Chris Friesen Wins the 2024 Metropolis Service Provider Award

We are delighted and incredibly proud of our Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chris Friesen, who this week received the Metropolis Service Provider Award at the 26th National Metropolis Conference in Montreal, Quebec. This is the main immigration conference held each year in Canada, and brings together politicians, non-profits, charities and settlement organizations to find solutions to current and future challenges to immigration in Canada. 

The award recognizes Chris’ amazing contribution to the settlement sector over his over 3-decade long career. The ‘settlement sector’ in the Canadian context, refers to organizations, like ISSofBC, that assist immigrants and refugees adapt to their new lives in Canada, by offering support with community integration, English language learning and job search assistance.  

Chris has become known as a leader in both provincial and national discussions around the future of Canadian immigration and played a key role in coordinating Canada’s humanitarian responses to major crises including Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan. He has also led incredible innovations within the sector, such as the first of their kind ‘Welcome Centres’, which have been studied by local and national governments around the world as a new approach to service delivery for newcomers. 

For Chris, immigration has always played a key role in building the future of Canada, “As I reflect upon my career, I am reminded of the critically important role settlement and agencies play in nation-building and how important it is that we welcome and support newcomers.”  

The successes throughout Chris’ career show the power of collaboration and following a shared vision, “My colleagues have taught me so much as we work together to build a stronger and more just society that is inclusive and welcoming to immigrants and refugees striving to contribute.” 

In recent years, immigration has become a key public issue for many Canadians, from the lack of affordable housing to international student caps. To address these challenges, Chris reminds us of the importance of facts and compassion. “We must ensure the public is informed about immigration based on facts, and that newcomers are not scapegoated for this country’s challenges due to poor public policies and the lack of advanced planning.” 

Chris’s dedication to creating a more inclusive and welcoming Canadian society is very important in today’s world. His recognition with the 2024 Metropolis Service Provider Award is not just a celebration of his achievements, but a call to action for all of us, “Together, let us continue to work towards a stronger, more just society, where every individual, regardless of background, has the opportunity to thrive.”  

Congratulations, Chris, on this well-deserved honor and for all that you’ve done to support immigrants and refugees that play an important role in the future of Canada! 

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