ICA Staff

History

From our modest beginnings in 1971, ICA has grown to be the leading independent charity dedicated to helping immigrants and refugees meet their goals. Nineteen seventy-one was also the year the federal government adopted a national multicultural policy. This timing was perfect for a local multicultural organization like ICA to lay down roots in the community.

The following outlines key dates in our history.

2019 ICA hosts Canadian Council for Refugees national conference.

2019 ICA received grant from Canadian Heritage to move forward on Indigenous reconciliation project called Indigenous Journey.

2019 ICA launches two new pilot programs to support workers in the Victoria  area: Temporary Foreign Workers Program and Game Changers.

2018 ICA has 100 full and part-time staff members.

2016 Resettlement of Refugee Program initiated in Victoria to support government funded refugees.

2015 In the midst of the Syrian refugee crisis, ICA becomes a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Federal government and begins supporting groups to privately sponsor refugees.

2013 ICA is appointed Settlement Workers in the Schools (SWIS) program leader and expanded to include all three school districts in the Victoria area.

2012 Canada/BC Agreement ends leading to shift from province being responsible for funding to the federal government playing this role.

2011 ICA wins contracts from provincial government for ELSA literacy to level 7, and Settlement and Integration programs.

2011 ICA’s Inter-Cultural Arts program is born. Community arts programming includes theatre, photography, music, video and more.

2011 ICA joins leading immigrant settlement agencies in forming the Vancouver Island Immigrant Welcome Centre Alliance to enhance the capacity of the agencies to provide services to immigrants and build a warm and welcoming community.

2011 ICA becomes a sub-contractor providing Work BC services to new Canadians.

2010 Establishment of Community Partnership Network (CPN), Safe Harbour Program, and Youth Ambassador Program.

2006 FolkFest has its final year in Victoria as ICA shifts resources towards increased direct support for immigrants and refugees.

2000 ICA organizes the first Luminara community lantern festival in Beacon Hill Park. The event is a great success with approximately 10,000 people attending.

1999 Kosovo refugees arrive in Victoria under Joint Assistance Program. ICA provides vital services to 100 of them as part of a national resettlement effort.

1999 Chinese migrants arrive on West Coast in four boats. ICA plays leading role in providing assistance, including English classes, assistance finding housing, clothing, and appropriate representation.

1994 ICA teams with the City of Victoria to hold CityFest during the XV Commonwealth Games.

1991 Host Program established to help link newly arrived immigrants with community residents.

1990s The federal government hands over responsibility for immigrant services to the province and ICA continues to strengthen its role as a “go-to” local organization for helping immigrants and refugees.

1988 Interpretation and Translation Services begins, eventually evolving in 2011 to offer service in 58 languages.

1987 Employment program initiated.

1984 ICA begins to deliver “survival English” classes.

1982 The Refugee Aid Program, having helped 550 refugees to settle in our region in 3 years, is merged with the Immigrant Services Program to form the Immigrant and Refugee Settlement Program.

1982-1983 ICA establishes an Inter-Cultural Relations Program – later refined to become the Cross-cultural Relations Program, and then the Multicultural Program.

1981 ICA begins its work in Race Relations, in partnership with the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC (AMSSA), hosting a human rights workshop on Race Relations in the community.

1979 ICA starts the Refugee Aid Program at the request of the federal government to assist the incoming Vietnamese “boat people”.

1977 First immigrant settlement program established with federal funding to provide support to newcomer immigrants.

1974 FolkFest begins with two separate events, the Carling International Village in Centennial Square and FolkFest, at the Beacon Hill Park Bandshell, which was an ethnic performing arts competition.

1971 The International Fun Fair is held on October 1st and 2nd, in the Crystal Garden. Thirteen ethno-cultural groups share their cultures in the hopes that the broader community will learn about them and their contributions and help eliminate racism. It was such a success that the groups decided to incorporate as the “Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria”. The mission of the organization was “Harmony for All”. In its early years, ICA focused on events that showcased the community’s ethnocultural diversity.

We are excited about the future when we hope to develop even more programs to help immigrants and refugees meet their goals and create strong connections between people from diverse backgrounds.

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