isolation.

This one-time assistance is available through FCJ Refugee Centre, and is for individuals not eligible to receive any other financial support.

Eligibility Criteria

All three of the following criteria must be met. The applicant is:

1. Required to isolate as they are:

  • COVID-19 positive or,
  • otherwise required to self-isolate or,
  • awaiting a test result

2. NOT eligible for federal, provincial, private income assistance or COVID benefits

3. Facing financial hardship that poses a direct barrier to seeking COVID testing and/or completing the required period of isolation

How to access it

Agencies can refer their clients that meet the above criteria by emailing Jessie Kohut at

jessie.kohut @ fcjrefugeecentre.org

with a subject line COVIED IESF,

or by calling Jessie at 416-469-9754, ext. 243

The following information is required:

  • Name of the client
  • Their phone number
  • Email address
  • Language(s) spoken

Clients can also email or call Jessie directly, as noted above.

Remote (phone or email) appointment only.

Employment Opportunity at FCJ Refugee Centre

Anti-Human Trafficking Youth Worker

The Youth Worker will support in the development and implementation of the Youth Alliance against Human Trafficking, a program which provides holistic support to young people from conditions of human trafficking, labour exploitation and sex trafficking. The project also established preventative measures by providing comprehensive access to information to equip vulnerable young people with the information they need to make informed decisions, mitigate the risks that they face, and advocate for their rights.

Join us and be part of an exceptional team.

For more details about this job position click here:

Launching our new Child Minding program in 2021

We know with all this COVID-19 situation, everything is getting canceled. Especially activities with our kids like sports and performing arts.

For many parents, who are practicing social distancing with their kids at home, finding ways to break up the day and give your kids a sense of routine has been a real challenge. It’s very difficult to have them all day with no more activities.

That’s how FCJ refugee centre came out with this program, funding by the city of Toronto that your kids can check out from the safety of your home.

Our child minding program is an invitation to the younger members of our local community to participate in the creation of art, music, and in learning communication skills in English. Throughout child minding program we hope to support both the creative skills and expressions of future generations to come by connecting to families through a 1 to 1.5 hour long virtual Zoom class, in which members of our dedicated staff will work to teach members of the program the basics of art (like shapes or colors), music (such as how to sing or read chords), and English through our ESL program. Art and ESL classes will run on Tuesdays from 4.30 pm to 6 pm, and Music and ESL classes will run on Fridays from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm. If you would like to register, you can find our form on our website, or you can send an email (see details below).

For the program we use Zoom, an increasingly popular platform, very easy to use, and that children learn to use quickly. They just need to have an internet connection, and any device, like a cellphone, a tablet or a computer, and we will provide a link where you can access to our group. There the kids can spend time learning how to make some crafts, easy recipes, music, doing some exercise with dancing class, learn how to draw with new techniques, practicing their reading and interacting with other kids. Since socialization can not be in person, at least the kids can connect between then in a safe environment.

Also we want to help kids with their homework. We understand as a parent sometimes is hard to explain some exercises to our kids either with Math or any subject because we don’t understand it very well since is in English. So if a kids are having trouble understanding any instruction we will provide assistance with it.

For some activities like crafts you may have at home some things they can use but we also would be able to provide the material they will use in art so you don’t need to be worried about spending money in this amaizing program.

All kids are welcome doesn’t matter if there are not attending school or the status of their parents. Every kid is welcome between the age 4 to 15 years they can register and join us.

This Program will be Tuesday 3:00-4:30 and Thursday 4:30-6:00.

For registration contact Melina Caroprezo: melina.caroprezo @ gmail.com.

Food and Income Security Program

At the FCJ Refugee Centre we continue working in solidarity with precarious migrants. We understand that this is a difficult and uncertain time for many, and we’re here to support and provide information to anyone who is in need.

We continue walking with uprooted people and building together a borderless humanity.

If you or anyone you know are in need of food security, income support or any basic need do not hesitate to contact us.

Arturo Calleja:

  • Email: acalleja @ fcjrefugeecentre.org
  • Phone: 416-469-9754 ext. 231

The Coordinator of the Food and Income Security Program is Jessie Kohut:

  • Email: jessie.kohut @ fcjrefugeecentre.org
  • Phone: 416-469-9754 ext. 243

More details about the program, in the following video:

Refugee Hearing Preparation Updates: What to Expect During Your Hearing Day

The following document is from the information session Refugee Hearing Preparation Updates: What to Expect During Your Hearing Day.

The document will help you to be familiar with the refugee hearing process and how to be prepared for that day.

It includes updates on the resumption of the refugee hearings, measures during the COVID-19, and what to do before, during and after your refugee hearing.

You can also watch the video from this session here.

Click to access Refugee-Hearing-Preparation-Dec-10.pdf

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