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FREE Resources for Immigrants Living on Vancouver Island

Posted on: May 30, 2023

Newcomers living on Vancouver Island can access many free resources to help them in their settlement journey. 

1. Public Libraries on Vancouver Island

We can’t recommend the connection to your local library enough. Immigrants can get a free library membership to access the many materials, services, and resources available through your library. For example, you can access two library systems on Vancouver Island: the Greater Victoria Public Library and the Vancouver Island Regional Library. A membership gives you access to books and eBooks, magazines and newspapers from around the world, events and programs, and so much more. 

At the Greater Victoria Public Library, settlement workers from the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre offer English Conversation classes and weekly opportunities to meet with a settlement worker to learn more about information, resources, and free support available for newcomers. In addition, the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Newcomers, Immigrants, and Refugees page outlines resources and services to help you settle, including information on housing, employment, language learning, and more.

2. BC Settlement and Integration Services (BC SIS)

The BC SIS Program supports newcomers’ social and economic integration into Vancouver Island. Through the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre, immigrants can access information and referral to community resources and government services. These services include housing, assistance navigating immigration and work permit applications, community connections, employment counselling, formal language training, and more.

3. Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre (VIRCS)

VIRCS offers several programs to help immigrants and refugees. These include: 

  • The Newcomer Wraparound Program supports newcomers facing complex barriers toward settlement and integration in Greater Victoria. 
  • The Welcome Gardens Program provides tools and resources for newcomers to grow nutritious, affordable, and culturally-preferred foods while fostering intercultural collaborations that strengthen Victoria’s social, environmental, and economic resilience. 

Pathways to Professions, Trades, and Entrepreneurship (P2PTE) supports the social and economic integration of newcomers to provide employment services to newcomers who face multiple barriers to employment through the provision of employment, language testing, and training.

4. Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA)

ICA helps immigrants and refugees meet their goals in a new country. A few feature programs include: 

  • Immigrant Welcome Centre – From housing and education to employment services, ICA’s Settlement Services team helps newcomers navigate and connect with essential resources and support.
  • Learn English (LINC) – Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) provides English language training from beginner to advanced levels for adult newcomers to Canada. 
  • LGBTQI2S+ Services – ICA has many services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender-diverse newcomers and refugees.

Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants – The CPSI program helps newcomer professionals find meaningful employment that aligns with their pre-arrival education, training, and experience.

5. Help Ukraine Vancouver Island Society

The Help Ukraine Vancouver Island Society supports displaced Ukrainians across Vancouver Island. They direct and assist displaced Ukrainians in a variety of ways: 

  • The Hosting Program matches Ukrainians with hosts on Vancouver Island.
  • Events such as English Language Classes, Clothing exchanges, finding work, and cultural events are put on regularly.

Resources offering food cards, counselling, employment help and more can be found on their website.

6. NewToBC

We offer more information on our website to help you find the information you need.  You can find Settlement Information for Newcomers, Useful Immigrant Settlement Guides and Websites, Library Information for Newcomers and more. We take pride in providing a one-stop shop for immigrants to find all the information they need in one area. Please share this with your networks to ensure that immigrants can find what they need to succeed in their new homes.