Project Partners Gather in Berlin for Research Summit

by Maria Drejer-Jensen & Nick Dreher

On September 5th, Soli*City marked a major milestone when its members from Latin America, North America, Europe, and Africa gathered in Berlin to present the results from the project’s first year of research at their second project summit. 

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Improving Policies and Services for Newcomers with Disabilities in Canada

by Emily Matesic

“What does an accessible Canada mean to you?” Is the question that Canada’s first-ever disability minister, Carla Qualtrough asked Canadians. For Canadian immigrants, the answer may vary. Language barriers, long wait times, and lack of transportation are just some of the issues many newcomers face when accessing healthcare in Canada. Cities in Canada are taking steps towards improvement by providing essential services such as English and French language classes, free drop-in clinics that do not require insurance and educating the public on how harmful stereotypes and discrimination are to newcomers in Canada. While these improvements are beneficial, further developments can help integrate immigrants with disabilities into sanctuary cities. This post will discuss improvements in the area of accessibility as well as potential policy changes that could improve the lives of newcomers with disabilities in Canada’s largest city. 

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Evolution and Shortcomings: Supporting Newcomers with Disabilities

by Emily Matesic

For newcomers, finding access to disability support services can be extremely difficult. In Canada, 69% of migrants reported having unmet healthcare needs. “There is a general lack of understanding of our system. Families were unsure where they can go to access resources and to investigate services. It is very difficult for them to get such information” says a Canadian healthcare service provider. Another provider states: “The system is really complicated. Even for me, it is really complicated as a professional”. In general, there is a lack of awareness in educating the general public in Canadian sanctuary cities, and many providers are not properly trained to uphold policies such as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Police in Toronto and Vancouver continue to investigate individuals’ immigration status and alert federal authorities if they do not possess documentation. In these cities, vulnerable migrants and refugees still fear accessing important services for mental and physical health as deportation poses a large threat. This blog post explores the lack of support experienced by newcomers in Canada’s largest sanctuary cities and highlight efforts currently being made to better support immigrants with disabilities. 

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Disability Support in Canadian Sanctuary Cities  

by Emily Matesic

30% of Canadian immigrants report that they are not receiving the help they need to manage their disabilities, a concerningly high number. When evaluating the level of accessibility in Sanctuary Cities such as Toronto and Montreal, we can compare the levels of support for Canadian citizens or permanent residents with disabilities and the level of support afforded to migrants with precarious status. This post will shed light on how newcomers with disabilities access resources and on the improvements that are still necessary.

Two people walking on a trail. One is walking with a crane and one is with a wheelchair. View from the back.

Spratt. 2021. Retrieved from

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Accessibility for Newcomers with Disabilities in Canadian Cities

by Emily Matesic  

Canada prides itself to be an inclusive and accessible society. However, for newcomers with disabilities, the level of protection expected in Canada may not apply to them. While Canada has taken steps to make immigration more accessible, one major barrier still exists; disability.

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