Azar welcomed the participants. After a round of introductions, the Minutes and Agenda were approved as presented.
2. City of Toronto's Refugee Resettlement Program update – Nicole Watson Toronto Newcomer Office
The City of Toronto and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants are launching a public education campaign to address xenophobia, islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments in June. The campaign is entitled #TorontoForAll.
3. Toronto Newcomer Day, City of Toronto Newcomer Office, Nishanthini (Nisha) Nagaratnam
This 2nd annual event was participated by 5,000-7,000 people
Four hundred and thirty families were housed in 5 months
A number of government assisted refugees are eligible for the rent supplement funds
COSTI administers the funds and assess eligibility of the families
Refugees accessing the program coming from outside the City of Toronto are considered secondary migrants. They must be within the first year window in order to qualify for the rent supplement program.
There is a Welcome Fund that can be accessed through Community Foundations of Canada.
4. Legal Assistance for Tenants at Landlord and Tenant Board, University of Toronto, Emily Paradis
ACTO-Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) is conducting a review of its Tenant Duty Council Program. Tennant feedback in being captured through surveys as well as community focus groups.
The Tenant Duty Counsel Program (TDCP) is a program of ACTO and is funded by Legal Aid Ontario. The TDCP offers legal advice to eligible tenants appearing before the Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB) across Ontario. Complex issues are referred to legal clinics
The program is a drop-in service and operates through 4 sites:
Toronto South Toronto North
ACTO – Issues Arising:
Only 10-15% of tenants are aware of Duty Counsel Service.
High volumes of people are coming before the Landlord and Tenants Board, unaware of their rights.
Duty counsel gets involved with last minute requests from clients – therefore, there is not enough time to prepare.
Increase publicity of service through flyers i.e. through Housing Help Centres.
Distribute information at the frontline level.
Provide more detailed explanations on the role of duty counsel and tenants' rights.
Lack of awareness of drop-in feature of Duty Counsel – needs to be better advertised.
Further ideas or comments can be directed to Emily. Azar will follow-up with Emily regarding the outcome of review and circulate to the members.