Refugee Law Services – Adeegyada Sharciga Qaxootiga

Refugee Law Services - Adeegyada Sharciga Qaxootiga

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Refugee Services in Rexdale

Rexdale is located within an ‘urgent priority’ neighborhood of Toronto with a large number of new immigrant families; a demonstrated need for refugee services.

Since April 1, 2011 Legal Aid Ontario has issued 301 Certificates to clients residing in the M9W, M9V, M9R, and M9P postal code prefixes, which allow clients to seek out private immigration law services who accept LAO certificates. Nearly half of these certificates have been issued to clients who originate from Somalia and Nigeria.

US Blackhawk helicopter over Mogadishu on the Day of Rangers

PHOTO: US Department of State

Somalia has been in a de facto state of civil war since 1991 when the communist dictatorship of Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted by a coalition of rebel movements.

Nigerian troops with US C130 transport aircraft

PHOTO: US Department of State

Nigeria has been plagued by ethnic conflict and violent disputes over oil since the country regained democracy in 1999, after 33 years of military rule.

Refugee Certificates issued by LAO in Rexdale from April, 2011 to Present:

COUNTRY of ORIGIN Number of LAO Certificates Issued
SOMALIA 103
NIGERIA 43
Pakistan 16
Hungary 9
Poland 8
St. Vincent & the Grenadines 8
Afghanistan 8
Namibia 7
India 6
Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturism speaks to media Day 31st, 2010 on the proposed Balanced Refugee Reform Act, introduced in the House of Commons on March 30.

PHOTO:  Dave Abel / Toronto Sun / QMI Agency.

Balanced Refugee Reform

On 15 December 2012, important changes to Canada’s refugee determination system came into effect. The Balanced Refugee Reform Act brought many changes to the refugee protection system. Intended to deliver faster decisions, deter abuse and quickly remove persons not in need of Canada’s protection.

“Our changes will make Canada’s asylum system faster and fairer,” said Canada;s former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and current Minister for Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, The Honorable Jason Kenny. “For too long, Canada’s generous asylum system has been vulnerable to abuse. Under the new asylum system, genuine refugees fleeing persecution will receive protection more quickly. At the same time, bogus asylum claimants and those who abuse our generous system at great expense to taxpayers, will be removed much faster.”

Changes to Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

  • The Personal Information Form is now referred to as the Basis of Claim
  • 28 day time line to submit this form has been reduced to 15 DAYS
  • A hearing will take place no longer than 60 days from the day the claim is made.

This is down from the average 600 days to receive a hearing (CIC).

TIME LINE: Claim made at Port of Entry (ex. Pearson Airport)

  • Day 1- Arrive in Canada-Complete eligibility forms-have eligibility interview-receive BoC and RPD Hearing date
  • Day 10- Deadline for submitting address and telephone number to CBSA
  • Day 15: Deadline for Submitting BoC Forms to IRB-RPD
  • Day 50 (approx) Deadline for submitting all documents to the IRB-RPD
  • Day 60-REFUGEE HEARING
Terminal 1 of Pearson International Airport in Toronto, ON

PHOTO: AcidBomber at en.wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License)

Designated Countries of Origin

DCOs are countries that do not normally produce refugees, and respect human rights and offer state protection. Claimants from a DCO will have their asylum claim heard faster (30-45 Days) and will not have access to the new Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) at the IRB.

Concerns in the context of female claimants

 With very short timelines for filing forms and for the refugee hearing many women will find they don’t have enough time to prepare for the refugee hearing. It takes time and trust to be ready to speak about traumatic experiences, especially sexual violence. Documentation of human rights abuses against women is not always readily available. It is also more difficult to meet short timelines if you are juggling childcare.

Because of the barriers to legal representation more claimants will be left unrepresented in the new system. Negotiating the refugee process without a representative is particularly difficult for women who have had limited access to education or relevant professional experience.

Woman wearing a hijab

PHOTO: luisrock62, stock.xchng

The Basis of Claim form (BoC)

The Basis of Claim Form is a crucial document that a refugee claimant must fill out for the Immigration and Refugee Board. It is used to determine if they have a valid claim. If information is missing, incorrect, or inconsistent, the Board could refuse the claim.

At the hearing, the claimant will have to answer questions about what they said on the Basis of Claim Form. A Board member who thinks that the claimant has not told the truth—for example, by inventing harm or threats—will refuse the claim.

What Rexdale Community Legal Clinic is doing

  • Prepare and file Basis of Claims with the Refugee Protection Division (RPD)
  • Prepare and represent claimants at the RPD of the Immigration and Refugee Board

Tips for Refugees and community agencies

  • If you are looking to make a refugee claim, contact Rexdale Community Legal Clinic immediately. If you are not within our catchment area we can still give summary advice and will issue appropriate referrals
  • If a client is looking to make a refugee claim, make an immediate referral to Rexdale Community Legal Clinic
  • A potential refugee should never go to CIC without seeking legal advice first-once they do the stringent timelines are triggered!
  • Please Rexdale Community Legal Clinic with any questions and we will be happy to assist

Rexdale Community Legal Clinic's Logo

Toronto Employment & Social Services: Newcomer Employment and Services Forum

Toronto Employment & Social Services - Newcomer Employment and Services Forum

WORKERS’ ACTION CENTRE: FEAST FOR FAIRNESS – OCT. 12th

Join us at a Feast for Fairness

Action Alert: Workers' Action Centre

Feast for Fairness

Join us at a Feast for Fairness at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market!  Help us win a minimum wage increase for all workers!

Saturday October 12, 10:30am to 12pm
St. Lawrence Market
Meet at the corner of Front St. E and Jarvis.
(1 block south of King St. E) Toronto

Look who’s putting food on our table
This Thanksgiving weekend, many low-wage workers are resorting to food banks in order to get by and restaurant workers continue to see their wages stagnate. Many migrant workers are excluded from minimum wage laws altogether.

Join the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage  and Migrant Workers Alliance for Change as we demand an immediate increase to the minimum wage to $14 and ending minimum wage exemptions for all workers!

Under the banner of “Poverty Wages? NO THANKS!” this event will be just one of many province-wide actions taking place around the Thanksgiving weekend calling for a $14 minimum wage, and in alliance with the Raise the Rates Week of Action from Oct. 14-20.

Find out more here

Make it Right Campaign

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is launching a new provincial campaign to ensure migrant workers have the same rights and benefits as all Ontarians. For too long Ontario’s laws have excluded migrant workers.  This affects us all.  It’s time to Make It Right!

WAC is a member of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.  Read more and take action below:

We are launching a new provincial campaign to ensure migrant workers have the same rights and benefits as all Ontarians. For too long Ontario’s laws have excluded migrant workers. This affects us all. It’s time to #MakeItRight. We are #InItTogether.

Our first action is a Feast for Fairness on Saturday, October 12, at 10:30am at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto.  More details..

All workers, including agriculture workers, should be protected equally under Ontario’s labour laws. All workers should be entitled to minimum wage and overtime. They should be able to enforce these rights without worrying about being too late or having to under-claim how much they are actually owed by employers. Learn more…

All workers should be protected from being charged illegal and exorbitant fees by recruiters and agencies. Recruiters and employers should be registered, and the provinces and feds should work together with workers’ home governments to make sure that protection is effective across all borders. Learn more…

Going home after work should be a relief but many migrant workers have no relief from the stress of work since they live at or near their workplace.  They deserve decent housing and this requires inspection, enforcement, regulation, and viable alternatives. Learn more…

Farm workers need strong health and safety protections at work; domestic workers should be included in occupational health and safety laws; and all migrants should have immediate access to health services and other benefits that all Ontarians get. Learn more…

Migrant workers need stronger protections to make workers rights complaints and proactive enforcement of their rights. Migrant workers should have the right to change employers and stay in the country for settlement or employment standards purposes. Learn more…

Tell the Leaders of Ontario’s Provincial Parties that they must work together to ensure migrant workers have the same rights and protections as all other Ontarians. Take action now!

Copyright © 2013 Workers’ Action Centre, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change: #InItTogether #MageItRight

We are launching a new provincial campaign to ensure migrant workers have the same rights and benefits as all Ontarians. For too long Ontario’s laws have excluded migrant workers. This affects us all. It’s time to #MakeItRight. We are #InItTogether.

Our first action is a Feast for Fairness on Saturday, October 12, at 1030am at St. Lawrence’s Market in Toronto.  More details..

All workers, including agriculture workers, should be protected equally under Ontario’s labour laws. All workers should be entitled to minimum wage and overtime. They should be able to enforce these rights without worrying about being too late or having to under-claim how much they are actually owed by employers.

Learn more…

All workers should be protected from being charged illegal and exorbitant fees by recruiters and agencies. Recruiters and employers should be registered, and the provinces and feds should work together with workers’ home governments to make sure that protection is effective across all borders.

Learn more…

Going home after work should be a relief but many migrant workers have no relief from the stress of work since they live at or near their workplace.  They deserve decent housing and this requires inspection, enforcement, regulation, and viable alternatives.

Learn more…

Farm workers need strong health and safety protections at work; domestic workers should be included in occupational health and safety laws; and all migrants should have immediate access to health services and other benefits that all Ontarians get.

Learn more…

Migrant workers need stronger protections to make workers rights complaints and proactive enforcement of their rights. Migrant workers should have the right to change employers and stay in the country for settlement or employment standards purposes.

Learn more…

Tell the Leaders of Ontario’s Provincial Parties that they must work together to ensure migrant workers have the same rights and protections as all other Ontarians.

Take action now!

     
Copyright © 2013 Migrant Workers-Alliance for Change, All rights reserved.

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change includes Alliance of South Asian Aid Prevention, Asian Community Aids Services, Caregivers Action Centre, Industrial Accident Victims’ Group of Ontario, Justicia for Migrant Workers, KAIROS, Legal Aid Windsor, Migrante Ontario, No One Is Illegal – Toronto, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Social Planning Toronto, Unifor, United Food and Commercial Workers and the Workers’ Action Centre.

Our mailing address is:

Migrant Workers-Alliance for Change

720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 223

-Toronto, Ontario -M5S 2T9

Canada

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LAO Newsroom: LAO supports licensed paralegal services for refugee claimants

LAO newsroom

News archives

LAO Newsroom

LAO supports licensed paralegal services for refugee claimants

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rexdale Community Legal Clinic

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has selected the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic to run a year-long pilot that provides refugee claimants with the full-time services of an in-house licensed paralegal.

“LAO recognizes that licensed paralegals can provide a wide range of cost-effective, efficient, quality services to refugee claimants,” says Jawad Kassab, LAO’s Executive Lead, Refugee Transformation.

LAO chose the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic for this pilot to serve the large number of refugee claimants (primarily from Nigeria, Somalia and Pakistan) in this community from one location.

The Rexdale Community Legal Clinic is in the Rexdale Community Hub. This hub provides health, social, legal, employment and cultural services to the people in its catchment area — the M9W, M9V, M9R, and M9P postal code — in collaboration with a number of partners, including:

  • the Rexdale Community Health Centre
  • the Rexdale Women’s Centre
  • Rexdale Employment Services and
  • the Somali Business Development Centre.

Over the year to come, the licensed paralegal at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic will, under the supervision of two experienced refugee lawyers:

  • interview refugee claimants
  • prepare Basis of Claim (BOC) forms
  • help claimants gather evidence (such as medical reports) to support their claim
  • file BOC forms with the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)
  • prepare refugee claimants for hearings before the IRB
  • review files and supporting evidence
  • represent clients at hearings before the RPD of the IRB.

Paralegals are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada to provide legal advice, document preparation and representation before administrative tribunals such as the Immigration and Refugee Board.

LAO will evaluate this initiative on an ongoing basis and assess its value after a year. In addition, as part of its ongoing assessment of all its service delivery models for refugee claimants, LAO will continue to consult with relevant stakeholders on engaging licensed paralegals to deliver refugee services.

This pilot is one of a number of LAO service delivery initiatives aimed at diversifying LAO’s refugee services model, supporting community-based client legal services and delivering cost-effective, efficient, quality legal representation.

In addition to Rexdale, financially eligible refugee claimants without counsel can choose to attain legal aid services from:

Questions

If you have any questions or require further information please contact:

Jawad Kassab
Executive Lead, Refugee Transformation
Email: kassabja@lao.on.ca

 

Shared from: http://legalaid.on.ca/en/news/newsarchive/1309-16_licensedparalegalsforrefugees.asp

REXDALE REFUGEE LAW SERVICES

Refugeee Law Services