A vibrant past

MOSAIC – Multi-lingual Orientation Service Association for Immigrant Communities – became a non-profit society in 1976, and was formally registered as a charity in 1978.

MOSAIC was founded from the union of two grass-roots agencies which had sprung up in response to unaddressed community needs in 1972. Both Multilingual Social Service1, and Language Aid for Ethnic Groups2,  began as “Local Initiative Projects”,  and developed in response to the ongoing challenges faced by Vancouver’s many non-English-speaking immigrants.

At the request of the (then) Department of Manpower and Immigration, and the urging of the Vancouver Resources Board, the two organizations were amalgamated to form MOSAIC. Since that time, MOSAIC has established itself in the community as a vibrant, collaborative and highly-effective organization serving immigrants, newcomers and refugees in the Greater Vancouver area.

Historical Highlights

1Multilingual Social Services

When the Grandview-Woodlands interagency team saw a need to reach out to the area’s many immigrants the YWCA sponsored a grant for “Project Contact”, to bridge the language and cultural barriers between non-English-speaking people and the community. That project evolved into the Multilingual Information Service and, as its focus shifted from information giving to counselling and interpretation, it was renamed Multilingual Social Service (MSS).

2Language Aid for Ethnic Groups

Based in the Downtown Eastside, four immigrant women of different ethnic backgrounds conceived of this agency while reflecting on the difficulties each had in adjusting to Canadian society. The project, launched without any external help, provided information, referral, counselling, interpretation and home-visiting services to immigrants.