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Connecting Ottawa Communique

Connecting Ottawa Communique
June 6, 2023

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:

** Today ** Information Session:  Referring clients to Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) and community legal clinics services  ** Today **
Date:  Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Time:  12:00 noon – 1:15 p.m.
Speakers:  Representatives from all Community Legal Clinics and LAO
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 816 1302 0341
Passcode: 065009
Representatives from all Ottawa community legal clinics and LAO will provide an overview of the areas of law and services that they offer and how to refer clients to their clinic and services. 

Supporting and assisting tenants:  Tenant rights and responsibilities
(an information session presented by the Housing Education Group)
Date:  Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Time:  1:00 – 2:45 p.m.
Speakers:  Ontario Legal Information Centre, Community Legal Services of Ottawa, University of Ottawa Community Legal Services, Action Logement and Housing Help
Registration link:
This session, targeted to social service workers and individuals supporting tenants, will discuss general rights and responsibilities of tenants, common legal issues faced by tenants, how the Landlord and Tenant Board works and resources available in the community to support tenants and their tenancy.

Legal information and updates:

IRCC announcement on family class immigration
On May 26th 2023, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), made an announcement about improvements to strengthen family class immigration in Canada. The new measures include:

  • Faster temporary resident visa (TRV) processing times for spousal applicants
  • New and dedicated processing tools for spousal TRV applicants
  • A new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants
  • Open work permit extensions for open work permit holders expiring between August 1st and the end of 2023

Connecting Ottawa immigration lawyer, Heather Neufeld has prepared detailed information on these measures including how to support clients who may be eligible, which will be sent out via a separate communication piece in the next day or so.  Watch your email for this information.  To read more about the announcements, visit:

Front-end processes for refugee claimants 
This 3-page infographic from the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) can assist service providers to keep up with changes in how people apply for refugee status. Download the guide via the CLEO Connect website at:

Ottawa Pro Bono Employment Law Clinic reopens for Summer 2023
The Ottawa Pro Bono Employment Law clinic has reopened for the 2023 session. Clients who cannot afford a lawyer and who face difficulties related to: unemployment, underemployment, workplace safety, injury suffered in the workplace, workplace violence and harassment, discrimination and/or human rights can seek assistance from the clinic.  The clinic runs from June 1 to August 31.  For more information visit:

University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic: Updated Summer Hours
Please be advised that during the 2023 summer session, the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic (UOCLC) will be holding intakes from May 15 to August 3, 2023 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  To schedule an intake appointment, call the UOCLC office at 613-562-5600

New 2SLGBTQI Legal information from across Ontario
June is Pride Month.  Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) has shared the following new/updated legal information resources:

  • Gender Marker Change Guide:  This guide from Positive Space Network and Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) explains how transgender, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming people in Ontario can change their gender on their federal and provincial documents.  Read the guide at:
  • HIV and the Criminal Law in Canada:  These guides from HIV and AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario (HALCO), the HIV Legal Network, and Communities, Alliances and Networks (CAAN, formerly known as the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network), focus on HIV and criminal law for Indigenous communities. They explain what the law says about disclosing HIV status to a sex partner. The longer guide also explains how to reduce an individual’s risk of criminal charges, and where to get help. The guides have short introductions in a few Indigenous languages. Read the guides at:

Tareekh Pe Tareekh: Multi lingual employment rights videos
The South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO) and the Toronto East Employment and Immigration Law Services (TEEILS) have created the “Tareekh Pe Tareekh – Know Your Employment Law Rights” Public Legal Education Campaign. The campaign launched on social media on September 6, 2022. The campaign includes a series of short educational videos in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali and Tamil on basic employment law rights in Ontario. The videos are posted on a dedicated Twitter (@tareekpetareek) and Tik Tok (@tareekhpetareekh1) accounts. They are also retweeted and shared from SALCO’s social media accounts – Twitter @SALCOntario and Instagram @SALCOntario.

Video:  The eviction process
Waterloo Region Community Legal Services has released a new video in their tenant rights series:  The eviction process.  This short video explains the eviction process in Ontario and what individuals rights and responsibilities are as a tenant.  To watch the video visit:

OCDSB Continuing Education Opportunities
The Ottawa Carleton District School Board has released information on continuing education opportunities for the summer. These courses are designed for learners of all ages, and include international and Indigenous language classes, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes, and more.

Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA):  Joint custody and transportation to two homes renewals due on June 30
Joint Custody renewals with OSTA must be completed each year.  The renewal form for existing variable transportation arrangements (Joint Custody) is available online at: Renewal Joint Custody Forms must be submitted NO LATER THAN June 30 th by at least one parent/guardian.

Offre d’emploi: Stagiaire en droit (cléricature) Clinique juridique francophone d’Ottawa
Stagiaire en droit (cléricature). La date limite pour la soumission de candidatures est le lundi 12 juin 2023, à 17 h:

Research study on self-represented litigants’ experiences with virtual hearings
The National Self-Represented Litigants Project is seeking participants for a research study on self-represented litigants’ experiences with virtual hearings.  During the pandemic, courts and tribunals in Canada shifted toward virtual processes, replacing many in-person court hearings with meetings via Zoom, Teams, etc. However, very little has been done to understand the public’s experience of these virtual hearings. This research project seeks to understand self-represented litigants’ experiences with virtual hearings across all legal environments (family, civil, criminal, tribunal). If you are aware of a client who participated in a hearing, please ask them to complete the survey at:

Reminder: Work Permits available to individuals (regardless of status) from countries to which Canada does not carry out deportations
The website of the Canada Border Services Agency lists the countries to which Canada does not currently carry out deportations. These include countries such as Sudan, Haiti, Venezuela, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iraq, in addition to others. Individuals in Canada who are citizens of these countries qualify for work permits even if they have no status, specifically because they cannot be removed. The full list of countries concerning which Canada has a Temporary Suspension of Removals or Administrative Deferral of Removals is found at:  Individuals from these countries qualify to submit an open work permit application, meaning that they will receive a work permit allowing them to work in any job for any employer. With the application, individuals should include a cover letter indicating that they are from a country to which Canada does not carry out deportations and thus qualify for a work permit under [Regulation 206(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.  For more information about work permits in this scenario see the IRCC page at:

To begin the online open work permit application process visit the following page: If you are uncertain whether a particular individual qualifies for an open work permit, please contact

Reminder: One-time Grocery Rebate delivered on July 5, 2023
On May 11, 2023, the Cost of Living Act, No. 3 received Royal Assent. Included in this legislation is the new Grocery Rebate, which will provide low- and modest-income Canadians with up to an extra $467 for eligible couples with two children; up to an extra $234 for single Canadians without children; and an extra $225 for seniors, on average. The Grocery Rebate will be delivered with the July GST credit payment to eligible Canadians on July 5, 2023, by direct deposit or cheque through the Canada Revenue Agency. Recipients do not need to apply for the Grocery Rebate. However, they need to file their 2021 income tax and benefit return to receive it.  More information is available at:

Reminder: Updated welcome brochure for refugee claimants
Refugee 613 has updated the welcome brochure for refugee claimants that was initially developed in 2018 as part of the ReNoO (Refugee Network of Ottawa) coalition. The updated brochure is available in English, French, Arabic, Turkish, and Spanish.  The brochure contains essential information about settlement and social services that refugee claimants need to start their settlement journey in our community. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list or guide, but a resource that will help people get started. All of the language versions can be accessed at:

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.

Ontario social assistance delay for those applying for permanent residence
The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCSS) has issued a policy memorandum to OW and ODSP staff advising that individuals who have applied for permanent residence through IRCC’s online Permanent Residence Portal will not be considered eligible for social assistance until they have received an Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) e-mail confirming that their application is deemed to be complete.  IRCC has advised that the service standard for AOR is 10 weeks (70 days).

Poverty & human rights roundtable series – June 14, 15 and 16
Campaign 2000, Canada without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice will be hosting a series of roundtables on June 14, 15 and 16 to develop a community-driven indicator framework for the federal government to use to measure progress towards achieving several of the Campaign 2000 goals, including Goal #1: No Poverty.   The roundtables will include presentations, guest speakers and breakout discussions and will feature those who have been engaged through the SDG’s Project.  Participants will have an opportunity to connect with organizations and individuals dedicated to ending poverty from across the country for movement-building.  For more information, visit:

New immigration measures to support Individuals who are citizens of Sudan
IRCC has put in place special measures to assist the immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who were in Sudan and left the country as of April 15, 2023. These immediate family members must now be in a country outside Sudan. The special measures concern facilitating their travel to Canada and granting them access to fee-exempt open work permits and study permits on arrival to Canada. If these family members arrive in Canada before July 15, 2023, they will also be able to apply for family class sponsorship, if they qualify,  without paying application fees. For complete information, see:

Any Sudanese citizens who are already in Canada with valid temporary resident status as a visitor, worker or student can extend their status or change to another temporary resident status without paying the regular processing fees. All Sudanese temporary residents in Canada are now eligible for an open work permit and will be able to work for any employer. For example, if a Sudanese citizen is currently in Canada as a visitor, they can now apply to change their status to worker and will be able to work for any employer and do not have to pay the work permit processing fees. The full details and information explaining how to indicate you are fee exempt can be found on this page:

Latest information/resources on the expansion of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA)
As of March 25, 2023, the Canadian land border with the U.S. is almost entirely closed to refugee claimants. In the past, thousands of individuals sought refugee status at our land border every year. Now, only those who meet very narrow Safe Third Country exceptions are permitted to make their refugee claim at our land border. Claimants who request refugee protection at the border but do not meet an STCA exception or who cross the border undetected but are apprehended within their first 14 days in Canada will be returned to the U.S. and may face detention and deportation.  Connecting Ottawa’s Heather Neufeld presented an information session on the changes to the SCTA and what it may mean for your clients for CLEO Connect on April 20, 2023.  You can watch a recording of the webinar at:  She also prepared a Frequently Asked Questions information sheet on the changes.  The information sheet can be downloaded at:

National Housing Council Review

The National Housing Council [NHC] has begun its review of the financialization of purpose-built rental housing. As part of its written hearing process, the NHC’s review panel will be accepting written submissions until June 23, 2023. Submissions can be made by mail or e-mail, using an “offline form”.  For more information, visit:

Permanent residence for protected persons
There is no deadline for applying for permanent residence after someone is granted refugee status by the Immigration and Refugee Board. It does not matter if someone applies six months, one year or five years later. As long as someone wins their claim and is a Protected Person, they have the right to apply for permanent residence.  Please note that permanent resident applications as a Protected Person for those who win their refugee claim must now be submitted online through the IRCC permanent residence portal. They can no longer be submitted on paper.

Deadlines for appealing negative refugee decisions
If an individual is denied refugee status, they have only 15 days to submit their Notice of Appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board. If an individual’s refugee appeal is denied, they similarly have only 15 days to submit their Notice to the Federal Court to seek a
judicial review of the negative appeal decision. When encountering clients who mention a recent refugee claim denial, it is important to determine when they received the denial and assist them to obtain legal help right away so that they do not miss their filing deadline.

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:  This will ensure the most efficient response to your request.  As a reminder, we do not provide direct legal services to individuals