Part of my life is being the Refugee Coordinator for the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia. When I took this on in February 2015 we had only one settlement of a family taking place, and it was soon completed. We had five or six cases submitted to what was then called Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”), and another five or so being prepared.
Things have changed! Here’s an update I have prepared to illustrate where we are at in terms of the work done by the Refugee Program right now. This does NOT include all of the good work done by other Sponsorship Agreement Holders on Vancouver Island, such as the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (“ICA”), the United Church of Canada, or the Cowichan Intercultural Society, nor does it include numbers about the Government Assisted Refugees settled in Victoria and the rest of the island. That said, here we go:
Arrived since Sept 1, 2015:
• 73 individuals.
• 14 cases/families.
• Country of origin (numbers of individuals): Afghanistan 2; Eritrea 2; Gambia 1; Iraq 2; Syria 66.
• 35 are Blended Visa Office Referrals (“BVORs”) and 38 are local referrals (i.e. we found out about these refugee cases from people here on the islands, such as friends and relatives).
• Settlements are in Campbell River, Comox, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Salt Spring Island, and Victoria.
Applications Accepted and Being Processed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) through the Central Processing Office in Winnipeg (“CPO-W”) and overseas Visa Offices.
• 117 individuals.
• 29 cases/families.
• Country of origin (numbers of individuals): Afghanistan 1; Colombia 9; Congo 4; Eritrea 20; Ethiopia 4; Iraq 33; Myanmar (Burma) 8; Syria 37.
• 40 are BVORs, 77 are locally referred.
• Settlements will take place in Campbell River, Central Saanich, Cedar, Colwood, Comox, Nanaimo, Parksville, Pender Island, Port Alberni, Qualicum Beach, Sooke, and Victoria.
Applications Being Prepared and Constituent Groups Organizing
• 30 more individuals.
• 7 cases/families.
• Country of origin (numbers of individuals): Iraq 11; Palestine 3; Somalia 6; Syria 10.
• All are locally referred.
• Settlements will take place in Comox, Nanaimo, and Victoria.
• 4 Constituent Groups are organizing or trying to obtain BVORs.
• We have a waiting list of locally referred cases.
• 73 people have arrived. Applications for 117 individuals have been submitted. So, in total, 190 here or applied for.
• Applications for 30 more being worked on. So, in total, we are trying to help 220 people. We have capacity at the moment for at least another 14 people beyond that.
To help with settlement and become part of a Constituent Group, please go to https://refugeesforvi.wordpress.com/ . Kudos to the over 1000 volunteers who have made this all possible. Many thanks to Rebecca Siebert and Tony Davis for their amazing staff work!
Posted by Bruce Bryant-Scott, Refugee Coordinator