How to Support Refugee Clients through their Hearing Process

Presenter: Geraldine Sadoway, L.M. and Devina D'Silva, B.A.  
Date: September 25, 2013

Webinar Content
The webinar presentation covers these topics:
  • How vulnerable refugees are affected by legislation reducing time frames for refugee claim determination; how settlement and mental health workers can assist in setting up referrals for medical reports to be used in the refugee hearing
  • The role of the "designated representative" (DR) in refugee hearings involving persons with mental capacity issues and how settlement and mental health workers can become involved as DRs, working with lawyers to ensure that the refugee's case is dealt with fairly
  • The mental health consequences of delays in family reunification for refugees and the need to develop culturally-sensitive strategies for settlement and mental health workers to support refugees experiencing these problems.
Learning objectives 
  • Increased understanding of the current refugee determination process in Canada as a result of recent changes to the law
  • Appreciation of how settlement and health care workers can be directly involved in the legal process and in supporting refugees experiencing mental health stress.
Presenter Biographies
Geraldine Sadoway, LM,  is a staff immigration lawyer at Parkdale Community Legal Services in Toronto and adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. She has been practicing and teaching immigration and refugee law since 1983. After completing her LLM in international human rights law at Cambridge University, she has also undertaken international human rights work and teaching on behalf of the Parkdale Community Legal Services and the Canadian Council for Refugees. Geri appears regularly at the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court on behalf of clients of the legal clinic. In 2006, she represented the Canadian Council for Refugees as part of the NGO delegation during the examination of Canada by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in Geneva. Geri has both presented and published extensively on immigration and refugee law, refugee determination, refugee and immigrant children and on representing persons with mental capacity issues.
Devina D'Silva, BA,  is a third year law student at Osgoode Hall Law School. She has recently completed a clinical intensive at Parkdale Community Legal Services where she worked as an immigration and refugee division legal caseworker. She has also been involved as a volunteer with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT). With the CCVT, Devina facilitated discussions among refugee and immigrant youth regarding violence, mental health and peace-making initiatives as a workshop leader for the 2012 Youth Ambassadors of Peace Program. She has been published in the CCVT's journal First Light. Before joining Osgoode Hall, Devina was a Business Development Coordinator with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic's Interpretation Division.