Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants/Policy Development, Research and Public Education

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Policy and Research at OCASI are informed by the priorities of our member agencies, and the communities and individuals they serve. Activities in this area include public education campaigns that raise awareness and improve understanding of immigrant and refugee issues among our member agencies and other community organizations. Our audience includes OCASI members, sector workers, elected government officials, civil servants, public institutions, media and the general public.

OCASI advocates for positive and accurate representation of immigrant and refugee issues in the media, in public debate and in political discourse. Our activities are guided by anti-racism and anti-oppression values, and we actively seek to improve access and equity for racialized individuals, women, youth, seniors, differently-abled, and LGBTQ immigrants and refugees. OCASI works to improve equity in immigration laws and policies, refugee protection, labour market integration (includes employment and accreditation), education, health, housing and other key areas.

Our recent activities include discussions with OCASI members on the renewal of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, public education on the need for employment equity, the impact of cuts to federal government funding for immigrant settlement, family reunification delays and proposed changes to immigration rules and how Canada treats refugee claimants. OCASI often collaborates with or works in coalition with non-governmental agencies, universities, labour organizations and other institutions around specific issues. We are an active member of the Colour of Poverty Campaign, which is formed by a coalition of community agencies to address issues of the growing racialization of poverty and colour-coded inequalities. We are also active members of the Canadian Council for Refugees, focused on issues such as migrant workers rights, the trafficking of women and girls and issues affecting non-status residents.

OCASI has recently undertaken evidence-based research funded by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration to map usage of settlement and integration services, in a study called Making Ontario Home. Over 2,400 individuals participated in the online survey, and the report is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2011.