CCI's response to the refugee crisis

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The Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI Ottawa)

Proudly serving immigrants and refugees for over 60 years from all faith groups


During the past three weeks, the Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) received about 450 Syrian Government Assisted Refugees (GARs).  We are currently providing them with transitional housing in four locations, where they will stay for about two to three weeks while they receive their Welcome to Canada orientation, and as we find them permanent housing.  We are working in partnership with health providers, schools, city officials, other settlement agencies, as well as many other organizations to ensure the successful transition of refugees to their new homes.


Ottawa is better prepared to accommodate the surge of Syrian refugees thanks to new provincial funding announced in late December.  CCI will receive $808,000 (December 1, 2015 to March 31, 2018) to support both Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and those who arrive through private sponsorship.  These funds will provide for:
  • A sponsorship coordinator to help put together more “Group of 5” private sponsorship groups in Ottawa;
  • A housing support worker to find permanent housing for the refugees, and to troubleshoot and mediate  issues with landlords to ensure that clients stay housed;
  • A partnership and volunteer support worker to coordinate the recruitment, training, and deployment of the hundreds of people who have expressed interest in volunteering; and
  • A case management worker whose understanding of individual family situations will enable various agencies to coordinate their efforts to meet the specific needs of newcomers more efficiently and effectively.
Visit our website to learn how you can help refugees

With great gusto, 35 Syrian children aged 6 to 14 sing “Five Little Monkeys” with CCI staffer Laurie Hinsperger.  The daily program, running in each of the three current reception centres, helps children prepare to enter the Ottawa school system by making sure they have basic English vocabulary, such as numbers, days of the week, and greetings. They are also becoming familiar with the standards of behaviour that will be expected of them in the classroom.
Lucila Spigelblatt presenting at volunteer information session

“I’m so proud to see all these people who want to help!” These words came from one of the hundred people who attended CCI’s volunteer information session on January 12th.  They are a fraction of the several hundred would-be volunteers who have contacted CCI to help Syrian refugees in recent weeks.  


Make a donation button

The donations will go towards the needs of the Syrian refugees in Ottawa. 

For more information on donating to CCI, email Dora

CCI Ottawa staff at the volunteer information session

The February volunteer information session is now full. Please check our website for future sessions.

Roofs for Refugees

New initiative to house refugees in Ottawa

Roofs for Refugees
is a new web portal where people can offer housing for refugees.

Video about Roofs4refugees

Roya Atmar, presenting an information session on Group of Five Sponsorship
“I want information session participants to learn the process for private sponsorship and not be confused by the technicalities…I want to prepare them to start their group… We help sponsors to recognize and identify the support that exists in the community…  We also help refugees move from the immediate support of the sponsorship group to settlement services and the team here [at CCI].”

Roya Atmar, Sponsorship Coordinator at CCI, presents information sessions to groups and individuals interested in private sponsorship. She stresses the importance of helping sponsors understand refugee expectations, values, family structures and culture.  She tells the groups “the commitment is for 12 months, but the relationship can last for a lifetime!”
Siffan Rahman, Ottawa Newcomer Clinic Coordinator

Refugees arriving in Canada have so many life issues to sort out that their own health - both mental and physical - can take a back seat. Making sure that doesn’t happen is the role of the Ottawa Newcomer Clinic (ONC), a program of the Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC), and an important CCI partner.


Catholic Centre for Immigrants

Our mailing address is:
219 Argyle Ave. Ottawa ON. K2P2H4

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