Metropolis BC

Policy Research Symposium
November 7, 2008

9:00 am - 9:15 am - Welcome
Daniel Hiebert, Metropolis BC and Deb Zehr, BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development (ALMD)

9: 15 am - 10:45 am - Panel One: Finding a 'home' in Metro Vancouver: Refugees, housing and income security
Chair: Baldwin Wong, Multicultural Social Planner, City of Vancouver

Kathy Sherrell, University of British Columbia (ppt) (mov)

Kathy Sherrell is a doctoral candidate in Geography at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests focus upon issues of income security and housing among government-assisted refugees and refugee claimants in Vancouver, BC and Winnipeg, MB.

Tom Carter, University of Winnipeg (ppt) (mov)

Tom Carter is currently Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Adaptation and Professor of Geography at the University of Winnipeg. Tom is also the Housing and Neighbourhood Domain Leader for the Prairie Consortium's Metropolis Project. His research interests focus on various housing related issues including housing needs for immigrants and refugees. In addition to his housing interests, Dr. Carter's research also focuses on urban neighbourhood change, urban revitalization, and program and service needs of the poor in the inner city.

Jenny Francis, University of British Columbia (mov)

Jenny Francis is an MA student and community activist in Vancouver. Her most recent project is a participatory action research project with African immigrants/refugees around their experiences of housing and homelessness in Vancouver, with a key aim of the project being that the research produced directly benefits the African immigrants who help make it.

11:00 am - 12:30 pm - Panel Two: Intersections of health and home: Issues of health influencing refugee integration
Chair: Miu Chung Yan, Domain Leader, MBC, Associate Professor, UBC

Laura Simich, University of Toronto (ppt) (mov)

Laura Simich is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto; Scientist, Social Equity and Health Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto; and Health and Wellbeing Research Domain Leader at the Ontario Metropolis Centre. Her primary research interests are socio-cultural determinants of mental health among immigrants, specifically social support and resilience during refugee settlement. Dr. Simich has conducted research with Sudanese, Tamil, and Latin American forced migrants, among other newcomer groups. She specializes in qualitative and community-based research methods and is committed to knowledge transfer that enhances both policy and community mental health promotion.

Gulalai Habib, Resettlement Assistance Program of Immigrant Services Society (ppt) (mov)

Gulalai Habib has over twenty years of involvement in peace, human rights and community development in war zones from 1987-1999 in Middle East/South Asian Regions through the United Nations programs as well as in volunteer capacity. Since arrival in Canada nine years ago, Gulalai is involved is settlement services and community economic development sectors. She is working as the Assistant Manager/Case Manger of the Resettlement Assistance Program of the Immigrants Services Society of BC. In volunteer capacity, Gulalai is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Women's Community Economic Development Council.

Harpal Johl, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society

Harpal Johl works with DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, a Non-profit Society, as Director Family Services Department. He has 17 years experience and expertise working with issues of addiction, mental health, grief and trauma, relationship difficulties, and family violence. Harpal has had various publications in the field of addiction and mental health for the South Asian Community in their ethnic language. He has presented workshops in the ethnic communities on Stopping The Violence, addiction, self-esteem, communication skills and stress management. He is multilingual and fluent in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and English languages.

1:15 pm - 2:15 pm - Federal/Provincial Perspectives
Chair: Daniel Hiebert, Co-Director, Metropolis BC

Lois Reimer, Citizenship and Immigration Canada BC/Yukon Region

Lois Reimer is currently assigned the responsibility for all CIC regional planning, policy and program delivery and development activities. In this capacity, Ms. Reimer leads a team of regional program advisors and a regional planning and data analysis unit. Ms. Reimer represents CIC at regional and national fora, ensuring the BC and Yukon positions are well represented in the context of a national immigration and citizenship program.

Bill Walters, Immigrant Integration Branch, BC ALMD

Bill Walters is the Executive Director of the Immigrant Integration Branch, Responsible for WelcomeBC, in the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. He has been with the provincial government since 1994 in various social, education and labour market ministries where he developed a particular interest in issues related to the labour market integration of immigrants. Prior to joining government he was the Executive Director of a not-for-profit organization that provided academic upgrading, pre-employment and career development skills to unemployed youth and adults.

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm- Panel Three: New Directions, New Approaches
Chair: Kathy Sherrell, Doctoral candidate, University of British Columbia

Respondents will address the following key questions:
In your view what is the most important gap we are facing in respect to the provision of services to GARs? What are some of the challenges? Initial learnings?

Liza Bautista, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (mov)

Liza Bautista is Project Manager at ISSofBC for BCSAP-funded Employment Outreach Services, a settlement based employment assistance service for under-served clients: government assisted refugees, refugee claimants, live-in caregivers and underemployed professionals. Formerly Career Counsellor and Assistant Project Manager with the CareerAxis Program, Liza has developed and delivered employment services for immigrants and refugees as well as community and grassroots groups for 14 years. She also has a background in host and settlement program delivery.

Alison Dudley, Immigrant Integration Branch, BC ALMD (mov)

Alison Dudley is the Director of Stakeholder Relations and Partnership Development in the Immigrant Integration Branch of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. She has been with this branch for 5 years. Prior to joining government, she worked in the non-profit sector, including two years as a volunteer coordinator for the Vancouver-based immigrant settlement agency Pacific Immigrant Resources Society.

William Kolong Pioth, Homework Club (South Sudanese Community of BC and UBC students) (mov)

William Kolong Pioth is a Spoke person for South Sudanese Community of BC and Director of African immigrant Homework Club. He grew up in refugee camp in Northern Kenyan and work as social worker for lost boys of Sudan in the camp under UNHCR; he came here in July 21 1998 as an immigrant and started volunteering in the Sudanese community in 1999.

Marc Larrivée, Step Ahead Program, MOSAIC (mov)

Marc Larrivée, MSW, is the Project Manager of the Step Ahead: Settlement Enhancement Project. He is a Registered Social Worker in British Columbia. He came to Canada two years ago from the United States on a US-Canada Fulbright Grant to do research on immigrant integration.

Cecilia Tagle, Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) (mov)

Cecilia Tagle has over 14 years of experience working as a settlement counsellor, mainly with refugee families and individuals, mostly coming from many countries, but especially from Latin America. Her main focus is to provide support and connect newcomers with community resources and government programs, to evaluate and assess newcomers' needs and make referrals when needed, and also to empower individuals with knowledge and information during their adaptation process. She was a Member of the Vancouver Mayor Task Force on Immigration, past Co Chair of the Vancouver Refugee Council, and is currently a Board member of Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

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