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Connecting Ottawa Communique

Connecting Ottawa Communique
September 21, 2022

We are pleased to provide this information for front-line workers to support the information and referral needs of clients. Education sessions that may be of interest to workers are listed first followed by information and updates from our lawyers and partners related to services and programs relevant to clients who have a communication barrier due to language or sensory disability. Please feel free to share this email widely among your networks.

Upcoming Connecting Ottawa education sessions:

**Tomorrow** The Landlord’s Duty to Accommodate (hosted by Connecting Ottawa & Reach Canada) **Tomorrow*

Date:  Thursday, September 22, 2022
Time:  1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Speaker:   Valérie Lacroix, Ontario Legal Information Centre

Via zoom:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83907148196?pwd=SEN0MTd5OEdnRzdrTTY4VFA3aE12QT09
Meeting ID: 839 0714 8196
Passcode: 795422

This session focuses on the landlord’s duty to accommodate the tenant: what does it mean? What are the limits of this duty? How to request an accommodation? What to do if your request is refused? We will also discuss the right to accommodation during a hearing at the LTB.

Unsafe workplaces and low pay: The law and health and safety issues faced by low-income workers in Ontario
Presented by:  Connecting Ottawa and CLEO-Connect as part of Access to Justice Week Ontario
Date:  October 25, 2022
Time:  10:30 a.m. – noon
Speaker:  Chetan Muram, Workers Health and Safety Legal Clinic
Registration link:  https://outreach.cleo.on.ca/civicrm/?civiwp=CiviCRM&q=civicrm%2Fevent%2Finfo&reset=1&id=319

This will be the first of a three part series on employment and vulnerable populations that Connecting Ottawa will be offering as its 2022 Conference Series.  Watch your mail for more details on this and the two other sessions to be held in early November.

Legal information and updates:

Federal government proposes new financial support measures to combat inflation and the rising cost of living
The federal government announced new proposed financial support measures for housing, dental care services for children under 12 years of age, and through an added GST credit payment. To prepare for the proposed measures, make sure clients file their 2021 income tax and benefits returns and register for a CRA My Account if they do not already have one. Connecting Ottawa will provide more information and updates on the eligibility criteria and application process as soon as the status of these measures is confirmed. In the meantime, information on each measure is available at these links:

Refugee Rights and Responsibilities infosheet now available in French
With sincere thanks to Connecting Ottawa network partner CESOC, the Connecting Ottawa infosheet Rights and Responsibilities of Refugees in Canada is now available in French.  Connecting Ottawa lawyer, Heather Neufeld, and Connecting Ottawa’s summer student intern, Joel Szota, prepared the infosheet to answer some of the common questions that arise about the rights and responsibilities of Refugees in Canada .  You can review and download the french resource at: https://connexionottawa.com/a-propos-de-nous/connecting-ottawa-resources/.  The English resource is available at: https://connectingottawa.com/about-us/connecting-ottawa-resources/

ServiceOntario now authorized to provide certain Ontario Works services
ServiceOntario is now authorized to provide certain services to the public in relation to Ontario Works assistance:

  • Assisting members of the public in completing applications to receive assistance, and submitting completed applications to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services or a delivery agent.
  • Providing information about the status of an application to receive assistance in response to an inquiry from the applicant or the applicant’s authorized representative.
  • Providing information about the account of a recipient of assistance in response to an inquiry from the recipient or the recipient’s authorized representative.
  • Updating the personal information of recipients in relation to the provision of assistance to recipients.

ServiceOntario already has authority to provide comparable services for ODSP income support and employment supports or extended health benefits.

Reminder:  Temporary Employment Insurance (EI) measures expire this week
The federal government relaxed EI eligibility during the pandemic to improve access to emergency support for those in need. The current minimum of 420 insured hours to qualify for both regular and special benefits (parental, sickness, etc.) enabled more workers to qualify for financial support. However, starting September 25, 2022, these temporary changes to the EI program will no longer be in effect:

  • As of September 25, 2022, you will need between 420 and 700 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period to get regular EI benefits
  • As of September 25, 2022, you must have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment to qualify for EI sickness benefits 
  • As of September 25, 2022, you must have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment to qualify for maternity and parental benefits 

University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic (UOCLC) has moved
The University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic (UOCLC) has moved. The new address is: 538-540 King Edward Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5. Currently the clinic is open to the public by appointment only. Clients can call 613-562-5600 to schedule an appointment. An updated list of services in criminal, housing and family law is available in their new pamphlet at:  https://connectingottawa.com/leaflet-uoclc-bil-community/.  Intake periods for 2022-23 are:

  • September 19 to October 17, 2022
  • October 31 to November 30, 2022
  • January 4 to January 13, 2023
  • January 30 to February 28, 2023
  • March 13 to March 30, 2023

Multilingual monkeypox information sheets
The most recent resource produced by Refugee 613 answers some of the most critical questions about the Monkeypox virus in multiple languages. The resource sheets are available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), Dari, English, French, Hindi, Pashto, Punjabi, Spanish, Somali, Swahili, and Ukrainian. To download the resource, visit: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1oGafe-ui3Rop_9Y-ZrPcQXqdOWelJ1MY

Info on the status of an Ontario driver’s license now available online
Clients can obtain information on the status of their Ontario driver’s license, including specific licensing conditions,by using the Driver’s License Check: Driver’s Licence Check (gov.on.ca).

On the Radar: Helping seniors with health costs
Community Legal Education Ontario put together a helpful list of government benefits to cover health care costs that people can access as they get older: https://outreach.cleo.on.ca/civicrm?civiwp=CiviCRM&q=civicrm%2Fmailing%2Fview&reset=1&id=554.

Digital divide placemat on accessing the LTB
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) recently released a “placemat” that illustrates how the switch to digital hearings had created challenges for many tenants in accessing the LTB. The jpg and pdf versions have now been posted on their tenant tip sheet page. (You can find them by scrolling down to the end of the page).

CLEO Connect fall webinar series
Community Legal Education Ontario has announced their fall webinar lineup:

October 3, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.: Navigating the Legal Help Landscape Part I: Community Legal Clinics and Legal Aid Ontario Registration link and details here
October 13 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.: The Eviction Process: Rights of Tenants with DisabilitiesRegistration link and details here
November 3: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Guided Pathways Training: Making a Power of Attorney Personal Care  Registration link and details to come
November 17: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Guided Pathways Training: Making a Power of Attorney Property Registration link and details to come
November 24:  12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Navigating the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)  Registration link and details to come
December (date to be announced) Family Law – with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women Registration link and details to come

Financialization of Housing
The Office of the Federal Housing Advocate has commissioned and issued a series of reports about the financialization of housing. Financialization, as identified in the report, is a human rights issue and has significant consequences for the affordability, security of tenure, and habitable conditions of rental housing for tenants. It is associated with elevated risks of illness and death for seniors and people with disabilities in long-term care facilities. To read more visit the website at: https://www.housingchrc.ca/en/financialization-housing

Reminder: Fall 2022 increase to Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates in effect
ODSP rates and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) increased by 5% as of September 2022. Future ODSP rates will be adjusted to inflation. Ontario Works rates remain the same and there have been no increases to special allowances, such as special diet and personal needs, or to mandatory benefits. For more information visit: Keeping Costs Down for Ontario Families | Ontario Newsroom.

Reminder:  Refugee claimants can renew expired refugee claimant ID documents
Although refugee claimant ID documents (the one with the person’s photo on it) technically do not expire, most service providers do not understand this. The expiration date on the document causes problems when using the document as a form of ID or accessing health care. Immigration, Refugees and
Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has finally instituted a process for claimants to renew their expired document. Please follow the following steps to renew a refugee claimant document by mail:

  1. Complete the RPCD request form. Include any dependant who also needs a new refugee claimant document.  The form can be found at: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/ircc/documents/pdf/english/kits/forms/imm0168e.pdf
  2. Get 2 passport size photos for each person. The back of 1 photo must include the person’s name and date of birth.
  3. Mail the complete form and all photos in one envelope to: RPCD / DDA, IRCC Winnipeg, 269 Main Street, Suite 400, Winnipeg, MB R3C 1B2

After IRCC receives the request, they will send the new refugee claimant document in the mail or inform the individual to pick up the document at an
IRCC office.

Raising resilient children and youth living with disabilities
ABLE2, Reach Canada and Dr. Cheng from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) will be hosting a talk on fostering resiliency in children and youth living with disabilities. The session will cover,

  • What is needed for mental wellness, resiliency and self-regulation
  • Ways to build daily activities and routines that naturally provide wellness, resiliency and self-regulation
  • Ways to help find a balance on productive vs. recreational screentime
  • Ways to find time for self-care.

The event will be held tonight, Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 6:30pm-8:00pm.  To register visit https://www.reach.ca/english/education/seminars-conferences.html

SASC Ottawa Conference:  When Survivors Lead
The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa will be hosting a two day conference October 6 & 7 at the Bronson Centre exploring the topic of  gender based violence and making space for effective voices in the criminal justice system.  For more information visit: https://sascottawa.com/

Call for participation: Research on disability and reproductive health during COVID-19 in Canada  Researchers at the University of Toronto and DAWN Canada want to know how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the reproductive health care of people with disabilities. You may be able to participate if: you identify or may be identified as having a disability; you identify as a woman, trans, or non-binary; you are 18 years of age or older; and you live and receive health care services in Canada. Participants can receive $15.00 or $40.00 gift cards depending on their level of participation: Disability and Reproductive Health during COVID-19 (utoronto.ca).

Post Suicide Support Team looking for new volunteers
The Post Suicide Support Team (PSST) is looking for new members. The Post-Suicide Support Team (PSST) is a multi-disciplinary volunteer group dedicated to supporting communities who have lost someone to suicide by providing group healing sessions. Application deadline is September 26, 2022.  Please contact jlevesque@cmhaottawa.ca if you are interested. Interested persons will be asked to fill out application and reference documents.  For those accepted, 3, half-day training sessions will be held in October 2022

In case you missed it … (we think the following information bears repeating)

Free access to legal support now available to all Black students in Ontario schools – regardless of the financial situation of their families 
The Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) received funding to help Black families navigate race-related issues in schools across the province, at no cost.  Working in partnership with local community organizations, BLAC can provide summary legal advice, document preparation, negotiation and full representation when appealing disciplinary measures, and legal assistance with bullying and harassment and other administrative issues that may arise during the school year.  To learn more about the services available, visit: https://www.blacklegalactioncentre.ca/.

$25 children’s dental clinic
Algonquin College will be hosting a children’s dental clinic for the fee of $25 on the following dates:

  • September 10th 8:30am – 4:00pm
  • September 17th 8:30am – 4:00pm
  • September 24th 8:30am – 4:00pm
  • October 1st 8:30am – 4:00pm
  • October 6th from 5:30pm
  • October 7th from 5:30pm

The clinic is for those aged between 6-16. It includes an assessment and teeth cleaning. To book an appointment call or email Algonquin at 613-727-4723 or dentalclinic@algonquincollege.com

Family Court Survival Workbook
Luke’s Place, an organization committed to improving the safety and experience of women and their children as they proceed through the family law process, has created a workbook for women leaving abusive relations.  The workbook provides information and resources on legal issues and family court processes, how to provide evidence of abuse, and how to complete court documents.  The workbook is available at https://familycourtandbeyond.ca/about-this-site/download-these-resources/

Resource Sheet:  Top 3 reasons to get at COVID 19 booster
Refugee 613 in conjunction with the University of Toronto and the Public Health Agency of Canada has created a new resource sheet: The Top 3 reasons to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.  The resource is available for download in ArabicDariEnglishFrenchHindiPashtoPunjabi (Gurmukhi)Punjabi (Shamukhi)SpanishUkrainian, and Urdu.

Canadian Centre for Housing Rights renters guide.Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation has adopted a new name: the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights.  The new CCHR website can be viewed at https://housingrightscanada.com/. The Centre has also released a new guide for renters in Ontario. This guide provides renters in Ontario with key information about the three stages of their tenancy: starting, maintaining and ending their tenancy. It also includes a list of top ten tips that all renters in Ontario should know: To download the guide, visit: https://housingrightscanada.com/resources/the-ontario-renters-guide/

Updated Connecting Ottawa information sheets
The following resources have been produced by Connecting Ottawa lawyers to provide front line workers and community members with information and referral resources for common legal issues.  Please feel free to share with your clients and networks.

Connect with us …

Connecting Ottawa is available to support front-line workers in Ottawa to provide appropriate legal information and referrals to clients with  communication barriers as a result of language or sensory disability. If you have a question or require a consultation, please send it to info@connectingottawa.comalong with an Intake Form: https://connectingottawa.com/request-for-information-consultation/.  This will ensure the most efficient response to your request.  As a reminder, we do not provide direct legal services to individuals