Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants: Support for the Redress for Roma Refugee Coalition

February 21, 2017

Ali Salam
Chief of Staff
NHQ -Minister's Office, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
365 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa ON K1A 1L1

Via Email: Ali.Salam@cic.gc.ca

Dear Mr. Salam,

Re: Support for the Redress for Roma Refugee Coalition

OCASI is writing to express our support for redress for the Roma refugee claimants who were represented by Viktor Hohots, Joseph Farkas and Elizabeth Jaszi. These three lawyers were found to have engaged in professional misconduct by the Law Society of Upper Canada and all three have been sanctioned.

OCASI-Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants is the umbrella organization for Ontario's immigrant and refugee-serving sector, and has over 220 member agencies across the province.

We are concerned that people who were represented by one of these lawyers did not have a fair opportunity to seek protection in Canada. Many have been returned to Hungary to face continued racially based discrimination and persecution. This situation is all the more problematic as it took place during the former government's climate of fear and negativity, labelling Hungarian refugee claimants as "bogus".

We urge Minister Hussen to take action and create a public policy class for people to seek status. Such action is in keeping with the government's commitment to promoting human rights, and would lift a dark cloud that hangs over a vulnerable population.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter. If you require further information do not hesitate to contact me at ddouglas@ocasi.org or 416-322-4950 ext. 229.


Debbie Douglas
Executive Director, OCASI
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

110 Eglinton Ave. W., Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4R 1A3
www.ocasi.org & www.settlement.org