Enabling Syrian Newcomers and Their Integration on Vancouver Island
An initiative of the BC Government
Since 2015, Canada has welcomed 30,000 Syrian newcomers. Most of our new Canadian neighbors have experienced intense trauma and separation from loved ones. In response to the needs to settle Syrian families in an inclusive and inviting way, the provincial governments have created teams across the country to enable communities the inclusion of Syrians.
The Vancouver Island Refugee Response Team (VIRRT) is one of the many teams initiated and enforced by the BC Provincial Government. VIRRT was created to address the urgent, the short-term, the long-term needs for Syrian refugees coming to Vancouver Island.
The most important needs that we have identified are:
1. Housing affordability
2. Access to language instruction
3. Culturally sensitive healthcare services
4. Meaningful employment.
If you are a stakeholder, private sponsor or settlement worker, please explore this site for resources and connect to our partners so that Syrian families can be assisted in your community.
meet the team
In March of 2016, the BC Provinical Government awarded the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) with the Refugee Response Grant. Our team is supported by VIRCS and aims to collaborate with all community stakeholders. The VIRRT knows that without the many members involved, the work cannot get done and Syrian newcomers are without assistance.
Alvaro Moreno, Chair
Andrea Westfall, Co-Coordinator
Alix Hotsenpiller, Coordinator
Executive Director, VIRCS
Senior Manager, Regional Housing
Acting Executive Director, Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society (CVIMS)
Executive Director, Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA)
Executive Director, Cowichan Intercultural Society (CIS)
Dean for School of Access, Camosun College
Dr. Dee Hoyano
Medical Officer, Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA)
Executive Director, Multicultural and Immigrant Services Association (MISA)
Employment Specialist, BC Construction Federation
Manager Housing, Policy and Programs, CRD
Superintendent, Greater Victoria School District 62