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Connecting Ottawa Communique


Connecting Ottawa Communique
May 9, 2024

We are pleased to provide this information for front-line workers to support the information and referral needs of clients. Connecting Ottawa 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:
Information Session:  The Family Justice Centre – A Virtual Legal Clinic for Family Law Issues
Date:  Tuesday June 4, 2024
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Speakers:  Jason Goodman, Director, Pro Bono Students Canada, Family Justice
Join Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83515847409?pwd=dmx5a0VubVI2SStWd0VySy9nVExvZz09
Meeting ID: 835 1584 7409
Passcode: 653780
Come learn about the Family Justice Centre (FJC), a virtual legal clinic started by Pro Bono Students Canada, designed to assist self-represented litigants dealing with family law issues who do not qualify for legal aid but are unable to afford a lawyer.  The session will cover the FJC’s mission, model, and eligibility criteria, as well as review the particulars of the FJC’s process relevant to frontline workers making referrals for their clients. Practical examples will assist in illustrating what the FJC does and how it works.

Information Session: Repairs and Maintenance in Rental Units – Who is Responsible and What to do when there’s a Problem?
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2024
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Speaker: Suzanne Larose, Paralegal, Community Legal Services of Ottawa
Join Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84684824939?pwd=a3VCZHZwb2F0UDJGR1k0MGZnWmZVQT09
Meeting ID: 846 8482 4939
Passcode: 329840
Repairs and maintenance issues are common in rental units. This information session is geared to help frontline workers support their clients in assessing who bears the responsibility for repairs and maintenance and what steps can be taken if things aren’t getting fixed, including filing an application at the Landlord Tenant Board.

Legal information and updates:
Online applications now open for the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)
Seniors 65 and above can apply online for the CDCP. No invitation letter is required to apply online. If you previously received an invitation letter to apply for the CDCP, the personal access code provided expired on April 30, 2024. However, you can still apply online for the CDCP without one. Before applying, you and your spouse or common-law partner (if applicable) must have filed your 2023 tax return and received your Notice of Assessment. To complete your application, you’ll need to provide this information about yourself and your spouse or common-law partner (if applicable):

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Full name
  • Home and mailing address
  • List of the dental coverage you have through government social programs (if applicable)

Adults with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and children under the age of 18 can apply online for the CDCP starting in June 2024. All remaining eligible Canadian residents can apply for the CDCP online starting in 2025. For more information on the CDCP we encourage you to read Connecting Ottawa’s information sheet: https://connectingottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Canadian-Dental-Care-Plan-Info-Sheet-May-9-2024.pdf.

Can a person apply for the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) if they are currently enrolled in an Ontario dental program?
Yes. Clients receiving dental coverage under ODSP, Ontario Works, Healthy Smiles Ontario, or Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program can apply for the CDCP if they want to. However, they are not currently required by the province to apply for the CDCP. Since the CDCP may not cover 100% of dental services, Ontario’s programs can be used to supplement dental bills up to the maximum amounts under Ontario’s service schedules. For more information on the CDCP, we encourage you to read Connecting Ottawa’s information sheet:  https://connectingottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Canadian-Dental-Care-Plan-Info-Sheet-May-9-2024.pdf.

Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) available until June 30, 2024
The CDB is a direct, tax-free benefit payment for children under 12 who do not have dental insurance and whose parents and guardians earn an adjusted family net income of less than $90,000. The CDB is available until June 30, 2024 for:

  • dental care received between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024
  • one additional payment if you meet the criteria

Eligible children under 18 years of age will need to enroll online in the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) in June after the CDB expires to continue receiving dental services. Information about the CDCP and the application link to enroll are available here:  https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/dental/dental-care-plan.html. For more information on the CDB we encourage you to read Connecting Ottawa’s information sheet: https://connectingottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/CDB-Infosheet-January-16-2024.pdf  .  

Reminder: Important update on oral health provider participation in the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)
As of July 8, 2024, oral health providers will be permitted to bill Sun Life directly on a claim-by-claim basis without formally signing up for the CDCP. This means that CDCP clients can see any oral health provider of their choice, but only if the provider agrees to bill Sun Life directly for services provided under the CDCP. Before accepting care from an oral health provider, please advise clients who are covered under the CDCP to:

  • confirm that the provider will accept a CDCP patient
  • know their coverage start date and co-payment, if applicable
  • ask their provider if there are any costs they will be responsible for above the co-payment
  • never pay for the full amount of the services in advance expecting to receive reimbursement from Sun Life, as this is not possible

Note: before July 8, 2024, claims will only be processed from a participating provider: https://www.sunlife.ca/sl/cdcp/en/member/provider-search/.

Virtual learning series on Gender-based Violence against older adults
Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario is hosting two virtual sessions on supporting older adults and building a better community response to elder abuse. The sessions will be provided with American Sign Language interpreters. For more information and to register visit: https://eapon.ca/gbv_learning_series_2024/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR2P-zMFobZLE7MQyz5DK1xp5FasD3-gRAMbKwS24vwVUR_L0SRJ7vnmbVc_aem_ARL1OU1WJt_6n47d8aQDyO4jU_omJZj0ksySBY8F1mmjKfq3G7lfqzEsKGlkJcGOQnUidMYF22GZvG2sfBgvDnyr.

Family court and beyond: encouraging clients to practice self-care
Luke’s Place developed a self-care checklist and personal self-care plan to help people who have been abused and are going through the family court system. We encourage you to share these tools with your clients: https://familycourtandbeyond.ca/your-experience/my-self-care-checklist/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR2EyA3GDHmfEouPbOBqtm3GN-q-hHdaF5Ac2959DDMjCuUr0BnlpfAkiIg_aem_ARILp6Lpk0CW1dtZUCpx03nKer07Nta_CPIEF8_f4f_my3iKwuiPOiqBeXheC28zTarYvtOYX1CSptvUGRMnY80W.

Projet Aîné.es Avisé.es : ateliers à venir
Aîné.es Avisé.es, un projet d’éducation juridique de la Clinique juridique francophone d’Ottawa (Centre de services communautaires Vanier), organise les ateliers suivants :

  • Vendredi 10 mai, 10h-12h (Centre Soleil de l’Ouest d’Ottawa, 2720 ch. Richmond) Aide médicale à mourir. Initiez-vous au soutien du revenu pour les personnes âgées avec une discussion à propos de l’admissibilité et des paramètres des prestations de retraite du Régime des pensions du Canada, des prestations aux survivants et la prestation de décès.  Pour vous inscrire, veuillez communiquer avec centresoleil.ottawaouest@gmail.com.
  • Mardi 21 mai, 10-11h (En ligne) Régime des pensions du Canada, prestations aux survivants et prestation de décès. Initiez-vous au soutien du revenu pour les personnes âgées avec une discussion à propos de l’admissibilité et des paramètres des prestations de retraite du Régime des pensions du Canada, des prestations aux survivants et la prestation de décès. S’inscrire au: https://farfo.ca/evenements/.
  • Mardi 4 juin, 10-11h (En ligne) Droits relatifs aux soins à domicile. Familiariser vous avec les démarches à prendre si vous n’êtes pas d’accord avec une décision de Services de soutien à domicile et en milieu communautaire à propos de vos services. S’inscrire au : https://farfo.ca/evenements/.

CLEO Connect Information Session – Supporting international students: understanding new rules and restrictions
International students increasingly seek support from community workers when facing issues with work, housing, tuition, and immigration. There have also been many changes to international student rules recently. Join CLEO Connect for a webinar that will provide information about the following topics: 1. rules and restrictions international students face in relation to employment and applying for permanent residency, including recent announcements about work hours, caps on study permits, proof of funds and work permit eligibility; and 2. resources available to international students struggling with school and access to public services like healthcare. To learn more and register, visit: https://outreach.cleo.on.ca/civicrm/?civiwp=CiviCRM&q=civicrm%2Fevent%2Finfo&reset=1&id=404

Webinaire – Résidence permanente et parrainage : 6 erreurs à éviter
Vous êtes résident.e permanent.e ou en voie de le devenir ? Vous envisagez un parrainage ? Ce webinaire gratuit abordera plusieurs questions importantes pour éviter des erreurs juridiques courantes dans votre demande d’immigration. Présenté par Me Safiatou Diallo, avocate spécialisée en immigration et droits de la personne, ce webinaire s’adresse d’abord et avant tout aux personnes protégées, aux résidents permanents et à ceux et celles qui envisagent le regroupement familial depuis le Canada. Jeudi 30 mai, 10h30 – 11h30. Une initiative de la Clinique juridique. francophone d’Ottawa. Lien d’inscription: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/893894682057?aff=oddtdtcreator

ABLE2 is hiring a Resource Coordinator
ABLE2 is hiring a Resource Coordinator for the Reach Legal Program to facilitate a project to increase access to justice through front-line workers. The posting for the position is available here: https://charityvillage.com/jobs/resource-coordinator-independent-contractor-9-months-in-ottawa-ontario-ca/

Reminder:  New OW and ODSP income and asset exemptions
Effective April 12, 2024, the following payments are exempted from both income and assets:

  • A payment received by a class member under the First Nations Child and Family Services, Jordan’s Principle, Trout and Kith Class Settlement Agreement, approved by the Federal Court on October 24, 2023.
  • A payment received by a class member under the Indian Boarding Homes Settlement Agreement, approved by the Federal Court on December 11, 2023.  
  • A payment received under the Ontario Autism Program for autism services and supports.
  • In addition, existing income exemptions for homelessness prevention payments have been amended to change references to “the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative” to “a program to prevent homelessness.”

Reminder:  Housing Help Update
Housing Help is a one-stop service to help people with their practical housing problems.  To learn more about the ways in which Housing Helps can assist your clients, please visit: https://www.action-logement.ca/en/housing-help/services/  Please note that, currently, Housing Help can not provide Paralegal services as the position is vacant.  An update will be provided when Paralegal services become available again. In the interim, please reach out to the community legal clinics for housing-related legal issues.  Information about community legal clinics in Ottawa and Legal Aid Ontario is available at https://connectingottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Legal-Aid_March-20_2023-revised.pdf.

Reminder:  Updated CLEO Resources
CLEO has prepared updated resources on the following topics, which are available in print or online:

Reminder:  iHeal app promotion
Backed by years of research and testing, the free, private and secure iHEAL app helps Canadian women who have experienced abuse from a current or past partner to find personalized ways to stay safe and be well. We encourage you to share the iHeal app with your clients and networks. Promotional materials are free and can be used to raise awareness about this tool: https://ihealapp.ca/en/app-promo. The iHeal app was developed by researchers from Western University, University of British Columbia and the University of New Brunswick, with support from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Reminder:  Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario’s new toll-free number
People can now contact Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario by calling their toll-free number: 1-833-916-6728.  Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario provides support, information, and resources on a variety of topics pertaining to elder abuse. They also offer training sessions to service providers: https://eapon.ca/training-education-request/.

Reminder: Connecting Ottawa Update on Immigration and Refugee Law Consultations/Referrals
Beginning on March 28, 2024, Connecting Ottawa will be temporarily unable to provide consultations for immigration or refugee law matters. Should you require a consultation for an immigration or refugee law matter, please contact a community legal aid clinic to speak to a caseworker or have your client’s matter put on their intake. Information on community legal clinics in Ottawa and Legal Aid Ontario is available at https://connectingottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Legal-Aid_March-20_2023-revised.pdf. An update will be provided as to when Connecting Ottawa will resume consultations on immigration and refugee law matters. Front line social service or agency workers seeking support in other areas of law can continue to make consultation requests through our online intake form at: https://connectingottawa.com/request-for-information-consultation/.

In case you missed it … (we think the following information bears repeating):
Updated Connecting Ottawa information sheets

Reminder: Working for Workers Four Act, 2023 receives royal assent
On March 21, 2024, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023 (Bill 149) received royal assent. This means the following amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2024 are, or will be, in force:

  • Deductions: As of March 21, 2024, employers cannot withhold or deduct wages from an employee if a customer of a restaurant, gas station, or other establishment leaves without paying for their goods or services.
  • Trial periods: As of March 21, 2024, unpaid trial shifts are banned, and employees must be paid for all work that is permitted to be done by the employee.  
  • Tips: As of June 21, 2024, if an employer pays their employees tips and gratuities by cash or cheque, these payments must be given to the employee at their workplace or at some other place agreeable to the employee. Also, any tip sharing policy must be posted in a visible location in the workplace and retained for three years.

Bill 149 also includes the following new requirements related to job postings. However, these requirements will not come into effect until the date of proclamation, which is not yet known (stay tuned!):

  • Pay transparency: employers will be required to include in any publicly advertised job posting the expected compensation or the range of expected compensation for the position.
  • Canadian work experience: employers cannot include any requirements related to Canadian work experience in publicly advertised job postings.
  • AI: employers will be required to include a statement disclosing their use of AI to screen, assess, or select applicants for a position advertised in a publicly available job posting.

Reminder: Old Age Security (OAS) Benefits Estimator
The OAS Benefits Estimator can help your clients estimate their monthly payments and plan for the future. This new tool can:
find out when you could become eligibleunderstand the impact of deferring your pensionsee how your payments may change based on your situationTo access the Benefits Estimator visit:  https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/payments.html#estimate-benefits.

New Rules for Applying for a Study Permit from Outside Canada
For the next two years, 2024 and 2025, the government has set a cap on the number of study permits that can be approved. The cap is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, a decrease of 35% from 2023. Each province will be allotted a certain number of study permits for schools in that province. This means that it will be much more difficult for individuals to be accepted to study in Canada. The cap on study permits does not impact individuals who are already studying in Canada or those who are coming to Canada to study at the elementary, high school, Master’s or doctoral level. Individuals coming to study at the undergraduate level in Ontario will be particularly impacted since Ontario schools will not be able to welcome as many international students due to the caps.

In addition, as of January 2024, most individuals applying to come to Canada to study need to provide an attestation letter from the province or territory where they plan to study. The process to apply for an attestation letter from each province or territory is not yet in place. These processes are expected to be in place by March 31, 2024.

As a result, it is currently not possible to apply for a study permit from abroad except in very limited circumstances. If you apply after January 22, 2024 without an attestation letter your application will be returned unless you’re either a:

  • minor child in a primary or secondary school (kindergarten to grade 12);
  • student in a masters, PhD or other post-graduate program; or
  • student applying to extend your study permit.

In the coming weeks IRCC will also stop issuing open work permits to the spouses of international students, except for the spouses of those at the Masters or doctoral level. This means, it will be much more difficult for most international students to bring family with them when they come to Canada to study.

Update on How to Renew or Replace a Refugee Protection Claimant Document
The Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD) is a secure document issued to refugee claimants that is used to access the Interim Federal Health Program and other services in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is now processing requests to renew all expired, lost, stolen or damaged RPCDs. Beginning February 15, 2024, asylum claimants who need to renew or replace their Refugee Protection Claimant Documents (RPCD) can do so by submitting a request using this IRCC Webform:  https://secure.cic.gc.ca/ClientContact/en/Application/Form/72. Once a renewal is processed, clients will receive their new document by mail or be asked to pick it up at a local IRCC office.  More information about how claimants can renew or replace their RPCDs is available here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/claim-protection-inside-canada/replace-rpcd.html.

Changes to Entry Requirements for Mexican Citizens
As of February 29, 2024, many Mexicans will now need to apply for and be granted a visitor visa before coming to Canada rather than being able to enter with just an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). The only Mexicans who can still enter Canada on their existing ETA are individuals who hold a valid Canadian work or study permit. All other Mexicans had their ETA automatically cancelled on February 29th. If a Mexican citizen has held a Canadian visitor visa or a United States non-immigrant visa in the past ten years, they can apply for and receive a new ETA to enter Canada. All other Mexicans will now have to apply for a Canadian visitor visa and be granted the visa before they can travel to Canada. These measures are in reaction to the high number of refugee claims being made by Mexicans who could enter Canada without a visa. For full details, please see: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/campaigns/eta-work-visa-mexico.html?utm_campaign=ircc-ircc-irrm23&utm_medium=vurl&utm_source=mexico-canada.

Permanent Residence Pathway for Foreign Nationals Who Were in State Care
In January 2024, IRCC launched a permanent residence pathway for youth who do not have permanent residence and who spent at least a year in state care, meaning under the legal responsibility of a Children’s Aid Society. The young person does not have to have spent a year straight in state care; several periods in care that add up to at least a year is sufficient to qualify.

If a young person qualifies for this permanent residence pathway, they do not have to pay application fees and may receive permanent residence specifically due to their vulnerability as a youth who was previously in care and who lacks permanent status. As part of the application, the youth must provide a letter from the Children’s Aid Society indicating when they were legally under the responsibility of the agency. They must also prove their residence in Canada during the past three years prior to submitting their application. All applications must be submitted by mail, not online.

For a young person to be eligible under this permanent residence program, they must:

  • have come to Canada before they were 19 years of age;
  • be physically present in Canada at the time of application;
  • have continuously resided in Canada for at least three years by the time of application;
  • have continuously resided in Canada since the age of 19, if over the age of 19;
  • have been under the legal responsibility of a child and family services provider under a provincial or territorial government’s designated ministry for child protection for at least one year (cumulative), meaning that the child and family services provider obtained full legal parental responsibility by court order;
  • intend to reside in a province or territory other than the province of Quebec;
  • not be a person referred to in section F of Article 1 of the Refugee Convention;
  • have a valid passport or travel document or provide a document described in subsections 178(1) and 178(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR);
  • be physically in Canada when permanent residence is granted.
  • may be inadmissible, depending on the form of inadmissibility (for example being inadmissible for financial reasons or due to criminality is permitted under this special program).

For complete details of the permanent residence pathway, please see: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/minors-pr.html.

Claim period for Canadian OxyContin and OxyNEO Class Actions extended to June 27, 2024
As we reported in October, a Canada-wide Settlement Agreement of class actions brought in multiple provinces on behalf of persons who were prescribed and ingested OxyContin and/or OxyNEO has been approved and is in effect. The settlement compensates eligible class members, including their estates, for various injuries they suffered due to addictions they developed from using these prescription Oxy drugs. Anyone who was prescribed and ingested OxyContin and/or OxyNeo in Canada between January 1, 1996 and February 28, 2017 is eligible to claim under the settlement. Estates of deceased Canadian Oxy users are also eligible to file claims, as are spouses, children, and certain other family members. Class members have until June 27, 2024 to file a claim. For more information visit https://oxycontinclassactionsettlement.com/ or https://classactionclinic.com/settlement/oxycontin-and-oxyneo-class-action-settlement/.

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.com along 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.