LINC end-of-term potluck
Submitted by Sika Patton, LINC Instructor

On December 14, daytime LINC classes came together for an end-of-term potluck party. Students, volunteers, and teachers from 20 classes gathered in the gym to share tastes from around the world. Childcare workers, children, and other staff also joined in the feast and fun. Teachers Jennifer and Tia led their classes in some holiday songs to get the festive mood started. 

In recognition of their dedication, volunteers were invited to serve themselves first, and then everyone filled up their plates with delicious international flavours. Falafels, dumplings, sushi, plantains, salsa, tabbouleh, and momos were just some dishes from the amazing spread. The gym was alive with talking, laughing, hugging, and snapping photos. 

Then, because staff, students, and volunteers are an extraordinary sort, everyone pitched in to clean up, wash dishes, and put away tables and chairs.

One more amazing potluck at ICA!

Thank you to our volunteers

My Pathways to Prosperity conference experience
Submitted by Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator

Kate Longpre, left, with colleagues at P2P

My name is Kate Longpre, and I am the Community Integration Coordinator at ICA. In November, I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the 2018 National Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) conference in Montreal. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to attend the P2P conference as a representative of ICA and to continue my learning about the opportunities and challenges that exist in the area of immigration, a salient topic of our time. The conference brought together over 450 participants, representing service providers, government and academics from all across Canada to explore "Borders, Welcoming Communities and the Politicization of Immigration: Challenges and Opportunities Surrounding the Dynamic Movement of People." I would like to take a moment to share my highlights and takeaways from the conference.

Jean McRae, CEO, ICA
Attending from Victoria, one might assume we do not have the depth of experience of other cities and representatives across Canada. Those feelings were quickly dispelled. ICA's CEO, Jean McRae, is one of the co-chairs of the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership and is so very well respected and well known across all stakeholders related to immigration in Canada. I was inspired and proud of my association with ICA and with Jean. I hope Victorians are aware of the calibre of ICA's accomplished leadership.

The plenaries were truly the highlight of the conference. Focusing on the politicization of immigration, the first plenary explored immigration on the global political stage and the rise of anti-immigration and right-wing populism. The overview of the Canadian immigration context, including the role of media, perceptions of threat, and the determinants of shifting public opinion, was fascinating. The second plenary examined the role of immigration in Canada's labour market. The future of Canada's labour market will rely greatly on Canada's ability to attract, retain, and fully utilize the skills of immigrants. The juxtaposition of anti-immigration politics with the need for immigrants as a means of addressing labour shortages is a complex reality for Canada, and the presentation and discussions were insightful and inspiring. 

ICA's Arts and Outreach Coordinator, Paulina Grainger, presented an art-based workshop: Stories of Belonging and Canadian Identify showcasing ICA's photo-story project "I've Not Always Been Canadian." I attended Paulina's interactive and meaningful workshop, and again, I was struck by the
Paulina Grainger, Arts and Outreach Coordinator, ICA
accomplished colleagues I have the privilege of working with.

I was honoured to have the opportunity to present ICA's We Speak Translate project on the final day of the conference as part of a workshop called Innovation and New Technologies in Newcomer Settlement. To my delight, the workshop was incredibly well attended and continues to inspire others in the settlement sector to explore innovative solutions and supports for newcomer inclusion and settlement. 

Perhaps the most impactful moment of my time at the conference was boarding the return flight home. I had just completed an amazing three days of learning and connecting with new colleagues across Canada in the settlement sector, and I was feeling truly inspired by the work I am privileged to do. As I waited to board the plane, a young gentleman just in front of me was being escorted by border security onto the plane. It took me a moment to realize what was happening, and then I overheard the border officer explaining to the flight attendant that this person was to be deported.  

What should I do in that moment? A few months ago, I had a shared a YouTube video of a young Swedish woman protesting the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker. Should I do the same? I didn't know the circumstances of this person's deportation. I felt disappointed for this young man who most likely came to Canada for a better life and was not going to be able to stay and realize those dreams. I didn't protest. Instead, I remembered the capable and compassionate people I had recently met at the P2P conference who work tirelessly across Canada to support and maintain our immigration system. I thought of all the qualified and dedicated settlement organizations and local immigration partnerships who support the successful settlement of newcomers to our country.  

Immigration, migration, displaced persons, refugees - these are complex human concerns I feel deeply connected to. The P2P conference confirmed for me that Canada is paying attention to the dynamic and human aspect of this most salient issue of my time.  

Representation Matters: Conversation on diversity and outdoors
Submitted by Robin McGeough, Settlement Youth Worker  

On October 22, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)'s CEO David Labistour penned an article asking the question, "Do white people dominate the outdoors?" His letter came as a response to a number of challenges to MEC's lack of minorities represented in their advertising and social media content, particularly when it came to people of colour. In his address, Labistour asserted that people of colour have a valued place in the outdoors; however, there was much work to be done in improving diversity in outdoor recreation.  

In response to calls for more diversity and equitable representation in Victoria, MEC hosted a film screening at the Vic Theatre on November 29 to highlight three mini-documentaries focusing on the achievements of people of colour in the outdoors. Facing Sunrise, Freedom, and Escapeeach followed the story of a newcomer or second-generation Canadian who wanted to explore their sense of self in the wilds of the Canadian outdoors. 

While these stories are not uncommon to Canadian documentaries, the fact that they were produced by and featured people of colour made them a stark departure from the majority of films screened at outdoor film festivals. Representatives from Power to Be, BC Parks, and myself from ICA's Youth and Family Services team were joined by Amil Reddy from the MEC Diversity Initiative to discuss issues of representation in the broad spectrum with relation to the outdoors following the films. 

Turning the conversation from the onscreen stories to the experiences in our community, it is clear that representation matters. When people see themselves reflected in the social, cultural, and economic mirrors around them, they feel more willing and able to participate. In order to strengthen the diversity in our media and advertising, we must remain critical of what author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche refers to as "a single story" - or a representation of individuals and communities based on stereotypes and misconceptions. An example of the single story we often see in our work is the ways refugees are often seen as "needy" or "pitied" instead of equals in our community. We need to expand the kinds of stories we tell to include ones of self-fulfillment, reflection, and action in the outdoors. When we do this, we are making room for more authentic role models to inspire others to follow their own path.   

If representation helps us realize the diversity in the outdoors as it is, addressing barriers to inclusion is another essential element to further assist marginal populations getting outdoors. At the ICA, we work closely with families to access funding for sports registration, find programs for newcomer youth to challenge themselves and develop new skills, and join teams to make connections with their new communities. We also work to advocate for anti-racist frameworks, inclusivity measures, and improved inter-cultural competencies to ensure recreational programs are respectful and responsive to immigrant populations. 

With the two-fold approach to increasing representation and reflecting on barriers and opportunities, we can provide unique ways to increase our community's appreciation for the outdoors. From a walk in the park to an ultra-marathon through the mountains, the spectrum of challenges and healing opportunities in nature should be accessible to all. It is our privilege to get to work closely with youth and their families to help them access these spaces. 
If you would like to learn more and join in the discussion on diversity and MEC, please follow the link to their page:

You can also watch the films in their entirety at the bottom of the page. 

Photos shown here are by Milen Kootnikoff.

Welcome to ICA, Sara, and welcome back, Albert!
Sara Shannag, SWIS Worker
When human beings experience trauma or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel. My name is  Sara Shannag and my  great passion in aiding people who have been through a trauma and/or stressful experiences is a never-ending well. I am a qualified, dedicated, and experienced individual specializing in communications and project management in service of humanitarian work. I consider myself to be a talented facilitator, empathetic leader, and motivator who brings more than 10 years of added value in fostering greater engagement and empowerment within larger organizations. Through raising awareness and embodying sensitive dialogues around work ethics, strategical planning, and organizational development, I have always been able to transform theory into practice, effectively mobilizing on the ground collective success around humanitarian causes.
I have a strong academic grounding in international relations and project management, having completed a Bachelor of Arts (Applied English) and a Master's degree in conflict resolution.
I possess excellent organizational skills and an ability to maintain the big picture while attending to details and logistics. I am an excellent communicator, with an ability to manage large teams of people; I remain calm and positive under pressure, especially in what can be difficult or traumatic situations. My life and career have been driven by a strong passion towards positive change in aiding the predicaments that the world faces.

Albert Akoury, RAP Worker
My name is Albert Akoury, and I am happy to return to this wonderfully diverse workplace after some time away in Norway.  I have an educational background in languages and international relations, and I am cur
rently completing a Master's degree in development economics. My education, combined with my international experiences, as well as my love for recreation and community involvement, make the ICA a perfect match for my passions and interests. 

I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. My door is always open, and I invite you all to swing by for a quick chat!   

ICA's winter staff party

Every December, ICA's staff gather together to celebrate the season and enjoy a little downtime at the end of a busy year. Here are a few photo highlights! 

ICA hours December 2018

Please note that ICA office hours between December 21 and 31 will be as follows: 

December 21 - 8:30 to 4:30
December 24 -  8:30 to 12:00
December 25 - Closed
December 26 - Closed
December 27 - 8:30 to 4:30
December 28 - 8:30 to 4:30
December 31 -  8:30 to 12:00
January 1 - Closed

The winter term for LINC classes begins Monday, January 7, 2019.

For more information about ICA and its program and services, go to .
Stay up to date: Follow ICA on social media! 
With so much happening at ICA every day, and so many ICA team members involved in community events and activities, it is hard to keep up! 
An important part of feeling like you belong in a community is knowing what is going on and being able to participate in activities that are interesting to you. 
ICA can help you stay on top of what is happening in our community - just follow our social media channels! 
From Community Partnership Network seminars, ICA events and workshops, We Speak Translate training, and ICA job postings to the latest to news, events, and festivals with a multicultural theme - you'll find it by following us on:   
Facebook,   Twitter ,  and  Instagram .  

Employment resources 

Did you know? 

ICA is a Work BC Employment Services Centre? We have a full suite of services for all your employment needs, including a variety of workshops and programs.


In This Issue
LINC end-of-term potluck
Thank you to our volunteers
My P2P conference experience
Representation Matters
Welcome to ICA and welcome back!
ICA winter staff party
ICA December hours
ICA on social media
Employment resources
What's happening at ICA?
Community events
What's Happening?  

Citizenship Classes 
Help for applicants who are preparing for the citizenship test. 
Settlement Orientations in English
Learn important information about Victoria and Canada.
Wednesdays, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
January 9 to February 13, 2019

ESL Conversation Club
Practice your English conversation skills in a fun, casual setting. Offered in partnership with the Greater Victoria Public Library. Registration required. 
Thursdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
January 24 and 31, 2019
February 7, 14, 21, 28, 2019
March 7, 14, 2019
Job Search for Newcomers
Employment workshops from resumes and cover letters to interviews and workplace culture.
Tuesdays, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Thursdays, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm   
January 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 2019

Mentorship Program
Mentoring matches skilled immigrants with local professionals in related careers to help them learn about their professions in Canada.

Prenatal Class
Information about changes to a woman's body during pregnancy; fetal development; nutrition, diet, and lifestyle; labour and birth; breastfeeding and baby care; and hospital tour.
Fridays 10am - 11:30am
February 22, 2019
March 1, 5, 15, 22, 2019

Baby Talk
Come learn about feeding your baby, car seat safety, baby health, dental care, immunizations, and parenting.
Fridays 10am - 11:30am
January 11, 18, 25, 2019
February 1, 8, 2019

Homework Club
Language and homework support for immigrant and refugee children and youth ages 8 to 17 and 18 to 25. Registration required.
Wednesdays, 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
January through June, 2019
The Meetup Youth Drop-in 
Bi-weekly social program for newcomer youth ages 16 to 21. 
Tuesdays, 3:30 pm - 7:00 pm  
January through June, 2019  
Learn more   

ICA Employment Services
If you are looking for employment or need to upgrade, ICA's Employment Services Centre can help!  

Community Events
Lunar New Year Fundraising Dinner  
The Victoria Chinatown Lioness Club is hosting their annual fundraising dinner to celebrate the Year of the Pig
Saturday, February 2, 2019  
6 pm
Golden City Restaurant
721 Fisgard Street 
Tickets: $48 per person
For more info and tickets, call Gala Fabrics at 250-389-1312 or call/text 250-514-1928 or  email