April 4 is Refugee Rights Day
Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager

ICA has been welcoming immigrants and refugees to Canada since 1971.

Refugees Rights Day is celebrated each year on April 4. It is an opportunity to bring attention to the advances made in the protection of refugee rights in Canada as a result of the Supreme Court's 1985 Singh Decision.
In the Singh decision, the Supreme Court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights of refugees. The Court decided that "everyone" includes refugee claimants in the sentence: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

Refugee claimants are therefore entitled to an oral hearing, in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and international law.

Refugee Rights Day is also a time to learn about the threats against refugee rights. The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) is currently running a campaign with the key message:


As part of this campaign, the CCR invites members and other allies to take action so that Canada offers protection and a safe home to more refugees. Join the CCR in calling on the Government of Canada to:

* Resettle 20,000 government-assisted refugees annually.

* Ensure applications of privately sponsored refugees are processed within 12 months.

* Reform the refugee-determination system so all claimants have access to a fair hearing before an independent, expert tribunal (the Immigration and Refugee Board).

Did you know?

* Since the end of World War II, Canada has welcomed more the one and a quarter million refugees. 

* A decade after arriving in Canada, Vietnamese former refugees had a lower unemployment rate and relied less on social assistance than the Canadian average. One in five had started their own business. 

Canada can do more for refugees. When we welcome refugees, we all benefit because refugees work hard and contribute their talents and energies. 

What can YOU do to protect refugees' rights?
Here are just a few suggestions that make a tangible difference in the lives of refugees:
  • Talk to others about refugees and provide interesting and positive facts about refugees. Find facts here. 
  • Consider sponsoring a refugee or refugee family. Thousands of Canadians have helped refugees to start a new life in a place where they do not need to fear for their lives. If you are interested in refugee sponsorship, please contact Sabine Lehr, ICA's Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager at slehr@icavictoria.org.

Reading Buddies: Volunteers make a difference
Submitted by
 Liz Bean, Coordinator of Volunteer Services

Labels on food packages. Emails from your child's school. The newspaper. Social media. The list goes on. These are examples of circumstances in our everyday lives that require us to read. Imagine living in a new country, with a new language and new culture, and having this as a daily challenge. It might feel overwhelming... daunting. 

During these often challenging times of transition and change, receiving extra support can make all the difference. Fortunately, ICA volunteers are always there with a smile to lend a helping hand.

To assist newcomers to Canada along their reading paths, ICA Volunteer Services worked closely with ICA English language teachers to launch a Reading Buddy pilot project in January 2018. The purpose of this program is three-fold: afford adult language learners an opportunity to develop their reading skills, help boost learners' confidence, and make a community connection by interacting with volunteers in Greater Victoria. From January to March, volunteers attended beginner-level English classes on a weekly basis. Each week, teachers provided learners with different books from which to choose. 

Courageous Conversations: 5 Days of Action
to Combat Discrimination
Submitted by Steven Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

As community members, each of us has opportunities to engage in "courageous conversations" around how we can recognize and respond to racism, discrimination, and hate in our community. 

During the week of March 19 to 23, the University of Victoria hosted the 5 Days of Action event - a unique initiative of "courageous conversations" about race, hate, harassment, and discrimination. This interdisciplinary event included lively dialogues, engaging workshops, colourful art displays, and provocative presentations designed to foster conversations and share knowledge about how UVic and the broader community can work together to eliminate discrimination, harassment, and sexualized violence.

5 Days of Action is a first time event organized by the UVic Human Rights and Equity Office (HREQ). The HREQ is a long time member of the Community Partnership Network and has worked with ICA over the years on a number of anti-discrimination community education events.

ICA's Community Development Coordinator Steven Baileys was pleased to be part of this initiative and helped co-facilitate a half-day workshop entitled: "Engaging Racism and Its Corollaries." 
The workshop explored the roots of racism and discrimination at both the individual and societal levels. 

Free teeth screening and cleaning for newcomer children 
Submitted by Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator

The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) and Camosun College Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) program are collaborating to provide free dental screening and teeth cleaning services for resettled refugee children ages 5-18 years. 

Dental Screenings
Dental screenings will occur on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 from 9:00am - 5:00pm, and will take approximately 30 minutes. ICA staff and Arabic interpreters will be on site at Camosun College for the dental screenings. The screening examines the oral health of each child to determine their dental needs, and scaling and X-rays will be completed if required. If cavities are found and/or additional dental work is required outside of Camosun College's capacity, parents will be informed and can follow up with another dentist at their own cost. 

Dental Cleanings
Dental cleanings will be booked after the screening process on May 2, 2018.  Cleaning appointments are between May 22 and May 31, 2018, and appointments are 2.5 hours in length. The child must stay for the full appointment time. Interpretation services will not be available for the cleaning appointments.

Who is eligible? 
Resettled refugee children ages 5-18 years.

Location: Camosun College Lansdowne Campus, 3100 Foul Bay Rd. (Dental Building 4)

Screening Date: May 2, 2018, 9:00am - 5:00pm. Children must attend the screening appointment to be eligible for cleaning.

Cleaning Dates: Will be scheduled between, May 22 - May 31, 2018.

To Register: To book an appointment for the initial dental screening on May 2, 2018, please contact:  Kate Longpre,  Community Integration Coordinator, by email at  klongpre@icavictoria.org  or call 250-388-4728 ext. 167,

Meet ICA's Settlement Team
Submitted by Roya Badi'i, Settlement Services Coordinator

ICA's settlement team plays such an important role in many of our clients' lives.  The team has unmatched professional and personal experience related to settlement and immigration.  Many members of the settlement team have more than 10 years of service at ICA. 

From left to right: 
Fanny He, Settlement Worker
Lien Tran, Settlement Worker
Ruth Miranda, Settlement Worker
Preet Johal, Settlement Worker
Roya Badi'i, Immigrant Settlement Services Coordinator
Julissa Bernal-Mora, Settlement Worker
William Goldiet, Settlement Worker
Bo Min Kang, Settlement Worker
Elie Kozma, Immigrant and Refugee Services Manager

What do Settlement Workers do? They support individuals and families as they make the adjustment to life in Canada. Everything from dealing with isolation and culture shock, family issues, and human rights to health care information, housing, education, employment upgrading and training - and that's just the beginning of the list!

Settlement Services is part of ICA's Immigrant Welcome Centre. To access Settlement Services, go to the main reception desk at ICA (930 Balmoral Road, Victoria) to be registered as a client.
Pathways to Prosperity and ICA: Victoria workshop on international students as future permanent residents
Submitted by Jean McRae, Chief Executive Officer

On April 20, at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, Pathways to Prosperity and ICA are hosting a full-day workshop to  discuss the role of international students in Canada's immigration program. The sessions will include research on the characteristics of international students who come to Canada, where they are going, and why. They will also consider how well international students are doing in Canada and present research on the factors that affect their attraction to and their motivations for studying and remaining in Canada. 

The workshop will provide opportunities to discuss innovative services and supports for international students, employer and municipal perspectives on hiring and retaining international students, barriers international students face in seeking permanent residency in Canada, and strategies for overcoming these barriers. 

The final session will involve an open discussion of strategies for sharing best practices in supporting international students and future research needs in this area. Sessions will include both presentations on the issues at hand and opportunities for fulsome discussion by all attendees.

Find the link to register here

Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort

Are you on the We Speak Translate Map?
Submitted by Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator

The We Speak Translate  project has launched an interactive map  that indicates all the organizations, businesses, agencies, and institutions across Canada that have participated in the We Speak Translate training program. 

Would you like to be featured on the We Speak Translate map? 

Register today for a free, upcoming We Speak Translate training session or contact ICA's Community Integration Coordinator, Kate Longpre, to organize a training session for your organization, business, or community group.

We Speak Translate recently delivered its 100th training session since the project launched in April 2017. The 100th session took place in Courtney, B.C. with members from four Vancouver Island constituent groups.

Remember to follow the project on Instagram @Wespeaktranslateica.

The 100th We Speak Translate training session took place in Courtney

Welcome to ICA: Sami Muntaser
Sami Muntaser

Sami Muntaser is a new member of ICA's team of RAP (Resettlement Assistance Program) Workers. 

Sami is a B.C.-certified teacher. He is married and the father of four beautiful children. He immigrated to Canada in 1983 and finished his Bachelor of Science at UVic. He currently teaches mathematics to high school students at the Pacific Soccer Institute and is also a TOC (Teacher on Call) at Glen Lyon Norfolk secondary school. Sami has also owned and operated A Plus Tutoring services since 2002.
At A Plus Tutoring services, Sami tutors mathematics to students from grade 7 all the way to first-year university. He has worked with a great number of students, bringing some students to a level where they have received scholarships. A Plus also offers math-enrichment group tutorials. Some students in this program learn to do math about two grades above their level.
From October 2012 to September 2016, Sami was in charge of running the Arabic and Islamic School at Masjid Al-Iman. He also taught Arabic reading and Quran recitation to kids of various ages.
Sami is on the board of directors at the BCMA (BC Muslim Association) and is currently the education of director. Previously, he was the sports director for two terms.
Since 2012, Sami has been a soccer coach at Bays United Soccer Club and was nominated for best soccer coach of the year in 2016. Of course, he enjoys playing soccer, as well as hiking, camping, and travelling.

Rewards of pedagogical narrations 
Submitted by Laura Ayebazibwe, University of Victoria Practicum Student

My practicum experience within the Homework Club at North Saanich Middle School (District 63) was an insightful one in terms of applying the approach of pedagogical narrations to understand children's processes with play. The age group I worked with was ranged from ages 6-17 from different schools. The buddy system chosen to foster connections and relationships between the younger and older children was successful, because it created a sense of belonging and community for the children during different activities.

Pedagogical narrations focus on observing and documenting ordinary moments during children's play with photos, videos, or transcriptions to make learning visible. 

Photos were taken to capture creative art process and art pieces made with plasticine and lego blocks and dialogue (the second most important aspect of pedagogical narrations) between me, younger buddies, and older buddies. I intentionally made the first decision to talk less and observe more.

When I felt it was appropriate to engage in dialogue, I realized the importance of positive language. Phrases such as: "I am excited/ interested to know what you have created" made them receptive with explanations. I was able to fully understand the meaning of their art processes, artwork, emotions, and decisions to instruct older buddies to help out, where necessary.  I realized how they felt empowered while taking charge in their learning. I also observed growth from the older buddies who were encouraging and respectful. 

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
April 4 is Refugee Rights Day
Reading Buddies: Volunteers make a difference
Courageous Conversations: 5 Days of Action to Combat Discrimination
Free teeth screening and cleaning for newcomer children
Meet ICA's Settlement Team
Pathways to Prosperity and ICA workshop on international students as future permanent residents
Are You on the We Speak Translate Map
Welcome to ICA: Sami Muntaser
Rewards of pedagogical narrations
Helpful Resources to Increase Your Employment Opportunities
What's Happening?
Community Events
Multifaith Calendars for Sale 
ICA has 2018 Multlifaith Calendars for sale at our main reception. T he  calendars  cost $10 each. Developed by the

What's Happening?  
Citizenship Classes 
Help for applicants who are preparing for the citizenship test. 
Two Fridays per month.
Learn More...    

Baby Talk
Come learn about feeding your baby, car seat safety, baby health, dental care, immunizations, and parenting.
10 am - 11;30 am
Fridays,  April 6, 13, 20, 27, 2018

Settlement Orientations in English
Learn important information about Victoria
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm 
Wednesdays, April 11, 18, 25, 2018

Settlement Orientations in Chinese
Learn important information to help you settle in Victoria.
9:30 am - 11:30 pm
Wednesdays, April 11, 16, 25, 2018
Learn more...

Job Search for Newcomers
Employment workshops for newcomers.
Tuesdays, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Thursdays, 9 am - 12 pm  
April 10 - 26, 2018
Learn more...

Homework Club 
Safe place to work on your homework for children and youth ages 6-18.
3:30 - 5:30 pm
Wednesdays, September 2017 - June 2018

The Meet Up
A free weekly program for newcomer teens ages 13 - 19.
4 pm - 7 pm
Fridays, September 2017 - June 2018

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

Community Events

Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival
More than 9,000 Victoria-area students of music, dance, and dramatic arts perform on stages throughout the city at v arious venues.
April 4 to May 12, 2018 
Tickets range from $8-$15

Starfields 2018: A Festival of Hope
A Festival of Hope presents opportunities for open-minded and open-hearted human engagement and artistic expression to foster closeness and understanding among people of different faiths, cultures. and community groups. A  full lineup of music, dialogue, and spoken word performances at various venues.
Friday, April 13 to Sunday 15, 2018 

Pathways to Prosperity and ICA: A Victoria Workshop on International Students as Future Permanent Residents
Full day of discussions and presentations at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort. 
Friday, April 20, 2018

Multicultural Festival
Celebrate Canada's diversity at this fun event. Food and entertainment. All ages.
Cook Street Village Activity Centre
380 Cook Street
Saturday, April 21, 2018 
By donation.
Learn more 
or  email:  programmer@csvac.ca