We are an Army of Lovers. And we want YOU!


March for Refugee Rights Day 2024

Given the current inclement weather conditions, we’ve made the difficult but necessary decision to call off tomorrow’s March for Refugee Rights Day event.

Over 2,000 people were registered to show up. Many of them are refugee claimants who were going to travel from as far as Kingston and the Niagara region. Folks would end up having to brave stormy weather conditions without warm coats, navigate transit snags, and travel for hours to get to a rally to advocate for their essential needs and constitutional rights.

Having to cancel this rally reminds us of the broken systems many LGBTQ+ refugee claimants have to navigate on a daily basis. During our Love in Action event in February, many clients who had travelled for hours to get to us expressed the need for food, winter gear, clothing, and boots. They continue to rely on our programming and the demand is only increasing day by day. 

At greatest risk are refugees who are LGBTQ+, women, Black, racialized, and Muslim – as they are often disproportionately scrutinized, surveilled, and criminalized by the very systems that should offer them safety and protection. Racial bias, prejudice, and systemic racism are evident in the differential and hostile response to refugees around the world and here in Canada.

There’s urgent need for more transitional shelter support, affordable housing, equitable health care, increased support through programs such as Legal Aid and ODSP, and shorter wait times for the refugee claimant process. We must each continue to dismantle the systems of oppression that make this challenging process even more difficult for racialized people. We must continue to advocate for the safety and rights of LGBTQ+ refugees who are made more vulnerable through hateful policies and rhetoric. Beyond today, beyond a march, we must recognize the invaluable contribution of refugees and newcomers to Canada.   

If we wish to remain a safe haven to immigrants who have been forcefully displaced, we must do more to address systemic inequities. 

In lieu of tomorrow, the event is being moved to Thursday, May 16, a day before the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBT). Stay tuned for more details. 

Thanks to everyone, including our communities, allies, community partners, and the Refugee Rights Day 2024 Committee for their support. We look forward to getting together next month.

An Army of Lovers Never Stops! 

Why are we marching?

April 4 is Refugee Rights Day, a day that recognizes the 1985 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that stated refugee claimants are entitled to fundamental rights. Rights mean little if they’re not backed by action.

Every day, LGBTQ+ people across the world are forcefully displaced due to violent and hateful legislation. Across Canada, unprecedented numbers of LGBTQ+ refugees are struggling to access basic needs like housing and healthcare. At The 519 – Canada’s largest 2SLGBTQ+ multiservice agency – we’ve seen a tripling of the number of refugee claimants accessing service over the past year.

LGBTQ+ people seeking refuge in Canada contribute so much to our communities and our country. Join us in calling for the urgent support needed to build opportunities for the most vulnerable and to build a stronger Toronto for everyone.

Questions? Email us at Community@The519.org

Partner organizations: Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), Sojourn House Toronto,  FCJ Refugee Centre, Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration and Integration, Toronto Metropolitan University, Margaret’s Housing and Community Support Services, Rainbow Railroad

Supported by: The Refugee Rights Planning Committee


We want YOU.
Join our Army of Lovers and fight back hate!