Since November 2015, British Columbia has welcomed more than 3,500 Syrian refugees. The arrival of a record number of refugees in a short time-frame has resulted in an all-time high level of demand on government and community services responsible for providing support to resettled refugees in the Fraser Valley, including new and experienced settlement workers and community volunteers, who have been tasked with larger caseloads and more complex situations. Between March 27-29, 2017, Echo Gao, Manager of Settlement and Pre-Arrival Programs at DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, facilitated a dialogue on the role of the settlement worker, exploring ways of managing client expectations, establishing boundaries, and developing strategies for managing challenging or crisis situations in a settlement context.
Creating Inclusive Learning Environments
New Canadians, particularly refugees, often struggle with mental health challenges, learning difficulties, and physical disabilities. On March 10, 2017, Dr. Amea Wilbur and Sara Yuen (M.Ed., TESL) facilitated a workshop for English language instructors and volunteers in the Fraser Valley. They engaged in a dialogue on how to support and respond to these learners and ways of creating inclusive learning environments.
Note: BC TEAL is planning to develop additional workshops aimed at addressing the needs of instructors working with marginalized newcomers.
Navigating the Healthcare System in the Fraser Health Region
Navigating the Canadian healthcare system can be a challenge, especially for refugees who may arrive with limited pre-arrival health care, limited English language and/or literacy skills, lack of familiarity with the Canadian healthcare system, precarious finances, etc. Settlement workers, private sponsors and community volunteers are often the first point of contact for newly arrived refugees, and they are often involved in assisting refugee clients access needed healthcare services.
On March 6, 2017, the RRT-FV held an e-symposium with representatives from Fraser Health Authority, who provided an overview of the services available to refugees in the Fraser Health region, as well as the resources developed specifically to support refugee clients’ healthcare access. The event was recorded and the videos / resources can be found below.