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Catholic Centre for Immigrants: Upholding the Dignity of Refugees in Ottawa

July 5, 2024

Amidst the current conflicts that force many to depart their homelands, The Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) Ottawa partners with The Congregation of St. Basil to successfully assist hundreds of refugees arriving to the capital each year.

Since 1954, the Catholic Centre for Immigrants has been welcoming newcomers to Ottawa, offering social services and crucial support to refugees. Handling approximately 12,000 individual cases, the organization provides services such as counselling, settlement support, and job placement, as well as providing living space and a sense of community.

The Basilian Fathers actively support organizations that mirror their vision of peace and justice through the Basilian Human Development Fund, amounting to $200,000 being awarded to support programs that challenge inequality, empower the poor and uphold the dignity of the marginalized.

 

CCI Ottawa is a recipient of The Basilian Human Development Fund, which aids the functions of these services, and contributes to CCI’s Pastoral Sponsorship Program.

“The program allows individual Ottawa Catholic parishes to obtain the necessary logistical support to be considered sponsors and become refugee hosts. The Basilians have contributed a great bulk to making it a success.” said Jim McIntyre, the Fundraising Manager for the CCI.

As of 2023, 11 parishes in the Ottawa region brought 39 refugees to Canada as part of the program.

CCI’s Youth Program offers workshops, recreation, and sports activities like the annual youth soccer finals to young newcomers, all of which aid their adjustment in a new culture. In 2023, 546 young newcomers and children received services or participated in workshops and activities. Photos Generously provided by CCI Ottawa.

Fr. Bob Holmes, CSB, has been a dedicated supporter of CCI’s efforts since 2015.

Despite Canada’s housing challenges, CCI remains hopeful and optimistic in the success of its mission. Newcomers often know of CCI Ottawa through word-of-mouth, as well as the strong, well established relationships with local school boards and partnerships with other organizations working to help newcomers. As of 2024, CCI has a waiting list of over 400 sponsors and 700 volunteers.

CCI Ottawa continues to be a crucial support system for refugees, helping them rebuild their lives and contribute to the community.

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