Subject: Press Release-Grand Opening – ISSofBC Welcome Centre

June 25, 2016

ISSofBC Welcome Centre opens to serve immigrants and refugees
One-stop housing and services hub provides streamlined access to care

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Two years and almost to the day since ground was broken on World Refugee Day in June 2014, the ISSofBC Welcome Centre formally opens today as a fully-integrated services facility addressing the immediate needs of immigrants and refugee newcomers in Metro Vancouver.

The opening of the ISSofBC Welcome Centre – located at 2610 Victoria Drive – is the culmination of a long-held vision by ISSofBC to create a regional hub of transitional housing and support services for newcomers. It is the first purpose-built facility of its kind in the world and sets a new international standard in service delivery for immigrants and refugees.

Through this 58,552 sq. ft., Gold Leed, multi-purpose facility, newcomers will have streamlined access to care through services from ISSofBC and co-tenants including the Inland Refugee Society, Settlement Orientation Services, Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture, Mount Pleasant Family Centre’s Circle of Care program and Vancity, as well as from multi-purpose government outreach offices.

ISSofBC Welcome Centre was built with funding support from the governments of Canada and BC, on land provided by the City of Vancouver, and contributions from supporters, primarily, Vancity and the Edith Lando Family Foundation. “The new ISSofBC Welcome Centre will be a safe haven where immigrants and refugees can come for assistance to get a solid start on their new lives in Canada,” said ISSofBC CEO Patricia Woroch.


Rt. Hon. Justin P.J. Trudeau, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada—
“Canada is a nation built on immigration. With the opening of this Welcome Centre in Vancouver, newcomers will have streamlined access to temporary housing and on-site services from government, community organizations, public and private institutions and programs. I would like to commend all those involved in working together to develop this new facility that will address the immediate needs of immigrants and refugees in Metro Vancouver.”

Hon. John McCallum, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship –
“With the opening of this new Welcome Centre, newcomers to the Vancouver area will have access to a wide range of vital services and programs under one roof, including career and settlement services, language instruction, and temporary housing for refugees.”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) –
“Our Government is investing in affordable housing here in Vancouver and across Canada to help create jobs and improve the quality of life for those who need it most.”

Hon. Christy Clark, M.L.A., Premier of British Columbia –
“The stress of change, uncertainty or leaving behind the life you have always known is a difficult challenge that many immigrants and refugees know all too well. By bringing together government services, settlement assistance, language and employment services, this facility sets an especially high standard for supporting newcomers as they start their lives here in BC.”

Hon. Shirley Bond, M.L.A., Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“For decades British Columbians have welcomed refugees to our province and that will continue with additional refugees expected to arrive in B.C. in the coming months. This new Welcome Centre is the first of its kind and will provide important support to newcomers looking to settle in British Columbia. My sincere thanks to BC Housing and all of the partners that have played a role in the development and creation of the Welcome Centre."

Mayor Gregor Robertson
, City of Vancouver –
“Vancouver has a longstanding commitment to welcoming refugees in times of need and the City is honoured to have contributed to the project. The Welcome Centre is an innovative response to meeting the needs of our newest residents and helping them foster a strong sense of belonging and build a future in our city.”

Linda Morris
, SVP, Vancity Credit Union –
“The Welcome Centre is a place of compassionate support for all newcomers – new immigrants and refugees – offering an innovative, first-of-its-kind service-delivery model that can be replicated around the world. Vancity is honoured to have a long-standing partnership with ISSofBC and to be part of this life-changing project.”

Patricia Woroch, CEO, ISSofBC –
“ISSofBC Welcome Centre is the culmination of the efforts of a great many people over a number of years. We had a long-held vision to build a multi-purpose facility that would welcome all newcomers and would engage in partnerships with the local community to benefit all newly-arrived individuals. That we are here celebrating the opening of the Centre is evidence of how partnerships built on deeply-shared values can move mountains, and we are committed to continuing this collaborative approach in all aspects of our work in the years ahead.”

Quick Facts – ISSofBC Welcome Centre
  • Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building;
  • Houses organizations, public institutions, government services and programs to provide streamlined access to service for all newcomers;
  • Provides 18 housing units that can accommodate up to 138 beds.
Quick Facts – ISSofBC
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Immigrant Services Society of BC, 2610 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC V5N 4L2, Canada
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