United Nations Ambassadors from 11 countries including Canadian Ambassador Marc‐André Blanchard visited ISSofBC Welcome Centre this morning to learn about Canada’s response to the global migration issues and the programs and services offered to refugees and immigrants.
Ambassadors from Colombia, Ghana, Guatemala, Jordan, Mali, Mauritania, Peru, United Republic of Tanzania and Viet Nam had the opportunity to tour the centre’s temporary housing units, one of the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes, the ISSofBC Preschool, and the Youth Hub led by ISSofBC Director of Settlement Services and Chris Friesen and Director of Language and Career Services Carla Morales.
“We are honoured that you have carved out time from your busy schedule to visit us and learn about our organization, in particular, about what we do to support people who come to Canada whether by design or by circumstance,” said ISSofBC Board of Directors President Jim Tallman during opening remarks of the visit.
The Ambassadors are in Vancouver as part of a two-day summit on peacekeeping that kicked off at the Vancouver Convention Centre today.
The conference is expected to draw over 500 delegates from over 70 countries, including defence ministers and representatives from the African Union, European Union, NATO, and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
One-time ISSofBC LINC student Sachi Rummel recounted her personal experience of surviving the Hiroshima atomic bomb and delivered a message for peace during a presentation at ISSofBC in Squamish Tuesday.
Rummel spoke in front of a Squamish LINC class about her recent memoir “Hiroshima: Memories of a Survivor” published this past year. In addition Shaw TV came to film the presentation as well as shoot a personal interview.
“Sachi’s story was especially compelling because she was a student here at our school and has close ties with the Squamish community. Her presentation had a profound impact on our ISSofBC students providing some insight and understanding to newer generations about the extreme risks of nuclear weapons,” said Erica Taylor ISSofBC LINC Instructor & Marketing Outreach & Student Support Coordinator.
Rummel shared her story as young girl in Hiroshima surviving the atomic bomb that was dropped August 6, 1945. Her home was 3.5 kilometres from the epicentre, and despite losing a large part of her family, Sachi survived. She went on to marry a Canadian from West Vancouver whom she met in Japan during her studies and they migrated to Canada.
She started classes at ISSofBC in Squamish in 2013 then exited the program in 2015 to publish her memoir.
Rummel now tours the Vancouver area presenting her story to elementary, high school, and university students, as well as the general public — spreading an anti-nuclear message of peace and love.
ISSofBC celebrated the first graduation ceremony of the Start2Sew training and employment program which included employment offers for graduates at Arc’teryx — a Canadian outdoor clothing and sporting goods company.
Start2Sew is a comprehensive hands-on training preparing participants with the sewing, language, and workplace skills needed to take on entry-level employment in the apparel industry.
Eight successful candidates completed the program and received certificates in Interpersonal Skills Development and Threadworks‘ Industrial Sewing Machine Operator Certification.
In addition, Start2Sew graduates were guaranteed employment at Arc’teryx and will start working in the coming weeks.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Ahmed Hussen announced new requirements to obtaining Canadian Citizenship allowing for more flexibility to both younger and older eligible immigrants and individuals who have already begun building lives in Canada during a press conference at ISSofBC Welcome Centre Friday.
The changes which took effect October 11 include: reducing the time permanent residents must be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship; amending the age range for applicants who must meet the language and knowledge requirements; and counting the days applicants spend in Canada as temporary residents or protected persons as half days toward their physical presence requirements, up to 365 days.
“One of the strongest pillars for successful integration into Canadian life is achieving Canadian citizenship and becoming part of the Canadian family. The Government encourages all immigrants to take the path towards citizenship and take advantage of everything that being a Canadian has to offer,” the minister said.
During Minister Hussen’s visit to ISSofBC Welcome Centre, he also met with refugee families in the Mount Pleasant Family Centre’s Circles of Care and Connection program which provides parenting resources and services to refugee families with young children.
More changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to take effect later this year and in early 2018.