WHO WE ARE
Community Coalition On Refugee and Immigrant Concerns (CCORIC) is an active and engaged volunteer-based community group in Waterloo Region. We advocate for acceptance, justice, and better access to resources for refugees and immigrants. We work to identify issues facing newcomers such as: inclusion, access to employment, education, English language education, access to health care, immigration policy changes, and family reunification.
Our members include community members, former refugees and immigrants, as well as representatives from various organizations and agencies that work with newcomers.
Since the 2nd World War, thousands of refugees and immigrants from around the world have chosen Waterloo Region as the place in which to build their lives and raise their families. The people of Waterloo Region have a history of working together to improve the lives of refugees and immigrants who choose to settle here.
CCORIC has been part of that history.
Our story began in 1979 when a local chapter of Operation Lifeline was established in Kitchener-Waterloo to respond to the arrival of Southeast Asian refugees fleeing oppressive regimes and conflict.
In the early 1980s, Operation Lifeline evolved into the Southeast Asian Refugee Coordinating Committee where local groups and government departments shared information and advocated on issues affecting immigrants and refugees.
This committee evolved into the Kitchener Waterloo Refugee Co-ordinating Committee which responded to the needs of refugees from Central America and Eastern Europe including basic needs and counselling.
A program unique to the Region, Friendship Families, was notable for bringing together refugees and local individuals and families, and became a model for other communities.
During the 1990s, three groups – the Multicultural Health Coalition, the Survivors of Torture and Trauma Working Group, and the Refugee and Immigrant Concerns Committee were established to meet growing needs.
By late 2000, these three groups merged and formed the Community Coalition on Refugee and Immigrant Concerns (CCORIC), which continues in the tradition of largely volunteer groups supporting refugees and immigrants as they settle in Waterloo Region.
“To build and maintain Waterloo Region as a welcoming, safe and inclusive community for refugees and immigrants.”
Advocate, educate and promote issues of mutual benefit to refugees and immigrants living in the Waterloo Region and area. We are committed to bringing the refugee/immigrant communities and the community at large together to promote the general well-being of refugees and immigrants who live in the region. CCORIC with other relevant community groups, agencies and the larger community will advocate gaining and maintaining acceptance, respect, justice and better access to resources for refugees and immigrants in the region through advocacy, increasing awareness, networking, social support and appropriate programmatic interventions.
What CCORIC Strives For
We are committed to:
- Increasing awareness and understanding of the realities faced by immigrants and refugees in the community.
- Working with immigrant and refugee communities to identify common concerns and take action.
- Advocating for systemic changes that are responsive to the needs of immigrant and refugee communities.
- Monitoring government policies on issues affecting immigrants and refugees; advocating with the government for changes in these policies.
Recognition of CCORIC's Work
In 2009, CCORIC received the June Callwood Award for Outstanding Achievement for Volunteerism in Ontario.
In 2018, CCORIC received the Volunteer Action Centre Multicultural Award for our commitment to building and maintaining Waterloo Region as a welcoming, safe, and inclusive community for refugees and immigrants.
“As a newcomer to Canada eager for justice and civic engagement, I joined CCORIC. I was welcomed by an open-minded, dedicated group that shares compassion and commitment to increasing the sense of belonging and improving the quality of life for immigrants and refugees. It is a rewarding experience where you meet new friends, work on the same goals, and share the same ambition – to build a better future for all Canadians.”
- Iman A.