Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, (OCASI)
Debbie Douglas has been the Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, (OCASI) for the past 10 years. Prior to arriving at OCASI, Ms. Douglas spent over 15 years working in the non-governmental (NGO) sector in direct service organizations as a manager, director and consultant. As a consultant Debbie designed and delivered anti-oppression workshops for a wide range of community-based organizations, post-secondary institutions, hospitals, community health and legal centres, police services and arts organizations.
Ms Douglas has a prominent face in the Toronto area and across the province, as a member of numerous boards and working groups including—the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigrant Settlement (CERIS), The Voluntary/Non-profit Human Resources Sector Council, and the City of Toronto’s City-Wide Local Immigration Partnership Steering Committee. Debbie also co-chairs the National Working Group on Immigration and Settlement at the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR).
Ms. Douglas is an active feminist and was instrumental in the development of Ontario’s first shelter geared to abused immigrant women in the late 1980’s. She was an active participant and advocate during the early nineties in the public discussions and debates on Employment Equity, and the establishment of anti-discriminatory systems in public institutions particularly the public school system. As well she lends her voice and efforts to the gay and lesbian community through her work at OCASI, highlighting issues of sexual orientation within the immigration system and promoting the creation of safe, welcoming spaces within settlement and integration programs and services.
In 2004, Ms. Douglas was honoured with the prestigious YWCA Toronto women of distinction award in the area of social action and justice.