Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 10 #1, 13 April 2015

Vol. 10 no. 1, 13 April 2015

In this issue:

  1. Stand in solidarity with Muslims: What you can do

In late March, the CCR issued a public statement in solidarity with Muslims given our concern at the rise of intolerance towards Muslims in Canada and calls on political, community and faith leaders to take strong, positive action in response.

Political, community and faith leaders have a particular responsibility in the current context to promote the shared Canadian values of welcome, diversity and inclusion. Learning from the best parts of our traditions, leaders can show Canadians by example how to make space for dialogue and to get to know our neighbours.

Intolerance towards Muslims is not a problem simply for Muslims: it affects us all. When one group is attacked, we are all diminished. We are protecting ourselves when we act to protect a group that is facing discrimination, and we all benefit when we create a welcoming spirit for all.

Take steps in your community to bring this statement to life:

  • Share this statement with organizations you work with and other groups in your community. Ask them to speak out in solidarity with Muslims.
  • Work with others in your community to create opportunities for people of different faith traditions, including Muslims, to get to know each other and to talk about creating more welcoming communities for all.
  • Support welcoming initiatives and act against prejudice and hostility.

To read and share the complete statement, see:

  1. Reaction to the mass ejection of Canada’s ‘disposable’ migrant workers

Protection for migrant workersThe CCR is concerned about the situation of thousands of Temporary Foreign Workers who are no longer welcome in Canada as of 1 April 2015. This is the first wave of migrant workers to be affected by the new rule requiring low-skilled workers to leave after four years in Canada.

On 1 April 2011, a rule was implemented limiting low-skilled migrant workers to four years working in Canada, after which they would have to leave the country for at least four years before returning to work here again. This year will mark the first year that migrant workers are forced to return home en masse.

There is concern over the hardship this will likely cause affected workers. Many have families who depend on their remittances, and some are still repaying debts from recruitment fees illegally imposed on them. Some workers may choose to remain in Canada and seek precarious work, in order to keep providing for their families back home.

All migrant workers should have access to permanent residence, and that Canada should move away from temporary migration, and incorporate “low-skilled” immigrants into the permanent economic immigration stream, so that they too have an equal chance to contribute to building Canadian society.

To read the complete CCR statement:

For more on migrant workers’ rights, see:

For media coverage on the 1 April 2015 deadline:

  1. We hear from Winnie on why we should take a Walk with refugees, 15-21 June 2015

Winnie speak with walkersMeet Winnie Muchuba. She knows how important the opportunity to share and to speak out can be. For Winnie, sharing her views is empowering, and a chance to give back: ‘It’s important to hear from us. It’s a chance to thank those who have helped us. It’s an opportunity to tell others what they can do to make a difference.’
That’s why Winnie is encouraging others to get involved and to organize a Walk with refugees and similar events that put the voices of refugees and former refugees in the spotlight.
Here are some other storytelling tips from past Walk organizers:

  • Develop clear, compelling messages or stories: remember your objectives and how each presentation fits into your ‘bigger picture’
  • Have different people involved in your Walk: former refugees, neighbours, witnesses, community partners
  • Keep presentations conversational
  • Have a Walk narrator who can link together individual stories to and make sure your key messages come through
  • Be prepared: talk through possible surprises and tough questions with presenters in advance. Have support available to help fill in gaps in information.

World Refugee Day is a great time to shift the spotlight and to hear from people with refugee experience. Gather a team from your community and organize a Walk with refugees between 15 and 21 June - a guided tour with stops highlighting significant places and stories from refugees and others in your community, like Winnie.

To find out more about the Walk with refugees and how you can get involved, see:

  1. Join us at the CCR Spring Consultation, Home, dignity: Human rights in Winnipeg, 21-23 May 2015

Home, dignity: Human rights, CCR Spring Consultation, Wininpeg 21-23 May 2015Join us to explore questions affecting refugee protection and newcomer settlement at the Canadian Council for Refugee Spring Consultation in Winnipeg from 21-23 May 2015.
With participation from all Canadian provinces and with participants in fields as diverse as healthcare, housing and the law, the conference offers opportunities for professional development, networking and strategy. All are welcome to participate.
Register by Friday 1 May to take advantage of early registration rates!
Information about the Consultation, workshop descriptions and online registration forms are available at:

Upcoming Meetings

21-23 May 2015 – CCR Spring Consultation, Winnipeg

28-29 August 2015 – CCR Summer Working Group meetings, Montreal

26-28 November 2015 – CCR Fall Consultation, Hamilton

Upcoming Webinars

Thursday 16 April – Trace your Walk with refugees: From start to finish

Thursday 30 April – Giving your Walk media swagger: Tips and tools