As someone working on the frontlines with newcomers to Canada, including refugees, we ask for your help in telling them about the need to file an income tax and benefit return to continue getting benefit and credit payments.

Newcomers could be eligible for payments such as the Canada child benefit (CCB) and the credit for the goods and services tax / harmonized sales tax. These, and related provincial and territorial benefits and credits, help many newcomers and their families as they transition and settle into a new life in Canada. If eligible, families earning less than $30,000 in net annual household income could get up to $6,400 (annual) in CCB payments for each child under six, and $5,400 for each child aged 6-17.

To continue getting benefit and credit payments, individuals have to file a return on time every year, even if they did not earn income. Their spouse or common-law partner must also file a return.

Many newcomers have already filed their returns, but if you know someone who has not yet done so, encourage them to file as soon as possible to continue getting payments in July without interruption. If they need free help with their return, Community Volunteer Income Tax Program clinics are available in various locations across the country.

To find a clinic, please visit cra.gc.ca/volunteer.

We have multilingual (English, French, Arabic) posters that provide more information. For print-ready copies, please contact us at Commsupp-G@cra-arc.gc.ca and we will be happy to e-mail them to you.

Posted: 06/19/2017 - 13:37

Refugee Sposorship Training Program in partnership with the Town of Whitby Ethno-Cultural and Diversity Advisory Committee, and Welcome Centre Immigrant Services serving the Durham Region invites you to an information session: Family Reunification – How to Sponsor Refugees Info Session (in Arabic & English).

This session will cover:

  •  Family reunification through refugee sponsorship
  • Who can be sponsored?
  • What is proof of refugee status?
  • Who can sponsor?
  • Steps in the sponsorship process and One Year Window applications

Date: Wednesday July 5, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. EDT
Where: Whitby Central Library 405 Dundas Street West, Whitby, Ontario

For registration, please call Ana Fabroa 905-420-3607 or email afabroa@unemployedhelp.on.ca before June 28, 2017

Posted: 06/14/2017 - 11:19

CBCNews - The Livelihood Project combines a community space, agency and app to help newcomers find careers.

Thousands of refugees and other newcomers arrive in Toronto every year, but many struggle to find a job, let alone one they want.

To solve that, problem Arash Samimi co-founded The Livelihood Project  - a community space, an agency and a mobile app all designed to help newcomers find employment and build careers.

While supports for refugees and immigrants are already available, Samimi says his effort is different.

"With the recent influx of refugees and newcomers to Canada, many organizations have stepped up to help these people," he told CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "However, the problem that remains is the question of how are these people going to have long-term careers and get integrated into Canadian markets."

Samimi says The Livelihood Project goes further because beyond just finding refugees a job, it helps them develop the skills necessary to have a long-term career.

"[We're] helping these people develop those skills that are adaptable to the changes in the economy."

Samimi's efforts share some similarities to services provided by YMCAACCES Employment and the City of Toronto, its smartphone app sets it apart.

And while the mobile app is the centrepiece of The Livelihood Project by providing a roadmap to users of how to get to the career of the choice, it's supplemented by the project's other pillars, including its café.

"The technology on its own is not going to help without having interaction with [others, so the] café exists as a community centre, a training centre, and as a resource centre," Samimi added.

The Livelihood Project was launched in 2015 and has already drawn the attention of non-profit organization Mitacs, which has given Samimi its Social Entrepreneur Award at a gala Thursday night.

The project has taken a lot of time to complete, but Samimi says he has invested so much time in it because he loves giving back to the community.

"As a citizen of this planet I'd love to help people. I'd love to make a change. I want to see technology help people."

Posted: 06/13/2017 - 11:09

CBCNews - Many of the Syrian newcomers who helped organize the lunch were fasting themselves.

Syrian newcomers hosted a free lunch on Sunday for homeless and low-income Torontonians as a way of giving back during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. 

"We want to show other people how Muslims are in Ramadan, we need to show others we have ... to give our help to other people," said Mohamad Alhaj, who arrived in Toronto 18 months ago. 

The event was spearheaded by Mes Amis Canada, an organization that has helped settle 3,000 refugees in the country over the last 18 months. 

Over a hundred volunteers, many of whom were refugees or newcomers, helped out at the event.

Read full article

Posted: 06/13/2017 - 10:52

The Refugee Sponsorship Program (RSTP) in collaboration with our partners, is hosting workshops across Ontario starting June 20th, 2017 in celebration of World Refugee Day.

Refugee Sponsorship: Best Practices & Demystifying Misconceptions

Topics covered will include:

  • An overview of the common settlement challenges in refugee sponsorship and best practices
  • Ethical considerations and practices for refugee sponsorship
  • Demystiying misconceptions about refugees

Date: June 20, 2017
Time: 5:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Location: Toronto Public Library - Brookbanks Library, 210 Brookbanks Drive.

To register please click here

Posted: 06/08/2017 - 16:19

The Refugee Sponsorship Program (RSTP) in collaboration with our partners, is hosting workshops across Ontario starting June 20th, 2017 in celebration of World Refugee Day.

Topics covered will include:

  • How to sponsor refugees
  • The rights of sponsored refugees in Canadfa
  • Sponsoring ethics
  • Best practices for Settlement
  • Demystifying misconceptions about refugees

Date: June 20, 2017
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: First Baptist Church 255 Woolwich Street Guelph, Ontario

To register please click here

Posted: 06/08/2017 - 16:11

Refugee Sponsorship Support Program will be hosting its next legal clinic on Saturday June 24, 2017 in downtown Toronto.

At these legal clinics, Refugee SSP offer free refugee sponsorship application support services from their trained pro bono lawyers. Refugee SSP are happy to work with you on cases that you are planning to submit through your SAHs as well as Groups of Five or Community Sponsors.

Come to the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program’s free clinic to meet with a lawyer who can:

  • Provide information about the requirements of Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program
  • Help fill out and review your sponsorship forms

10:00 a.m. Meet with a Lawyer to assist with filling out your refugee sponsorship application forms for free *prior registration required for this session.

2:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend a free Q&A with a refugee law expert to ask questions about the private sponsorship program.

Date: Saturday June 24, 2017
Location: Ryerson University, VIC Building, 285 Victoria St. Toronto

To RSVP please email at: refugeessptoronto@gmail.com by June 19, 2017 with some information about the type of assistance you are seeking.

Posted: 06/02/2017 - 16:10

"Produced by the Niagara Regional Police Service Video Unit in conjunction with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Halton Regional Police Service, this video provides Arabic-speaking newcomers to Canada with an overview of the function and mandate of policing in Canada, Constitutional rights and what they can expect in terms of services and during encounters with the police".

Welcome to Canada - Arabic [Video] with English subtitles.

Posted: 06/01/2017 - 12:39

Access Alliance conducted key informant interviews to document how health, settlement and community agencies in Toronto, Peel and Kitchener-Waterloo regions planned and delivered services to Syrian refugee families. The goal of the symposium is to share results from our study, and discuss best practices in terms of planning, coordinating/collaborating and delivering services to refugee families, particularly when large cohorts of refugees arrive within short span of time.

The symposium will begin with presentation of study results by Access Alliance research team. We will also screen a short film that captures lived experience perspectives from Syrian clients across the GTA. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the implications of the study findings, and a facilitated conversation on best practices in providing effective and equitable services to refugee families.

A panel discussion will follow to respond on the key findings, as well as sharing learnings on Syrian refugee resettlement from a cross-sectoral perspective.

Panelists will include:

  • Bayan Khatib, Co-Founder and Board of Director, Syrian Canadian Foundation
  • Kim Cook, Vice President of Community Health and Chief Professional Practice, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities
  • Elaine Ebach, Health Promotion Specialist, Toronto Public Health
  • Director (TBD), COSTI

A short video will also be shared highlighting stories from Syrian clients across the GTA.

Date: Wednesday, 28 June, 2017

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Toronto City Hall, Committee Room #4, 100 Queen Street West

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact event lead Meriem Benlamri at mbenlamri@accessalliance.ca.

To register please click here

Posted: 05/24/2017 - 12:18

This free public symposium will features guest speakers from research, policy, practitioner, and activist communities discussing the history, processes, research, and challenges for resettlement, particularly for young adults.

Areas for discussion will include:

  • changes to refugee and immigration policy
  • activist and community mobilizations to support those with precarious status
  • access to post-secondary education
  • implications for the discourse of ‘radicalization’ in public policy
  • the role of the arts, media, and public pedagogy

Youth, War and Migration is a project that focuses on the everyday realities of youth and young adults from the Middle East as they have experienced war, militarization, displacement, migration and resettlement.

Date: Saturday May 27th, 2017
Time: 9:30a.m. - 7:00p.m.
Location: University of Toronto, OISE Library, Main Floor
252 Bloor St W, Toronto.

Although this event is free, you must register in order to attend.

To register please click here

Posted: 05/10/2017 - 10:39