OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants in partnership with Crossroads Clinic is pleased to offer webinar on Navigating the Ontario Healthcare System II. Webinars for Front-line Staff.

Many settlement workers report knowledge gaps which limit their ability to support government sponsored and privately sponsored refugee clients as they navigate and access IFHP benefits and mental health care.  

Building on the webinars conducted in early 2017, these additional webinars aim to provide front-line staff with further guidance on these specific areas of the Ontario healthcare system.

Date: July 10, 2017
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

To register please click here

For more information, please e-mail Sanaa

Posted: 06/07/2017 - 11:16

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

Transgender refugees, as with LGB refugees overall, may face heightened mental health stress compared to straight or cisgender people. Experiences of transphobia, stigma, expectations of rejection and discrimination can negatively affect mental wellness.

Syrian refugees who are transgender may encounter additional sources of stress such as culture-based stigma, isolation and lack of access to support services.


  • Vince Pietropaolo is the General Manager of COSTI Family and Mental Health Services

Join this webinar in which Vince Pietropaolo will draw from COSTI’s experiences working with Syrian transgender refugees to discuss their needs and particular challenges in building a new life in Canada. The presentation will include discussion of factors affecting Syrian transgender refugees’ mental wellness and implications for settlement, social service and health care providers in appropriately promoting the mental health of these clients.

Date: June 16, 2017
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST.

To register please click here

Posted: 06/02/2017 - 15:16

"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

This research symposium will bring together researchers from across education, health, human rights and other disciplines, to exchange ideas, promote research, education, discuss and facilitate collaboration in the field of refugee education and social inclusion.

This symposium is a collaboration of Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, George Brown College, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, Wellesley Institute and the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. 

  • Welcome by George Brown College President -  Anne Sado
  • Opening Remarks by Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture - Mr. Mulugeta Abai
  • Keynote Address - Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO, Wellesley Institute

The research symposium will:

  • Share lessons from the research on integrating refugees into post-secondary education. 
  • Create a dialogue on needs, barriers facing refugees and new immigrants and facilitators to inform policy changes.

The day will also include panels on three thematic tracks:

  • Citizenship, migrants, and refugees
  • Education, health, and social inclusion
  • The global economy and human rights

Lunch and snacks included in conference fee

This symposium is made possible with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Date: June7, 2017
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Location: George Brown College, 290 Adelaide Street, Room Number 406, Toronto

To register please click here

Posted: 05/09/2017 - 12:05

With the influx of sponsored refugees, frontline service providers often find themselves wondering whether and to what extent to include refugee sponsors in their work with refugee clients.

Join us to hear how Lucine Tchakerian navigated such dilemmas and effectively partnered with sponsors to better meet the needs of refugee clients.

Share your own experiences and strategies during the discussion portion of this webinar.

For more information please contact Sara Shahsiah at sshahsiah@ocasi.org

To register please click here

Posted: 05/04/2017 - 12:14

Settlement, social service and health care providers across Canada are invited to enrol in this self-paced, online course on the mental health needs and considerations for Syrian refugees. The course and community of practice feature an inter-professional panel of experts, on hand to answer practice questions.

This training is part of the Refugee Mental Health Project, developed at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and addresses the unique needs of refugee populations with specific focus on Syrian refugees.

About the course: 

This course runs for a period of six weeks. During this time, you will have access to the online course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to complete the course at your own pace. There are two versions of the course. One is tailored to the needs of settlement workers and social service providers and the other to health care providers. For more information, please read the information and Frequently Asked Questions on our website

Course participants will also receive access to the national online Community of Practice (CoP), resource toolkit, monthly webinar series and other project activities.

Course registration is free thanks to funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

To register please click here

For more information and resources, visit the website: https://www.porticonetwork.ca/web/rmhp

Posted: 04/26/2017 - 11:48

The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) has produced and uploaded new videos on the following topics which may of assistance to sponsoring groups:

  • Month 13 Planning
  • Managing Expectations
  • Power Imbalance; and
  • Sponsorship Ethics

 The videos are available on RSTP’s YouTube channel and website at the links below:



Posted: 04/24/2017 - 15:22