September 6, 2019
MOSAIC is pleased to announce a new Social and Civic Engagement for Newcomers project which will support newcomers and immigrants in overcoming existing barriers to participate in civic and community based leadership roles. The project is made possible through funding from the Government of Canada’s $3.5 million investment in support of multiculturalism, community activities and events and anti-racism initiatives in BC.
The announcement was made by Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, at a press conference in Surrey, BC on September 6.
MOSAIC’s Social and Civic Engagement for Newcomers and Immigrants project will help create strong partnerships between diverse communities, increase civic participation and representation on the boards of local non-profits, increase the capacity of receiving organizations and institutions to attract and retain diverse volunteers and board members, and provide valuable experience to newcomers.
Canadian immigrants are among the world’s most educated, yet they are less likely to participate in community and civic engagement leadership roles.
In Metro Vancouver, visible minorities are under-represented across senior leadership positions. Of the 2274 leaders studied in a research report led by the Diversity Institute and SPARC BC , only 12% come from a visible minority background. The lowest representation of visible minorities is in the elected officials sector: visible minorities comprise 26% of elected leaders. From the voluntary sector, only 13% of senior leaders come from a visible minority background. (Source: Diversity Counts: A Snapshot of Diversity in Metro Vancouver, Research Report. July 2011)
MOSAIC recognized that after basic settlement and employment needs are met, clients want to give back and be involved within their communities. The Social and Civic Engagement for Newcomers project, with the Government of Canada's support, will work towards increasing access for immigrants and newcomers to civic and social leadership positions so they have the opportunity for their voices to be heard and participate in the decision-making processes which affect them, their lives and their communities.
In 2019, MOSAIC has already undertaken a number of activities in this area, including:
- “Improving participation of Newcomers’ in Civic Engagement” as a recommendation in the Settlement Sector Study to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in Ottawa
- Surveys and focus groups to help identify interest and barriers
- Participation in Simon Fraser University’s (Radius’ Refugee Livelihoods Lab) Trampoline: Ideas In to Action program through which human-centred design methods were used to ideate MOSAIC’s Social and Civic Engagement project
- An information session with the City of Vancouver with the purpose of seeking newcomer voices for participation in the city’s advisory groups
- A public forum about Community Leadership & Migrant Experiences to advance a conversation with MOSAIC stakeholders, clients and partners on how to improve access to more volunteer leadership opportunities for members of the immigrant and refugee communities
- And most recently, a public forum “Inspiring participation in Elections”. Keynote speakers former Canadian MP Libby Davies, and Former BC Premier Ujjal Dosanjh captivated our participants by sharing how they became involved in activism.
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