D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Refugee Services is a diocesan ministry dedicated to facilitating protection and resettlement for refugees and assisting them with integration and settlement.
To provide support and services to refugees and to encourage their personal growth and independence within the Canadian community.
Board of Directors:
Romano Taddeo: Chairperson
Larry Joy: Director
Denis Legros: Director
Maureen Ahokas: Director
Anne Teschke: Director
Suzanne Cattani: Director
Administrative Assistant: Adele Henry
Main Office: Catholic Pastoral Centre, 1222 Reaume Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario,
Mailing Address: DOORS to New Life, Box 10400, Thunder Bay ON, P7B 6T8.
NEWCOMERS’ SETTLEMENT PROGRAM
Monday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday, 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday, 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Newcomer Settlement Program provides walk-in formation and referral services to refugees and newcomers. Settlement workers provide newcomer refugee and immigrant families with basic settlement, orientation, and information services. Second migration families are also assisted.
Some of the types of services and support provided:
- Initial Settlement (housing, schools, orientation to Thunder Bay life)
- Immigration (filling out applications for permanent residence, work permits, sponsorships)
- Health Issues (referral to programs at Thunder Bay Health Unit, filling out OHIP applications)
- Housing Issues (filling out applications for Thunder Bay District Housing, apartment search)
- Family Issues (filling out applications for Pro-Kids, Child Tax benefits, referral to various agencies)
- Citizenship Application Support
- Employment Related Matters (job search, resume writing, employee rights, application for Employment Insurance)
- Education Issues (information and referral to ESI, LINC programs, tutors)
- Social Service Issues (assistance in applying for Ontario Works, assistance in dealing with agencies)
- Sponsorship Related Issues (assistance in filling out applications for sponsorship)
REFUGEE SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
In the Diocese of Thunder Bay, we have welcomed and supported refugees for more than 25 years through our sponsorship programs and our outreach ministry at D.O.O.R.S. To New Life.
Any parish or group may sponsor a refugee family. The commitment to support the refugees financially and with friendship during their first year in Canada is an opportunity to make a deeply personal and tangible difference in the lives of refugees who have faced persecution and violence and cannot return to their home country. Many refugees have been left in refugee camps for several years or longer with children born there and have never known another life. Women and children in these camps are especially vulnerable to ongoing violence and desperate poverty.
The Refugee Sponsorship Co-coordinator located at the Pastoral Centre assists parishes and other refugee sponsorship groups with information, planning, training and the application process. D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Settlement will work with the parish and sponsors to assist the newcomers after they arrive.
This is our opportunity to reach out in solidarity to the persecuted. It is also a time to celebrate and affirm the courage and determination of people who are rebuilding a life for themselves and their children and enriching us all as they join their lives with ours.
Where people of different origins are welcomed, God is revealed:
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral letter on the Immigration and Protection of Refugees in January 2006. In their conclusion, they wrote:
“Migrants and refugees are a reminder that all of us before God are ‘aliens and transients.’ Their presence among us is a source of mutual enrichment for humanity as well as an encouragement toward dialogue and unity. Moreover, their presence is a sign of the Risen Christ. When people of different origins are welcomed, God is revealed.”
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict urged world leaders (June 21, 2007) to take in and care for refugees who seek asylum in their countries. Pope Benedict said that accepting refugees was a “dutiful gesture of human solidarity.”
“From the heart I hope that these – our brothers and sisters so tried by suffering – are guaranteed asylum and the recognition of their rights,” Pope Benedict said. “I invite those responsible to offer protection to those who are in such delicate situations of need,” he added.
The Pope said taking in refugees was for Christians “a concrete way to show evangelical love.” He defined refugees as people “forced to flee from their countries as a result of true life-threatening dangers.”
A UN report released said that at the end of 2006, the world had 9.9 million refugees, a 24 per cent increase over the 8.7 million refugees recorded in 2005.
Thunder Bay Multicultural Association
A partnership agreement is in place between D.O.O.R.S. To New Life Refugee Centre and Thunder Bay Multicultural Association (TBMA) in the administration of the Newcomers Settlement Program. The Newcomers Settlement Worker, Bev Knutson, works out of TBMA at 17 N. Court St. www.tbma.ca
Bishop’s Diocesan Ministry Campaign ("Sharing the Challenges")
Bishop F. Colli, through the Bishop’s Diocesan Ministry Campaign, provides funding to D.O.O.R.S to assist refugees and needy immigrants with clothing, housing, government issues and friendship. Our office is located at the Catholic Pastoral Centre.
Sponsorship Agreement Holder
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Thunder Bay holds an agreement with the Government of Canada relating to the Sponsorship of Refugees under the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
Quality Market and Thunder Bay Multicultural Association
Under this partnership, D.O.O.R.S., Quality Market (Victoriaville, Thunder Bay) and the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association distribute food hampers four times a year to our refugee families in Thunder Bay.
Any parish or group of individuals may sponsor a refugee family. The commitment to support the refugees financially and with friendship during their early years in Canada is an opportunity to make a personal and tangible difference in the lives of refugees who have faced persecution and violence and cannot return to their home country. Many refugees have been left in refugee camps for several years or longer with children born there and have never known another life. Women and children in these camps are especially vulnerable to ongoing violence and desperate poverty.
In the past, parishes in our diocese, including Our Lady of Loretto, St. Dominic’s, St. Agnes, St. Margaret’s (all in Thunder Bay), and Notre Dame du Portage (Kenora) have sponsored refugees from many parts of the world. Some refugees have been referred by the United Nations as needing protection and resettlement due to civil war and for living for many years in poverty in jungle refugee camps in border countries. For example, Iraqi refugees living in Jordan and Syria.
The Refugee Sponsorship Coordinator at the Pastoral Centre will assist refugee sponsorship groups with information, planning, training and the application process. D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Settlement will work with parish sponsors to assist the newcomers after they arrive.
Notre Dame du Portage (Kenora, ON)
On May 11, 2006, Samuel Demissie Woodajie, his wife Almaz Shibru Haile Mariam and their children Orion Samuel Demissie and Meron Samuel Demissie arrived in Kenora to begin a new life in Canada. The Refugee Committee, on behalf of Notre Dame Parish, had been working together for a couple of years in their search for a family who were in desperate need to leave their country. The Demissie family enjoys living in this community, the children have made friends and are thriving, and they are extremely grateful for everything that has been done for them.Other sponsoring parishes within our diocese include St. Margaret’s, St. Dominic’s and St. Agnes.
Canadian Council for Refugees
D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Refugee Services is a member of the Canadian Council for Refugees, the national umbrella coalition of organizations committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada. www.ccrweb.ca
O.C.A.S.I. (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants)
D.O.O.R.S. is also affiliated with O.C.A.S.I. which was formed in 1978 to act as a collective voice for immigrant-serving agencies and to coordinate response to shared needs and concerns. O.C.A.S.I. is a registered charity governed by a volunteer board of directors. Its membership is comprised of more than 170 community-based organizations in Ontario. O.C.A.S.I. is an advocate for the immigrant serving sector and an expert on immigrant and refugee issues www.ocasi.org/index.php
FUNDING AND SUPPORT
D.O.O.R.S. to New Life receives funding and support from the following agencies and would like to thank them for their continued support of immigrants and refugees:
- Bishop’s Diocesan Ministry Campaign ("Sharing the Challenges")
- Thunder Bay Community Bingo
- Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
- Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
- Individual Donations
Government and International Organizations