Category Archives: Events!

Support World Refugee Day on June 20th !

World Refugee Day 2013


1. The focus of World Refugee Day 2013 is on the impact of war on families. The core message is “1 family torn apart by war is too many.”

2. The campaign call-to-action is to “Take 1 minute to support a family forced to flee.”
In 1 minute, a family can be torn apart by war, a child can be separated from his or her parents, and a lifetime of work can be destroyed. Yet in 1 minute, we can also act – reuniting a family, protecting a child, providing shelter. Please donate now and help UNHCR assist refugees. Your 1 simple action will help thousands of uprooted people today.

3. Photo Gallery:
UNHCR has launched a project sourcing photos and stories from forcibly displaced people from around the world, who show and describe the most important thing they brought with them when they fled from their homes. We encourage our partners and stakeholders to participate in the photo project. More information coming soon, please check back!

4. UNHCR Canada will distribute posters to agencies organizing World Refugee Day events. Please send your request along with a description indicating the type of event you are organizing to appear on to: or

The deadline for receiving requests is 01 June 2013.

En Francais

Journée mondiale du Réfugié 2013

1. La campagne de la Journée mondiale du réfugié 2013 met en avant le slogan « 1 seule famille déchirée par la guerre, c’est déjà trop ».

2. Le HCR lance un appel à l’action dont le thème est « Prenez 1 minute pour venir en aide à une famille déracinée ».
En une minute, une famille peut être déchirée par la guerre, un enfant peut être séparé de ses parents, une vie de travail peut être réduite à néant. Pourtant, en une minute, nous pouvons également agir – par le regroupement familial, la protection de l’enfance, la fourniture d’un abri. Faites un don maintenant pour permettre au HCR de venir en aide aux réfugiés. 1 simple geste peut aider des milliers de personnes déplacées dans le monde.

3. Galerie de photos :
Le HCR a lancé un projet dans le but de recueillir des photos dans lesquelles des réfugiés décrivent et montrent l’objet le plus important qu’ils ont apporté pour leur fuite en exil. Nous demandons au public et à nos partenaires de faire de même via les plateformes de réseaux sociaux en téléchargeant par exemple une photographie d’eux-mêmes avec l’objet qu’ils apporteraient s’ils étaient contraints de fuir en exil. Consultez notre site Web pour plus d’informations.

4. Le HCR Canada distribuera des affiches aux agences qui organisent des festivités à l’occasion de la Journée mondiale du réfugié 2013. Vos requêtes accompagnées d’une description de l’événement à être postée sur le site doivent être envoyées à ou

La date limite de réception des commandes est le 1er juin 2013.

You can download the poster for the 1 Minute Campaign here: UNHCR & also find out about relevant events in your area here :

June 17th: Stop Cuts to Refugee Health Care

nonameDespite widespread opposition from a broad group of health care workers across Canada, the federal government has implemented cuts to health insurance for refugees. As predicted, many are suffering as a result. There have been well documented cases of people being denied care including pregnant women and sick children. Over 20 national health care organizations including the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Nurses Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada have issued statements against the cuts

Health care workers join others in continuing to speak out for those who do not have the opportunity to do so. Join us on June 17th for the second National Day of Action against refugee health cuts. It is an opportunity to show the Federal Government that Canadians will stand up for the most vulnerable among us. We will not allow for this ill advised policy to continue to harm refugees without adding our voice to those opposing these cuts. We will be persistent in drawing attention to this issue.

Health care workers and others will be staging protests across Canada. The protests are being sponsored by the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care. To date, events are planned in the following cities:

Vancouver,Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon,Winnipeg, Kitchener, Hamilton, Kingston, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, St. John’s.

In Toronto, join your colleagues in front of the CIC office at 25 St Clair Avenue East on June 17th at noon. If you are a health care worker please wear a whitelab coat. All are welcome. We are asking those attending not to bring banners of organizations to which they may belong or represent. We want to clearly show that we are individual health care workers concerned about the cuts to IFH and are not driven by groups with broader or different political agendas. It is imperative that we have a large turn out. We look forward to seeing you there

Please forward this email to your networks.

Meb Rashid MD

Philip Berger MD

on behalf of the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care



Milagros for Migrants exhibit by Deborah Barndt & Min Sook Lee in Toronto Mayworks Festival – May 13-17

Honouring Ontario’s Farm Workers

Milagros for Migrants is a multi-media exhibit that explores the relationship between food and labour justice and places migrant workers’ issues in the broader context of global corporate agriculture.

By: Artist/Activists Min Sook Lee (CAP Coordinator and instructor) Deborah Barndt

On display during this years Mayworks Festival –

May 13th – 17th, 2013

Ryerson University, Oakham House
63 Gould Street
First Floor – Room G

large deb poster 1

large deb poster 2


NKRG Seminar: The Growth of North Korean Refugee Claimants in Canada – Thursday April 04

Location: Munk School of Public Affairs

Date: Thu Apr 04
Time: 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM 108N, North House

Speaker: Sonia Ryang, Professor of Anthropology and International Studies; C. Maxwell & Elizabeth M. Stanley Family and Korea Foundation Chair of Korean Studies, University of Iowa

The North Korea Research Group (NKRG) will present its research on the situation of North Korean refugee claimants in Canada and Toronto. The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada shows that the number of North Korean refugee claimants in Canada has dramatically increased in the past few years.

The aim of this seminar is to consider the reasons that possibly explain this phenomenon, and better understand the settlement process of refugees, particularly in Toronto. In addition, we examine the role of non-governmental refugee organizations to highlight the differences in their approach and objectives. The social consequences and inter-group tensions of these developments are also addressed.

Our research is based on access-to-information requests to the government, interviews with various local organizations, and specific legal case studies. The content of our research presents original and up-to-date information on this important, yet largely unfamiliar issue.

#May1TO, May Day: Solidarity City! – Status for All!

Join us in the streets for the 8th Annual May Day of Action!


5:30pm on Wednesday May 1st, 2013
March starts at Nathan Phillips Square

Mark the date, more information forthcoming.

Videos from previous year:
More info:

Organized by a coalition of organizations. To endorse and participate in the organizing, please email

Encounters in Canada: Contrasting Indigenous and Immigrant Perspectives

MAY 15–17, 2013

Chestnut Conference Centre

89 Chestnut Street
Toronto, ON
M5G 1R1

The conference website can be viewed at

For directions, please visit this link:

To register online, please click HERE

Indigenous peoples are the original caretakers of Canada, but their encounters with settlers have been marred by assimilation and territorial dispossession over hundreds of years. The result has been significant alienation between Indigenous peoples and Canadian governments. Conversely, immigrants to Canada, which for the purposes of this conference include early colonists, recent immigrants, refugees and displaced persons, have often viewed the country as a haven or land of opportunity. However, many are sorely unaware of Indigenous history, rights and contributions to Canada’s development. No people or community can speak for another; individual and group knowledge is intrinsic and internal. However, in keeping with the ideal of “mutual sharing” emphasized in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, respect and trust can be fostered through shared difference. While the specific experiences of Indigenous peoples, immigrant communities, refugees and Canadian-born citizens are very different on many levels, connections can be developed through dialogue and reciprocity. Indigenous peoples as well as immigrant and refugee communities experience discrimination, racism, stigmatization and marginalization. These encounters represent a wider systemic problem in Canadian political, legal, sociocultural and historical contexts. Efforts to overcome exclusion can be built through increased awareness and knowledge-building, with support from allies.

This conference aims to fill this gap in knowledge and will bring together leaders from government and the judiciary, legal scholars, academics and practitioners to formulate practical solutions. The primary objective is to build bridges – cultural, political, intellectual and social connections – between those who share the lands of what is now Canada. The underlying rationale of the conference stems from the fact that Canada is now shared by Indigenous peoples, descendants of early settlers and more recent immigrant and refugee communities. These communities encounter Canada in very different ways based on racial identity, ancestral heritage, cultural background, community belonging, language and spiritual practice. Bridging the chasm that exists between Indigenous peoples and all newcomers, whether early or contemporary immigrants or refugees, is urgently needed in order to end discrimination and achieve equitable quality of life for all who live in this country. To this end, the objective is to understand how Indigenous peoples and various immigrant groups experience their lives in Canada. How are the challenges they face different? Are there shared goals and experiences upon which to build future alliances to achieve improved quality of life in Canada?
Conference papers are expected to be published subsequently in an edited volume, and topics will relate to the following broad themes:

(1) “Colonialism versus Consent”: Indigenous peoples have been and continue to be negatively impacted by colonialism. They did not consent to assimilation or territorial dispossession. Early settlers and contemporary immigrants and refugees generally have chosen to make Canada their home; this choice was not imposed on them. In the context of colonialism and consent, what have been the contrasting experiences of Indigenous peoples versus settler/immigrant/refugee communities?

(2) “Exclusion and Identity”: Indigenous peoples have faced centuries of exclusion and assimilation on their own lands. Early settlers did not face these forms of discrimination, but new immigrants and refugees often experience life on the perimeters of Canadian society. How are these experiences of race and identity different or similar? Are there similarities in how Indigenous peoples and immigrant communities maintain or revitalize their cultures and languages? Could encounters with exclusion and discrimination become points of “shared difference” between Indigenous peoples and immigrant communities? If so, is there the potential for building alliances?

(3) “Place and Displacement”: The role of “place” is a vital component of identity. Spiritual and cultural attachment to the land is a predominant component of most Indigenous identities. Similarly, displacement and attachment to home significantly impact life experience, sense of security and the physical and mental well-being of immigrants and refugees who come to Canada. Are there similarities between the territorial dispossession experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada and refugee communities? What are the impacts of forced migration, especially for those communities who seek to revitalize, recreate or reinvent their identities after losing a sense of “place”? How is “place” experienced by immigrant groups who voluntarily or actively choose to reside in Canada?

(4) “Nationalism and Alienation”: Any form of exclusion or discrimination is apt to result in alienation. While experienced differently and in different contexts, Indigenous peoples and immigrant/refugee communities are often alienated from the Canadian mainstream. This perpetuates disadvantage, erects barriers between communities and highlights the differences between “others”. How should the myriad of different national identities be respected in Canada? How should the original contributions of Indigenous peoples be recognized?

(5) “Recognition and Respect”: Recognition of difference – historical, cultural, political and social – is a vital sign of respect for a people or nation. Many who live in Canada are unaware of the distinctive histories and contributions of Indigenous peoples. Many are also unaware of the cultures and values of immigrant and refugee communities. What should be done to promote awareness and appreciation of the different groups that share what is now Canada? What might recognition of difference look like in legal, political and cultural contexts, and how would recognition differ for Indigenous peoples versus immigrant/refugee communities in practice? How should the differing cultural practices, histories and identities of Indigenous peoples be promoted and respected? In contrast, what should Canadians learn about immigrant and refugee communities?

(6) “Relationship-Building and Community Engagement”: Indigenous peoples face an alarming array of dire problems, akin to third-world conditions in an otherwise prosperous country. Immigrant and refugee communities also often contend with poorer quality of life than the “average” Canadian. How are these experiences different? What needs to be done to remedy these problems? Is relationship-building and reconciliation the answer for Indigenous peoples, and if so, what should approaches look like? Can and should alliances be forged between Indigenous peoples and settler/immigrant communities, both early and recent? How and in what contexts (i.e. legal, political, cultural, social) should all communities be actively involved in the creation of their futures?

All questions concerning the conference should be directed to the principal academic organizer, Dr. Jennifer Dalton, Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy & Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and Centre for Refugee Studies Scholar ( Interested participants may also contact the members of the Conference Organizing Committee: Dr. David McNab, Associate Professor of Indigenous Thought and Canadian Studies, Departments of Equity Studies/Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (; Dr. James Simeon, Acting Director, Centre for Refugee Studies, and Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (; Dr. H. Tom Wilson, Professor, Faculties of Graduate Studies, Law and Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and Senior Fellow of McLaughlin College (