Events

National Event on Refugee Housing & Partnerships

March 30 | 12.30pm - 2.30pm ET | Online

The Afghan Refugee Resettlement National Steering Committee cordially invites you to an event on housing and refugee resettlement to celebrate the valuable contributions housing providers and other organizations make towards the lives of Afghan newcomers.

We are thrilled to announce that the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on behalf of the Government of Canada, will be providing opening remarks.

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This address will be followed by:

  • Presentations from federal officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation;
  • A panel of housing providers contributing to the housing effort; and
  • A panel of refugee perspectives on the importance of housing.
Register in advance for this webinar:

For more information, contact Umashanie Reddy (ureddy@ccisab.ca), National Refugee Resettlement Coordinator.
For technical support on event day: through email: help@ocasi.org ; through phone: 416-627-9407 (texts only)

PRESENTERS AND PANELISTS

Opening Remarks

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

The Honourable Sean Fraser was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Central Nova in 2015.

Minister Fraser previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance from 2019 to 2021, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change from 2018 to 2019. In 2021, he also served concurrently as Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Before entering politics, Minister Fraser had a successful legal career with one of Canada’s top-ranked law firms, where he practised commercial litigation and international dispute resolution.

He is a long-time volunteer, having served as the Vice-President of a local branch of the United Nations Association in Canada, acted as a Research Fellow with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, and provided pro bono legal services to the local BGC Club and vulnerable community members.

Minister Fraser holds a law degree from Dalhousie University, a Master’s degree in Public International Law from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Science from St. Francis Xavier University.

Minister Fraser grew up in Pictou County, and has family throughout the Town and County of Antigonish. He enjoys spending time in Central Nova with his wife, Sarah, and their children, Molly and Jack.

Presentation on the Resettlement Initiative
in Response to Afghanistan

Corinne Prince
Director General Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Corinne first joined Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2008 as the Director General of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO). She served as the Director General for Settlement and Integration Policy Branch with IRCC from January 2013 until 2020, a role that expanded her network to settlement partners across Canada. Beginning in the fall of 2020, Corinne became the Director General for Francophone Immigration and Official Languages Part VII, within the Settlement and Integration Sector, and shepherded IRCC’s amendments to the Official Languages Act through to tabling. In the early fall of 2021, during Canada’s tremendous effort to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees, Corinne was named Director General of the Afghanistan Settlement Branch with a mandate to lead in-Canada (re)settlement activities for Afghan refugees by bringing together national resettlement operations and policy  into a single integrated organization. 

In the past, between October 2007 and December 2008, Corinne was the Director General of the Labour Market Integration Directorate at HRSDC, responsible for the work of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, Labour Mobility, the Going to Canada Immigration Portal, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Skills and Labour Market Information Division (National Occupational Classification system, occupational information and Essential Skills research).
 
Corinne graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Ottawa in 1985 and received her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Calgary in 1991.
 
Corinne grew up in northern Saskatchewan and now makes her home in the Ottawa Valley (Ontario) with her two children and her partner.

Housing of Newcomers
to Canada

Patricia Roset-Zuppa
Vice-President, Policy at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Patricia Roset-Zuppa is Vice-President, Policy at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
She joined CMHC in 2009 and has held positions in strategic policy coordination, housing finance policy and federal/provincial/territorial relations.
Patricia played a lead role in the development of Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy. Prior to CMHC, Patricia worked in residential real estate, housing policy and urban research in Canada and the United States. She holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida, an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, and Masters in Geography from Utrecht University in the Netherlands where she was born and raised. She is an immigrant to Canada and proud Canadian and Dutch dual citizen. 

Panel: Refugee Perspectives on the Importance of Housing

Housing is critical for the successful integration of refugees. Locating suitable housing to accommodate and settle refugee families in local communities across Canada is a primary responsibility for resettlement service provider organizations. Please join us to hear the profound stories of three refugee panelists from Afghanistan. The panelists will share their resettlement journey, housing search experiences, the support they received during their housing search and how they eventually identified a suitable house that felt like home for their families.
Panelists:
• Zabihullah Farhang
• Zamzam Tahlil Diriye
• Shahenshah Sherzai
My name is Shahenshah Sherzai, I have a family of 13 persons my mom, my wife, my 7 daughters and 3 sons. We are a happy family with many difficulties and many barriers.  my four kids (three daughters and one son) have disabilities. We had a normal and happy life in Afghanistan until August 2021. On August 2021 when the Taliban got the government’s control on hand, everything finished. My career, my daughter’s career, our hope, our safety and our happiness. We were at high risk because I worked with foreign agencies and the Taliban was looking for all those people who worked with foreign corps. Few days later I received an email from Canadian Government, they sent us visa and accepted us. We went to the airport with one small back bag, a single cloth inside and some food. The airport was so rushed, it was so difficult to enter the airport especially for me with many young kids, four disabled children and an old and sick lady. But after passing one night standing outside the airport in cold weather and in a dirty place we could enter the airport. We spent one more night inside the airport and had a flight (through military airplane) to Kuwait and spent 3 more nights at Kuwait. Then we had a normal flight to Toronto. When we arrived in Toronto we felt safe and started a new life here. We lost everything our house and other items but we are safe and that is all for me. Thanks to Canada government to support us, thank to Canadians to behave so nice and friendly. I wish peace to my country and all other countries I wish that no one face the problems that I faced.

Panel: Housing Providers Contributing to the Housing Effort

Bob Dhillon
Founder, President & CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp.

Bob Dhillon is Founder, President & CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp. (Mainstreet), Canada’s leading real estate company on the TSX (MEQ). Mainstreet provides quality, affordable midmarket apartments to western Canadians. Current holdings consist of 15,737 units in BC, AB, SK, and Winnipeg. As an immigrant himself, Mr. Dhillon is passionate about giving back to new Canadians. In 2019 and 2021, Mainstreet donated apartments to refugees from Syria and Afghanistan. On March 7, 2022, Mr. Dhillon announced that Mainstreet will provide housing assistance to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. Mr. Dhillon has been recognized for his achievements in business and for his unwavering commitment to philanthropy and higher education. In 2021, he was appointed as an Officer to the Order of Canada. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Since 1999, Mr. Dhillon has served as Honorary Consul General of Belize for Canada. He published “Business and Retirement Guide to Belize (Second edition)” with Fred Langan in 2018. Mr. Dhillon holds an honorary Doctor of Commerce from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON. In 2019, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Lethbridge (UofL); he is also the namesake donor for the Dhillon School of Business at UofL. In spring 2021, he was a significant contributor to the University of Calgary’s Sikh Studies program. Mr. Dhillon sits on numerous boards, including the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Advisory Council for the Canada-India Business Council, the Alberta Economic Recovery Council, and Invest Alberta Corporation.

Jeremy Jackson
Vice President , Marketing and Government Relations, Killam Properties

Jeremy Jackson is Vice President, Marketing and Government Relations at Killam Properties. Jeremy joined Killam in 2005. He has over 30 years of housing and market management experience. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from St.F.X. University, an MBA from St. Mary's University, and recently received his ICD.D designation through the Institute of Corporate Directors. Jeremy is the board chair of the Investment Properties Owners Association NS. He is a long-time board member of Shelter Nova Scotia and the Halifax Housing and Homelessness Partnership. Over the years Jeremy has been a panelist on various regional and national housing panels. Most recently, Jeremy sat as a member of the Province of Nova Scotia’s Affordable Housing Commission.

Amit Thakur
District Manager, Morguard Real Estate
Morguard Corporation is a real estate company, with total assets owned and under management valued at $19.6 billion. As at February 24, 2022, Morguard owns a diversified portfolio of 197 multi-suite residential, retail, office, industrial and hotel properties comprised of 17,752 residential suites, approximately 16.8 million square feet of commercial leasable space and 5,058 hotel rooms. Morguard also currently owns a 60.9% interest in Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust and a 44.7% effective interest in Morguard North American Residential Real Estate Investment Trust. Morguard also provides advisory and management services to institutional and other investors. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.morguard.com.
Afghan Refugee Resettlement National Steering Committee
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