Refugee Rights March

Thursday, May 16, 2024
11:30 am - 1:30 pm

On May 16, join us in sending a message that refugee rights matter.

  • When: Thursday, May 16, 2024
  • Time: 11:30am to 1:30pm
  • Where: Barbara Hall Park (519 Church St., Toronto)

Featuring speeches by:

  • Kristyn Wong-Tam, MPP Toronto Centre
  • Fae Johnstone, Executive Director and Co-Owner of Wisdom2Action (W2A)
  • Lisa Duplessis, Director of Programs and Community Services, The 519
  • Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)


11:30 am to 12:00 pm: Meet at Barbara Hall Park and Rally

Closest TTC station to Barbara Hall Park: Wellesley (16 Wellesley St. E.) on the yellow line.

12:00 to 1:30 pm: Community March

Following a rally and speeches, we’ll march in community. From Barbara Hall Park, we’ll march west down Wellesley St., up Yonge St. to Bloor St., then westwards on Bloor St. to Avenue Rd., south on Avenue Rd. to Queen’s Park, and east across Wellesley St. to return to Barbara Hall Park.

Registration is optional but appreciated. If this event sells out and tickets are unavailable, you are still welcome. Please join us! Your presence and your voice counts.

You can register here.

Why are we marching?

This march was initially scheduled for Refugee Rights Day, April 4, when it had to be postponed due to inclement weather. Refugee Rights Day is celebrated each year in Canada on April 4th, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1985 ruling that stated that refugee claimants are entitled to fundamental rights.

In this ruling, known as the Singh Decision, the Supreme Court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights of refugees. The Court decided that “everyone” includes refugee claimants in the sentence: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

This is an opportunity to bring attention to the advances made in the protection of refugee rights in Canada as a result of that decision, but also a time to learn about the threats to those rights.

This year we also want to draw special attention to the fact that LGBTQ+ people across the world are forcefully displaced due to violent and hateful legislation. Across Canada, unprecedented numbers of LGBTQ+ refugees are struggling to access basic needs like housing and healthcare. At the 519 – Canada’s largest 2SLGBTQ+ organization – they’ve seen a tripling of the number of refugee claimants accessing service over the past year.

Organizer: The 519

Partner organizations: Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), FCJ Refugee Centre, Sojourn House Toronto, Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration and Integration, Toronto Metropolitan University

Supported by: The Refugee Rights Planning Committee