Letter from Janet Dench - The time has come to step back!

The CCR has been the centre of my life for more than 30 years. Now, after 25 years as Executive Director, I am ready to pass this leadership role on to others.

I remain as committed as ever to the work – but 25 years is a long time to carry the responsibility for any organization, and especially one whose work is as important as the CCR’s. New leadership will bring valuable new energy and ideas – and I am looking forward to a slightly more relaxed life!

I am planning to step down at the end of December. I will be looking for new ways to continue to contribute to the work, whether within the CCR or outside, so I hope to stay connected with members. Where useful, I want to pass on to others the knowledge I have gained through my many years within the CCR.

It has been my great privilege to work at the CCR – where we all walk together, doing our best to advance rights and recognize the humanity in all, constantly learning from each other and supporting each other. The best part of the CCR is without doubt the people – I cannot express how much I appreciate you all - old friends and new people just discovering the organization! I will always think of the CCR as my family.

I know that it is a huge challenge for an organization to adapt to the departure of someone who has been around as long as I have. I hope that you will offer warm support, as I intend to do, to the Executive Committee, the staff and the new staff leadership as they embark on the transition. I have every confidence that they have the skills, the passion and the commitment necessary to lead the CCR into a strong future that honours the best in what the organization has always stood for!

In solidarity,

Janet Dench



Message from the Executive Committee

After 25 years as Executive Director and over 30 years of tireless, committed and passionate work with the Canadian Council for Refugees, Janet Dench will be stepping down as Executive Director at the end of this year.

As representatives of member organizations, the Executive Committee acknowledges the enormous role played by Janet at every level of the CCR. Under Janet’s visionary leadership the CCR has grown from an organization of humble beginnings to one recognized both nationally and internationally as a lead advocate for refugee rights.

We are deeply grateful for her years of dedication, her unwavering commitment to defending and advancing the rights of refugees and migrants, her contributions to building the CCR into the organization that we know today, and her informed, insightful advocacy that has led to many policy changes and improvements to the Canadian immigration system and to the broadening of refugee protection.

This is a big change for us all, and it is only natural to have questions and concerns as we move on to the next chapter. We are fortunate to have solid staff team ready to embrace a new leadership structure. We encourage you to trust in them and the expertise they bring to the organization. We have the strength of our over 200 member organizations, and so many dedicated individuals who are involved in the CCR through our working groups, committees, and campaigns. We have established relationships with other civil society organizations, government partners and diverse stakeholders. And we can count on Janet to continue to stand in solidarity with us and for refugees and migrants.

The upcoming Fall Consultation in Toronto from November 24 to 26 will be Janet’s last as Executive Director of the CCR. We hope you will join us at the consultation, which includes a social event on the evening of November 24, an opportunity to honour Janet.