Earlier today, two members of the Fresh Voices initiative held a press conference to raise awareness of key recommendations from the Fresh Voices Community Forum Report.
Nada and Diego outlined 3 key recommendations for all political parties to consider as they head into the 2015 Federal Election to an audience of local and regional media.
Newcomers can arrive as permanent residents, family sponsorships, students, government assisted refugees and refugee claimants. People in each category have different resources and supports available. Refugees, children and youth are particularly vulnerable.
Waiting times for family reunification can be between the average of 2 ½ years up to six years.
Government-assisted refugees (GARs) are required to repay medical and transportation costs associated with their travel to Canada, which further undermine their ability to escape patterns of poverty. Many youth have reported it difficult to have enough food for their families or having to leave school early in order to find employment to pay back the loan.
One way to bring together conversations that are happening at a municipal or provincial level to a national level. We ask for a committee with participation from all major parties to join in conversations with other diverse stakeholders in order to advance policies that are inclusive and relevant.
Also present for the discussion was Irwin Elman – Chair for the Canadian Coalition of Child and Youth Advocates and Ontario’s Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, and Chris Friesen – Chair of CISSA/ACSEI (The Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance).
We thank everyone that attended for taking the time to listen and be involved in conversations about how to improve the experience of newcomers to B.C.