ISSofBC is one of the largest immigrant-serving agencies in Canada, with a national and international reputation in the field of migrant issues and services for immigrants and refugees. Every year, ISSofBC supports more than 20,000 people with a broad range of services through 14 offices located in Metro Vancouver and across BC.
Streamlined access to care is a major need among newcomers, especially those with significant language, cultural and financial barriers. ISSofBC has had a long-held vision to address this need.
With the support of selected community organizations with shared values, as well as funding support from government and the private sector, ISSofBC opened the ISSofBC Welcome Centre in Vancouver in 2016. The Centre houses 58,000 sq ft of residential units and support services delivered by ISSofBC and co-located community organizations including the VanCity Credit Union, Vancouver Association of Survivors of Torture (VAST), Mount Pleasant Family Centre Society, the Lower Mainland Urgent and Primary Care Centre and the Immigration and Refugee Legal Clinic. Building on the success of this model, ISSofBC opened the ISSofBC Welcome Centre in Surrey in 2019.
What is one interesting fact about your space?
The ISSofBC Welcome Centre in Vancouver is the only facility of its kind in the world and continues to draw local and international visitors interested in this unique model of wraparound services for newcomers delivered under one roof. Around 600 people from a variety of local, national and international organizations have toured the facility including prominent special guests such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, BC Premier John Horgan and UN ambassadors.
What are your favorite resources that you would recommend to others?
ISSofBC’s Digital Literacy Curriculum Resource, a website launched May 2020, supports English language instructors and those in the Settlement field in helping newcomer clients overcome digital literacy barriers. Digital literacy is even more important during the current COVID-19 crisis as it enables vulnerable, isolated newcomers to access needed services and stay connected in their communities.
Center Name: ISSofBC Welcome Centre
Location: Vancouver, BC
Center Website: https://issbc.org/
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