The Mission of OCASI is to achieve equality, access and full participation for immigrants and refugees in every aspect of Canadian life.
OCASI asserts the right of all persons to participate fully and equitably in the social, cultural, political and economic life of Ontario. OCASI affirms that immigrants and refugees to Canada should be guaranteed equitable access to all services and programs.
OCASI believes that Canada must be a land of refuge and opportunity, a country known for humanity and justice in its treatment of immigrants and refugees. OCASI believes that in cooperation with other groups and communities which promote human rights and struggle against discrimination, OCASI will see these principles realized.
OCASI – 42 Years
17 agencies form a steering committee to monitor the Immigrant Settlement Adaptation Program (ISAP) at the first ISAP conference.
The steering committee incorporates as O.C.A.S.I. Annual membership fee is $24.
OCASI campaign generates 6000 letters in support of ISAP, saving the program that was to end.
OCASI gets program funding, hires 1.5 staff and holds the first conference.
OCASI and allies advocate to set yearly immigration at 1% of the population, government agrees
Multilingual Access to Social Services Initiative
MASSI is created by Ontario. OCASI advocacy results in the inclusion of cultural interpreter training and services.
OCASI leads Ontario opposition to devolution of federal government responsibility for immigrant settlement and integration to the provinces.
Sector is computerized
OCASI advocacy results in the computerization of sector agencies funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Settlement.Org is launched and becomes the trusted source of information for newcomers.
Every Child’s Right to OHIP Coalition
OCASI and allies get OHIP coverage for Canadian-born children of parents without full immigration status.
Immigration & Refugee Protection Act
OCASI and allies successfully advocate to include same-sex spousal sponsorship in this new immigration law.
OCASI creates the Francophone Consultative Committee to better support agencies serving francophone refugees and immigrants.
Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change
COP-COC founded in 2007 by OCASI and allies, holds first provincial forum.
Positive Spaces Initiative, Accessibility project
OCASI launches PSI and Accessibility projects to build sector capacity to meet needs of LGBTQ newcomers and immigrants and refugees with disabilities.
Making Ontario Home
OCASI launches report from the largest study of immigrant and refugee use of settlement services and their needs in Ontario.
OCASI School for Social Justice (SSJ)
OCASI launches the SSJ, an initiative to strengthen the advocacy capacity of member agencies.
OCASI Client Management System
OCMS is launched across Canada. It is a powerful online client data system
OCASI receives the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) Award of Excellence for the Accessibility Program.
OCASI supports sector agencies in resettling refugees arriving from overseas.
OCASI Francophone Director
OCASI francophone member agencies elect the first Francophone Director to the Board.
Anti-Islamophobia Anti-Racism Campaign
OCASI partners with allies and launches a public education campaign on Islamophobia, racism, and anti-Black racism.
The Ontario government establishes an AntiRacism Directorate, thanks to efforts of advocates such as OCASI.
Telling Our Stories
OCASI launched a graphic novel written by immigrant and refugee women as a violence against women prevention tool.
Ontario passes the Anti-Racism Act, first of its kind in Canada, thanks to advocacy by COP-COC and others.
Women’s organizations among OCASI member agencies establish a Women’s Caucus
Community of Practice
OCASI creates a national practice in collaboration with sector umbrella organizations across Canada.
OCASI member agencies elect the first Women’s Director at the 2019 Annual General Meeting.
National anti-racism strategy
A national anti-racism strategy is introduced by the federal government, and later different orders of government start to collect disaggregated data all thanks to years of advocacy by groups such as OCASI and COP-COC.
The federal government deems immigrant and refugee settlement and integration services to be essential during the pandemic. OCASI successfully advocates to IRCC for flexibility in funding, including a decoupling of administration and program costs.
Members Supporting Members Fund
OCASI members vote to create a Members Supporting Members Fund at the 2020 AGM. This is a first for OCASI.
OCASI Conferences, Professional Education and Training, Online Learnings (LearnAtWork.ca, Community Education), Settlement At Work/Secteur Etablissement, Maximizing Governance, Allies for Refugee Integration, National Online Bilingual Community of Practice, Journeys to Active Citizenship, OrgwiseRead More
Cumulative number of agencies per year
We grew from 17 to 244 member agencies in 42 years.
- 244 Member Agencies
- 40 Women’s organizations
- 20 Francophone Agencies
- 8 New member agencies
184 member agencies
107 Services provided by OCASI members in Languages other than English & French
- 15,200 workers (79% are women)
- 48,700 volunteers
Agencies generating revenue
- > $5MM: 61 agencies
- $1-5MM:: 91 agencies
- < $1MM:: 86 agencies
Connections to Indigenous Peoples
47% of member agencies carried out activities with or about Indigenous peoples in Canada between 2014 and 2019.
61% of member agencies reported having a relationship with an Indigenous group, organization, Elder, Knowledge-keeper, leader, community worker or peoples.
29% of member agencies are unionized
Member agencies divided by region
- Central East: 12 (5%)
- Central West: 20 (8%)
- East: 22 (9%)
- North: 12 (5%)
- South: 16 (7%)
- Toronto: 140 (58%)
- West: 20 (8%)
Central East Region
- Durham Region (Ajax, Oshawa, Pickering, Whitby)
- York Region (Aurora, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan)
Central West Region
- Peel Region (including Brampton)
- North Bay
- Sault Ste. Marie
- Thunder Bay
- Fort Erie
- St. Catharines
- City of Toronto
Behind the scenes
City of Toronto
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Employment and Social Development Canada
Women and Gender Equality
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
United Way Greater Toronto
WES Mariam Assefa Fund
Canadian Women’s Foundation
A special thank you to our funders, partners and collaborators.
A special thank you to our many volunteers for your generous contributions.