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April 2014
In This Issue
The Interfaith Bridging Cultures West is Available Now!
Upcoming Events
Staff Movement
Looking Forward to AMSSA's Settlement and Integration Programming
Knowledge Exchange Project - Resources for Immigrant and Refugee Women Experiencing Relationship Violence
Provincial Support for Ineligible Clients
AMSSA's Inclusion Café Series
Safe Harbour: Respect for All Program Updates
AMSSA Celebrates 10 Years of Vancouver Diversity Health Fairs
The Interfaith Bridging 
Cultures West is Available Now!

The Spring 2014 edition of the Cultures West magazine exploring the topic of Interfaith Bridging is available. 

Read the magazine and previous editions  here.

To subscribe to the magazine contact AMSSA at



AMSSA would like to extend congratulations to Past President Ed Eduljee who was honoured with the Provincial Nesika Award for the Individual category. Ed has been a leader in multiculturalism and inclusion for over 30 years.

Congratulations to the follwing Nesika Award recipients which include:


- Youth: Karen Dhaliwal;

- Organization: Community Justice Centre;

- Business: CIBC-Diversity Matters Initiatives;

- Government: The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and the BC Public Service Agency


Learn more about the Provincial Nesika Awards here.

Event and Job Postings Free for AMSSA Members

Job and event postings are free for AMSSA members. If you have an opportunity you would like posted on the AMSSA website, please send the Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF document(s) to Melissa Jay at 


The deadline for submissions is Thursday at 12:00pm. All job and event opportunities will be on the website by Friday. The AMSSA website is updated weekly.


Rates for non-AMSSA members:
  • 250 words - $65.00
  • 50 words - $30.00 

To view the job and event opportunities posted on AMSSA's website click here to go to AMSSA's website.


Upcoming Events


The Inspire 2014 International Neighbourhood house and Settlement Conference will be taking place May 5 - 8 in Vancouver. 


One of the workshops offered on May 7 will highlight the work of AMSSA's Safe Harbour: Respect for All program titled Demonstrating a modified version on a certification workshop delivered to over 1,000 British Columbia employers on inclusion of diverse groups. This workshop will be led by Lindsay Marsh, Program Development and Communications, Liu Institute for Global Issues, and Koyali Burman, Community Connections Settlement Worker at South Vancouver Neighbourhood House


For more information click here.



AMSSA is excited to support the
May 27 - 28 
hosted by the Canadian Institute for Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI)


Lindsay Marsh, and Sabrina Ziegler, AMSSA's Sectoral Communications Coordinator will host a workshop on May 27 on the topic of  Uncovering Hidden Dimensions of Diversity: A look at the Impacts of Bias and Stereotypes on the Workplace and Beyond.


To learn more about the Unconference click here.


Staff Movement


AMSSA would like to extend a heart felt thank you and good luck to Dora Replanski, Multicultural Health Coordinator, Kerstin Walter, Sectoral Communications Coordinator, Lisa Elliott, Sectoral Support Coordinator and Lindsay Marsh, Safe Harbour Program Coordinator. We will miss you!


Sabrina Ziegler has taken on the role of AMSSA's Sectoral Communications Coordinator. Sabrina worked with AMSSA as the CISSA-ACSEI Coordinator.


A warm welcome to Anika McDonald, AMSSA's new Sectoral Support Coordinator.


Katie Rosenberger will be joining AMSSA as the new Program Director starting in May. Katie comes to AMSSA with over 10 years of experience in management roles and extensive experience working in the settlement sector and not-for-profit organizations. 


Welcome to the AMSSA team!


Congratulations to Jia Thong and Alex Kang. Both have stepped into Coordinator roles at AMSSA. 


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Looking Forward to AMSSA's Settlement and Integration Programming 


Over the next two years, AMSSA will continue to support over 100 immigrant settlement service providers from across British Columbia thanks to funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) by providing indirect settlement services. We are looking forward to continuing our support of the sector by organizing meetings and events. This year, AMSSA will also create a number of new information resources, such as BC settlement sector specific webinars and webcasts. AMSSA is excited about our work moving forward with the settlement sector and continuing to strengthen diversity in British Columbia.  

Knowledge Exchange Project - Resources for Immigrant and
Refugee Women Experiencing Relationship Violence


AMSSA recently completed the Knowledge Exchange Project that was developed to increase the capacity of the immigrant settlement and anti-violence sectors to better respond to the needs of immigrant and refugee women, and their children, who are impacted by relationship violence. Funded by the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence, AMSSA worked in close partnership with the BC Society of Transition Houses to complete this project.


The Knowledge Exchange project resources includes 10 tools for frontline workers and management level staff, each providing practical, accurate information.  An additional six webinars, each covering a range of topics relevant to both the immigrant settlement and anti-violence sectors.  Look out for these tools and webinars on the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence's website, they will be available soon. 


Provincial Support for Ineligible Clients


The Settlement Services Transition Branch of the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training announced on March 4, 2014 that it received approval to continue support services for clients who would be ineligible for services funded by CIC. Specifically, the Branch announced it would support the following services from April 1, 2014 thru March 31, 2015:


1.      Delivery of settlement-oriented information and referral services to temporary foreign workers, provincial nominees who are awaiting CIC approval, and naturalized citizens by service providers in all communities across BC who have negotiated a contract with CIC to provide similar services to CIC eligible clients.


2.      On-going participation of naturalized citizens, provincial nominees who are awaiting CIC approval and live-in caregivers in CIC-funded LINC classes in regional communities outside of Metro Vancouver.


3.      Basic orientation and trauma support for refugee claimants in Vancouver.


AMSSA welcomes this support, and will continue to work closely with settlement stakeholders to address the changing needs of these client groups.

AMSSA's Inclusion Café Series
AMSSA hosted two Inclusion Cafés which brought managers and staff from various sectors together with diverse community members to engage in dialogue. 

Inclusion Cafe Feb 2014
Dr. Robert Daum, Keynote Speaker at the Interfaith Bridging Inclusion Cafe
The Burnaby dialogue focused on Intergenerational Diversity and how to best include and promote different generational viewpoints and values in the workplace.
The Vancouver dialogue was focused on Interfaith Inclusion and how to create an environment where staff don't have to leave any part of their identity at the door, where people of different religious, faith and spiritual backgrounds feel safe and where employers understand their duty to accommodate individual requests based on their beliefs.
Key outcomes from the Inclusion Cafés included increased awareness of the value of inclusive language in the workplace, motivation to share and seek further information as well as, identifying and reviewing discrimination and exclusion policies and procedures within their own community and organizations. 


Safe Harbour: Respect for All 
Program Updates

Minister Teresa Wat + RCMS - SH
Minister Teresa Wat with RCMS
AMSSA's Safe 
Harbour: Respect for
 All program has acted as a time-tested model for the delivery of diversity and inclusion training and anti-discrimination response in our communities. AMSSA has supported our members to build inclusive communities while engaging additional partners to bring the Safe Harbour program to outlying areas. AMSSA delivers the program in partnership with 16 outstanding Community Organizers in 42 rural, small and urban communities across B.C., funded through EmbraceBC, as well as supporting Williams Lake and Fort St. James in B.C. and ten communities in the Yukon, Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Nova Scotia. AMSSA welcomes the County of Kings, Nova Scotia, as our newest Safe Harbour community! We are excited to continue delivering the program into the spring of 2015.


Our engagement with business, municipal, and non-profit leaders has impacted not only the inclusivity of their workplaces and preparedness of their staff, but the broader community as well by promoting safe, welcoming spaces to newcomers, Aboriginal peoples, youth, seniors, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, and queer community.  


AMSSA and our Community Organizer network has enhanced broad-based recognition of Safe Harbour: Respect for All across B.C. through advertisements on buses, Public Service Announcements on TV and radio, our website and social media platforms, promotion to newcomers and Aboriginal community members, youth and seniors, at events and festivals, engagement with Chambers of Commerce and local governments, training employers and re-engaging locations. 

AMSSA Celebrates 10 years of Vancouver Diversity Health Fairs


2014 DHF
Estilo Cubano getting people on their feet with dance


AMSSA celebrated the 10 anniversary of the Vancouver Diversity Health Fair. The Vancouver Diversity Health Fair took place on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Croatian Cultural Centre. 

The Diversity Health Fair brought together 52 health and wellness exhibitors. Each exhibitor booth presented informative and interactive displays as well as provided valuable resources to those who attended the Fair. 
The food truck café, which had a variety of healthy food choices from Culver City Salads, Arturo's Mexico To Go and San Juan Family Farm, was a great hit! 
Guests who enjoyed the Healthy Families Activity Zone participated in a number of activities such as gymnastics, mini sports, ribbons and rings, family yoga, and learned about fun with food. The Families Zone was well attended and enjoyed by both guests and the organizations providing the activities.
The Multicultural Performance Stage entertained and invited guests to get up, have fun and move. Guests enjoyed rousing performances which included: zumba, drumming and pow wow dance, cuban salsa, limbo, and science demonstrations.
Sponsored by Vancouver Coastal Health, the Health Screening Area gave Fair visitors the chance to receive free health assessments such as blood pressure testing, nutrition, and hearing.
Thi Bui, Chef Gerry Kasten, Chef Trevor Randle, and Chef Siddartha Choudhary made an array of healthy and delicious food. The cooking demonstrations were live streamed during the Fair on AMSSA's website and made available at the Fair's Exhibitor Hall café. To view the videos and download the recipes click here.  
Over 3000 visitors accessed resources from health and wellness exhibitors, had lunch at the food truck café and participated in family activities, multicultural entertainment, free health screenings, and cooking demonstrations. More than 60 multi-lingual volunteers took part in making this year's Health Fair a success.
New initiatives at the Fair included the transit ticket voucher, where guests could receive a free gift from the Translink booth with their transit ticket, and also, the outdoor bicycle valet. Both initiatives were well received.
We would like to extend a congratulations to S.U.C.C.E.S.S. who received the 2014 Vancouver Diversity Health Fair Best Exhibitor Award. Well deserved!
Thank you to all the sponsors, donors, suppliers, exhibitors, volunteers and AMSSA staff who made the Tenth Annual Vancouver Diversity Health Fair such a great success.
For a full schedule of events click here. Learn more about the Diversity Health Fair here.
Lynn Moran, Executive Director, and Manpreet Gill, Diversity Health Fair Assistant at AMSSA with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. who received the Best Exhibitor Award