When the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) hosts its 40th Anniversary Gala on November 6th, there will be plenty to celebrate. Formed in 1978 to act as a collective voice for immigrant serving agencies, the mission of OCASI is to achieve equality, access, and full participation for immigrants and refugees in every aspect of Canadian life. OCASI has earned many important victories for the immigrant and refugee communities in pursuit of that mission. One example is the “Prevention through Intervention: Domestic Violence Against Immigrant Women” project, in which OCASI developed and delivered training throughout Ontario for settlement service providers who frequently provide services to immigrant, refugee, and undocumented victims of violence. Another example is an anti-racism strategy established by the Ontario Government that OCASI and their partners Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP – COC) helped to inform. “It’s the first of its kind in Ontario,” said Felicia Christmas, Coordinator of Event Management for OCASI.
OCASI has managed wonderful achievements like these despite limited budget and supports. One of the ways that OCASI has been able to maximize its impact is through the deployment of self-paced and facilitated online courses. These courses enable OCASI to efficiently disseminate important, high-quality information to agencies and other service providers across Canada. Doing it on a small budget, however, is not easy. That’s where Remote-Learner came in.
“We were determined to get them the biggest bang for their buck.
OCASI’s Account Manager at Remote-Learner
Remote-Learner understands OCASI’s ambitions well. Not only have OCASI and Remote-Learner been partners for over 10 years, OCASI’s mission resonates on a personal level. “I was born in England and moved to Canada as a young child,” explains Ms. Churchward. “I have lived in communities with large immigrant populations and know well the need for the services of OCASI.”
Early discussions quickly elevated two of OCASI’s requirements. One was transparency. OCASI required robust reporting and communication tools to ensure that they could demonstrate effectiveness. The second requirement was flexibility. “Service providers are required to be continually updating their knowledge and skills,” said Beverly Lawrence-Dennis, Coordinator of Professional Education and Training.
Together, OCASI and Remote-Learner settled on a Moodle®-based solution that offered the flexibility, configurability, and customizations OCASI needed to meet the needs of its learners. Moodle® also offered the forums, completion reports, and other tools OCASI needed to fulfill its obligation to transparency and accountability.
The result has been a great success for OCASI. One course, in particular, has drawn praise. “We featured the Settlement course in our annual report,” said Emily Mooney, Project Coordinator of Research, Content Development, and Training Facilitation. “100% of participants recommended the course and many said it should be mandatory.” For many of the learners enrolled in the course, this was their first opportunity to access this kind of information, which is exactly what OCASI had in mind when it set out to create a distance learning program.
Looking forward, OCASI has no interest in slowing down. “We want to change the entire narrative of what immigration looks like,” said Ms. Christmas. Remote-Learner looks forward to helping OCASI achieve that vision.
Remote-Learner would like to congratulate OCASI on 40 years of service and to thank them for 10 years of partnership. Here’s to 40 more years of making an impact together.