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The Business of Planning - ICA Strategic Planning
Submitted by Cathy Hunter, President of the Board of Directors

Image from Once a Quarter Strategic Think Space Day (June 2014) with Calliope Learning, graphic design by GetThePicture

With each new year comes the desire to take stock of past experiences and look ahead to the future.  Recently, members of the Board of Directors and management of the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria did just that - we reviewed the past five years and looked to identify and set the direction, policies and services that will serve ICA in the coming year and beyond. 


Working with Queenswood Consulting Group (Queenswood), we reviewed the impressive successes that were achieved as a result of the previous Five Year Strategic Plan (2009/10 to 2014/15). It was acknowledged that the organization had to make significant adjustments over this period due to unanticipated changes in funding, program reporting and responses. The members of the board have been immensely impressed by the enduring capacity of ICA, the leadership of the Executive Director, and the clear strength of the management team and staff in responding to the challenges related to our ever-evolving funding environment.


Looking ahead to a new Five Year Plan, our deliberations then considered opportunities and challenges that may impact both the short- and long-term future of the organization. Our discussions remained open to ideas related to innovation, unforeseen risks, as well as new business opportunities that may arise. This led us to consider broad themes that would impact ICA, such as: capacity, funding, workspace and facilities, organizational development, policy changes, arts programming, community and partnership development, succession planning, service quality and program impact, technology, social enterprise and role of the board - to name a few! 


Read more about ICA's Strategic Planning here.

Young filmmakers explore their identity and spirituality
Submitted by Paulina Grainger, Arts and Outreach Coordinator
Project participants from left to right: Leat Ahrony, David Mutuku, Suvreet Johal and Brianna Dick. Photo Credt: Quinton Gordon


"Perspectives on Faith & Identity: A Youth Documentary Project" is off the ground and running! ICA's latest Arts project brings together young participants from various faith and secular backgrounds to share and reflect on how their personal spiritual life and identity motivate them to take action for their community here in Victoria, and within the wider context of world religious politics.


ICA facilitated an intensive workshop in January to which we invited youth to help design and shape the direction of the project. This was a brainstorming and learning opportunity for the youth, a space for them to share their experiences and insights about their belief and identity. From this group we selected 5 young adults for the core team that will be working together over the next eight months.


Collectively, they represent various cultural and faith backgrounds; Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Sikh, Rastafari, Taoism, Chinese, East Indian, African, Colombian and First Nations. Since a number of them are still searching and trying to understand where they stand on the subject, there is an understanding among them that this project may raise more questions than it answers. It looks like it will be a journey of discovery. 


Providing mentorship and guidance along the way are two experienced educators, Photojournalist Quinton Gordon and Documentary Filmmaker Peter Campbell.

Opportunities for Immigrant Job-Seekers

Submitted by Deb Hamblin, Employment Services Manager


ICA is pleased to announce the creation of a partnership with ASPECT to deliver the new Canada-BC Job Grant, an employer driven program that assists employers off-set the cost of training their workforce. The program will help new and existing employees gain the skills and training they need to fill available jobs and advance in the workplace. Chris Atchison, ASPECT's Chief Operating Officer explained, "By providing a mechanism to essentially triple existing training budgets, employers can consider training options that they previously would not or could not contemplate". Employers can receive up to two-thirds of the cost of training to a maximum of $10,000 per grant, with employers contributing the remaining one-third.  


Photograph courtesy of Vancouver Regional Conference Association (www.bcwood.com)

The program will make it possible for recently hired immigrants to acquire the skills they need to retain employment and advance in their workplace. 


Additionally, the program provides an incentive for employers to hire a newcomer, lacking specific Canadian qualifications, as the grant will assist in offsetting the cost of providing the necessary courses and training for that individual.


 Learn more about how this grant can help job-seekers and employers.

Refugees and Social Assistance (Bill C-43)

Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Immigrant Services Manager


In December 2014, Bill C-43 received royal assent and passed into law. This Bill contains two sections that could have serious implications for the income security of refugee claimants and other people without permanent status in Canada.

Sections 172 and 173, which amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, allow provinces to impose minimum residency requirements for eligibility for social assistance benefits for certain categories of people. Provincial governments now have the power to limit eligibility for social assistance to those who have resided in a province for a specified time period.

Before Bill C-43 was passed, The Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act prohibited provinces from imposing a minimum period of residency to restrict eligibility for social assistance benefits. Provinces are now able to impose residency requirements on people seeking refugee protection in Canada through a change in social assistance legislation. 

Much more than just a place where books are stored!

Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator 


The Community Partnership Network recently held its members' meeting on January 22 at the downtown branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL). More than 36 CPN members enjoyed an informative presentation by Alyssa Polinsky, the GVPL's Director of Communications and Community Development.


Photo: Alyssa Polinski of GVPL presents overview of services and programs offered by the library to CPN members.

Alyssa shared the GVPL's vision and mandate of inspiring literacy, lifelong learning and community enrichment for all residents in Greater Victoria. CPN members learned about the library's diverse range of programs and services designed to reach out to newcomer communities and promote collaboration with community organizations. CPN members were asked how well they know the library and the services offered.  


Many CPN members were pleased and surprised to learn that the GVPL:

  • Has 10 branches serving more than 315,000 people in 10 municipalities. Everyone is welcome and library cards are free!
  • Provides books, DVDs and CDs in 15 different languages including: Chinese, Dutch, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and more. Items can be ordered online and delivered to your local branch.
  • Has English as a Second Language Collection that includes guides to English grammar, phonics, vocabulary, spelling, writing, numeracy, reading kits, DVDs, easy-to-read fiction and non-fiction chapter books.
  • Offers rooms that can be booked by organizations and groups for meetings or activities.
  • Collaborates with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Royal BC Museum, Saanich Recreation Centres and the Bateman Centre to lend passes for community members to visit these institutions free of charge.
  • Partnered with our local Black History Awareness Society to host a series of events promoting Black History Awareness Month.

Learn about the global cafe discussion that followed. 

Kardel Promotes Diversity with Safe Harbour Training
Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator 
Kardel Staff with Safe Harbour certificates. 


Congratulations to the staff at Kardel Consulting Services in Victoria, BC for recently completing a refresher Safe Harbour workshop for new staff. Kardel has been a member of the Victoria Safe Harbour Network since 2011. Each year new staff at Kardel participate in the Safe Harbour session because its values align with Safe Harbour as an agency that promote diversity and inclusion while providing support to individuals with disabilities. By taking the Safe Harbour refresher session, Kardel staff members demonstrated their commitment to promoting and welcoming diversity both in the workplace and in the community.


Thanks to Kardel staff member Kim Lichtensteiger (Human Resources Administrator) for organizing the Safe Harbour training. Kim explained the importance of Safe Harbour as "Kardel is an agency that supports adults with developmental disabilities to have a good life and to respect their personal choices. Part of having a good life is to be accepted and involved in our community, and to feel that we've made a contribution. Our staff is committed to bridging relationships and gently breaking down barriers that might impact a sense of belonging. The Safe Harbour workshop helps to remind us that even though we've all come from different backgrounds and experiences, our humanity is the bridge that connects us with one another".  

ICA Youth Spring Break Day Camp
Submitted by Kay Otani, Settlement Worker in Schools/Youth Worker 


Join us for a free Spring Break Day Camp where youth ages 8 to 12 years old can participate in fun games and activities, play with their peers, and explore the outdoors. 


Our action-packed day camp ensure that your children discover new games and activities, experience team and trust building exercises, and go home exhausted! This day camp is offered on Wednesdays, March 11 and 18. Please register participants at ICA by contacting 250-388-4728 ext. 0 or at reception.

Seeking Community Connections Participants: Bringing Together Volunteers and Newcomers 
Submitted by Liz Bean, Coordinator of Volunteer Services 


The Community Connections program is a wonderful way to engage in a cultural exchange while helping those in need of assistance. ICA volunteers are matched one-on-one with a newcomer individual or a family, and commit to meeting regularly for a minimum of three months at a location of mutual choice. 


The focus of these matches could range from practicing English socially to sharing a common hobby.

* Develop a network of friendship and support

* Learn about Canadian culture

* Practice English language skills

* And much more!


If you are an ICA client  or a member of the community and would like to get involved, contact Coordinator of Volunteer Services Liz Bean at lbean@icavictoria.org or 250-388-4728, ext. 114.

Calling All Cooks!
Do you often cook for people and hear  "This is delicious - I can't find this anywhere  in Victoria!" or  "I've been craving this ever since i left [insert country name here]!"  You may have heard these words countless times and even thought about opening a restaurant, but in the end decided the risks and commitment were too high, and the process overwhelming. 


But there may finally be an opportunity to share your food and culture with Victoria in a simple way that eliminates the risks associated with traditional food establishments and focuses simply on sharing great food.  Imagine a market set-up (e.g. Moss Street Market) in an indoor food court space, seven days a week. If you are a great cook who wants to explore the idea of having a permanent market stall in an international food market, a group of interested community members encourage you to complete a quick survey.


Did you know? Taxes help to fund immigrants integrate

Information from Canada Revenue Agency 


You probably already know that Canada is the second-largest country in the world...and home to the beaver, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, maple syrup, and the French-Canadian delicacy known as poutine. Sorry, almost forgot to add ice hockey. Actually you've probably heard that Canadians have a habit of saying "sorry" a lot, too!  All in all, Canada is a great and diverse country, as unique as the many people who come to call it home.


The high quality of life in Canada is the result of our social programs and services, like maintained roads, public transit, public utilities, schools, employment insurance, pension plan, and health care. Canadians and residents alike can make use of these programs, which they support through the taxes they pay on their income. As a Canadian resident, you may be eligible to receive certain benefits, but you also have a responsibility to report your income and pay your fair share of taxes. It's important that you understand what your rights, entitlements, and obligations are under Canada's tax system.


Read more here....

Read article: First-time filing taxes? Get it right from the start

In This Issue
ICA Strategic Planning
Young filmmakers explore their identity and spirituality
Opportunities for immigrant job-seekers
Refugees and social assistance (Bill C-43)
Much more than just a place where books are stored!
Kardel promotes diversity with Safe Harbour Training
ICA Spring Break Day Camp
Seeking Community Connections Participants
Call All Cooks!
ICA Donor Survey
What's Happening?
Community Events



ICA Donor Survey 


Thank you to everyone that has responded to the ICA Donor Survey. Your input and contributions to ICA are so valued and we look forward to implementing your feedback over the next year. 


The survey will close on Monday, March 2. 


Please contact Meghan at mmergaert@icavictoria.org if you want the link to be resent. 


What's Happening? 


ICA Workshops & Programming



Weekly Settlement Orientation Sessions

Important information to help newcomers settle in Victoria. 

Available in English on Wednesdays

12:30  - 2:30 pm  

Available in Mandarin on Wednesdays

9:30 am - 11:30 am

普通话讲座: 周三上午9:30 - 11:30 

Learn more  


Pre-Natal Classes for Newcomer Women

Four-session program for women.  

Fridays, March 6, 13, 20 & 27, 2015

10 am - 11:30 am  

Learn more  


Employment Workshops 

Cover letters

Canadian Workplace Culture

Tailoring Resume Effectively

Microsoft Basics

Marketing for Job Success

Successful Interviews

Interview Practice

March 5 - 26

Tuesdays & Thursdays 

Learn more  


Women Helping Women 

Join a peer-support group for women to learn about healthy relationships and resources. 


Every 1st & 3rd Friday 

1:30 - 3 pm  

Learn more  


Welcome Playgroup 

Play, learn, meet new people and make friends. Drop-in playgroup for immigrant families with children under 5 years of age.  


James Bay Community Project

9 - 11 am 

Learn more  


Citizenship Classes 

Help applicants prepare for citizenship tests.  


Two Fridays per month.   

Learn more  


ICA Employment Services

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

Learn more  

Community Events



Inspired by Marimekko, With Love an evening of art, fashion, design, dance and music.  
Friday, February 27 
Art Gallery of Victoria, 
1040 Moss St.


To Light a Candle: A film by Maziar Bahari 

Iran stops Baha'is from teaching and studying at university. But they do teach. And they do study. 

Friday, February 27, 2015
7:30 pm 
UVic, Harry Hickman Building Hall 105  


2nd Annual Black History Month Community Recognition Awards & Closing Gala

Celebrate the last month of Black History Month, honour locals that make a difference in our community, speakers and performers. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

5:30 -  8:30 pm 

Cooper Owl, 1900 Douglas St. 

Learn more...


Victoria Spoken Word Festival 

5th anniversary, bringing back favourite poets, and an all-star line-up.    

February 23 - March 1, 2015

8 - 10 pm daily

Various locations 

Learn more....


Women in Hats: Tea at the Castle

A celebration of inspiring women in our community, hosted by RRUS.   

Sunday, March 8, 2015

11:30 am - 2 pm  

Hatley Castle

Learn more....


Sustainable Living for Women in Africa Fundraiser

An evening of food and music by The Sky Lit Up. Money raised will be donated to rural women who receive it as interest-free micro-loans to start small businesses. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

6 - 10:30 pm  

Copper Owl, 1900 Douglas Ave.  

More info here.



Celebrate International Women's Day - Wadja film

Canadian Federation of University Women Victoria presents the film Wadja. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

7 pm   

UVic @ Cinecenta 

Learn more....




Victoria Kizomba & Semba Festival

Immerse yourself into African & Caribbean House Dance & Music 

March 19 - 22, 2015

Copper Owl & Vic West Community Centre

More information here.


IdeaFest 2015  

Join UVic thinkers, innovators and artists from across campus as they explore dozens of world changing ideas at the university's 4th annual IdeaFest.  

March 2 -7, 2015.


Fair Trade Oriental Rug Seminar

Learn about fair trade rugs from Gwen Repeta.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

7 pm   

Ten Thousand Villages, 

1009 Government St. 


African Spirit Night 

Celebrate culture, dance, African and Caribbean music plus West African food from La Caebasse du Nomade.  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

9 pm - 2 am    

Copper Owl, 1900 Douglas St. 


Dine Around Victoria 

Tickle your tastebuds and dive into Victoria's culinary scene at over 60 participating restaurants offering three course menus for $20, $30, $40 & $50.

February 20 - March 9, 2015

Various restaurants in Victoria

Learn more....


Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown 

Enjoy over 30 sights and activities in Victoria for free or reduced rates.   

February 26 - March 1, 2015

Learn more....



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