Royal Visit Highlights Role of Individuals, Social Agencies in Refugee Settlement

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (also known popularly as Will and Kate) are making an official royal tour of Canada. During their stop in Vancouver they toured Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISS of BC) along with Prime Minister Trudeau and Canada’s First Lady, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.

These little ones and their families have benefited from the services offered by ISS of BC

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (also known as Will and Kate) visit Immigrant Services Society of BC’s Welcome Centre Photo Credit @TheCrownCa

The royal couple toured the ISS of BC’s Welcome Centre, a unique facility that provides “everything that a new immigrant or refugee would require for their first few months in this country” according to Chris Friesen in a recent CBC interview. Founded in 1972, ISS of BC is the largest immigration support organization in Western Canada. They provide a wide range of settlement services, including newcomer orientation, language training, and employment programs.

It’s really the story of tremendous success because of Canadians, and not because of any one government

Prime Minister Trudeau and the royal couple were discussing how Canada is supporting the 30,862 refugees (as of September 18th) who have settled in Canada since November 2015. In his comments, Prime Minister Trudeau also emphasized the role of individuals and social agencies like ISS of BS, “it’s really the story of tremendous success because of Canadians, and not because of any one government,” said Trudeau as quoted by CBC.

Royal Couple meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and visit ISS of BC to hear how they support recent migrants to Canada

The Royal Visit to ISSBC Photo Credit @KensingtonRoyal

Photo, Referencing the The Crown in Canada

Important to note is of the nearly 31,000 refugees from Syria that 11,360 – nearly 40% – have been privately sponsored. One type of private refugees is when a group of private individuals get together – also called a ‘group of 5’ – and initiate an application to help refugees find protection in Canada. They provide financial, emotional and social support to those who are fleeing their homeland due to persecution, war or severe humans rights abuses.

This royal visit has attracted attention to the important role that both private individuals and social agencies play in supporting successful refugee resettlement.