By Olga Stachova, CEO, MOSAIC
As we mark the end of 2021 in the midst of a new COVID variant, renewed restrictions, and what may feel like a step backwards, believe it or not, I feel we’re moving forward and towards hope in 2022.
Hope because in spite of COVID, we have been able to help so many – and will continue to do so; hope because we live and breathe our mission that immigrants and refugees enrich our communities when they settle here and become our friends and neighbours; and hope that we are moving in the right direction to build an inclusive and thriving Canada.
Looking back this past year, there have been some amazing achievements, thanks to the incredible work of MOSAIC staff and volunteers.
Here are some highlights from 2021:
- Throughout the year, we celebrated our 45th Anniversary, marking 45 years of ongoing service to the community and individuals;
- In spite of COVID limitations, we proudly served 19,000+ immigrants and refugees – either through a direct service or through a virtual workshop or event;
- We reached out to clients to share, educate and encourage vaccination – providing translated information and outreach in multiple languages;
- We worked with Fraser Health Authority and health-care leaders in Burnaby to demonstrate the value of building primary care networks for newcomers;
- We led and collaborated with 22 organizations in BC to support migrant workers and responded to emergency needs during the recent BC floods;
- Alongside others, we have launched a significant research initiative to develop an innovative case management service model for vulnerable newcomer populations;
- We engaged 1,600+ employers to partner with us for employments services to new arrivals;
- We had literally thousands join us virtually for our Immigrant Professionals Conference and the annual Job Fair;
- Our dedicated 334 full and part-time staff continued to provide services virtually (93%) and in-person (7%) seamlessly;
- About 280+ volunteers stayed active with MOSAIC throughout the year;
- In a survey of our clients, we achieved a 95% satisfaction rate – an incredible number despite the pandemic, and truly a testament to the work of our incredible staff;
- We were recognized as a Great Place to Work, both as a Best Workplace and a Best Workplace for women; and as a Best Employer for Recent Graduates; and
- We were just certified as a Living Wage Employer, ensuring our dedicated staff and contractors are paid a living wage for Metro Vancouver.
But more than the numbers are the real stories of immigrants and refugees whom we have the privilege to walk alongside as they start their new lives in Canada:
- Through initiation of an international effort called Operation #NotForgotten, we have welcomed our first arrivals who will call Canada home: seven refugees who have been in limbo for years, on Manus and Papua New Guinea off the coast of Australia. More ONF refugees are scheduled to arrive in the new year to settle and become part of the community;
- We opened our first refugee house to provide shelter and housing to arriving refugees;
- We are working closely with the local Afghan community and organizations as partners to get ourselves ready in response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and in other countries, and we’re proud to be a leader in private sponsorship of refugees; and
- We will continue to advocate for Canada to increase the number of refugees it plans to welcome to respond to the growing global humanitarian crises.
We also believe in walking the talk. With a marked increase in racism and hate in Canada, MOSAIC’s participation in Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network continues to be key, and we will advocate against racism and hate towards immigrants and the BIPOC communities.
Our belief in diversity and inclusivity has been recognized with leadership awards in Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion from the Inclusion Project and Excellence Canada, as well as the Riasat Ali Khan Diversity Award presented by AMSSA. But we don’t do what we do for awards – we do what we do because we believe in people, and we believe we need a truly inclusive Canada. I am grateful to have a dedicated team of staff who are guiding us in our collective responsibility towards systemic change.
From the bottom of my heart, a big thank you to all our incredible staff – recognizing a year of hard work, ability to adapt and pivot due to COVID, and for being part of the MOSAIC family; our amazing volunteers who supported us no matter what; our dedicated volunteer Board of Directors for helping lead; and incredible donors who see MOSAIC as their charity of choice.
So yes, I truly believe we are moving towards hope, and truly believe we will continue to shine the light on kindness, advocacy and service in 2022.
Happy holidays and all the best in the new year.
More information about MOSAIC is on our website at mosaicbc.org and our Annual Report.