Who we are and what we do
Refugee 613 is a coalition of citizens, settlement agencies, sponsorship groups and community partners working to provide refugees with the building blocks of successful integration: a warm welcome and access to key services, opportunities and support. As a non-partisan, grassroots effort, we aim to build on Ottawa's settlement services by providing our partners and the public with information, connection and inspiration.
Refugee 613 envisions an Ottawa that is fully welcoming to refugees, a city that is proud to cooperatively and effectively receive and integrate significant numbers of new refugees annually, contributing to our collective prosperity.
Refugee 613 strives to maximize the efforts of many organizations and individuals by offering a vehicle for informing, connecting and inspiring, in order to achieve excellence in welcoming and settling as many refugees as possible in our city.
- Refugee-focused: We strive to ensure all our decisions and actions are based on what is best for refugees
- Collaborative: We work to build trust, articulate common goals and facilitate learning and development across different sectors
- Consensus-driven: We are committed to seeking solutions that everyone actively supports
- Transparent: We communicate openly with each other and the community
- Inclusive: We strive to ensure all voices are heard
- Flexible and responsive: We learn through action, adapting and identifying responses that will best serve the refugee resettlement process
What We Do
Refugee 613 has three main pillars of work: Inform, Connect and Inspire.
Refugee 613 strives to be a central hub for anyone seeking information on ways to help refugees. We provide:
- answers to public inquiries via email, phone and social media
- referrals to services in settlement, sponsorship, refugee health and other areas
- planning, co-ordination logistical support for events and initiatives related to refugee resettlement
- workshops, public lectures and other learning opportunities on a range of subjects related to refugee sponsorship and settlement
- resources and speakers on aspects of resettlement for media and public events
Refugee 613 helps people and organizations connect to clients, stakeholders and each other by convening spaces for collaboration on a range of refugee issues. We organize both formal task forces and informal working groups, as well as work one-on-one with people who want to assist in the refugee effort as partners or volunteers.
- Health: The leading collaborative space for community and medical partners working on refugee issues. This group has sub-groups on Primary Care and Mental Health.
- Housing: Working with the City, settlement agencies, private landlords and the public to consult, assess housing challenges, create new housing opportunities for refugees and others on low incomes and develop educational material.
- Policy & Inspiring Change: Community organizers, communicators and immigration experts providing expert advice and strategy around policy implications of Canada's refugee response and how Refugee 613's partners can collaborate for a positive impact on the system.
Sponsorship: Sponsorship agreement holders, settlement agencies and private sponsorship groups share information and plan and provide sponsorship training.
Employment: Representatives from immigrant employment agencies, employment officers from the City of Ottawa and Province of Ontario, training programs and settlement agencies collaborating to discuss employment challenges specific to refugees, to direct employment and training offers from local businesses and institutions, and deliver collaborative events aimed at providing career guidance and opportunities for refugees.
Community Outreach: Volunteers and professionals collaborating to map and connect with key community organizations and individuals, particularly in the local Arabic-speaking communities, to ensure their perspective is included in Refugee 613's work and to raise awareness of refugee issues within the communities.
Refugee 613 uses its web site, blog and public events to tell the story of what Ottawa is doing to welcome and integrate refugees and to highlight gaps, challenges and success stories. We also receive media inquiries and refer them to appropriate experts in the community. The goal is always to inspire a warmer welcome, a broader base of support and a stronger understanding of the refugee experience and what refugees have to offer their new home.
How We Do It
Refugee 613 is a community project hosted by one of our members, OCISO (Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization). We are grateful to receive funding from two main sources: the Province of Ontario, which provides essential operational funding (including salaries and administrative costs), and members of the public, whose generous donations enable us to do even more. We also benefit from extensive donations in kind from our member agencies and external partners, who regularly share their time and expertise to assist in carrying out our work.
Who We Are
Our work is guided by the insights of a large and diverse Stakeholder Committee, representing a wide cross-section of Ottawa agencies, institutions and perspectives. A small sub-group of stakeholders serves on the Executive Committee, which oversees operations.
- Elaine Medline, Champlain Local Health Integration Network
- Mike Bulthuis, Alliance to End Homelessness
- Clara Freire, City of Ottawa
- Chelby Daigle, Muslim Link
- Saint-Phard Désir, Conseil Économique et Social d'Ottawa Carleton
- Lisa Hébert, Capital Rainbow Refuge
- Hindia Mohamoud, Ottawa Local Immigrant Partnership
- David Pepper, North Star Triangle Project
- Amira Elghawaby, National Council of Canadian Muslims
- Henry Akanko, Hire Immigrants Ottawa
- David Snoddy, Ottawa Police Service
- Nathan Benson, uOttawa Refugee Hub SSP
- Mark Zarecki, Jewish Family Services
- Mohamed Sofa, Britannia Woods Community House
- Safaa Fouda, Ottawa Muslim Women's Organization
- Barbara Gamble, Cultural advocate and Project 4000
- Doug Gruner, Bruyere Family Health Centre
- Abdirizak Karod, Somali Family Services Organization
- Robyne Warren, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
- Nicki Dunlop, Ottawa Catholic School Board
- Hortense Mvuemba, Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est
- Annie Mercier, Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario
- Michael Maidment, Ottawa Food Bank
- Dick Stewart, Ottawa Local Immigrant Partnership
- Louisa Taylor, Refugee 613
- Jack McCarthy, Somerset West Community Health Centre
- Leslie Emory, Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization
- Carl Nicholson, Catholic Centre for Immigrants
- Donald Smith, Anglican Diocese Refugee Working Group
- Peter Hominuk, Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario
Louisa Taylor, Director
Sally Dimachki, Project Coordinator
Kate Grisdale, Project Coordinator
Lama Chami, Digital Outreach Coordinator
Diane Tuyishime, Communications Specialist
Phone 613-725-5671, ext. 640