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Surrey Creating New Action Plan to Support Immigrants and Refugees

January 28, 2013

Surrey – The City of Surrey and several community organizations are partnering to create a new action plan designed to create a more welcoming environment for new immigrants and refugees by improving access to community services, supporting the development of intercultural relationships, supporting inclusive workplaces, and creating welcoming spaces in the community.

“It is really important, both socially and economically, that new immigrants and refugees feel supported in our city and that services are being provided that meet their needs,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “We need to remove employment barriers and ensure they have access to the community programs that are available so they can successfully live, work and raise their families in Surrey.”

The action plan is part of the new Welcoming Communities Program now underway in Surrey, which is being co-chaired by the City of Surrey and the Surrey Board of Trade. The provincial government has provided $667,000 for the initiative, which involves multiple partners, including:

  • Alexander Neighbourhood House
  • City of Surrey: Planning Department, Surrey Libraries, and Parks Recreation and Culture Department
  • DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society
  • Douglas College
  • Fraser Health Authority
  • Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre (to be confirmed)
  • Immigrant Services Society of BC
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Oak Avenue Neighbourhood Hub Society
  • Options Community Services Society
  • Pacific Community Resource Society
  • Progressive Intercultural Community Services
  • RCMP
  • Semiahmoo House Society
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Sources
  • S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
  • Surrey Board of Trade
  • Surrey Foundation
  • Surrey School District
  • Umoja
  • YMCA

“This is great community partnership that will help Surrey respond better to the needs of new immigrants and refugees. It will build upon the important work already underway through our Poverty Reduction Plan, and our Plan for the Social Well-Being of Surrey Residents,” says Councillor Judy Villeneuve, Chair of the Social Planning Advisory Committee.

The Province estimates that immigrants are needed to fill approximately one-third of the 1.1 million anticipated job openings across B.C. between now and 2019. Research shows, basic settlement services alone are not sufficient in integrating and retaining new immigrants, and that a community’s receptivity to new immigrants is a critical factor to successful integration.

The action plan will be completed by February 15, 2013, which will include a work plan, information on the role of community partners, an evaluation plan, and budget.

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor
604.375.4584