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Newcomers receive toys for first Christmas in Canada

toy drivePuzzles, cars, teddy bears, board games and more!

ISSofBC received 150 gifts for newcomer children this week thanks to the First Christmas in Canada Concert and toy drive held December 12 at the Vancouver Playhouse.

The concert, sponsored by the City of Vancouver and various immigrant serving agencies in Metro Vancouver, featured the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy and their special guest Vivace performing holiday classics such as Joy to the World, I’ll be home for Christmas and O Holy Night.

Over 400 guests attended the evening event and many donated toys for refugee and immigrant children to give during the holiday season.

During the intermission, City of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson got into the Christmas spirit handing out gift stockings to  children attending  including those from ISSofBC newcomer families in Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and Vancouver.

Lourdes Hisola, ISSofBC Welcome House Coordinator is organizing the distribution of the gifts from the toy drive this week to ISSofBC locations housing refugees who recently arrived from Syria.

Thank you to the City of Vancouver for sponsoring this event and to all those who donated these special gifts for Christmas.

View concert photos

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Refugee settlement experience – one year in

A year after they arrived as part of the largest resettlement initiative in Canadian history, Syrian government-assisted refugees (GARs) shared their experiences on their first year of living in BC.

Their outcomes are highlighted in a report “Syrian Refugee Operations to British Columbia: One Year In – A Roadmap to Integration and Citizenship” released today during a press conference at ISSofBC Welcome Centre.

The conference included opening remarks from ISSofBC Board of Directors Naomi Linklater, a presentation of key findings from ISSofBC Director of Settlement Services Chris Friesen, remarks from Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Megs, and words of gratitude and personal stories from Syrian refugees Eslam Al Abbas, Nour Alhuda Al-Hariri, Adburahman Saeed and Raid Abazeed.

The report reflects feedback from a consultation meeting involving close to 60 Syrian newcomer youth from Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley, and a phone survey of over 300 heads of household from the same area.

The report touched on respondents’ views on income security, education, housing, health, dental, mental well-being and family reunification.

But even as they were vocal in sharing their concerns and issues, respondents were keen to express their gratitude to “all Canadians who opened their hearts for us.” “Canadians did not make us feel like we were refugees,” said one.

Read a copy of the report and view key findings

View photos from the press conference

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ISSofBC calendar of events-December 2

Career fairs, English conversation circles, life skills and much, much more. This is the ISSofBC calendar of events for all your employment, language and settlement needs.

Updated events December 2, 2016

For more details:

Give us a call, send an email or visit us in person.

2610 Victoria Drive
Vancouver, BC  V5N 4L2
Phone: 604-684-2561
Fax: 604-684-2266

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learn and hire 1

Employer talk reveals hiring secrets to over 100 job seekers

learn and hire 1Over one hundred job seekers attended the Employer Talk and Hiring Event to learn secrets to getting hired and how to create stand out resumes.

HR managers from the City of Vancouver, BMS-Paladin Security and Arcteryx answered insightful questions about the elusive Canadian work experience, credentialing and certification, impact of unionized environment to hiring and selection, language skills and more.

Other employers such as Accountemps, Kin’s Farm, Edgewater Casino, Vancity, and Vitrum Glass Group joined in to meet and quickly screen skilled professionals who were eager to hand in their resumes and create lasting first impressions.

“Thank you to all our employers for this wonderful opportunity and for reaching out to help immigrants build their lives in Canada,” said Venus Rollo, ISSofBC Employer Solutions Program Manager.

She also thanked the clients, volunteers, staff and community partners for participating and supporting this successful event held November 30 at ISSofBC Welcome Centre.

To apply for employment opportunities or to inquire about services, visit

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