Stop the Cuts to Public Services in Ontario

The Rights of Non-Status Women Network (RNSWN) firmly opposes the cuts to, and lack of funding for, public services in Ontario as proposed in the 2019 provincial budget (Bill 100). Since the budget has not yet passed second reading, the time to act is now. Here are two ways that you can get involved.

1) Send copies of our Open letter, which opposes the cuts and calling for immediate consultation and changes to the bill, to your MPP, the Attorney General, the Premier, and any other elected officials you think need to know about this. You can also fill out the Cover letter template or write your own letter, so your elected official can better understand who you are and why you’re sharing the open letter.

2) Sign the petition. Your endorsement will be added to the open letter.

If you have any questions or want to get involved further with RNSWN, please email us at




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New Research on Sanctuary City Toronto

Check out our latest research report on the experiences of Non-Status Persons accessing City of Toronto Services.

Read a Summary of the Report

Read the Full Report

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Spring Forum: Sanctuary Cities and the Future of Regularization

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 from 9:30 to 4:00 p.m. at University of Toronto

Please join us for our spring forum, a biannual networking and information sharing event. The forum’s morning panel will present individuals’ and front line workers’ struggles and strategies to gain access to City of Toronto services for people without immigration status. The afternoon panel will discuss a variety of approaches and strategies on status regularization for people with no legal immigration status. We welcome your questions for all our panellists in open Q&A sessions at the end of each panel and invite you to network over a delicious lunch break.

Register On-line:

9:30 to 10:00 Registration and Networking

10:00 to 12:30 Panel on Sanctuary City Toronto with speakers from Research Institutions, City Officials, and Social Service Organizations

12:30 to 1:30 Lunch & Networking

1:30 to 3:30 Panel on The Future of Regularization with speakers from Refugee, Legal, and Grassroots Advocates

3:30 to 4:00 Wrap Up and Discussion

Suggested Donation (for operational costs) to be paid in cash at the door. A receipt can be provided.

• Non-Students: $5-10

• Students are free. Please bring your student I.D.

Please RSVP by Friday May 19th as spaces are limited ~ Thank You!

Thank you to Migrant Mothers Project, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, FCJ, and Springtide Resources who have generously supported this symposium.

~ Space is fully wheelchair accessible. Please let us know of any accessibility needs in advance so that we can do our best to accommodate them.

*The event will be held at the University of Toronto and the closest subway station is St George*

Please bring materials from your agency to display on our resource table

Use the hashtag #nonstatusTO to live-tweet and follow the discussion on twitter!

Register On-line:

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Join us! Forum on Detention & Deportation: Strategies for Frontline Workers

Detention and Deportation: Strategies for Frontline Workers

Detention and Deportation: Strategies for Frontline Workers

Full details and to RSVP:

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Self-Care Strategies: Infographic & Toolkit

We would like to share a graphic we’ve created of self-care strategies generated by many of you at our symposium. It was so inspiring to see the diverse range of strategies we use to take care of ourselves and each other. Thanks to Farrah Khan for facilitating the session and to all of you for sharing your great ideas!

Please feel free to share and add other strategies or ideas in the comments section.

View it here: Self-Care Strategies Infographic

Check out the Artreach Toronto self-care toolkit presented at the forum: Self-Care-Toolkit (PDF file)

Selfcare WorkshopSelfcare Workshop

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Forum Presentations: Health Care, Self-Care & Community Care

Presentations from our April forum are now up! Check it >>

  1. Health Care and Immigration Status – Legal Issues by C Mazgarean (PDF file)
  2. Cuts to the IFHP by M Rashid (PDF file)
  3. Migrants and the Uninsured in Canada by M Spence (PDF file)
April Forum 2015

April Forum 2015

April Forum 2015

April Forum 2015

April Forum 2015

April Forum 2015

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Spring Symposium: Agenda

“Health Care, Self-Care & Community Care”
Spring Symposium
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The 519 Church Street Community Centre
~This 1-day symposium is for service providers, legal and medical professionals, advocates, students, and community members concerned with access to healthcare for women with precarious immigration status and their families~


9:30 a.m. Registration, Networking, Light Breakfast

10 a.m. Information Panel: Access to Healthcare
Featuring (see bios below):
— Legal Changes: Cornelia Mazgarean, CLASP, Osgoode Hall Law School
— Gendered Impacts: Melanie Spence, Health for All
— Case Studies: Dr. Meb Rashid, Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care
We will also have important updates from the Association of Ontario Midwives and the Justice for Migrant Workers collective.

12 p.m. Lunch, Networking & first annual Care Fair
— NEW this year: Participate in our first annual “Care Fair” where practitioners will share simple, practical techniques for improving self-care and community care in an expo-style format
— Featuring: expert facilitators on breathing and relaxation techniques, pressure points, nutrition & wellness, craft-making, bellydancing & more!

1:30 p.m. Workshop & Launch of Self-Care Guide
— Farrah Khan, co-Founder of the Pomegranate Tree Group (see full bio below) will be facilitating a workshop on vicarious trauma and self-care for service providers & advocates working with non-status women and their families. Participants will also have access to a new self-care guide published via Artreach Toronto.

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Closing Remarks, Networking & Snacks


A law graduate from Romania, Cornelia Mazgarean also obtained a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. While at Osgoode, she was a division leader and then a senior division leader at the Community and Legal Aid Services Programme (CLASP). She is currently an LLM candidate and a supervising lawyer at CLASP. Cornelia also has her own private practice, focusing on Criminal, Immigration and Mental Health Law. In addition, she does work as a duty counsel lawyer, advising people arrested for criminal or immigration matters. Cornelia is a member of a variety of professional organizations. Apart from file work, Cornelia often delivers public legal education workshops in both criminal and immigration law, and is involved in community outreach and advocacy.

Melanie Spence is a Toronto-based health and social justice activist. As a community organizer with the migrant justice group Health for All, Melanie has coordinated workshops for health and social service providers on refugee health care changes, interfaced with media on critical migrant justice issues, and is currently participating in the organization of a provincial campaign that seeks to secure access to health insurance for all people living in Ontario, regardless of immigration status. Melanie is also Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee at the University of Toronto’s student-run IMAGINE clinic, serving clients in downtown Toronto without health insurance. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Rashid is the medical director of the Crossroads Clinic, a medical clinic that serves newly arrived refugees in Toronto. He is a co-founder of the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, an organizations founded to advocate for refugees to access health insurance. He was on the steering committee of the CCIRH, a group that developed evidence based guidelines for the assessment of newly arrived immigrants and refugees. He also co-founded the Christie Refugee Health Clinic, a health clinic located in a refugee shelter. He has brought together clinicians across Canada with an interest in refugee health through a web based project called the Canadian Refugee Health Network and through a group called the Refugee Health Network of Southern Ontario. He is a recipient of an Award of Excellence from the Ontario College of Family Physicians. He is on staff at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto and is affiliated with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto

Farrah Khan picked up a microphone to speak out about sexual assault as a teenager and has not put it down since. She has spent the last sixteen years working diligently to raise awareness of gender-based violence through art creation, education, counseling and community development. Farrah is a nationally recognized public speaker and educator on violence against women including forced marriage and “honour” related violence. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and supports women who are survivors of violence as a counsellor and advocate at the Barbra Schlifer Clinic. An emerging leader in grassroots equity movements, Farrah has been presented with numerous awards, including the Toronto Vital People Award and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. Currently Farrah is the coordinator of Outburst! Young Muslim Women’s Project, a movement of young Muslim women in Toronto who are breaking silence and speaking out about violence. It is an opportunity for young Muslim women to determine the ways in which they define and access safety. Outburst!, a awarding winning project by the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, works to address violence through training, arts programming, counseling and community based research.

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