An update from Refugee 613

Dear friends,

As conditions in our city and country change rapidly, we want you to know that the health of our communities is paramount to Refugee 613. While we might be further apart physically, there’s never been a more important time to stay connected, so we are taking the following measures to support you and stand with you.

Health care for newcomers
Ottawa Public Health has confirmed to us that: 

 “any Ottawa citizen can get COVID testing regardless of immigration status. If the criteria is met (exhibiting ESCALATING SYMPTOMS such as a new or worsening cough and/or fever, AND have either travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days), there is no barrier to getting tested at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre.” 

We are following up to clarify access to treatment for those with precarious immigration status.

In the meantime, we urge you to sign and then share this petition calling on the Ontario Government to ensure access to testing and treatment regardless of immigration status. You can find it here.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) have announced the temporary suspension of all refugee resettlement globally.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has confirmed that: 

“Canada will bar entry to all foreign travellers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, with the exception of certain professionals, U.S. citizens, and immediate family members of Canadian citizens. This will effectively halt GAR, PSR and BVOR arrivals, allowing for the wind down of airport services. Additional information will be provided in the coming days.”

We will continue to provide updates as we receive them.

Refugee 613 operations
Our team will be working remotely until further notice, but we’re still here for you. Our services continue with some adjustments as needed. Any in-person meetings planned for the next four weeks have been postponed and we will be in touch shortly to reschedule or move them online. 

The best way to contact us is by emailing the Refugee 613 team member you are already connected to, or by emailing info@refugee613.ca. We are monitoring that account daily. We are also monitoring our voicemail but ask you to please use email if at all possible. 

As an ally your role in communicating credible information to newcomers is pivotal. 
You are a trusted voice. One that we will support with official and useful information as best we can. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you need from us. The pandemic response is going to be a marathon, not a sprint — let’s keep working together to keep the community strong.

Wishing each of you good health in the coming weeks,

The Refugee 613 Team