Debbie Douglas, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) - Advocacy

Debbie Douglas is the Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and shares her insights and perspectives on how agencies can engage in advocacy work to support the work at both the organizational level and the sector as a whole. Debbie begins by explaining that unlike lobbying, advocacy involves influencing decision-makers to allocate resources to support and benefit the public good rather than a select few groups and/or individuals. Aligning with other agencies to form coalitions, creating public education and awareness campaigns, and identifying champions are just a few of the ways in which agencies can engage in effective advocacy work. Lastly, Debbie cites that even with its associated challenges, advocacy work is an important responsibility for agencies since their role is to ensure that they can “create communities and environments where immigrants and refugees can be successful in their settlement and integration… and where opportunities are presented for them to become full participants in the communities [where] they have chosen to live.”