“They didn’t treat me as a Gypsy”: Romani Refugees in Toronto


  • Cynthia Levine-Rasky Queen's University




Roma, Romani refugees, Toronto, Canada, Hungary, systemic discrimination, hate crimes, racism, resilience


With organized hate crime and institutionalized discrimination, thousands of European Roma have fled to Canada, where they claim refugee status. Their arrival coincided with far-ranging reforms to the refugee determination system in 2012–13 in addition to some actions aimed specifically at the Roma. Against this backdrop, former and current Romani refugee claimants substantiate the experience of migration and settlement, beginning with the first moments after arrival, to the tasks of finding housing and work. Agency and resilience are evinced, despite the government’s multiple instruments used against asylum-seekers. Romani refugees’ lives show how, for transnational groups, belongingness is always contested and the meaning of home is always nuanced.


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Author Biography

Cynthia Levine-Rasky, Queen's University

Cynthia Levine-Rasky is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University. Her book, Writing the Roma (Fernwood 2016), is based on four years of ethnographic research at the Roma Community Centre in Toronto. With Hedina Tahirović-Sijerčić, she is co-editor of Spectrum of the Blue Water: Romani Women in Canada (Inanna 2016). She lives in Toronto.



How to Cite

Levine-Rasky, C. (2016). “They didn’t treat me as a Gypsy”: Romani Refugees in Toronto. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 32(3), 54–62. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.40302

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