NANAIMO – The Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society has been chosen to lead a Refugee Response Team in Victoria, Nanaimo, and Duncan to help refugees settle and integrate into the community.

Funding will be provided in two instalments with the first portion delivered immediately and the remainder in the summer when final settlement numbers are known. Supported by the initial $52,500 through the $1 million Refugee Readiness Fund, the Refugee Response Team will identify and prioritize short-term community needs to support a coordinated approach to helping refugees. Examples of the work the Teams may do include providing links with employers or other labour market opportunities and coordinating community supports.

The team will have representatives from the refugee service provider community: settlement organizations, private sponsors, churches, educators, health care providers and employers. The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour will continue to engage with settlement communities across the Province to ensure they have the capacity to support any incoming refugees.

“These refugees are fleeing unimagineable circumstances, and I’m so proud of our community’s response in offering them the best welcome possible,” says Michelle Stilwell, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “These funds will help ensure refugees are supported with the services they need to build new lives in our communities.”

Quick Facts:

  • In addition to the $1 million Refugee Readiness Fund, the province funds a number of programs for all newcomers, including:
    • $2.6 million investment for 1,200 newcomers to B.C. to get language training for the job market;
    • $1.5 million through the Canada-BC job grant to help get refugees job training and match them with employers;
    • $4 million for services for newcomers not eligible for federal services, such as:
      • Orientation and community connections;
      • Formal and informal language training and practice; and
      • Trauma counselling for refugee claimants.
  • Wait periods and premiums for Medical Service Plan (MSP) coverage are waived for all refugees.
  • Each refugee student in public school in B.C. is funded from the Province’s pupil funding formula.
  • All refugees are able to access the Employment Program of B.C.
  • In addition, all refugees are eligible to receive:
    • Child Care Subsidy;
    • BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit – up to $55 per month per child under age 6;
    • BC Basic Family Bonus – up to $111 per child per month when combined with the National Child Benefit Supplement; and
    • Student Aid.

To learn more, please visit the new enhanced WelcomeBC.ca which is streamlined, easier to use and available through mobile devices and social media: www.welcomebc.ca.