Friday, May 27, 2022 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Virtual event

Downtown Legal Services presents:

Access Denied: Ongoing Barriers to Refugee Sponsorship in Canada 

Friday, May 27, 2022

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

Advance registration required via Zoom

To be eligible for sponsorship to Canada, refugees must be recognized as refugees by the UNHCR or the government of the country in which they are currently located. Despite being temporarily waived for Syrian refugees, this requirement is still in effect and posing as a significant barrier to refugee sponsorship, especially in the context of Afghan refugees. Our speakers will not only delve into the history of this requirement, they will also share their experiences in attempting to help Afghan refugees overcome this ongoing barrier as they keep being denied access. 


Mellissa Fung is a Canadian journalist, filmmaker, and storyteller. Her work has appeared on CBC News, Globe and Mail, and Al Jazeera.

Pierre-André Thériault is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and co-editor of the journal Refuge. He researches broadly in immigration and refugee law.

Alice Zhao and Anisha Sivathas are students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. They are caseworkers in the Refugee and Immigration Law Division at Downtown Legal Services, the faculty’s community legal clinic and and legal clinical education program. 

Tamana Hafid is a member of the Canadian Afghan Lawyers Association and a supporter of LifeLine Afghanistan. She is an advocate for Afghan refugees.

Moderated by Downtown Legal Services staff lawyer Asiya Hirji, Refugee and Immigration Law Division