ISSofBC, Vancity and Telus Senior managment ISSofBC Welcome Centre for World Refugee Day Press Conference.

Vancity and TELUS joined forces with ISSofBC to roll out plans to boost support for refugees and promote their integration into Canadian society.

Vancity will support five refugee families over the next five years as part of a new privately- sponsored refugee program, while TELUS will provide government-assisted refugees arriving in BC with refurbished phones, wireless access and digital support to enable them to stay in touch with family abroad and access support networks and employment opportunities in Canada.

Both initiatives were announced at a media event this morning hosted by ISSofBC to commemorate World Refugee Day. Eight government-assisted refugee families that arrived at the ISSofBC Welcome Centre yesterday were also formally welcomed by the Province of BC represented by Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar.

In collaboration with ISSofBC, Vancity will fund the settlement costs for a refugee family for one full year to help them get their start in Canada. A different family will be identified and supported in each of the next four years. “A refugee’s first year is always particularly challenging,” said Catherine Ludgate, Vancity’s Community Investment senior manager, “and programs like this help to ensure a warmer welcome and a smoother transition.”

TELUS launched its landmark “Welcome to Canada” initiative, which expands its Internet for Good and Mobility for Good programs through a customized pilot to help government-assisted refugees arriving in BC. “At TELUS, we are committed to seeing all people succeed in our increasingly digital society. This includes enabling better outcomes for newcomers to Canada,” said Jill Schnarr, TELUS vice president for Corporate Citizenship & Communications.

“Support from organizations like Vancity and TELUS go a long way towards strengthening the ability of organizations like ISSofBC that work directly with refugees to provide help that goes beyond our traditional expertise and keep us and our clients in step with the fast-changing demands of an increasingly shrinking, hyper-connected world that continues to struggle with the age-old problem of human displacement,” said ISSofBC CEO Patricia Woroch.

This year’s theme for World Refugee Day set by the UNHCR is #StepwithRefugees— Take A Step on World Refugee Day.

Read greetings on World Refugee Day from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Read greetings on World Refugee Day from John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia

Learn more about Vancity’s announcement