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Connecting Ottawa Communique

Connecting Ottawa Communique
June 28, 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:

** Today** Understanding consumer rights and contracts  – June 28  **Today**
Date:  Tuesday, June 28, 2022 
Time:  11:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon
Speakers:    Kathy Sarris and Nicolas Faye – Consumer Protection Ontario

Via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81754571558?pwd=elQ4ZXp0T3JtOUZCcjNydU9xcEMvUT09
Meeting ID: 817 5457 1558
Passcode: 470474
Description:  The session will provide an overview of Consumer Protection Ontario and its services, an individual’s rights as a consumer, signing contracts/hiring contractors/buying from a salesperson at the door/cancellation rights, shopping in stores or online, renting or buying a car, towing and storage/vehicle repair and how to resolve a dispute with a business/how to file a complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario

Landlord and Tenant Board forms for front line workers – An in-depth look at the N12 form and impact of sale of property on a tenant
Hosted by Connecting Ottawa & Reach Canada
Date:  Tuesday, July 12, 2022 
Time:  11:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon
Speaker:  Sylvia Chapman, Community Legal Services of Ottawa
Via Zoom:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81222507251?pwd=dnBkZml0am1sRWFML085aWF2Q0pwUT09
Meeting ID:  812 2250 7251
Passcode:  006279
Description:   The N12 form is a notice to end a tenancy because the landlord, a purchaser or a family member requires the rental unit. This session will review the form in detail, including what to look for in the form, and answer all of your N12-related questions.  It will also discuss tenant rights if the property is sold.

Legal information and updates: Supports for Ukrainian families

Ukrainians in Canada: Special immigration measures and supports for temporary residents
Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) hosted a webinar for front-line workers with Connecting Ottawa lawyer, Heather Neufeld, on June 23, 2022.  This webinar provided details on the Canada Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), as well as information on study permits, work permits, prioritization of Ukrainian files by the Immigration and Refugee Board, and details about eligibility for income and health benefits.  If you missed the webinar, you can find the recording and presentation slides on the CLEO Connect site. Also available is a companion document, “Ukraine Webinar: Questions and Answers” that provides the answers (and more) to the questions in the presentation plus participant questions and answers from the live Q+A.

Emergency Assistance through Ontario Works for Ukrainians who arrive in Canada on the  Canada Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET)
Ukrainians who arrive in Canada on the CUAET are temporary residents. They either count as visitors with a special right to remain as visitors for three years (instead of six months) or they qualify as temporary workers on a three-year open work permit. Ukrainians who arrive in Canada on the CUAET do not qualify for social assistance because they are temporary residents who have not made an application for permanent status in Canada, such as a refugee claim (see note below). However, Ukrainians who arrive in Canada on the CUAET can apply for Emergency Assistance through Ontario Works. This type of financial help is administered by Ontario Works, but is not available to people on social assistance (emergency financial support may be available through mandatory and/or discretionary benefits for those on social assistance). Each request for Emergency Assistance must be for a discrete need, like help with first and last month’s rent. Emergency Assistance is available for a period of not more than 48 days; however, multiple discrete payments of Emergency Assistance may be issued within the 48-day period. Any Ukrainian who arrives in Canada on the CUAET must demonstrate financial need to access Emergency Assistance. In rare situations, Ontario Works might extend Emergency Assistance longer than 48 days if there is a demonstrable need for continued assistance. Note: We do not advise Ukrainians who arrive in Canada on the CUAET to submit a refugee claim in order to access social assistance. Any Ukrainian considering a refugee claim should be referred to an immigration lawyer for legal advice.  

Support for Ukrainians who arrive in Canada on the CUAET experiencing delays in applying for and accessing federal financial support
Ontario Works is advising Ukrainians who arrive on the CUAET to apply first for federal financial support from the Government of Canada. However, Ontario Works realizes that some Ukrainians might experience delays in applying for and receiving this money because their visitor record, study permit, or work permit does not contain the CUAET notation required to access federal assistance. Ukrainians in this position are waiting for a response to their request to amend the document, which may take many months. In the interim, they may be eligible for Emergency Assistance through Ontario Works if they can show why there is a delay either in applying for or receiving federal financial support. For example, they can provide Ontario Works with documentation showing why CUAET has not been issued yet. Once they begin to receive federal financial support their eligibility would again be assessed based on their needs and income and assets.

Canadian Bar Association offering ProBono immigration services to Ukrainians
Lawyers in the CBA Immigration Law Section are spearheading an initiative to provide services, without charge, to individuals affected by the crisis in Ukraine. These services include legal consultations and advice for those seeking to take advantage of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s facilitative initiatives and programs to bring eligible Ukrainian nationals to Canada. For more information, visit: https://www.cba.org/For-The-Public/Pro-Bono-Initiatives/Crisis-in-Ukraine

Financial assistance for Ukrainian families
Connecting Ottawa lawyers have put together an information sheet about the federal government’s recently announced financial assistance available to Ukraine families. The information sheet is available at: Connecting Ottawa Resources – Connecting Ottawa. Please share with your networks.

OW forms now available in Ukrainian/Russian
Further to the April regulation change that allowed people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine via the new Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) to receive emergency assistance, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services has produced Ukrainian and Russian versions of the following forms to assist OW offices in processing applications:

  • Application for Assistance (Form 0817)
  • Consent to Disclose and Verify Information – General (Form 2999)
  • Consent to Disclose and Verify Information – Canada Revenue Agency (Form 0985)

The Ministry has also provided for Ukrainian translations of its general information about “Coming to Ontario from Ukraine” available at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/coming-ontario-ukraine

Displaced persons and refugee transit pass program
Displaced persons and refugees who have arrived in Ottawa are eligible for six months of free travel on OC Transpo. For more information on the program, visit: https://www.octranspo.com/en/news/article/displaced-persons-and-refugees-transit-pass-program/

Cafe Ukraine now open
Café Ukraine, at 911 Carling Avenue, opened on Friday, June 24.  The cafe is a volunteer-run hub where recently arrived Ukrainians fleeing the war can meet others in similar situations to share coffee or snacks, swap stories and seek resources to help them adjust to life in Ottawa. The café will be open three days a week — Tuesday and Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 2 to 9 p.m. — and will provide free refreshments and wifi, as well as information from other organizations as it becomes available.

Other Legal information and updates
Student Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) debt reduction available
A significant number of students are being asked to repay the CERB by either the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or Service Canada. Some of these students might be eligible for a credit towards their CERB debt if they meet the eligibility criteria for debt reduction: 

Student CERB debt reduction – Canada.ca. Their credit will be based on the number of 4-week CESB periods they could have received between May 10, 2020 and August 30, 2020. Application forms can be downloaded and submitted to the CRA by fax, mail, or CRA My Account: Student CERB debt reduction – Canada.ca. We encourage you to share this information with your networks because the CRA is not informing students about this credit when they send out repayment notices. If a student has already repaid the CERB benefits they received, they will be reimbursed the difference upon application. For more information on this credit, read the CBC article here: Almost 100,000 students to get break on CERB repayments | CBC News.

Reminder: Proxy marriages not permitted for Canadian spousal sponsorship
For someone to sponsor a spouse, both spouses must have married while physically present in the same location. Marriages by phone or video or any other means where the two people are not present together are not legal for Canadian immigration. The sponsorship will be automatically refused for failure to meet basic eligibility criteria. In addition, the marriage must be both legal in the person’s country where they got married and legal in Canada. This means that even if proxy marriages are legal in someone’s home country, they cannot sponsor a spouse they married through a proxy marriage since they are illegal in Canada. In addition, a couple must have a government marriage certificate, not just a religious marriage document like a marriage contract.

No sponsorship of second spouse or common-law partner while still married and not separated
This question is coming up frequently. If a man is married to a woman in Canada or living common law with a woman in Canada, he cannot sponsor another wife he has back home or bring her through the one-year window. Having two wives is illegal under Canadian immigration law. If someone brings their wife to Canada, they are not permitted to then sponsor their second wife abroad as either a spouse or common law partner. They would have to be legally separated or divorced from the wife in Canada and no longer in a relationship with her. In Canada, they cannot be married to two people at once and they cannot bring a second spouse. See this part of the processing manual used by immigration officers: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/permanent-residence/non-economic-classes/family-class-determining-spouse/legality.html#requirementToBeMarried

Ontario Counselling Finder created to help reduce barriers to access
Individuals, couples and families across Ontario can now find providers and, in some cases, make appointments for counselling through one single door: www.ontario counselling finder.ca. With experienced therapists coming from multiple backgrounds and speaking multiple languages, the Ontario Counselling Finder aims to provide a diverse and inclusive environment. The network of therapists are all registered and experienced professionals, who work in collaboration with local services to assist clients with access to other supports as needed. For more information, read this article: New website aims to improve access to counselling services – Bradford News (bradfordtoday.ca).

Webinar: CRA’s Benefits and Credits Available to Persons with Disabilities  – July 27
Reach Canada will be hosting this session on July 27, 2022 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to teach persons with disabilities, their families and/or caregivers about the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). They will also provide general information on the Child Disability Benefit (CDB), the Canada Workers Benefits (CWB) supplement, the Canada Caregiver Credit (CCC), the Disability Support Deduction, Medical Expenses and other tools and services that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers. Registration for this event is free; however, contributions are welcome.Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0sdO2qrDgtEtbTPMVg_WokltaYlzVXGg1z

Black youth and the criminal justice system
A new research report published by Justice Canada offers insights into the lived experiences of Black youth who came in contact with the criminal justice system (CJS) and the systemic factors that contributed to their involvement.  The findings of the report show that Black youth’s levels of contact with the CJS and improving their experience within justice institutions requires not only criminal justice reform, but also efforts within all the various social systems that shape the lives of Black youth, their families and their communities. Read the report here: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/bycjs-yncjs/summary-sommaire.html

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

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.

Immigration status and social assistance charts
West Scarborough Community Legal Clinic recently held a webinar on immigration status and social assistance.  At this event they shared the following helpful charts and flowcharts with participants to better understand social assistance eligibility based on immigration status: 

University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic (UOCLC) summer hours and intake schedule 2022-23
The UOCLC provides legal services free of charge to all those who qualify financially and whose cases fall within their following mandated areas of service: criminal law; family law; and tenant law. Undergraduate students of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University automatically qualify financially. The UOCLC is holding intakes during the 2022 summer session from May 16 to August 11, 2022. Clinic intakes happen on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 am.

Clinic intakes for 2022-23 will be from:

  • 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

To schedule an intake, clients should call UOCLC at 613-562-5600.

Ottawa Pro Bono Employment Law Clinic open now
The Ottawa Pro Bono Employment Law Clinic has reopened for the 2022 session. Services are provided by volunteer lawyers and law students. The clinic can assist Ontarians facing an employment related challenge due to COVID-19 or other reasons.  The clinic will run from June 1, 2022 to August 31, 2022.  For more information: https://www.ottawalegalclinic.ca/.

Tenants can file a Request to Extend/Shorten Time at Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) 
Urgent matters at the LTB will continue to be scheduled on a priority basis. However, if your client believes their matter warrants an earlier hearing date, they can file a Request to Extend/Shorten Time. If the request is denied the hearing will be scheduled according to the LTB’s usual timeline, and the person who made the request cannot make a further request to shorten the time to the same hearing unless there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original request.

Last period for Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) open for application until July 6, 2022
The CRCB and CRSB ended on May 7, 2022. However, if you are eligible, you can apply for open CRCB or CRSB periods up to 60 days after each period has ended. The last period for the CRCB and CRSB is period 84 (May 1 to 7, 2022), which will be open for application until July 6, 2022. To find out which periods are still open for application (CRCB|CRSB) visit: Weeks you can apply for: Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) – Canada.ca | Weeks you can apply for: Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) – Canada.ca.

COVID-19 Provincial Paid Sick Leave – Worker Income Protection Benefit program still available until July 31, 2022
On April 29, 2021, the Government of Ontario amended the Employment Standards Act2000 (ESA) to require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid infectious disease emergency leave for certain reasons related to COVID-19. This entitlement is in addition to employees’ rights to unpaid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, and is available until July 31, 2022. Although the Worker Income Protection Benefit is still available in 2022, employees are not entitled to an additional three days in 2022. Therefore, some employees may have already used up some, or all, of their entitlement to this benefit by now. We encourage you to refer to Connecting Ottawa’s information sheet on this benefit: PROVINCIAL-PAID-SICK-LEAVE_January-4-2022.pdf (connectingottawa.com)

Ontario Youth Segregation Class Action 
A settlement with the Province of Ontario has been approved in a class action concerning young persons who, while under the age of 18, were incarcerated in provincial youth custody facilities and subjected to periods of secure isolation exceeding six (6) hours between April 1, 2004 and December 17, 2018. The only way to receive money from the Settlement is to submit a completed Claim Form and all supporting documentation to the Claims Administrator no later than August 26, 2022. Click here for more information about how to file a Claim.

Social Security Tribunal seeking to interview users of the Navigator Service
The Social Security Tribunal recently introduced its navigator service. A navigator is assigned to help guide claimants without a professional representative through the appeal process.  The SST is now evaluating how the Navigator service is working at the Appeal Division in both Employment Insurance and Income Security cases. To do this, they would like to interview claimants, their personal representatives, and members of stakeholder organizations familiar with the Navigator service at the Appeal Division. One-on-one interviews will be scheduled for 30 minutes this summer. If you or someone you know is interested, please reach out to the Outreach and Engagement team at: NC-SST-TSS-OUTREACH-RELATIONS-GD@canada.gc.ca.

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