Refugee Settlement Support Project

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Through research, outreach, resource development and training, the Refugee Settlement Support Project aims to address gaps and challenges faced by service providers and refugee sponsors in relation to meeting the settlement needs of sponsored refugees. Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and carried out by OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, the first phase of the project identified challenges and opportunities related to a high number of (Syrian) refugees arriving in a short timeframe in Ontario. Based on findings and recommendations from several focus groups, interviews and survey with service providers, OCASI set out to address some of the information gaps and challenges raised by service providers by developing a resource library for service providers who work with sponsored refugees, organizing a "Best Practices" webinar series and facilitating roundtable discussions with service providers and refugee sponsorship groups to support collaboration and ultimately improve the settlement outcomes of sponsored refugee clients. As a result of the roundtable discussions, a second webinar series, "Sharing Practices to Build Bridges" has been developed for both service providers and refugee sponsors. For a schedule of upcoming webinars, please click here.

For more information, please contact project coordinator, Sara Shahsiah, at



Refugee Settlement Pilot Project Report - March 31, 2017
Sharing Our Findings presentation - April 24, 2017
Infographic - Supporting Refugee Settlement in Ontario

Resource Development

Resources for service providers who work with refugees were collected and, in many cases, translated into Arabic, Kurdish and Armenian. The collection of resources were compiled into an eLibrary for service providers on the WelcomeOntario.Ca website.

"Working with Refugees" -

Roundtable Discussions

The aim of the three roundtables with refugee sponsors and service providers, organized and facilitated by OCASI, is to clarify roles and responsibilities and strengthen collaboration in an effort to improve settlement outcomes for sponsored refugees. If you would like to participate in any of these roundtables, please contact

Toronto, September 21, 2017
Ottawa, November 6, 2017
London, March, 2017 (tbc)

Professional Development & Information Sharing

OCASI strives to address some of the information gaps and concerns previously identified by service providers and refugee sponsors by offering opportunities to learn and share information with each other through webinars. Recordings and presentations slides from the first series of webinars, Best Practices, can be found below. The current webinar series, Sharing Practices to Build Bridges, runs from November 20, 2017 until March 19, 2018. A full listing of the webinars in this series along with their registration links can be found here.

Webinar Series: Best Practices (please see below for this series' recorded webinars)
Webinar Series: Sharing Practices to Build Bridges 

Webinar Series

Upcoming Webinars

"Sharing Practices to Build Bridges" is a series of eight different webinars offered between November 2017 and March 2018. The series is designed for service providers and refugee sponsorship groups in response to some of their concerns and information gaps identified during previous focus group and roundtable discussions. The webinars aim to clarify roles and responsibilities, increase transparency about practices and procedures and ultimately support collaboration between service providers and refugee sponsors.

Click here for a full schedule including a brief description of the topic, guest speakers and registration links.

Recorded Webinars and Slides

Handling a Client’s Disclosure of Domestic Violence
Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 12:00-1:00PM
Speakers: Fatima Filippi, Rexdale Women’s Centre & Sidrah Maysoon Ahmad, OCASI

An interactive discussion with practical knowledge about how to respond to a client’s disclosure of domestic violence. Share your own experiences and strategies during the discussion portion of this webinar.

Beyond Kale and Pedicures: Strategies to combat compassion fatigue and burnout
Monday, May 29, 2017, 12:30-1:30PM
Speaker: Françoise Mathieu, Co-Executive Director, TEND

Settlement workers do their best to support newcomers, handling high caseloads with limited resources. Françoise Mathieu, specialist in high-stress workplaces, will share practical advice on how to combat compassion fatigue and burnout. Share your own experiences and strategies during the discussion portion of this webinar. Slide deck

Working with Refugees in Remote or Rural Areas
Thursday, June 8, 2017, 12:30-1:30PM
Speaker: Orlando Ferro, Quinte United Immigration Services

Assisting with the settlement of refugees in rural and remote areas that are under-resourced can be a challenge for frontline service providers. Orlando Ferro will be sharing some of the creative ways in which local organizations are addressing such challenges. Share your own experiences and strategies during the discussion portion of this webinar. Slide deck

Handling ‘High Expectations’
Monday, June 12, 2017, 12:30-1:30PM
Speaker: Maryam Rahat, Wesley Urban Ministries

We have heard from frontline workers that resettled refugee clients can have heightened or unrealistic expectations of the type or amount of support they should be receiving from their sponsors and/or service providers in Canada. In this webinar we focus on how frontline service providers can respond to ‘high expectations’. Slide deck

Responding to refugee sponsorship conflict, dispute and breakdown
Monday, June 26, 2017, 12:30-1:30PM
Speaker: Suneet Kharay, Refugee Sponsorship Training Program

How can frontline settlement service providers respond and support privately sponsored refugee clients in a potential conflict situation? What about disputes and sponsorship breakdowns - what is the role of a frontline worker? Join us to find out some of the best practices, practical tips and community resources. Share your own successful mediation strategies during the discussion. Slide deck Case scenario

Collaborating to assist refugee clients with their settlement needs
Thursday, June 29, 2017, 12:30-1:30PM
Speaker: Fatima Mussa, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

Rigid information sharing policies, lack of communication and insufficient opportunities to partner, can make working with service providers across sectors challenging for frontline staff. But it’s possible! Hear about some of the creative ways in which frontline workers and program managers have successfully collaborated with other service providers to better support the needs of refugee clients. Share your own collaboration success stories and tips during the discussion. Slide deck

Keeping up-to-date
Monday, July 31, 2017, 12:00-1:00PM
Speaker: Sara Shahsiah, OCASI

Keeping up with changes in immigration and refugee programs and policies can be a challenge when you are managing a high client caseload as a frontline service provider. In this webinar, we share with you some of the resources that can help you to stay up-to-date without having to search the internet for new information every day. Join the conversation and share how you keep yourself updated with the latest information during the discussion segment of this webinar. ‎Slide deck

Working Effectively with Professional Interpreters
Thursday, August 17, 2017, 12:00-1:00PM
Speaker: Grace Eagan, Access Alliance Language Services

Interpreting is a learned skill and a professional industry with a code of ethics, standards and boundaries. This webinar is intended to build skills for service providers who work with interpreters when serving clients. Join Grace Eagan of Access Alliance Language Services to learn about preferred language screening, determining who is qualified to interpret, modalities of interpretation and more. ‎Slide deck

Resources for frontline workers: The Refugee Sponsorship Support Program
Thursday, July 27, 2017, 12:00-1:00PM
Speaker: Kelsey Lange

The Refugee Sponsorship Support Program is a nation-wide project that trains lawyers and law students to assist refugee sponsorship groups with the refugee sponsorship application and process. Join us with RSSP’s Toronto Legal Coordinator, Kelsey Lange, to find out more about this free service and how service providers can make use of this resource. Slide deck