Local Immigration Partnership
WHAT WE DO
A Local Immigration Partnership council was launched five years ago to assist in the development of successful social and economic integration for newcomers in the District of Mission.
The 10-member council was designed to collaboratively create an action plan for meaningful settlement solutions by encouraging key community leaders to strongly consider those new to Canada in their policy-making.
The LIP council will plan for long-term community needs focused in the areas of labour force requirements, economic development, population increases, and taxpayer stabilization. This process is intended to unite the community and provide knowledge of what currently exists and what is needed.
LIPS are catalysts for partnerships in communities across the country. They bring silos together. If you are interested in partnering with the Mission LIP, contact us at 604-826-3634.
WHO MAKES IT HAPPEN
On the Mission LIP Council with Rick Rake as chair is Joe Heslip (Mission School District – now seconded to provincial government project for 2019-2020 term), Kevin Tatla (immigration specialist now managing Mission Community Services Society settlement team), Doug Paille (VanCity Credit Union), Stacey Crawford (District of Mission Economic Development Department), Afton Schindel (Mission Library), Pam Alexis (District of Mission Council), Joan MacLatchy (community advocate) and Donna Gibson (Mission Literacy in Motion) , Kirsten Hargreaves (Mission Department of Social Development), Allison Jack (Joseph Gillette) both of WorkBC, Allison Snider (MLA Simon Gibson’s executive assistant). Community volunteer Dave Barratt, English instructor). Four early-morning LIP Council meetings are scheduled during the year: June 20, Sept. 19, Nov. 21 and March 5 (2020).
Mission LIP alumni include: Jean Hoogie (MLA’s office), Pia Ritch (Mission Community Skills Centre), Heather Scoular (Mission Library), Grace Martin (Mission Chamber, entrepreneur), Candie Thorne (Mission Literacy in Motion), Rhett Nicholson (Downtown Business Association, City Councillor) and Mark Duyns (Constituency Assistant to MLAs Simon Gibson and Marc Dalton), Randy Huth (Mission School District), Angus Wilson (Mission School District superintendent), Ron Smith (WorkBC), Varpal Singh Randhawa (New to Canada from India), Courtney Novotny (Mission Library).
KEY IMMIGRATION FORUMS
- New Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon Member of Parliament Brad Vis shared his thoughts on Nov. 25 at a public roundtable hosted by Mission Regional of Commerce. Mission LIP coordinator was there to ask for MP staff representation on the Mission LIP, his hiring of an immigration specialist, and the possibility of his team working on a citizenship ceremony in Mission on Canada Day at Fraser River Heritage Park. Brad said his team is already discussing it.
- Mission Mayor Pam Alexis is on the Mission Local Immigration Partnership which had its quarterly meeting at MCSS on Thursday, Nov. 21.
Among issues covered were funding for credential assessments (WorkBC), mental health/trauma avenues of support which already exist, citizenship ceremony in Mission, #allarewelcomehere campaign, local Habitat for Humaniy opportunities for newcomers, Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards, Fraser Valley Bandits basketball outreach for newcomers, and Mission newcomer and aboriginal artisan involvement in Mission Arts Council Diversity Art Show planned for October 2020.
Fraser Valley Bandits of the Canadian Elite Basketball League met with LIP coordinator in November as part of their outreach programming. Bandits Operations manager Andrew Savory (pictured) is willing to provide game tickets to newcomers providing the tickets are used. Bandits season begins in May.
- Joining the Mission LIP on Nov. 21 will be Dave Barratt, community advocate and English instructor.
- Mission LIP will continue to have immigration specialist Kevin Tatla aboard after the loss of his employer Liberal MP Jati Sidhu in the federal election. Tatla’s focus was and will continue to be on the possibility of hosting a citizenship ceremony in Mission.
- Mission LIP hosted its quarterly meeting on Sept. 19 at MCSS boardroom with Allison Snider, executive assistant to MLA Simon Gibson, making her debut. Allison Jack shared the work of WorkBC under the Maximus contract, and various LIP partners updated information on their projects. School District representative Joe Heslip has been seconded to the Ministry of Education for this school year to head up the Equity in Action project for the province. LIP will investigate adding a new rep to the LIP. LIP member Kevin Tatla announced he is on a leave of absence from his role as Immigration Assistant to MP Jati Sidhu during the federal election campaign. However, Tatla noted in an email to the LIP “talks with IRCC have been positive with having a citizenship ceremony at Heritage Park. They had said they will provide us with further information in a few months to finalize/go ahead with the next move.” Discussion ensued around nominations for the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards on March 12 (www.diversityawards.ca), Festival of Lights: Diwali on Oct. 18, and #AllAreWelcomeHere bumper sticker campaign update. Next LIP meeting is Nov. 21, 8:30 a.m. at MCSS.
- Mission Mayor Pam Alexis touted the Local Immigration Partnership #AllAreWelcomeHere bumper sticker (now displayed in various locations in Mission) as part of her Canada Day address at Fraser River Heritage Park flag plaza on July 1.Her talk was to introduce Abdullah (pictured at right, above), a refugee from Syria who settled in Mission two years ago with his wife and five children. He later thanked Canada and Mission for allowing him to secure a better life here for his family. Abdullah’s speech was videotaped and promoted on social media, and by July 3 had already recorded more than 1,100 views. The video is posted on Mission Community Services Facebook page and the Mission BC Neighbours Facebook page. Thank you Canada Day organizer Joanna McBride for inviting Abdullah to share his heartfelt words. See the re-posted video HERE.
- June 20, 2019 was a day of introductions and a fond farewell during the LIP quarterly meeting at MCSS where WorkBC Employment Services manager Joseph Gillett (centre below) and job developer and long-time Mission resident (right) Allison Jack were introduced as part of the LIP. We also said a fond farewell to retiring LIP member Pia Ritch of Mission Community Skills Centre.
The meeting featured updates on our community projects and focused on a discussion on employment services for newcomers through WorkBC which is under contract of Maximus. The LIP and settlement representative Saba Alam have been asked to present to clients at WorkBC either on a date this month or next. Bumper sticker #AllAreWelcomeHere campaign has extended to St. Ann’s Anglican Church, The Stage, Mission Downtown Business Association and Perfect Piece Optical Boutique now and the value of LIP partnerships is integrated into the stories in the MCSS annual report which will be distributed June 25 at the AGM. Outcome of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot economic development and employment for newcomers application of interest competition was released, showing the B.C. recipients are Vernon and West Kootenay region. Other recipient sites are Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay, Ontario; Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee and Brandon, Manitoba; Moose Jaw, Sask. and Claresholm, Alberta. Good news is that the Mission LIP has new representatives from WorkBC and Allison Snider, executive assistant to MLA Simon Gibson, succeeding Jean Hooge.
- LIP 2019-20 ACTION PLAN and LIP FINAL REPORT to federal government completed by May 31 deadline. Content on LIP and partnerships provided for the MCSS Annual General Report ‘New to Canada’ Page for June 25, 2019 AGM. New LIP representatives sought for retiring Pia Ritch from Mission Community Skills Centre and Jean Hooge, executive assistant to MLA Simon Gibson’s office. Preparation underway for June 20 LIP meeting at MCSS boardroom, 8:30 a.m.
- Rick Rake, LIP coordinator, appeared as a delegation before District of Mission Council on Monday, March 28 to update the community on LIP activities, immigration in Mission, MCSS Mission settlement team activities and to share the message of #allarewelcome here, including a statement that in terms of immigration here, “there is nothing to fear.”
- Mission LIP quarterly meeting was held March 7 at MCSS with a number of highlights including an update of Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) response to hosting a citizenship ceremony on July 1 at Fraser River Heritage Park. 2019 event was seen as a stretch, but a 2020 event could be a possibility in partnership with Park event organizers and the LIP. Research on this project was provided by LIP members Mayor Pam Alexis and federal immigration specialist Kevin Tatla.
- LIP expressed its appreciation to Stacey Crawford, LIP member and economic development officer for district support and documents required in MCSS/LIP eight-page application of interest for Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (economic development involving newcomers) Project which could become 2019-2020 LIP project in the Matsqui-Mission-Fraser Canyon riding. Application response should come by spring, said MP Jati Sidhu’s office.
- In MCSS Settlement update by Saba Alam, it was reported MCSS would house Level 3-4 LINC English classes offered through programming by Abbotsford Community Services. Level 1 was offered with the influx of refugees and other newcomers, now skill levels call for more advanced training. Level 4 English is conducive to securing employment. Alam also highlighted Spring Break multicultural camp, importance and effectiveness of community partnerships and MCSS homework club.LIP is seeking $450 sponsorship for its next batch of #AllAreWelcomeHere bumper stickers. A number of local businesses are displaying them. Contact [email protected] for more information.Chris Hartman of Polygon Developments was to appear at the March 7 LIP meeting, but instead encouraged members and the public to attend the April 18 Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce meeting at Mission Golf and Country Club where he will outline the company’s plan to significantly develop Mission.MCSS is a partner in the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards. LIP members were encouraged to attend the event March 14 at the Quality Inn in Abbotford. A number of Mission nominees are included. Among the nominees are Denise and Candyce Fowle of Inspire Me Fitness who told the LIP coordinator they wish to support newcomers in any way they can.
- As part of Mission LIP leveraging of funds in the community, Prospera Credit Union, the Mission branch led by manager Sean Melia, is funding the next batch of #AllAreWelcomeHere bumper stickers which are also part of a strong social media campaign. The next batch of stickers will include the Prospera logo. Any organization or business wishing to contribute to understanding, welcoming and cultural competency projects in Mission, the door is open. Contact Mission LIP coordinator Rick Rake at [email protected].
- Mission LIP member Afton Schindel, Community Librarian – Supervisor for Mission Library reports they have a display where kids are colouring umbrellas to represent inclusivity, and the #AllarewelcomeHere bumper sticker is displayed there as well. “We also have a draw for a prize going on where people can enter by telling us what #AllAreWelcomeHere means to them,” she said.
- Most recent businesses to display the #AllAreWelcomeHere banners include: Mission Record, Arnold’s Shoe Repair, The Penny Coffee Shop, Bank of Nova Scotia and Mission Rotarians who were presented with them by Sean Melia of Prospera Credit Union.
- Mission LIP coordinator Rick Rake in November attended the national Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) LIP preconference in Montreal to share ideas, best practices and learn of the challenges and opportunities facing LIPs across the country. It was also an opportunity to personally thank Huda Hussein of the London-Middlesex LIP which provided support and artwork for the Mission LIP #AllAreWelcomeHere campaign. Rake also attended the 2018 P2P National Conference on behalf of Mission Community Services to participate in immigration workshops, hear valuable speakers, and listen to the facts and unfortunate myths related to Canadian immigration.
- For a complete picture of the LIP activities for 2018-2019, please click HERE and see the comprehensive, but easy-to-read Mission LIP Action Plan.
- The Mission LIP has conducted three focus groups to garner important information. Immigration topics focused on economic development, newcomer needs and sponsor groups.