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How to Help Syrian Refugees in Ottawa

If you are interested in supporting local agencies that support refugees here in our community, listed below are suggestions. This is not an exhaustive list. Please call 211 for further information and options and be aware that general social services agencies in Ottawa have been serving refugee needs in Ottawa for many years. Please see the Connecting Ottawa resources guide for a list of agencies who serve those “with precarious immigration status”.

Ottawa Community Organizations Serving Refugees

Refugee 613

Refugee 613 is a coalition of citizens, settlement agencies, sponsorship groups and community partners working to provide refugees with the building blocks of successful integration: a warm welcome and access to key services, opportunities and support. As a non-partisan, grassroots effort, we aim to build on Ottawa's settlement services by providing our partners and the public with information, connection and inspiration. Visit us at www.refugee613.ca to sign up for our mailing list and receive updates when we have new services to offer.

The Coalition in Ottawa for Refugees ( COR)

This coalition is a non- profit coalition of groups that supports refugees who are overseas, particularly by engaging in refugee sponsorship and resettlement. The member groups of this coalition promote the private sponsorship of refugees for settlement in Canada among other important services. The following faith groups/ affiliations/ organizations support their initiatives: Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Mennonite, Ottawa Muslim Women’s Association, Roman Catholic, United Church, Presbyterian, Unitarian, World University Service of Canada Capital Rainbow Refuge, Inter-Amicos/OCISO, Group of 5. Please contact cor@bell.net for information about the coalition.

Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI)

The Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ mission is to welcome immigrants and refugees, enable their integration and build a more welcoming community in Ottawa. It is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide assistance to all immigrants and refugees.  The Centre has a long history of working with refugees and we support privately sponsored refugees through the pastoral and sponsorship program.

Kindly see website for more information regarding how to donate via the “donate” icon on the right side of the screen.

If you are thinking of sponsoring a refugee or relatives that are refugees, there will be an Information session on Thursday, October 15th from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.  Connecting Ottawa Lawyer, Alexandra Derisier and Settlement Counsellor Roya Atmar will animate the event.

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO)

This organization has been providing comprehensive settlement and integration services to the Ottawa community since 1978. OCISO’s programs include community integration, public education, mental health counselling, school based programs, and English language instruction to newcomers.  OCISO directly serves about 10,000 immigrants and refugees every year. There are three locations in Ottawa (central and south). Our multi-faceted programs and services are delivered in over 50 languages to clients from 120 countries by OCISO’s team of knowledgeable, skilled and professional staff.  The work is augmented by the generous efforts of our enthusiastic, caring and talented volunteers, both established and new Canadians. One of OCISO’s programs is the “Group of Five” sponsorship. Please see website for more details.   The volume of calls lately has exceeded resources and your patience is appreciated while staff and volunteers get back to you. Kindly see website for more information regarding how to donate via the “Canada Helps” icon on the right side of the screen.

Additional organizations:

  • Matthew House: The mandate of Matthew house includes the Furniture Bank which “isn’t just about furniture”. It’s about children sleeping on a bed instead of a blanket on the floor. It’s about helping families and newcomers, young and old,  women fleeing from family violence and the working poor make their shelter a home. With community support, Matthew House Ottawa: Furniture Bank helps an average of 50 individuals and families a month.The Furniture Bank’s mission is to distribute quality used furniture and household goods to Ottawa’s marginalised population including refugees, those transitioning from institutions, half-way houses, and shelters, along with others who have lost their possessions. Originally The Furniture Bank of Ottawa as a service was founded in 2008 following the Haitian refugee crisis. Since then it has grown in response to community need and today operates in partnership with many local social agencies.

  • Carty House: Communal residence in Ottawa that provides transitional housing for female refugee claimants and convention refugees
  • Councillor Rick Chiarelli Clothing Donation Map and Information: With the help of Councillor Chiarelli, Capital Welcomes, Ottawa Neighbourhood Services, the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul (among others) are happy to accept new or gently used clothing over the holiday season and beyond for the purpose of helping refugees and our local vulnerable population. These not-for-profit groups, many of whom have been serving Ottawa for decades, will assure that the right donations go to both refugees and the poor of Ottawa.

Toronto-based

SOCIAL SUPPORT RESOURCES: 

Legal Resources: Refugee Process  & Sponsorship Process:

  1. Canadian Association Refugee Lawyers “CARL”  website: www.carl-acaadr.ca
  2. Refugee Sponsorship Support Program (SSP) at University of Ottawa- The SSP launched October 1, 2015 at City Hall.  The aim of this program is to match pro bono lawyers with those who wish to sponsor Syrian Refugees.  Over 1,300 lawyers and law students throughout Canada have offered to assist with the applications at no cost. For more information please visit www.refugeessp.ca or contact refugeespp@uottawa.ca.  Donations accepted via website. www.refugeehub.ca
  3. Canadian Council for Refugees “CCR” website: www.ccrweb.ca
  4. Legal Aid Ontario
    • General website: www.lao.on.ca
    • Ottawa’s LAO clinics that provide Immigration and Refugee Law Services are
    • Ottawa Integrated Legal Services Office (ILSO), 85 Albert Street Suite 200. Ottawa K1P 6A4.  Immigration duty counsel service is available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1pm-4pm.  This service is available by appointment only by calling 613-569-7448.
    • ***Please note that legal clinics and ILSO Refugee law have an “eligibility criteria”. For further information please call the general Legal Aid information line at 1-800-265-1392. Information regarding eligibility criteria at legal aid clinics and duty counsel services will be provided.

  5. Settlement.org – for the Refugee process in general ( ***not specifically sponsorship process for Syrian Refugees and changes post September 19, 2015).

  6. Connecting Ottawa  - connectingottawa.com
    • Legal information and Resources for Persons with Precarious Immigration Status: http://connectingottawa.com/counselling-resources
    • Upcoming Events Calendar for Public Events and Information Sessions and Public Legal Information about Sponsoring Refugees will be posted here.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be advised of Legal Information Sessions and Upcoming Events and Courses that pertain to Immigration and Refugee ( Sponsorship) Issues

INTERNATIONAL Financial Support and Donations

These organizations are helping Syrian refugees with immediate and basic needs. Each organization has a description of their precise services on their website.  Organizations have online donation icon on websites for direct donations and certain of the organizations listed below are part of the Federal Government Matching Program (see below for further information).  

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT matching program

The Federal Government Matching Program was announced September 13, 2015.  Donations to certain organizations will be matched by the Federal Government up to $100 million dollars until December 2015. Here are the organizations that are part of this program:

  • Red Cross/ Red Crescent
  • World Vision
  • OXFAM
  • CARE