Stories from an Immigrant Nation  
Submitted by Quinton Gordon, Manager of Strategic Engagement

Last year, ICA launched a very successful project entitled "I've Not Always Been Canadian," a travelling exhibition of stories and portraits that reflect the diverse experiences, challenges, and contributions of newcomers to Canada. This project is now on its way to show in part at the Pathways to Prosperity conference in Montreal and has generated significant response to the conversation around building a successful multicultural nation in the context of rising political fears about immigration and the global refugee crisis.
This year, with support from a few generous sponsors, ICA has been able to develop a proposal for a new project to take this important conversation to a wider audience through documentary filmmaking. 
On Thursday, November 15, we launched the concept for the project and held a fundraising event at Zambri's restaurant, where we screened a trailer from Stories from an Immigrant Nation, introducing the proposal for a series of short documentary films that will offer an in-depth exploration of a nation built on immigration and the diverse and wonderful stories of those who have come here from around the world. 
The objective of this project is to examine the challenges, successes, and contributions of immigrants and refugees in the context of our current geopolitical climate and in one of the only countries that has retained multiculturalism as part of its official policy. Everyone who is not Indigenous is part of Canada's long settler and immigrant history, and through this series, we want to expand the constructive dialogue on the evolving Canadian identity and how, as a nation, we can be a true leader in building a welcoming, diverse, inclusive, and prosperous environment for all who make Canada their home.
To keep this project going, we need to raise additional funds. Contributions of any size will make a difference in supporting this opportunity to tell stories that need to be heard. 

If you would like to make a donation to this project, please contact Meghan Mergaert, Development Manager at:

If you are interested in sharing your story as part of the documentary series, please contact Quinton Gordon, Manager, Strategic Engagement at
Executive Producer: Jean McRae
Producer, Director, Director of Photography: Quinton Gordon
Producer and Interviewer: Paulina Grainger
Editor and Camera Operator: Gavin Andrews
Second Unit Camera and Still Photographer: Josh Tanasichuk
Sound Engineer: Matt Williams
Music: Sari Alesh

Photos by Josh Tanasichuk

LINC bake sales raise more than $800 for the United Way  
Submitted by Sika Patton, LINC Instructor
On November 23, students in morning LINC 3 and LINC 4 classes organized a bake sale to raise funds for the United Way. The students advertised the bake sale, organized food donations, and sold the items on one very busy morning. 

Here is the experience in their words:

Jang Chuk "Before the bake sale, we make posters. We go advertise class to class. Before, I don't know about bake sales, but our teacher teaches us what we do for bake sale." 

Mekdes:  "I made Ethiopian bread and cake. At the bake sale, I was to check the price." 

Wenny:  "I am the counter and total the money. If people want to buy something, I total the price and help the cashier." 

Chantha:  "I don't see anyone helping so I get in there to help. No experience, but I get in there."

ICA students from all classes donated delicious food from around the world. Almost everything sold out in 30 minutes! 
Wei:  "I bought some cookies. I bought some sushi and muffins."

Chantha:  "Vegetable spring rolls so good with the sauce!"

Jang Chuk:  "United Way bake sale is very interesting. Students bring different food.  Sometimes I don't know different food, like Chinese food. Now I know this food is good and I know the food name."


The morning bake sale raised over $400 for the United Way. Students were very generous with their time and money. 

Lai:  "Because many people no food, no clothes or anything, we have to help."

Mekdes: "Because of helping, I am here in Canada. Helping is good."

Wenny:  "ICA lacks family, so students are ICA's family."

The afternoon LINC 3 class also organized a successful bake sale on November 25 and  raised just over $400 , bringing the total contribution to the United Way from LINC bake sales to more than $800
Fantastic work by ICA's LINC classes! 
CCR hosts We Speak Translate webinar
Submitted by Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator

November was a big month for the We Speak Translate project. To date, the project has trained over 2,500 participants across Canada. 

On November 7, the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) hosted a We Speak Translate webinar for over 90 participants across Canada. 

A We Speak Translate training was also delivered at the annual 2018 BC Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training conference. 

On November 20, the Toronto Local Immigration Partnerships hosted a We Speak Translate training for over 60 participants at their Serving Newcomers with Limited Formal Education and English Ability workshop (pictured above)

Finally, an overview of the project was presented at the Pathways to Prosperity 2018 National Conference. 

Stay tuned for upcoming training dates in the new year.  

ICA's Halloween party for families
Eunice Chan, Practicum Student  

The ICA Family and Youth Services team hosts various family and youth events in and around our community to help newcomers forge cultural connections and exchange their cultures with others. The team also uses this opportunity to introduce newcomer families to mainstream Canadian traditions. 

On Wednesday, October 31, the Family and Youth Services Team hosted a Halloween party for newcomer families. It was a non-traditional Halloween experience. Between 40 and 50 people gathered in the ICA gym and celebrated this spooky Canadian and Celtic tradition with a touch of cultural diversity and lots of bright smiles. 

It was such a delight to see children dressed as their favourite characters and interacting with their peers and ICA volunteers. The children let their imaginations run wild trying their hand at the Irish tradition of pumpkin carving. For some children, it was their first time carving pumpkins. All the pumpkins were one of a kind. It was a nice and fun bonding experience between children, parents, and our volunteers and staff. 

We also enjoyed dinner together. A big thanks to our professional cooks for their hard work! They made a heaven-lious dinner that warmed everyone up on a cold day. There was lots of positive feedback about the yummy food. 
On top of that, we had some non-Halloween activities, such as Ninja and a basic game of tag, that brought lots of smiles and some tired participants. 

All the fun had to come to an end, but before we bid our farewells, we finished with a simple but empowering activity - Attitude of Gratitude - and thanked everyone who took time to be part of the event.
Photos by Josh Tanasichuk
Building community: LINC seniors go to Goldstream Park
Submitted by Sika Patton, LINC Instructor, Level 1 senior's class   

Although many students at ICA don't speak the same language and don't know much English, they manage to make connections and enjoy each other's company. One of the LINC program's goals is to reduce obstacles to learning. For this reason, a class was designed especially for seniors who are learning English. The students are all over 55 and the oldest is 78. The class runs three afternoons a week and provides specialized topics and approaches for seniors.   

The students in this class are inquisitive, fun-loving, and very supportive of each other. This was evident during a class field trip to Goldstream Park on Halloween. The students came with cameras, big smiles, and bags full of treats to share. The bus driver even got a few goodies. 

The students enjoyed seeing the fish in the river and the beautiful walk down to the nature house. There was a lot of laughter when several students tried on moose antlers in the nature house. When one student felt tired on the walk back to the bus, another student starting singing to lift her spirits.

This sense of community helps keep the students going in the difficult task of learning a new language.

One Step at a Time: Building dynamic & inclusive organizations 
Submitted by Steven Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator  
Jim Diers (far right) with members of the Community Partnership Network
The Community Partnership Network (CPN) recently hosted a seminar with community engagement champion Jim Diers. Based out of Seattle, Washington, Jim took time out of his busy schedule to journey to Victoria to share his passion for getting people engaged with their communities and organizations.
A longtime believer in "walking the talk," over the past three decades, Jim has created direct-action neighbourhood associations, a community development corporation, a community foundation, and the largest health care cooperative in the USA. Jim was appointed the first director of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods in 1988, where he served under three mayors over the next 14 years.
Sharing this wealth of lived experiences and knowledge, CPN members learned about Jim's 5 Keys to Broad Engagement, which he uses to create dynamic and inclusive communities. Those 5 principals are:
  • Have Fun: Having fun will keep people involved. No need to be grim and determined when bringing people together to share a common purpose.
  • Start Where People Are: Start with change that is located where people live, where their understanding is and using existing networks and connections.
  • Strive for Results: Identify issues that are immediate, concrete and achievable. Change can happen one small step at a time. Save world peace for later!
  • Utilize People's Strengths: Focus on what people have to offer and contribute. Everyone has gifts of the head (knowledge), heart (passion) and hands (skills). 
  • Celebrate Success: When success is achieved, share it and recognize all who were part of it. This can be the fuel of change to keep a community or organization moving forward.
Jim's humour and hands-on real life examples of community engagement sparked lively conversations as CPN members explored and shared ideas on how they could better build dynamic, welcoming, and inclusive organizations. 

At the conclusion of the seminar, a CPN member said it best: "It was meaningful to have so many community members in the same room to engage in this discussion about how to make our communities and organizations more diverse. Jim Diers was a fantastic speaker! So much energy and enthusiasm, and a great way of getting the messages across by sharing stories and examples of what others are doing"

CPN members engaging in Global Café discussions and sharing ideas on how to build inclusive organizations.
Welcome to ICA: Eunice Chan

My name is  Eunice Chan. I am a practicum student at ICA and in my last year of the Community, Family Child Studies program at Camosun College. After I graduate, I hope to continue my studies at the University of Victoria for my bachelor's degree in Child and Youth Care. I have been on the island for almost nine years and have fallen head over heels for its nature and community. I am a proud islander who calls Victoria home. I hope one day I can use my strengths to help newcomers to Canada make Victoria their second home. This is the very reason I chose ICA as my practicum placement. For me, it is amazing to see people from around the world gather at ICA and work collaboratively to help newcomers to Canada settle into our community. It motivates me to be more involved.

My practicum with the ICA Youth Services has been an insp iring, empowering, and fun  journey. The Youth Service team members have been my "breadcrumbs" and have shown me the ways of their work. I find it always exciting to be with the Youth Service team, and I learn something new each day. My five-star mentors - Gita, Robin, and Nabeela - are excellent "wingman and wing-women." They encourage me and involve me in their programs, such as the Family Day and the Meetup, and connect me with other ICA teams and people. Moreover, they assign challenging tasks to explore beyond my comfort zone that are beneficial for my growth, prompt me to think on a bigger scale, and equip me with the experiences I need to become a better support worker. I am blessed and thankful to be part of this amazing team. 
A Celebration of Hope: Benefit concert to support VICCIR
Submitted by Jean McRae, CEO, Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria  

A Celebration of Hope is benefit concert being held on Saturday, December 15 from 2 pm to 4 pm to support VICCIR - Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees The event features  the music of Al Wehda Ensemble and Tâm & Friends. 

Al Wehda blend East and West together in their repertoire of sorrow, renewal and hope, including excerpts from classical Arabic songs well known throughout the Middle East as well as some Turkish and Moorish /Andalusian folk arrangements. Tâm & Friends play songs and chants from many spiritual traditions and will be joined by esteemed veteran musician Claire Lawrence (The Collectors, Chilliwack, Hometown Band).

VICCIR is the only provider of mental health services to refugees and immigrants on Vancouver Island. Buy a ticket or make a donation to support this vital work.  Tickets are $20 each and are available online ( ), in advance from  Long & McQuade (Victoria),  and at the door. Concert is at  St. Peter's Anglican Church, 3939 St. Peter's Road. 
Have your voice heard: National anti-racism strategy
Submitted by Meghan Mergaert, Development Manager 
The Government of Canada is developing a new national anti-racism strategy. They are surveying people all across Canada to provide input to develop a meaningful, relevant, solutions-focused strategy. The government is particularly interested in exploring racism in relation to employment, social participation, and justice and in hearing from individuals impacted by racism.
This new strategy will directly impact ICA's work and hopefully create more opportunities for immigrants and refugees to integrate more smoothly and in meaningful ways to the community.
Until December 9, have your voice heard! Fill out the survey here
SWIS program update
Lisa Wang, Settlement Worker In Schools Coordinator

The SWIS program had a very busy but great start of the new school year. We served 324 clients, including 116 new clients, at 37 schools. Besides one-on-one support to clients, SWIS workers were also busy participating in 11 school information sessions, such as Parent Night and Meet the Teachers events. Some sessions were tailored to newcomer families with a special introduction provided by the SWIS Workers and school ELL teachers. Through these activities, stronger relationships were built between SWIS Workers and schools, and services reached more newcomer families. 

To meet the high demands from both clients and schools in the beginning of the school year, two Arabic information sessions were organized by SWIS program in collaboration with ICA Training Coordinator Amand Gaunt. The session focused on how to fill out school forms and understand the school policies. 66 parents from LINC classes attended the sessions, covering more than a hundred school-aged children. The information explained in Arabic by SWIS Worker Anwer AL-Edhari was very well received. Clients not only learned how to fill out the overwhelming school forms but also learned the Canadian school culture and importance of communications between parents, children, and school staff. 

During the session, clients also realized it is a wonderful way to learn and practice English, making these two special and useful sessions a very worthy trade for their the regular LINC class time.  Thank you to the LINC instructors for their encouragement and support. 

After the session, many clients said they benefited from the information and felt inspired to help each other and assist new families in the future. 
Thank you Women in Need Community Cooperative
Submitted by Roya Badii, Settlement Coordinator

Over the  years, ICA and the Victoria Women in Need Community Cooperative (WIN) have forged a very positive partnership. WIN has been providing ICA with gift certificates under their Gift Certificate Program to support immigrant and refugee women, as well as accepting all the generous donations of clothing and other items that Victorians make in support of resettled refugees. 

ICA is very grateful to WIN for everything it does in our community, and we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure immigrant and refugee women in need receive support.

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
Stories from an Immigrant Nation
Bake sales for the United Way
CCR hosts We Speak Translate webinar
ICA's Halloween party for families
LINC seniors go to Goldstream Park
Building dynamic & inclusive organizations
Welcome to ICA: Eunice Chan
Celebration of Hope
National anti-racism strategy
SWIS program update
Thank you WIN
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
December 5, 2018
Settlement Orientations in Chinese
Learn important information about Victoria and Canada.   
Wednesdays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am
December 5, 2018 
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, 31
February 7, 14, 21, 28
March 7, 14
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   
December 4, 6, 11, 13, 2018

Career Mapping: Crown Corporations and Government Agencies
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Tuesday December 4, 2018
Wednesday December 5, 2018

Homework Club
Language and homework support for immigrant and refugee children and youth ages 8-17 and 18-25. Registration required.
Wednesdays, 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
The Meetup Youth Drop-in 
Bi-weekly social program for newcomer youth ages 16-21. 
Tuesdays, 3:30 pm - 7:00 pm  
December 4 and 18, 2018  
Learn more   

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

Community Events
A Celebration of Hope  
A benefit concert to support VICCIR - Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees, featuring the music of Al Wehda Ensemble and Tâm & Friends. More info here.
Saturday, December 15, 2018  
2 pm-4 pm
St. Peter's Anglican Church
3939 St. Peter's Road