Advancing equity

Positive Spaces Initiative / Initiative Espaces Positifs

OCASI helps to build organizational capacity across the immigrant and refugee-serving sector to more effectively serve LGBTQIA+ immigrants and refugees. We redeveloped our website to meet accessibility standards and make it more user-friendly. Our quarterly newsletters provided timely and relevant updates to subscribers and featured resources relevant to LGBTQIA+ newcomers and service providers across Ontario. We developed and successfully piloted a new self-directed online course on creating positive spaces. PSI Champions continued their outstanding efforts to raise awareness of the LGBTQIA+ refugee, im/migrant, and newcomer needs and challenges.

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service providers trained English roundtable participants French roundtable participants

Accessibility Initiative / Initiative pour l’Accessibilité

AI-IA logo

We support immigrant and refugee-serving sector practitioners to enhance their knowledge and skills so they are better equipped to serve immigrants and refugees with in/visible disabilities. This year we worked to build strategic partnerships and relationships across Canada between the immigrant and refugee serving sector and disability sector. We develop new self-directed e-learning content and updated existing courses. We also co-created workshops and online platform to link people with disabilities with agencies that can support them.

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English course participants French course participants

Mental Health Promotion in Immigrant and Refugee Serving Organizations

OCASI builds the capacity of immigrant and refugee serving agencies to promote mental health and respond to mental health issues. This year we continued partnership development activities to implement the project’s integrated service model. We promoted mental health activities to peer support groups for newcomer youth and as staff wellness initiatives for community agencies. All promotion and training activities for agency staff were delivered virtually, including sessions on Mental Health First Aid, Coping with Loss and Grief During the Pandemic and more.

“I really learned a lot and enjoyed the exercises, it was relevant for me at a professional and personal level”

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participants in 5 online training sessions participants completed online training on Trauma and Violence Informed Approach

Immigrant and Refugees Community Neighbours, Friends and Families Campaign

The IRCNFF Campaign builds community capacity for bystander intervention in situations of domestic violence within immigrant and refugee communities. This year we trained 20 Peer Champions from across the Greater Toronto Area, with a focus on specific ethno-racial communities. Peer Champions subsequently organized virtual arts-based Iranian community events, intergenerational Chinese community events, and Punjabi community events. They found creative ways to organize virtual activities and learned strategies and skills to create safe and comfortable online spaces.

“..With the direct support of the campaign coordinator I was able to offer information, resources and support to my community to connect those in crisis and find safety”

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website visits Twitter and Facebook visits educational campaign events

Building Leadership Capacity to Address Gender-Based Violence against Non-Status, Refugee and Immigrant Women across Canada

This national initiative is an OCASI-led partnership with non-profit organizations from across Canada to build leadership capacity of women with precarious immigration status in addressing gender-based violence. The annual conference for the initiative brought together more than 40 participants from across Canada. Our growing network started an exclusive action lab with the Institute for Change Leaders. The training will focus on building strong networks, strengthening advocacy messages and learning organizing strategies. Peer Champions for the project continue their community advocacy efforts and create spaces for women with lived experience. to engage as leaders and co-collaborators in raising awareness.