AGIR Annual General Meeting (AGM) – June 25

Site: Centre 2110, 1500 de Maisonneuve West, Suite 404
Near métro Guy-Concordia (green line)
Date: Wednesday, June 25th, 6pm

AGIR would like to invite you to our Annual General Meeting (AGM)! For those who are new to AGIR, this is an opportunity for you to learn more about us and how you can get involved. For those of you who are already familiar with AGIR, it will be an opportunity to re-connect.

Learn more about our activities this past year and the exciting projects that we have planned for the upcoming year. We have been working very hard this year to develop our internal capacity and we look forward to sharing with you what we have learned and achieved thus far.

If you have any questions about our AGM, please contact us at info@agirmontreal.org.

AGIR AGM Reportback

AGIR’s 2013 Annual General Meeting was held on June 25th at the 2110 Centre. A great big thank you to all those who participated! It was a very inspiring gathering and great to see so much interest in AGIR’s support services and advocacy work with LGBTQ immigrants and refugees. During the AGM, Board Members of 2012-13 presented the year’s financial report and the activities and projects that AGIR has been engaged in. We also presented and approved our priorities for 2013-14, among which include: expanding and structuring our internal capacity for support services, integrating and training new volunteers, increasing social activities for members, continuing to engage in community-driven research, and continuing to work on the organization’s long-term strategic planning. Also, elections were held to fill 6 open positions on AGIR’s Board of Directors. Here is your AGIR Board of Directors for 2013-14: Co-Coordinators: Betty Iglesias (ongoing term) Christina Olivieri (ongoing term) Valeria Contreras (newly-elected) Treasurer: Dario Federico (newly-elected) General Board Members: Edson Emilio Garcia (ongoing term) Edward Woo Jin Lee (newly-elected) Laila (newly-elected) Neil Ladode (newly-elected) Von (newly-elected) Congratulations and a warm welcome to AGIR’s new Board Members! Congratulations as well to Carmen, Juan and Ikemna who were nominated and ran in the elections! Last but not least, a huge heartfelt thanks to outgoing Treasurer, Kevin Stanley, and to outgoing General Board Members, Anderson Bordim and Renata Militzer, for your invaluable contributions and dedication to AGIR over the years! We would also like to thank the following people who made the AGA possible and a huge success: Chris Lau (AGA President), Renata Militzer (AGA Secretary), Ivan Barradas and Christina Olivieri (AGA elections officers), Neil Ladode and Betty Iglesias for the fabulous catering, Valeria Contreras for coordinating the organization of the event, the collaborative effort of AGIR Board Members 2012-13 in the preparation and presentation of the Annual Report, and André Maisonneuve for revision and translation of the French version of the Annual Report. Looking forward to seeing you at AGIR events and activities throughout the upcoming year! We’ll keep you posted! Download the AGIR Annual Report 2013.

Fundraising for AGIR Member Defending His Human Rights

Contribute to Edson Garcia’s Indiegogo fundraiser in order to help him to defend his right to equality without discrimination in housing!

How can you help?

You can help by donating on this indiegogo page by April 10th! http://igg.me/p/327211/x/2287480

Press Release by CRARR

VICTIM OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION TAKES HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO COURT

Montréal, March 25th, 2013 — A victim of discrimination whose complaint was rejected by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission (QHRYRC) is seeking justice through the courts.

In 2011, Edson Garcia lodged a complaint against a downtown cooperative that expelled him as a member and refused lodging for reasons that he considers discriminatory. Mr Garcia believes the cooperative rejected his request for accommodation because he was on welfare: the organisation did not even check his ability to pay. Furthermore, the cooperative, ignoring the fact that he suffered post-traumatic stress and was therefore psychologically disabled, determined his behavior to be inappropriate.

In November 2012, he received the QHRYRC decision rejecting his complaint on grounds of insufficient evidence. When reading the decision, Mr. Garcia noted a number of errors and factual omissions, raising doubts over the quality of the investigation and analysis by the complaints committee (the three commissioners that make a decision based on the documentation and recommendations submitted by the investigator).

Mr. Garcia immediately requested a copy of his file to determine whether he could appeal the decision. Last November, he submitted two unsuccessful written requests for access; he did not even receive confirmation that the requests had been made. He also made the request in person at the QHRYRC office. A third written request was made in January 2013. On this occasion, he received a reply and his file, but there was no explanation as to why he had not received it earlier.

With CRARR’s help, he examined the file and discovered that several relevant pieces of information and documents were missing. For example, the recorded conversation with the cooperative representative that had been duly submitted to the investigation was not included in the file. Neither were some of the supposed “negative and hateful” comments that he was said to have made about the coop on Facebook and which were used to justify his expulsion.

Also, he found no independently obtained information that the QHRYRC should have used to check and confirm certain details submitted in the coop’s defense, such as the information to the effect that “half the people here are on welfare” and that “24 of the 47 lodgings are subsidized”. There was also no information about rent, the coop’s disabled residents and rules regarding admission and expulsion.

Therefore, unable to obtain certain documents and evidence in the file that was eventually sent by the QHRYRC, Mr. Garcia asked himself if the QHRYRC had accepted the coop version unreservedly, without carrying out research and examining the evidence objectively and independently.

Finally, he found a Canada Post tracking history (a record of registered mail deliveries) that did not even relate to his case.

Consequently, Mr. Garcia lodged a request with the Commission d’accès à l’information (CAI) to access the missing information that, he believes, are vital to determine whether the QHRYRC handled his complaint correctly. A public hearing before the CAI has been requested.

At the same time, he has filed a request for judicial review with Québec Superior Court to require the HRYRC to redo the investigation in line with principles governing the handling of complaints such as procedural fairness.

Project Protect

Canada, stop the deportation of Mexican refugees living with HIV!

Dear friends:

AGIR, in collaboration with PROJECT PROTECT, would like to invite you to our upcoming  Press Conference. Our Press Conference will be will held at CENTRE St-Pierre (Room 304,1212 rue Panet, Montréal, QC, H2L 2Y7) on Thursday, April 4th from 17:00 – 18:30 pm, in honour of the Refugee Rights Day.

April 4th, 2013, marks the 28th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1985 Singh decision  in which the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was found capable of protecting the fundamental rights of refugees.

The press conference in question will focus on the rights of Mexican refugees to Canada who are living with HIV. Over the last two years, the number of refused Mexican refugee claimants living with HIV who have been given removal orders from the Canadian government it has been increasing.  Several recent cases have been made public, for example, those of:  David Perez and Pablo Gonzalez, a couple from Montreal; Julio Cesar Salas, an HIV/AIDS activist from Montreal; and Herberth Menendez from Toronto.  In the particular case of Julio Cesar Salas, he is  seeking refugee status in part because of the availability and accessibility of life-saving medication in Canada that he would not have access to in Mexico.

The goals of the press conference are threefold. First is the need to raise awareness that the Canadian government is deporting people from a number of countries of origin, but particularly from Mexico, who have failed their asylum claims.

Second, is to raise awareness about those individuals living with HIV who are being deported by the Government of Canada which is using outdated criteria from 2008 to support its decisions, decisions which are not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

Finally, the press conference will make public  important findings that have come to light in research I have undertaken on the current situation of people living with HIV in Mexico.

The report is entitled, ”The Current State of HIV/AIDS Treatment for Drug-Resistant HIV in Mexico’s National Health System: Drug Shortages, Draconian Policies and Human Rights Violations”. The report will be officially launched on the International Day Against Homophobia, this upcoming May 17, 2013.

This research report aims to demonstrate the institutionalized discrimination that exists in the Mexican Health System against Mexicans living with HIV/AIDS, and particularly against those with multidrug-resistant HIV, and argues that the Mexican government’s current unjustified policies can contribute to the treatment failure, morbidity, and mortality of Mexicans living with HIV/AIDS.

Our Press Conference will include a panel formed by federal NDP’s MPs, LGBTTQ community leaders and experts in the field that will explore various aspects related to the experiences of LGBTQ refugees living with HIV in Canada, Mexican transgender issues, human rights, immigration issues and health.

We will conclude our Press Conference with an open collective dialogue in order to  begin to reflection upon solutions and future pathways.

We truly believe that April 4th, Refugee Rights Day,  is an important day to act together to stop the unjust deportations of Mexicans living with HIV/AIDS. We hope that you will join us!

Sincerely, The  PROTECT PROJECT – AGIR  team: Edson Emilio, Edward Lee, Christina Olivieri and Betty Iglesias