What’s New This Quarter
Access Alliance and partners launch resource to enhance newcomer understanding of Indigenous Peoples
On July 27, Access Alliance participated in the launch of Indigenous Peoples in Toronto: An Introduction for Newcomers, a resource introducing Toronto newcomers to First Nations, Inuit and Métis history, cultures and perspectives.
The resource was created in partnership with the City of Toronto, OCASI (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants) and Access Alliance and received funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The project was led and informed by newcomer and Indigenous expertise, including the Indigenous Newcomer Advisory Circle. We are thankful for their guidance and collaboration.
The guide aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #93 – Newcomers to Canada, and introduces newcomers to the cultures, histories and current realities of Indigenous peoples. It offers newcomers to Toronto a better understanding of the land on which they are settling and the Indigenous communities that were here for thousands of years before colonization. The purpose of the guide is twofold:
- It is intended to build meaningful relationships between newcomers and Indigenous peoples by encouraging learning and sharing stories of diversity, resilience and strength.
- The accompanying facilitator’s guide was created for settlement workers, ESL instructors and others who work with and for newcomers, acting as a helpful resource to support this learning.
The July 27 launch was celebrated at David Pecaut Square with remarks from Indigenous Elders, City staff and leaders from the newcomer and refugee service sector. A marketplace offered attendees a selection of Indigenous and newcomer food and crafts. The launch also showcased performances by Lena Recollet, Borelson and Indigenous youth singers, Wynona Maracle and Ariyha Syvret.
Access Alliance is committed to supporting our newcomer clients to deepen the understanding of their communities and the history and diversity of their adopted country. We are thankful to our partners at the City of Toronto and OCASI, as well as all the Indigenous and newcomer community organizations whose time and expertise contributed greatly to the development of this vital resource.
The guide is available on the City’s After You Arrive webpage. The guide aligns with the strategic pillar, Supporting Civic Engagement and Community Capacity of Newcomers in the Toronto Newcomer Strategy.
Undocumented.Stories Book and Advocacy Tool
Access Alliance continues in the fight for #StatusForAll through the release of our Undocumented.Stories book. The book includes a few of the 125 handwritten stories we collected from Toronto residents, describing their daily realities of living without permanent immigration status.
Without status, undocumented residents and migrants: face discrimination and exploitation at work; are denied essential services; and live without access to basic information. All the stories speak to the many years that undocumented people have lived and worked here, and emphasize the urgent need to implement regularization for all.
The book also includes a Call to Action which reminds us of Canada’s global commitment, as a signatory of the United Nation’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, to an immigration system that would guarantee all migrants, irrespective of background, rights to access services, rights to decent work, rights to information and safety, and would represent an inclusive, just system reflective of our broader society.
Copies of the Undocumented.Stories book have been mailed to Prime Minister Trudeau as well as all 38 members of the federal cabinet, and the digital version has been sent to all Members of Parliament. Also included in the package was a letter urging the government to read the stories and take action around granting status for all.
- The Undocumented.Stories book can be viewed in digital flipbook format here, or downloaded as a PDF here.
Our demand for Status For All
Since last summer, Access Alliance, alongside Migrant Rights Network and our undocumented clients, have been demanding that the federal government introduce a permanent, inclusive regularization program that would grant permanent resident status for ALL people in Canada who are undocumented or have precarious immigration status.
What would this look like?
A “Status For All” regularization program should be in line with the proposal by the Migrant Rights Network, including the following elements:
- Create a simple broad regularization program, i.e. all undocumented people residing in Canada must be able to apply for and receive permanent resident status, that is also permanent and available on an ongoing basis.
- It should have a clear and simple application process, such that undocumented should be able to apply themselves and not depend on anyone else, and is free or as low-cost as possible.
- There should be no exclusions or inadmissibility, and failed applicants should have the right to appeal.
- There should be no more detentions or deportations as soon as the program is announced, and no one should be deported if their application is rejected.
- There should be a comprehensive communication strategy (e.g. information provided at least 3 months in advance, information translated into top languages, etc.) in coordination with migrant-led bodies in the Migrant Rights Network.
To learn more about the #StatusForAll campaign or to get involved, visit www.migrantrights.ca