Collaboration Forum – BRIDGES 2020

BRIDGES Forum is an annual Collaboration and Partnership Forum for service providers organized by the Toronto East Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership (TEQ LIP) in collaboration with the Toronto Quadrant LIPs and the City of Toronto Newcomer Office.

Objective of the BRIDGES Forum is to help enhance and build the capacity of organizations of varying sizes and resources to engage effectively and impactfully in collaboration and partnerships and achieve results through collective action.

BRIDGES 2020 brought together organizations from across the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and from diverse areas of expertise to share and learn about organizational partnerships and collaboration, to build connections and discuss how we can enhance our services and build stronger communities by working together.

Through the lens of collaboration, BRIDGES 2020 explored how service providers, institutions, government and funders work together and contribute to creating welcoming, inclusive communities in our region. Presenters and workshop facilitators shared knowledge, insights and ideas on both, the nuts and bolts of successful collaboration and partnerships, and – through the lens of accessibility, systems change and cross-sectoral collaboration – how we all play a role in creating a cohesive community and service system.

Below please find an overview of the sessions and links to presentations and handouts shared by presenters.

Panel Discussion: Inter-municipal collaboration around refugee claimants

In this plenary, presenters spoke to the collaboration between the municipalities of Toronto, Durham, Peel and Hamilton, and the opportunities and challenges this inter-municipal collaboration presents. Through the lens of housing, service provision and community well-being, speakers will highlight strategies for ensuring connected, seamless service provision and discuss impact and solutions to housing pressures this initiative may offer.


  • Milton Barrera, Acting Manager Homeless Initiatives, City of Toronto
  • Hermia Corbette, Executive Director, Community Development Council of Durham
  • Lucy Rodriguez, Manager of Housing, Region of Peel
  • Francisco Rico-Martinez, Co-Executive Director, FCJ Refugee Centre

Presentation: RAP – Durham Resettlement Assistance Program_Hermia Corbette

Workshop 1: Working together to create a welcoming community for newcomers

This workshop explored the idea of a community as an ecosystem in which all players are interconnected and collaborate to build a welcoming community.


Umema Sharafali, Coordinator of Learning Opportunities, Centre for Connected Communities

Yalini Vijayanathen, Community Employment Specialist, East Scarborough Storefront

Presentation: Creating a Welcoming Community for Newcomers

Workshop 2: Working together to support international students

Presenters in this workshop shared information on the current situation, existing services and supports, and provided insights on challenges and barriers international students face.


Keiko Hoehn, Manager, International Student Services, Centennial College

Moy Wong-Tam, Executive Director, Centre for Immigrant and Community Services


International Student Support_Keiko Hoehn

Working Together to Support International Students_Moy Wong-Tam

Workshop 3: Tools and promising practices to build successful collaborations

This workshop provided participants with concepts, tools and resources to build successful collaborations, with a special focus on how to start collaborations on the right foot and what to do in the crucial first six months of a collaborative project to set it up for success. 


Giovanni Rico, Community Engagement Coordinator, Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership

Mohamed Malik, Child Protection Worker. Child Welfare Immigration Centre of Excellence
Jagdeep Kailey, Manager, Settlement Services, Peel Multicultural Council 

Presentation: Building Successful Cross-sector Collaborations – by Jagdeep Kailey & Mohamed Malik

Workshop 4: Creating systems change through collaboration

Presenters discussed what systems change can look like, how different players contribute, and how non-profit organizations can initiate, contribute, and work together for systemic and policy change.

Presenter: Anne Gloger, Principal, East Scarborough Storefront/Centre for Connected Communities

Presentation: Influencing Systems

Workshop 5: Understanding and strengthening collaboration with the Francophone service sector  

This workshop focused on the Francophone community services sector and the reality of Francophone immigration in Toronto, and provide an opportunity for us to get to know each other to discuss building strategies and collaborations among Francophone and Anglophone organizations.


Serge Paul, Community Liaison Officer, Conseil Scolaire Viamonde

Émilienne Mondo,  Project Manager, En Français Programs, ACCES Employment


Partnerships with Francophone Organizations_Emilienne Mondo

Workshop 6: Organizational readiness for successful collaborations on funding proposals

Presenters shared strategies and approaches for how organizations can set themselves up to be collaboration-ready; how to develop these collaborations around a need and what is needed to make this a successful process.


Bill Sinclair, Executive Director, St. Stephen’s Community House

Ronni Gorman, Manager, Neighbourhoods, United Way of Greater Toronto


Organizational readiness for successful collaborations on funding proposals_Bill Sinclair

Successful collaborations for funding proposals_Ronni Gorman

Workshop 7: Working together to enhance accessibility in service provision

This workshop aimed to help support and strengthen the capacity of organizations to better support newcomers with visible and invisible disabilities. 


Carmen Galvan, Accessibility Coordinator, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Wendy Porch, Executive Director, Centre for Independent Living in Toronto

Hermia Corbette, Executive Director, Community Development Council of Durham


AODA Compliance Requirements_Carmen Galvan

Working together: Accessibility in Service Provision_Wendy Porch

Co-Creating Accessible Spaces_Hermia Corbette

Workshop 8: Working together on data and research

The presenter shared information about recent developments in Ontario and Canada. Participants had an opportunity to discuss strategies and ideas for how agencies can make better use of their service delivery data, and can work successfully together to leverage data to inform service planning and service delivery.

Presenter: Michael Lenczner, Director, Powered by Data

Closing Address: The importance of partnerships for the future of settlement services

Presenter: Gillian Wan, Director, Integration – Settlement Network, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)


L’importance des partnerariats pour l’avenir des services d’établissement

The importance of partnerships for the future of settlement services

Organizer of BRIDGES 2020 Collaboration Forum

The Forum is being organized by:

Please find more information on the organizers by clicking on the links:

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