Family Sponsorship and Refugee Law

Project Name

Family Sponsorship and Refugee Law: Community Awareness Project 2013

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Project Partners

Lead Agency: Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA)
Partners: South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO)

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Project Summary

This project is a response to the widespread confusion and concern in the community about changes to the immigration law. SALCO and CASSA will provide training for front line community workers serving the South Asian Community, in both traditional and non-traditional settings, on the recent changes to the immigration law. In particular, the project will focus on family sponsorship and refugee law; those trained will be a leadership positions and consequently able to inform the broader community.

Legal Topics for Training

The focus of the training will be to disseminate updated legal information on the current changes to family sponsorship and refugee law and train front line workers and community leaders. Also, to provide some practical information on how to access both programs given the changes as well as share information regarding the implications of these changes for the South Asian communities.

Target Audience

Faith leaders, media representatives and frontline workers, who work with Tamil, Pakistani, Punjabi and Bangladeshi communities, and who play a leadership role in the community. Training will also be provided to the membership of CASSA consisting of community agencies across the GTA.

Key Activities

Deliver training/information through a number of ways that will provide opportunities for both in-depth discussion as well as easily accessible training materials for workers and community leaders. The training strategies to be utilized are the following:

  • Two forums targeted at faith-based leaders and community leaders (proposed locations are Toronto and Windsor); and a series of at least 6 community dialogues in total to be held in preparation for the forums/symposiums
  • Two live webinars that can be accessed by media representatives, faith leaders, front line workers and other community leaders throughout the province
  • One web-based training module that will be promoted at the forums and community dialogues, and will be widely available online. This training module will provide updated information on the sponsorship and refugee process during and beyond the end of this project
  • Media Education: CASSA and SALCO will work with South Asian Ethnic media outlets as an information dissemination tool
  • Materials: Printed materials will be developed and used in the media, used as resources during the forums, and as the basis of online resources on the website

Need for Training

Given the importance of the changes to immigration law, many community organizations and networks are exploring ways to educate the community about the coming changes. CASSA works closely with many other inter-agency networks such as OCASI (the provincial association of immigrant service agencies) and SALCO is closely connected with other legal organizations such as the Canadian Council of Refugees. Through these connections we know that new materials are being developed that respond to particular areas of the immigration law. We anticipate utilizing and adapting, as necessary, new information and materials regarding immigration law that are being produced by other community initiatives. This project will focus on training key community leaders in the information so that they can effectively and accurately get the information out to the wider community.

Innovative Approach

This project is innovative as it will use web based tools such as webinars and the creation of an online learning community (a web-based community of practice). It will reach intermediaries beyond those traditionally involved in the social services sector (for eg: faith, cultural, and ethnic media will be engaged). It will also engage the ethnic media as a mechanism to disseminate information. This project will build on our earlier successes (i.e. the Forced Marriage Project) as we learn from our past experiences and as we continue to expand our use of web-based learning.