May 2017
In This Issue
Help us Celebrate AMSSA's 40th Anniversary!

AMSSA is turning 40! To celebrate AMSSA's 40th Anniversary, we're putting together a crowdsourced video made by you!

Submit your videos to AMSSA at by July 21, 2017!

Learn more about the video and recording guidelines by clicking here.

Nominations Open for AMSSA's Diversity Awards

Are you an AMSSA Member? Nominate a member organization, staff or volunteer for the following awards:

Riasat Ali Khan Diversity Award highlighting organizational excellence.

Service Recognition Staff Award for an outstanding staff member.

Service Recognition Volunteer Award
for a dedicated volunteer.

This is an opportunity for your organization to showcase the talents and skills of your staff, volunteers and organization as a whole.

We encourage all AMSSA members to consider submitting a nomination for the AMSSA 2017 Diversity Awards.

Click here to learn more about the awards and how you can nominate.

The extended submission deadline is Friday, June 9 at 12:00pm.

Learn more about the Refugee Experience in Canada

In 2015, the Government of Canada pledged to open Canada's doors to Syrian Refugees seeking asylum. Between November 2015 and November 2016 more than 35,000 government-supported and privately sponsored refugees from Syria were resettled in Canada.

The Refugee Experience through a Canadian Lens edition of Cultures West explores the experiences of refugees and those who support them. Read about the refugee process in Canada, how community organizations welcomed refugees, personal journeys, and more by clicking here.
Stay tuned for our next edition of Cultures West on the theme of early years 0-6!

Want to receive the next editions of Cultures West by CanadaPost? Click here to subscribe.

Register for Safe Harbour: Respect for All Diversity and Inclusion etraining!

Begin your journey in diversity and inclusion through AMSSA's Safe Harbour: Respect for All training.

Safe Harbour's fully online training is great for individuals for a self-paced learning experience. 

The eLearning online course is also an excellent way for employers to educate staff on important concepts, and create opportunities for follow-up discussion, to support inclusive workplaces.

Learn more about Safe Harbour and sign up for training by clicking here.

Sign-up for Settlement Net and Receive News and Resources 

AMSSA's Settlement Net database is a one-stop-shop for settlement and language updates, resources, news articles, reports and more!


Receive an e-update every Tuesday with new resources and media clippings.


Register for Settlement Net by clicking here.


Create your Own Online Learning or Meeting!

Did you know? AMSSA can support you and your organization to host training or meetings online to better reach your audience. We can help you live broadcast your meeting, or create a custom webinar! 

AMSSA recently hosted a webinar Understanding the Digitial Capacity of the Settlement Sector for Open North. To access the webinar video and presentations, click here.

Interested in learning more about how we can support your online learning or meeting? Contact us at

Staff Movement 

Sending well wishes and appreciation to Queenie Cheng, Safe Harbour Marketing and Booking Coordinator and Javier Ojer, Western Region Working Group Coordinator for their incredible work on the Safe Harbour and WRWG programs. Unfortunately, funding under these programs have been discontinued and we had to say goodbye. We miss you!

Congratulations to Jennifer Cummins, AMSSA's Language Coordinator, and her family on their new addition! She is currently on maternity leave.

Julie Ship, will be supporting language services at AMSSA as the Acting Language Coordinator in Jennifer's absence. Welcome to the AMSSA team!

Feature Member: Mission Community Services Society

Newcomers Instructing Young Newcomers: Giving Back


A trio of instructors from Algeria, Kenya and Japan helped build confidence in more than a dozen students from Syria, The Congo and Germany during Mission Community Services Society's New to Canada young learners six-day spring break program.

"I get a sense of fulfilment when I give back," said Mission's Sonia Sirere, 24 from Nairobi, Kenya who arrived in Canada in July. "The children have shown so much improvement since we started the program. I see improvement in integration, language skills, and just being more confident in their environment." 

The six, three-hour sessions for children aged six to 14 featured gardening with flowers, leadership training, local Mission history at Mission Museum, Japanese cooking, mixed media art at Windebank elementary and physical fitness at Centennial Park.

Sara Salah Derradji, 16, who speaks French, Arabic and English, is from a family who immigrated to Canada from Algeria 12 years ago. She attends Mission Secondary School and was employed by MCSS during spring break.  By doing this "I feel connected because a lot of the kids are just like me, coming to the country only speaking Arabic. It is so good to see the kids improve. They are not sticking to their own siblings at these sessions, they are also talking to other newcomer kids." 

Moeko Okabe, a Grade 11 MSS international student from Japan was also an instructor.

Among the memorable moments during the program, said Sara and Sonia, was the Japanese cooking where the kids created fruit sushi.
"Some of the kids have never experienced some of the fruits we offered. The rice paper was also something new, and the kids kept asking if they should eat it . . . they thought it was plastic," said Sara. 

Sonia, who speaks Kikuyu, Swahili and English, said the kids created kabobs with the fruit, and when they were introduced to a dipping sauce of chocolate, "they were just crazy about it." 

Between 12 and 15 newcomer children attended each session.

Visit Mission Community Services Society's website for more information on their programs and services.

Feature Member is a segment in The Insider e-newsletter which profiles AMSSA members. Have a program, service, or announcement you want profiled in the next AMSSA Insider? E-mail us at

Watch the new AMSSA video: Refugee Pathways to Settlement

AMSSA's newest video explains the different pathways for refugees coming to Canada, including privately-sponsored refugees, government-assisted refugees, blended visa office-referred refugees, and the system for refugee claimants. It explores the resettlement process from displacement through to arrival in Canada, and what settlement supports are available for refugees.

View the video by clicking here.

Check out two new editions of our Migration Matters Info Sheet Series

AMSSA's Migration Matters info sheet series gives you a two page overview of an important topic in settlement and migration. We recently published info sheets on the following topics:

Standardized Language Assessments for Settlement and Integration Pathwaysexplores the use of different standardized English language assessments for accessing settlement and integration pathways for newcomers in Canada. A summary of typical assessments and their uses is provided.


Interprovincial Mobility and Secondary Migration in BC, covering the latest information on numbers of newcomers moving into and out of BC from other provinces.


Stay tuned for the next issues on Settlement Outcomes on Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) and LiteracySee all info sheets here.

Discover AMSSA's Virtual Learning Exchange 

AMSSA held a Virtual Learning Exchange in February. A full day of online learning, the Virtural Learning Exchange offered six different webinars on the following topics:
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Ending a Fixed-Term Tenancy under Special Circumstance
  • Informal Language Learning Opportunities
  • Youth Engagement
  • Multilevel Portfolio-based Language Assessments (PBLA)
Watch the videos and download the presentations by clicking here.

View the Latest Webinars

Social Media, Technology and Settlement Services

Immigrants and Refugees are using technology and social media at all stages of their journeys for translation, access to information and services, and to keep in touch with family and friends. Watch the recorded webinar which reviewed how refugees use technology, outlined the challenges and opportunities for service providers, and featured examples.

Click here to view the recording of the webinar.

Creating and Maintaining Ethical Boundaries in Client Relationships

Creating boundaries is critical when providing ethical, caring services as Settlement Workers and Language Instructors. AMSSA's webinar highlights the importance of boundaries and provides approaches to create, implement, and maintain them in client relationships.

To watch the recording of the event click here.

Watch the AMSSA Forum: 
Anti-Racism & Anti-Hate Initiatives - Supporting the Integration of Refugees in Our Communities

The Anti-Racism and Anti-Hate Initiatives Forum brought together community organizers and experts in the anti-racism and anti-hate sector. Presenters shared best promising practices, resources, and tools for settlement, language and community service providers to navigate the challenges of combating hate and discrimination. This forum also addressed the challenges that refugee clients face in their communities and how service providers and community stakeholders can address these challenges. 

View the forum recording by clicking here.

Access Online Resources for Settlement and Language Service Providers

Check out our quick links and resource pages! The latest page has curated online resources focusing on resources for newcomer women. As well, we recently created a page with resources in many different languages on the topic of substance abuse.

AMSSA is excited to offer quick links and resources to language providers across the province to help build capacity for program delivery and instruction. The latest resource page offers instructional resources focused on newcomer women. View this page by clicking here.

We hope that you find the resources useful and welcome feedback on future improvements to the pages. Do you have or know a resource that is not listed? Send an e-mail to and we'll gladly add it.

Click here to access all the quick links and resource pages. 

View our Latest E-Symposia

Newcomer Women - Barriers, Challenges & Supports

AMSSA celebrated International Women's Day on March 8th by organizing an online event that highlighted the challenges and barriers that immigrant and refugee women face in their settlement to Canada. Topics such as women's rights, sexual health and domestic abuse were discussed by our expert panel.

 Click here to view the video

Using Physical & Social Activities as Opportunities for Newcomer Integration

Participating in physical and social activities is one way for newcomers to get involved in their community. 

Click here to view this e-symposium which discussed how newcomers can use physical and social activities as integration opportunities and learn about some best practices on how to implement these activities as integration tools

Study on the Go with a Learner's Licence or Citizenship Prep Kit! 

The Prep Kits are sets of study flash cards that summarize the ICBC Learn to Drive Smart handbook or the Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship guide

The kits allow people to determine what information they know and what information they need to study further. The study cards come in a portable plastic box for studying on-the-go!

For more information about the Prep Kits visit our website or contact us at