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Mavis DeGirolamo receives 2015 BC Achievement Award
Submitted by Lauren Kelly, Executive Assistant

Mavis DeGirolamo at ICA's Annual General Meeting 2014
Photo Credit: Carol Sherwood

Long-time ICA board member, past president and volunteer Mavis DeGirolamo is a recipient of the 2015 BC Community Achievements Award, She was recognized in a presentation ceremony at Government House in Victoria on April 24, 2015.  An independent advisory council selects the recipients of the awards each year based on their exemplary contributions to their community through volunteer or workplace efforts.


In addition to her time spent with ICA, Mavis has volunteered for a variety of events, organizations, and boards including the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the BC Black History Awareness Society, the Global Village, the Glengarry Hospital, the James Bay Community Project, the Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson Society, the Aga Khan Foundation World Partnership Walk, ICA's FolkFest and Luminara Festivals, and fundraising efforts for the Diabetes Foundation, the Kidney Foundation, the Cancer Society, and the Mustard Seed Food Bank. This list is by no means exhaustive of the hard work and dedication she has contributed to those within and beyond her immediate community over the years.


All of us at ICA are incredibly proud and fortunate....read more here.

ICA's April Youth Update
Submitted by Claire Kelly, Youth Settlement Worker

The beginning of April has been pretty incredible for the youth of ICA. In first two weeks, we successfully completed our "Youth Community Project" program with a wonderful presentation night. We also began our newest youth program called "The Meet Up" and have welcomed seven new volunteers to the Youth Services family.

Youth Community Project Participants

Completing "Youth Community Project"

After six weeks of brainstorming and creating, the youth were able to present four original community projects in a presentation night on April 7. These projects included: a 50-minute speed chatting activity called "Common Ground" with the intention of meeting people from different backgrounds; a flash mob dance to "Uptown Funk" with the intention to show how it can be fun to overcome fears; an interview and photo project that captured the feelings of 8 ICA staff about their language and culture in Canada; and finally, a music video to the song "Home" that captured video footage of favourite spots around Victoria. A great mix of people singing the lyrics of the song showcases the range of people who call this place home. It was really rewarding to see the youth revel in the fruits of their hard work.


Beginning "The Meet Up"

On Friday, April 10, 2015 we officially launched our newest program "The Meet Up". Over 15 youth, staff and volunteers gathered from 4-6 pm. The silly activities inside led by a mix of staff and volunteers had everyone smiling and laughing, leading to a very successful first session! This program will run every Friday from 4 - 6 pm until the end of June. If any newcomer youth between 13-19 years old are interested in joining, please come to ICA and register.


Read more youth updates here...

Police Dialogue With Newcomer Immigrants

Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator


Immigrant newcomers and local police recently spent a morning together to talk, listen and learn about how to better understand and trust each other. Organized by the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (GVPDAC) and hosted by ICA, the half-day event explored relationships between police and diverse community members. More than 50 newcomer immigrants from countries such as China, Japan, Bangladesh, Mexico, Russia and India conversed with representatives from the region's five police departments. 


Local Police and Community Members


Using a Global Café approach (in small groups), attendees shared their views about policing in their country of origin and compared it to policing here in Canada. They also identified positive interactions and boldly shared negative

experiences either they or someone they know have had with police in the Capital Regional District. Drawing on their experiences, newcomers shared key strategies needed to build trust and improve relationships between police and newcomers. Participants concluded the event by sharing a delicious lunch of traditional Indian food.


Staff Sergeant Scott Treble, police chair of the GVPDAC, helped organize and attended the police community engagement event. Treble commented on the importance of this type of police-community engagement stating....read more here.

The 5Ws Of Metropolis 2015 - Broadening The Conversation: Policy And Practice In Immigration, Settlement, And Diversity

Submitted by Winnie Lee, Director of Operations


Have you ever wondered how ICA staff keeps up with immigration trends and develops innovative programming?  One way is by participating in conferences. Here is a quick snapshot of the Metropolis Conference. 


ICA's Executive Director, Jean McRae

What: The National Metropolis Conference is an annual forum for researchers, policy makers, and representatives from community and settlement organizations to get together to share and exchange knowledge and experience in the field of immigration and settlement.  The event was co-hosted by the Association for Canadian Studies and Immigration Research West.

Where: The 17th National Metropolis Conference was held at the Sheraton Wall Centre, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

When: March 26 to 28, 2015

Who:  7 ICA staff members attended the conference along with 693 other delegates from Canada, Mexico, China, Singapore, and Australia.  

Jean McRae, ICA's Executive Director, was part of a plenary panel that showcased how recent funding and structural changes to settlement programs have influenced program outcomes in BC and Manitoba.  

Sabine Lehr, ICA's Immigrant Services Manager, organized and spoke on a panel titled Temporary Foreign Workers in BC: Growing Numbers - Growing Support?

Claire Kelly, ICA's Settlement Youth Worker, recently completed her master's degree from Ryerson University in Immigration and Settlement Studies.  Her research was showcased in a poster presentation titled "Supporting our Future:  A Preliminary Survey of Support Services Offered to Newcomer Youth in the Canadian School System".  

Curious About CIC's Express Entry System?

Submitted by Meghan Mergaert, Development Manager with permission from David Aujla, Canadian Immigration Laywer 


Curious about CIC's Express Entry System? David Aujla, Victoria-based immigration lawyer and former board member of ICA, shares information in his newsletter how the BC PNP application can be expedited through the Express Entry. 



On January 1, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced the express entry system - a selection method to ensure efficient processing and shorter wait times for permanent resident applications. The express entry system shifts the burden from the federal government, to the intended immigrant, to ensure (by way of federally approved third party verification) that all educational credentials are equivalent to Canadian standards and that language skills are at above average standards.

Potential applicants enter into an express entry pool and are then awarded a comparative ranking score with other applicants within the pool. Higher scores are given to those candidates who have had Canadian education, Canadian work experience and a job offer with a Canadian employer ready, willing and able to hire them. Six hundred (600) bonus points are allocated if the applicant has a formal job offer. Applicants with excellent language skills will enhance their overall point total.

New women's group at ICA



Women Living Well in Community:

Want to meet other newcomer women? ICA is hosting a new women's group! Meet friends, share your experiences and create a decorative art piece while reflecting on your identity. Tuesdays at ICA from April 28 - June 16, 2015. Registration details here.


Funded in part by the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation. 


Meet Toni

ICA welcomes Toni Burton as the Training Coordinator (Interim).   

Toni Burton, Training Coordinator (Interim)
Toni Burton, Training Coordinator (Interim)

Hi!  I am Toni Burton.  I am very happy to be filling the Training Coordinator position until the end of June. I grew up in the Cowichan Valley and moved to Victoria to attend UVIC many years ago.  Victoria has been my 'home base' ever since.  I lived and taught English in Taiwan for one year in 1982, Japan from 1987-1991, and have travelled extensively through Asia. In 2012, I was part of a four-person team that travelled to Arusha, Tanzania to facilitate an Instructional Skills Workshop for the instructors at Arusha Technical College.  My family has hosted homestay students from many countries over the years.  All of these experiences have given me a deep appreciation for connecting with other cultures and an understanding of some of the challenges one can face when adapting to living in a new country.


I hold two Bachelor degrees from the University of Victoria in Psychology and Pacific & Asian Studies, and a Masters of Education degree in Workplace and Adult Learning from the University of Calgary.  I have worked as an adult educator, trainer, and facilitator for most of my working life.  

In This Issue
Congratulations to Mavis
ICA Youth Update
Newcomers give feedback to police
ICA staff go to Metropolis
CIC's Express Entry System
Meet Toni
What's Happening?
Community Events



What's Happening? 


ICA Workshops & Programming



Parenting Program 

Are you a newcomer parent with a child 7-12 years? Free parenting program to learn how to build lasting connections with your child. 

Thursday, May 7 - June 11, 2015

9:30 am  - 11:30 am  

Learn more  


The "Meet - Up" 

New social night for newcomer teens aged 13-19 years. Arts, sports, healthy activities, fun and friends!   

Fridays, April 10 - June 26, 2015

4:00 - 6:00 pm   

Learn more  


Pathway to Contentment: Women's Group 

Newcomer women can meet friends, share experiences and use art to explore identity.   

Tuesdays, April 28 - June 16, 2015

3:15 pm - 5:45 pm  

Learn more  



Baby Talk 

For parents and their babies one year and under. Learn more about parenting, get support, and make friends.   

Fridays, April 24 - May 22, 2015

10 am - 11:30 am  

Learn more  



Men Living Well in Community  

Newcomer men can meet friends, share experiences and ideas!    

Wednesdays, April 29 - June 3, 2015

3:30 pm - 5:30 pm  

Learn more  



Pre-natal Classes for Immigrant Women 

Learn about pregnancy, nutrition, labour, breastfeeding and baby care.    

Fridays, May 29 - June 26, 2015

10 am  - 11:30 am  

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

Impressive Dance from Taiwan

Comox Valley Multicultural Society hosts this internationally renowned dance troupe.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

7 pm - 9 pm

Florence Filberg Centre-Conference Hall,

More information here...


Eagle Heights Africa in BC Fundraiser Event

Community dinner event to celebrate the work of Eagle Heights Africa in BC and to spread awareness about the students they sponsor.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

6 pm - 10 pm

Shoal Assisted Living

Find out more...


Japanese Tea Ceremony 

This ritualized ceremony is presented by the Victoria Urasenke Nagomi Tea Circle and encompasses harmony, purity, and tranquility.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

2 pm  - 3:30 pm

Greater Victoria Public Library



Victoria Soul Gospel Choir 

Singing Motown gospel grooves of Checo Tohomaso, Lionel Ritchie, and the Commodores.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

7:30 pm

First Metropolitan United Church 


Fort Street Cycle Beginner Triathlon for MS  

A non-timed triathlon training event enabling beginner or returning athletes to experience a triathlon in a non-competitive and supportive atmosphere.    

Sunday, May 3, 2015

(Registration by April 29)

6:30 am 

Saanich Commonwealth Recreation Centre 

Learn more....


Uno Fest

Since 1997, Uno Fest has presented hundreds of solo artists and over 300 shows in North America's longest-running solo performance festival.

Friday, May 8, 2015 - May 24, 2015

Intrepid Theatre

More info here

Mother's Day Paint In and Craft Fair

Family entertainment, main-stage performances, children's craft station, and complimentary access to the gardens at Hatley Castle.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

10 am - 4 pm

Hatley Park National Historic Site

Find out more...



Haiku Canada Conference

Lectures, workshops, readings, and book launches with presenters including Terry Ann Carter, President of Haiku Canada, and Tynoone Blomer, Poet Laureate of Victoria.

Friday, May 15, 2015 

7 pm

May 16 & 17, 2015

8 am

James Bay Community Centre  

Learn more



Victoria Highland Games and

Celtic Festival

151st Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival celebrates Scottish music, culture, and arts. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

8 am - 6 pm 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

8 am - 6 pm

Topaz Park 

Find out more...


Victoria Day Parade

Victoria's largest parade event, complete with marching bands, floats, clowns, and more.

Monday, May 18, 2015

9 am - 11 am

Downtown Victoria

Keep reading...



IMAGINE: educate inspire change

Intercultural Sensitivity Conference to educate, inspire, and provide a venue for sharing traditional knowledge for an authentic journey of awareness and positive self-discovery.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

6 pm - 9 pm

Royal BC Museum

Keep reading...


Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week

Create a workplace team and join for a week of fun, free events, skills courses, and a closing BBQ to help promote more sustainable forms of transportation. 

Monday, May 25, 2015 -  

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Around the region

Learn more...


Oak Bay Half Marathon

Join locals and visitors alike on a fun-filled race day including a half marathon, relay, 10.73K, 5K, and kids 1K challenge.

Friday, May 29, 2015 - 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Oak Bay

More info



World Partnership Walk 2015

One-hundred percent of donations from this event go directly to fund Aga Khan Foundation Canada international development projects.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

10:30 am - 3 pm

McPherson Library

Keep reading...



Soup Sisters

A non-profit social enterprise dedicated to providing comfort to women, children, and youth through the making, sharing, and donating of soup. Events are social evenings culminating in 150-250 servings of fresh soup that are donated to Victoria Women's Transition House.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

6 pm - 9 pm

The London Chef

Find out more


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