More than half of construction workers are former refugees


I recently discovered close to 20 former refugee claimants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Chilean–all now Canadian citizens–are working on site in various capacities.

Luis (in photo) came to Canada as a refugee claimants from Guatemala in August 1987. Luis is one of several refugee claimants and immigrants who have found themselves building our new Metro Vancouver Regional Service Centre for refugees.

Luis will be celebrating his 28th year in Canada early next month. As always, when I describe to Luis and others about what they are helping to construct, the response is always the same:

“I wish this facility would have been around when I first came to Canada.”

ChrisAbout the Author:
Chris Friesen has been the ISSofBC Director of Settlement Services for over twenty years. He is currently leading the multi-year initiative to design and build a Metro Vancouver Regional Service Centre for Refugees. In spring 2016, this 58,000sf facility will become the first of its kind in the world, bringing together a variety of community and government services and organizations to meet the immediate needs of refugees and immigrants settling in BC. Learn more about the new Welcome House.

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