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The Knowledge Hub for the Settlement Sector in Ontario
Updated: 46 weeks 4 hours ago

Resettling to Canada: Welcoming Syrian Refugees Video

Mon, 2016-05-02 16:10

Syrian refugees settle down in Canada with the help of organizations like COSTI Immigrant Services, funded by the Government of Canada. At the reception centre, refugees have access to health and counselling services, and orientation sessions that prepare them for finding new jobs. Children attend the art therapy sessions that help them cope with post-traumatic stress.

Access more information about what Canada is doing to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada.

Pre-arrival Online Self-assessment Language Test

Mon, 2016-05-02 16:04

The CLB-OSA is an online self-assessment tool for people who are interested in assessing their English as a Second Language (ESL). These tests are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) and will assess language proficiency in reading and listening.

About CLB-OSA

The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) are the national standards used throughout Canada for describing, measuring and recognizing second language proficiency of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants for living and working in Canada.

The development of the self-assessment tool aligned to the CLB was guided by a set of principles which identified groups of users of the tool, as well as definite purposes and appropriate uses for the tool. The following statements related to the self-assessment tool identify:

  • Intended users of the self-assessment tool
  • Purposes for which the self-assessment tool was developed
  • Appropriate uses for the self-assessment tool

Intended users of the self-assessment tool

  • Prospective immigrants
  • Adult learners of English in training, educational and workplace centres in Canada and abroad
  • Instructors and trainers of adult learners of English in Canada and abroad
  • Counsellors of prospective immigrants and of newcomers to Canada

Purposes of the Self-Assessment Tool

The self-assessment tool was developed for definite purposes which include:

  • Promoting the CLB to a broad range of potential users including prospective immigrants, as well as adult learners in training, educational and workplace centres in Canada and abroad
  • Informing users of general language proficiencies in terms of the CLB.
  • Providing resources to inform users about the CLB as a resource for planning, and making personal and professional decisions.

Appropriate Uses for the Self-Assessment Tool

The appropriate uses for the self-assessment tool should be considered by all users of the instrument. The following are appropriate uses for the self-assessment tool:
1. Providing adult learners of English with:

  1. A general indication of English language proficiency in terms of the CLB to assist them in setting personal, academic, and employment goals
  2. Information about the CLB and how they are used in Canada
  3. Information about how to find language training in Canada
  4. Information about what language proficiency levels are required in Canada for immigration, post secondary studies and professional programs

2. Assisting counsellors and helping professionals in identifying a client’s general level of English language proficiency to:

  1. Serve as a component in needs assessment
  2. Facilitate referral to appropriate language assessments

3. Assisting instructors and trainers of adult learners of English in identifying general levels of language proficiency to:

  1. Facilitate referrals of learners to appropriate language assessments
  2. Support learners in setting realistic goals for further language training, and for meeting academic and professional goals.

 

After arrival, permanent residents and protected persons can take language classes funded by the Government of Canada, available at no cost.

The Syrian Refugee Medical Assessment Translation Tool

Fri, 2016-04-29 15:22

The Syrian Refugee Medical Assessment Translation Tool is available for free to health care providers for mental health screening. It was developed to help reduce language barriers between Syrian refugees and healthcare providers.

These free, secure online tools have been developed to allow patients to complete a full history and mental health screening in Arabic or Armenian, with the results automatically translated to English for healthcare providers to review and add to the patient record. Collecting this information in the patient’s first language can help ensure a more complete and accurate history is collected, including concerns around sensitive issues such as mental health.

Access the website for the tool and more information.

Wisdom2Action: Best Practices to Support Young Refugees

Fri, 2016-04-29 15:14

Wisdom2Action is a highly participatory workshop, bringing together groups from across the country who are responding to the needs of incoming refugee children, youth, and their families.

This event established the groundwork to build a national community of practice, helping service providers and coordination initiatives stay connected and respond together to emergent trends and issues over the coming months and years as tens of thousands of refugees resettle in Canada.

Participants at the event:

  • Learned about promising practices from across the country;
  • Shared their expertise and experiences with others;
  • Problem solved collectively on challenges facing their work;
  • Formed action plans to address these challenges;
  • Created ongoing networks with others from across the sector and across the country.

Access the workshop report and interview videos.

Resources for Supporting Young Refugees

Fri, 2016-04-29 15:04

The Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts (CYCC) network members and colleagues from around the world have created these resources:

  • Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Children, Youth, and Families New to Canada – Policy paper
  • Caring for Kids New to Canada – Guide for Healthcare Professionals
  • Refugee Mental Health Project – Web Portal
  • Welcoming Syrian Newcomer Students & Families to School – Info-Sheet
  • Newcomer Community Wellness Project – ISANS Report
  • Arab Knowledge Report 2014: Youth and Localization of Knowledge – UNDP Report
  • Immigrant Students at School: Easing the Journey Towards Integration – OECD Report
  • Culture, Context and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing of Syrians – UNHCR Report

Access more details for each resource.

The Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts (CYCC) network supports researchers, community based organizations, educators, policy makers, and others working to improve the mental health and well-being of vulnerable and at-risk children and youth.

The CYCC mission is to build a strong, effective, and collaborative youth serving sector that can better respond to the needs of Canada’s most vulnerable young people.

The CYCC network members include over 200 groups and individuals representing community-based organizations, health care organizations, government agencies, academics, researchers, and more. CYCC supports their work by providing them with KMb and evaluation tools, services, and opportunities that are easy to use, accessible, and tailored to their particular needs. CYCC helps them capture and share best practices, evaluate and improve programming, strengthen their case for funding, collaborate across sectors, and put what works into action so that they can better support the needs of the young people they serve.

The CYCC Network is made up of three regional Hubs in Ontario, Quebec, and Nunavut. They are leading knowledge mobilization organizations working in the child and youth sector, who bring tremendous regional capacity and expertise to help local organizations share and adopt evidence-informed practices.

Support to Recruit Skilled Newcomer Workers, Professionals, Entrepreneurs and Investors to Northwestern Ontario

Fri, 2016-04-29 13:56

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor, today announced an investment of $255,000 to help the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association recruit skilled workers, professionals, entrepreneurs and investors to Northwestern Ontario. The FedNor funding will enable the organization and its 32 municipal partners to connect and recruit potential newcomers for a variety of existing and emerging economic opportunities.

Quick facts

  • The Thunder Bay Multicultural Association works on behalf of 32 regional municipalities to coordinate the Northwestern Ontario Immigration Portal. The organization has been highly successful: 95 percent of the newcomers it recruits stay in the region, and 90 percent of them find suitable career opportunities.
  • The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation.

Expanded Access to Healthy Living Programs for Residents in St. James Town

Fri, 2016-04-29 13:50

The project, which now includes funding to provide oral health assessments, promotion, and fluoride treatment, was made today to mark Oral Health Month.

For newcomers, adjusting to a new country, coupled with a lack of social support, can leave many individuals overlooking their health and well-being. Many diseases share common risk factors, and research has demonstrated that poor oral health may have a negative impact on health issues such as diabetes, and respiratory and heart diseases.

Led by Community Matters Toronto, this additional investment will expand the reach of existing Healthy Living in St. James Town’s programs that provide nutrition and physical activity support to target groups, and to include new oral health promotion and prevention activities. Community Assistants will be trained and supervised by a Canadian-accredited and working dentist to help promote good oral health. Some of the new activities will include:

  • Visual mouth assessments and promotion of good oral health practices at community events; and,
  • Fluoride treatments (fluoride varnish) conducted in partnership with Toronto Public Health at the nearby Rose Avenue Public School.

This continued partnership between PHAC, Community Matters Toronto, Self-Care Catalyst, Wellesley Parliament Square Residents, Regent Park Health Centre, Wellesley Community Centre, Toronto Public Health, Rose Avenue Public School, Geoffrey H. Wood Foundation and Tom Goldspink, a private citizen, is an example of a community coming together to tackle chronic disease prevention, and to collaboratively improve the health and well-being of its residents.

Quick Facts

  • PHAC is investing an additional $265,000 in this project, which will allow Community Matters Toronto to build on the success of Healthy Living in St. James Town by expanding current programming to reach more residents and including an oral health component. This will bring the total investment to $793,665.
  • Poor oral health can impact the learning and physical development of children and may also contribute to diabetes and heart disease in adults.
  • Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases in Canada. In fact, 96% of Canadians have been affected by the disease and it is also affecting disproportionally vulnerable and disadvantaged groups across the country.
  • St. James Town is a one square kilometre neighbourhood in Toronto of approximately 30,000 residents, with a large proportion of them being newcomers to Canada.
  • The project activities focus primarily on the South Asian and African populations, who are twice as likely to have diabetes and hypertension compared to established Canadians. The initiative is implemented by specially trained Community Assistants identified from within the community with backgrounds in medical practice, nursing, social work and dentistry. They encourage and assist residents to increase their knowledge of risk factors for chronic diseases and reduce their potential risks through screening using the PHAC-developed CANRISK and Health Passport Assessment tool, attending nutrition workshops, as well as exercise programs designed for the community.
  • This is one of many partnerships under the Government of Canada’s Multi-Sectoral Partnership Approach to Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, which invests approximately $20 million per year in projects that focus on addressing common risk factors, such as unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, and smoking, to prevent chronic disease.

Associated Links

If you have any questions, call 613-957-2991 or 1-866-225-0709.

 

Good Practice: Private-Public Partnership Connects Refugee Talent to an Industry Internship Program

Fri, 2016-04-29 10:40

Siemens AG, a multinational technology engineering firm with headquarters in Berlin and Munich, is bridging the gap between arrival and employment. Its pilot internship program for refugees began in Erlangen, a Bavarian city with 1.2 million metropolitan residents, 15 per cent of whom are non-Germans.

Siemens targeted its internships at asylum seekers, meaning those whose legal status is still being determined in what can be a lengthy judicial process.

The idea to bring refugees into the Siemens workforce originated through partnership with the local government and its city-wide campaign to improve integration of newcomers. The campaign is part of a wider European initiative called C4i (communication for integration) aimed at countering rumours about immigrants.

Read more.

The Refugee Career Jumpstart Project

Fri, 2016-04-29 10:30

Founded in 2015, RCJP supports Syrian newcomers in their entry into both the education and job markets.

RCJP is made up of a network of board members, staff members and dedicated volunteers united by one mutual goal: ensuring the success and prosperity of Syrian newcomers, by enabling them to continue their careers and rebuild their lives in Canada.

RCJP recognizes that it is never too early to begin building your career in Canada. Following this philosophy, they have been working on-the-ground by meeting with Syrian newcomers and developing their skills profiles since the first large group of newcomers arrived in Toronto hotels.  The objective behind meeting with newcomers is to connect them with positions and to understand their work backgrounds and ambitions in Canada.

By conducting individual interviews in Arabic, the RCJP team assists newcomers by identifying transferrable skills which would aid them in their search for work in an unfamiliar Canadian job market. The RCJP team acts as an initial information and referral source, supporting newcomers with a wide range of needs; from creating an email account, to drafting resumes, to finding and contacting local employment programs.

In addition to the above examples, RCJP has also been laying the ground work with Canadian companies of all sizes to ensure there is a supply of jobs for the newcomers. They have also partnered with Magnet, an organization based out of Ryerson University, to tailor a custom-made, world-class job matching platform to enable employers and Syrian newcomers to connect. Additionally, they are working with leading employment and settlement agencies in the GTA to support the newcomers not only in their job search, but in career development, language training, access to education through scholarships, and other opportunities.

New National Survey Reveals Perspectives and Experiences of Muslims

Fri, 2016-04-29 10:22

In 2006, the Environics Institute’s inaugural project was the first-ever national survey to examine the relationship between Canadian Muslims and Canadian society-at-large (in the context of 13 other countries from research conducted by the respected Pew Research Center).

In 2016, the Environics Institute partnered with the Tessellate Institute, the Olive Tree Foundation, Inspirit Foundation, The Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and Think for Actions, to update this important research to find out how Muslims in this country are faring almost a decade later.

Access the media release.

Access the final report.

Muslims represent the fastest growing religious minority in Canada today, but their emerging presence has been contentious, fuelled in part by security concerns (in the long wake of 9/11) and some religious practices (e.g., Sharia law). While Canada has yet to experience the type of ethnic violence and terrorist attacks that have taken place elsewhere, Muslims in this country do not enjoy the acceptance of other religious minorities, and are a focal point for discomfort about immigrants not fitting into Canadian society. By global standards, Canada is a welcoming multicultural society but the Muslim community faces unique challenges with respect to religious freedom, national security profiling and the threat of security detentions abroad.

The survey covers a number of themes, including:

  • Personal connections to Canada
  • Muslim identity and practice
  • Muslim community issues
  • Integration into Canadian society
  • Treatment of Muslims in broader society
  • Extremism and domestic terrorism

The research also includes a complementary survey of Canada’s non-Muslim population, to understand current mainstream opinions about the country’s Muslim community (updating previous research conducted in 2006).

Detailed Data Tables – Survey of Muslims

Detailed Data Tables – Survey of non-Muslims

Project sponsors include the Muslim Council of Calgary and The Canadian Muslim Vote as project sponsors.

Global Migration Trends 2015 Factsheet

Fri, 2016-04-29 10:16

By considering the state of migration globally in 2015, highlights of the report include:

  • In 2015, the number of international migrants worldwide – people residing in a country other than their country of birth – was the highest ever recorded, having reached 244 million (from 232 million in 2013). As a share of the world population, however, international migration has remained fairly constant over the past decades, at around 3%. While female migrants constitute only 48% of the international migrant stock worldwide, and 42% in Asia, women make up the majority of international migrants in Europe (52.4%) and North America (51.2%).
  • South-South migration flows (across developing countries) continued to grow compared to South-North movements (from developing to developed countries): in 2015, 90.2 million international migrants born in developing countries resided in other countries in the Global South, while 85.3 million born in the South resided in countries in the Global North.
  • Germany became the second most popular destination for international migrants globally (in absolute numbers), following the United States and preceding the Russian Federation, with an estimated 12 million foreign-born residing in the country in 2015 (against 46.6 million in the U.S. and 11.9 million in the Russian Federation). As a proportion of the host country’s population, however, numbers of international migrants continue to be highest in Gulf Cooperation Council countries: the foreign-born population makes up 88.4% of the total population in the United Arab Emirates, 75.7% in Qatar and 73.6% in Kuwait.
  • Close to 1 in 5 migrants in the world live in the top 20 largest cities, according to IOM’s World Migration Report 2015. International migrants make up over a third of the total population in cities like Sydney, Auckland, Singapore and London, and at least one in four residents in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris is foreign-born.
  • The year 2015 saw the highest levels of forced displacement globally recorded since World War II, with a dramatic increase in the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people across various regions of the world – from Africa to the Middle East and South Asia. The world hosted 15.1 million refugees by mid-2015. This is a 45% increase compared to three and a half years ago, largely due to continued conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, now well into its 5th year. Some five million persons were newly displaced in the first half of 2015.
  • In 2015, Germany also became the largest single recipient of first-time individual asylum claims globally, with almost 442,000 applications lodged in the country by the end of the year. The number of asylum claims worldwide almost doubled between 2014 and the first half of 2015, from 558,000 pending applications by the end of 2014 to almost 1 million in June 2015.
  • By the end of 2015, the EU as a whole received over 1.2 million first-time asylum claims, more than double the number registered in 2015 (563,000), and almost double the levels recorded in 1992 in the then 15 Member States (672,000 applications). The increase in 2015 is largely due to higher numbers of asylum claims from Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis).
  • Almost 1 in 3 first-time asylum applicants in the EU were minors, an 11% increase compared to 2014 levels; also, almost 1 in 5 of these were judged to be unaccompanied by national authorities – the highest number since 2008 and a three-fold increase on numbers registered in 2014.
  • Still, the vast majority of refugees continue to be hosted by developing countries, particularly those that are proximate to the refugees’ countries of origin: for instance, the bulk of the Syrian refugee population is hosted by Turkey (2.2 million), Lebanon (1.2 million) and Jordan (almost 630,000), according to figures recorded in December 2015.
  • Also, most forced displacement globally still occurs within countries’ borders, with an estimated 38 million people internally displaced by conflict and violence at the end of 2014 – from Iraq to South Sudan, from Syria to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
  • The year 2015 was also the deadliest year for migrants: increased levels of forced displacement globally were tragically accompanied by record-high numbers of people perishing or going missing while trying to cross international borders. Over 5,400 migrants worldwide are estimated to have died or gone missing in 2015. According to IOM’s Missing Migrant project, migrant fatalities during migration to Europe increased by 15% compared to the previous year, reaching at least 3,770.
  • From 2014 to 2015, a major and sudden shift in routes of irregular migration by sea to Europe occurred – with about 853,000 arriving to Greece compared to almost 154,000 to Italy, as opposed to about 34,400 and 170,100 respectively in 2014.
  • In 2015, the number of voluntary returns of migrants (e.g. failed asylum-seekers, and other groups) from EU countries was for the first time higher than the number of forced returns (81,681 against 72,473). Moreover, the number of IOM-assisted voluntary returns from EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland in 2015 reached a figure of almost 56,000.
  • New estimates for the number of migrant workers globally show that the large majority of international migrants in the world are migrant workers. Migrants have higher labour force participation than non-migrants, particularly due to higher labour force participation rates for migrant women relative to non-migrant women.
  • Remittances continue to climb globally while remittance-sending costs remain relatively high. The sum of financial remittances sent by international migrants back to their families in origin countries amounted to an estimated $601 billion in 2015 – over two thirds of which were sent to developing countries. In Tajikistan remittances constituted over 40% of the country’s GDP. However, average remittance transfer costs were still at 7.5% of the amount sent in the third quarter of 2015, higher than the 3% minimum target set in the Sustainable Development Goals to be met by 2030. Remittance transfer costs are particularly high in Sub-Saharan Africa – now standing at 9.5% on average.
  • Finally, public opinion towards migration globally is more favourable than commonly perceived – with the notable exception of Europe, according to an IOM-Gallup report, “How the World Views Migration”. The report is based on a Gallup poll conducted across over 140 countries between 2012 and 2014.

For more information and figures, see the Global Migration Trends Factsheet 2015.

Stella’s Place for Youth Mental Health Assessment and Treatment

Thu, 2016-04-28 16:17

Initiated by young adults and their families, Stella’s Place will deliver core clinical mental health services in a positive, peer-driven and recovery-focused setting.

Stella’s Place Toronto will be the first community-based, comprehensive, integrated mental health assessment and treatment service for young adults in Canada. They plan to be a critical touchstone and supportive lifeline to more than 500 young adults and their families each year.

An online and street-front café with a peer-driven, recovery-focused culture will be the front door to the community-based hub where young adults will connect, access treatment, learn and stay healthy.

Stella’s Place will not be a residential program, but will offer peer support, clinical, wellness and vocational programs and connection online and on site during day and evening hours. The first Stella’s Place will be located in downtown Toronto, with a plan to expand across Ontario.

Stella’s Place is a registered charity and a non-profit organization. The first Stella’s Place will open in Toronto in 2016, although some programs will be phased in earlier. There will be no cost for services.

The Program

Their multidimensional approach, including evidence-based clinical, wellness, vocational, mindfulness and arts programming, is based on extensive international research and consultation with young adults, families and mental health experts in Toronto. The program will be driven by young adults.

They plan to engage young adults by pairing a street-front hub with a dynamic, interactive website and a full range of evidence-based assessment, treatment and recovery services to help them get back on track.

Young adults will have access to peer support, to clinical staff including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and to other wellness experts. Transition coaches will help young people navigate through their recovery process and make connections in the community.

Young people will design their own flexible program at the hub based on their needs and goals. They will be able to connect online and may come to Stella’s Place on a drop-in, part-time or full-time basis, depending on their stage of recovery.

What to Expect During Medical Encounters

Thu, 2016-04-28 16:00

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is the organization that is responsible for licensing medical doctors and making sure your doctor is following the rules, and takes care of you in an ethical, professional and safe manner. While the vast majority of doctors do act appropriately, you can always contact the CPSO if you aren’t sure whether something your doctor said or did was okay. In this document, we summarize existing responsibilities that doctors have when treating you. These responsibilities are found in existing CPSO documents1 and hyperlinks to relevant policies are included below. We also identify things you are entitled to as a patient, so that you have a good understanding about what to expect during medical encounters and you can take an active role in your health-care.

Access the document.

20 Free Spots at Hamilton Summer ESL Camp

Thu, 2016-04-28 11:48

The camp will bring both international and local immigrant teenagers together where they will improve their English language skills and take part in fun learning oriented teacher-guided trips and activities.

Camp participants take part in both English classes as well as fun, local tour activities. See attached flyer for details.

The camp dates are on any or all of the weeks between June 26th to August 6th from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

The camp is located at Hillfield-Strathallan College at 299 Fennell Avenue West at the corner of Fennell Avenue and Garth Street.

For more information or to apply for one of the twenty free spots, please contact Wendy Gillanders, Camp Director at wendy@accessenglish.com or 416-935-0457 ext. 2400.

New Support for Workers and Business Takes Effect

Wed, 2016-04-27 14:38

MaryAnn Mihychuk, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, today encouraged employers to take advantage of extended Work-Sharing agreements that will help them retain workers during difficult economic times while also keeping them on the job. The Minister made the remarks at Heavy North Construction Ltd. in Fort McMurray – a current participant in the Government’s Work-Sharing program – and later hosted a roundtable discussion with various stakeholders in the Wood Buffalo area.

As of April 1, 2016, eligible employers across Canada impacted by the downturn in the commodities sector can benefit from an additional 38 weeks under the Work-Sharing program, for a maximum of 76 weeks. This program helps employers retain skilled employees and avoid the cost of recruiting and training new employees when business levels return to normal. It will also help employees to continue working and maintain their skills while supplementing their wages with Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for the days they are not working.

The extension of the maximum length of Work-Sharing agreements is one measure in a series of improvements to the EI program announced in Budget 2016, and will provide assistance to businesses and employees that have been directly or indirectly affected by the downturn in the commodities sector.

Quick Facts

  • The extension of Work-Sharing agreements is expected to benefit up to 33,000 additional workers across Canada, and help companies keep their workforce stable as commodity prices rebound.
  • Budget 2016 includes $2.5 billion for improvements to EI to help Canadians across the country
  • As of April 22, 2016, there were 347 active Work-Sharing agreements benefitting Alberta companies.

Associated Links

Official Launch of the Refugee Summer Program

Wed, 2016-04-27 14:27

Accredited Camps are providing hundreds of free spaces at their camps for children ages 4-15 who have come to Canada as refugees in the last three years.

Thanks to the generous donations from Accredited Camps across Ontario, the Ontario Camps Association (OCA) are offering free spots to a variety of camps, including:

  • Day or overnight camps
  • Specialty camps
  • Religious or non-religious camps
  • All boy, all girl, or co-ed camps
  • One week or multi-week camps

Agencies, Organizations, Sponsors and Families must first complete an application form for the family. The two criteria for children to apply are they are refugees that have arrived in Canada in 2014, 2015 or 2016 and they are between the ages of 4-15.

Currently, kids from all over the world attend camp in Canada. Camp increases social connections, exposes children to the natural world, builds character and self-esteem.

Camp is a time-honoured tradition in Canada and we are pleased to invite new Canadians to join in this experience and enjoy Canada’s natural beauty.

They are happy to be acknowledged and supported by the Liberal government. John McCallum, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has provided the attached letter of appreciation to the OCA.

The OCA has been coordinating with refugee support organizations and has the support of 25 agencies which will provide further guidance to the families and the camps. Other items such as clothing and camp supplies will be provided by the OCA’s Preferred Vendors and organizations around the province.

About the Ontario Camps Association

The OCA is a non-profit Association representing 450 camps in Ontario and servicing over 350,000 campers.

All accredited camps must abide by health and safety standards beyond federal and provincial legislation, and follow best practices by camp industry experts that cover all areas of camp management and program delivery. Each and every day, accredited camps commit to uphold the hundreds of standards that ensure the highest quality experience for children and youth in their care.

To Apply

They encourage everyone interested in sending their children to camp to visit their website to submit an application or contact them at 1-844-485-0425 or refugeesummer@ontariocamps.ca.

Headstrong Youth Anti-Stigma Initiative Report

Wed, 2016-04-27 14:20

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is mobilizing youth across the country to confront mental health stigma head-on. A growing number of young champions of change are set to make a significant impact in the fight against a serious problem that threatens the wellness of so many young Canadians.

MHCC HEADSTRONG is giving Canadian youth the encouragement, knowledge, and tools they need to lead this fight. This national youth anti-stigma campaign was created by Opening Minds, the MHCC’s anti-stigma initiative. It was launched at a national summit in Ottawa in November 2014, where it brought together youth from across the country who are committed to and excited about creating positive change.

Why focus on stigma?

The stigma that often surrounds mental health problems and mental illnesses is keeping many people from seeking the help they need when they need it most. In fact, most people living with a mental illness say that the stigma they experience is often worse than the illness itself.

Young people feel the impacts of stigma more than any other group in Canada.

We know that the first symptoms of mental health problems and mental illnesses are most often experienced in the teenage years. MHCC’s research shows that nearly 60% of young people (under age 25) with a mental illness say they have experienced the impact of stigma. It is clear that the mental health of Canadian youth must become a priority for the entire country.

MHCC HEADSTRONG 2014-15 Final Report

Through HEADSTRONG, the MHCC acted as a coordinating agent, bringing together community organizations and schools:

  • More than 4,400 youth became committed to creating positive change
  • 19 regional coordinators were established
  • 3 provincial events and 25 regional summits were hosted
  • Countless more students and school-based activities were inspired

Based on surveys conducted before and after each summit, results show a positive change in students’ attitudes, beliefs and levels of social acceptance toward people living with a mental illness. Before attending a summit, less than half of students responded with non-stigmatizing answers about incorrect stereotypes. Following the summits, that number grew to two-thirds of participants who knew, for example, that recovery from mental illness is possible.

Read more about the success of MHCC HEADSTRONG and future direction in the MHCC’s HEADSTRONG Youth Anti-Stigma Initiative 2014-15 Final Report.

Access the Interim Report
Access the Summary Interim Report

Ontario Expands Free Dental Care for Eligible Children and Youth

Tue, 2016-04-26 12:54

More than 323,000 children from low-income families are getting free dental care through the new Healthy Smiles Ontario program. Under the expanded program, Ontario is providing free dental care to help families raise healthier kids. Children from low-income families can access free preventive, routine, emergency and essential care from licensed dental providers.

Ontario has integrated six publicly funded dental programs into one, providing a simplified enrolment process and making it easier for eligible children to get the care they need. These changes also mean that 70,000 more children from low-income families have become eligible for free dental services. Applicants can now sign up for this program online at ontario.ca/healthysmiles. They can also contact their local public health unit for information and support.

Research demonstrates that untreated oral health problems can affect a child’s ability to eat, sleep and concentrate in school, which can impact their growth and development. The new Healthy Smiles Ontario program is part of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy commitment to build community capacity to deliver oral health prevention and treatment services to children and youth from low-income families in Ontario.

Quick Facts

  • Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent and preventable chronic diseases, particularly among children. It is the leading cause of day surgeries for children ages one to five and rates are four times higher for children from the least (versus the most) affluent neighbourhoods.
  • Healthy Smiles Ontario covers regular visits to a licensed dental provider, such as a dentist or dental hygienist. It covers dental services including check-ups, cleaning, fillings, X-rays, and urgent/emergency oral health issues.
  • Ontario engaged in significant consultation with community and public health partners as well as dental associations to develop the new Healthy Smiles Ontario program.
Background Information

Additional Resources

Glossary for Service Providers Who Work with LGBTQ Refugees

Tue, 2016-04-26 11:02

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity (SOGI) and Gender Expression: Essential Terminology for the Humanitarian Sector is a language tool that assists humanitarian professionals to communicate effectively and respectfully with and about people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

The Challenge
SOGI concepts vary immensely across cultures. In most languages worldwide, matters of sexual and gender diversity are shrouded in confusion and taboo. As a result, accurate and inoffensive SOGI terminology is scarce across all aspects of society: the media, business, nonprofits, cultural and religious institutions, and even among sexually and gender diverse communities themselves.

For Refugee Professionals
Refugee professionals share a common mission: to protect refugees with legitimate claims. However, when it comes to refugees of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, interviewers and interpreters face unique communication challenges that can impact the outcomes of refugee status determination and credibility assessment. The most common challenges are:

  • Interviewers, interpreters, and even refugee applicants themselves may not be familiar with respectful terminology.
  • Interviewers and interpreters deal with topics that are often culturally and religiously sensitive and may struggle to find the right words.
  • Interviewers and interpreters may be reticent to ask questions that are deeply personal.
  • Interviewers and interpreters may be hesitant to offend applicants by discussing topics they assume are inappropriate.
  • Interpreters are under pressure to render exact equivalents of terms that may not exist in all languages.

The Solution
The humanitarian and refugee sectors can overcome these challenges by learning and practicing the proper terminology applicable to SGMs worldwide. For this reason, ORAM has produced this guide. Language and cultural understanding are essential to creating a safe environment where sexually and gender diverse individuals can establish trust and be forthcoming about their needs and experiences. The goal of this guide is to empower humanitarian workers and refugee professionals with cross-cultural knowledge of essential SOGI terms in a variety of contexts. Users of this guide will learn sensitive and respectful terms and be able to:

  • Create a safe space and build trust with refugees.
  • Recognize inappropriate or offensive terminology.
  • Recognize the terms refugee applicants use to identify themselves.

As a direct result, refugee applicants will feel more comfortable being transparent during the refugee status determination process.

Access the glossary.

Persons Case Awards 2016 –Celebrating Progress Towards Gender Equality

Tue, 2016-04-26 10:53

Status of Women Canada is calling for nominations for the 2016 Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case. Each year, these awards recognize five individuals, including youth, who have made outstanding contributions in the pursuit of gender equality in Canada.

The struggle for gender equality is far from over. Data show a persistent gender wage gap, high rates of violence towards women, and a very real glass ceiling faced by women seeking leadership positions. It is the efforts of all Canadians that are helping to move us closer to gender equality.

The 2015 recipients were the Honourable Monique Bégin (Ottawa, ON), Marie-Thérèse Chicha (Montreal, QC), Dr. Ruth Elwood Martin (Vancouver, BC), Sheila McIntyre (Ottawa, ON) and Dee M. Dooley (Youth Recipient – Halifax, NS). They were recognized because their successes have helped shape Canada for the better and we have all benefited from their achievements.

Canada needs more women and men, boys and girls, to step up if we are to make more progress toward gender equality. It is important to recognize the achievements of individuals, so that their successes may inspire others. While nominations are accepted all year, the deadline for nominating someone for the 2016 awards is June 24. To get inspired, visit the Status of Women Canada website, which includes a list of past recipients, videos, and the nomination package.

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