New Start launches for immigrants and refugees in Vancouver

September 21 2016

People in a park

Today staff introduced the New Start Strategy to City Council, laying out 28 priority actions for effective settlement and integration of immigrants and refugees in Vancouver over the next decade.

New Start Strategy

The New Start Strategy  is a key milestone of the federally funded Vancouver Immigration Partnership (VIP) convened by us and recognizes that immigrants and refugees are:

  • An integral part of the city
  • Bringing with them diversity 
  • Talents
  • Skills
  • The desire to engage with other members of society

The New Start Strategy was the result of a 16 month process that engaged nearly 120 people from 72 organizations and groups in order to gain a better understanding of the unique barriers and challenges that many immigrant and refugee newcomers face.

Key themes of the strategy

The strategy sets out to improve the settlement experience of newcomers through coordinated action across diverse communities with a focus on four key themes:

  1. Enhancing access to services
  2. Strengthening intercultural and civic engagement
  3. Building welcoming and inclusive workplaces
  4. Government and public institutions addressing needs

These four themes correspond to our Health City Strategy goals:

  • Access to human services
  • Being able to make ends meet
  • Feeling connected and included
  • Collaborative leadership

Actions already underway

A full list of the 28 priority actions can be found in the New Start Strategy.

These five actions are already underway:

  1. Support recommendations from the Engaged City Task Force (which aims to increase neighbourhood engagement and improve upon ways we connect with residents) and the Canada 150 Anniversary Celebrations to create new social connection initiatives, connect existing initiatives, and magnify their collective impact.
  2. Promote and support a continuation of reconciliation work addressing historical injustices in Vancouver through dialogue and education.
  3. Work towards implementing the Vancouver Mayor's Engaged City Task Force recommendations to extend municipal voting rights to permanent residents in Vancouver.
  4. Undertake a survey with Vancouver-based employers and develop and implement specific strategies to address employers' challenges in improving workplace diversity and inclusion practices.
  5. Convene a partnership to host regular networking events with the business community to provide opportunities for immigrant and refugee professionals to meet members of Vancouver's business community and build their professional networks.

Next step

As a next step, implementation teams are currently being established to develop a focused three-year action plan by the end of 2017.

For out more about the Vancouver Immigration Partnership