As we celebrate our 50th year, we are proud that ISSofBC has consistently demonstrated our ability to lead, adapt, and respond to the ever-evolving context of immigration to Canada. Looking ahead, ISSofBC and the settlement sector more broadly, will continue to address and seek solutions to local and global challenges. We are in a great position as a values-driven organization with amazingly diverse, talented, and dedicated staff and volunteers, ready to adapt efficiently to future changes.
Planned immigration levels to Canada will continue to increase to over 450,000 permanent residents annually by 2024, with an increasing proportion of population growth the result of international migration. International student numbers are forecast to rebound after the pandemic along with growing levels of temporary foreign workers, and, as the Afghan and Ukrainian initiatives have demonstrated, Canada will continue to welcome higher levels of refugees and those forced to migrate as the result of global conflicts and humanitarian crises. The settlement sector continues to respond to these growing demands.
At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting ‘new normal’ of work, study, and community engagement has called for innovative ways of service delivery. At ISSofBC, we have successfully evolved our client service delivery models, including digital and hybrid options, enabling us to expand our reach and service accessibility. This work will need to continue as we learn more.
ISSofBC and our clients are also impacted by the range of economic and social forces currently at play, including tight and rapidly changing labour markets, price inflation, and the lack of affordable housing.
As importantly, we are also committed to continue responding to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples both in our communities, and inside our organization. As an immigration-serving organization, these critical social justice issues are core to all our work.
In all these factors, ISSofBC operates within a provincial, national and international context. A substantial proportion of core funding comes from federal and provincial government sources that influence our overall direction. However, we are a local service provider at our core, and continuing to connect with local communities is critical to extending our legacy of success.
As a pioneer in settling immigrants and refugees in Canada, and as one of the largest immigrant-serving agencies in British Columbia, we are looking forward to the opportunities and challenges of the coming year, and the next 50 years beyond.