As you may have read or heard through the news, more than 350,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq and Libya have crossed the Mediterranean since the beginning of 2015, and the refugee crisis in Europe has now reached pandemic proportions.

As part of a global movement dedicated to caring for the well-being of vulnerable individuals, United Way Centraide Canada is joining an international taskforce with United Way Worldwide focused on developing future United Way refugee landing and integration programs in European cities.

On a local scale when refugees and immigrants come to Greater Victoria, United Way is a key funder that is providing support to non-profits delivering frontline services to this vulnerable population. Together with our community funded partners, it is our vision that a newcomer is able to find a stable home, a job, an education, and develop an understanding of language and culture, and access proper health care.

Currently, United Way Greater Victoria funds two programs which support newcomers, refugees, and immigrants.

Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria

Community Partnership Network: Education to Build Welcoming and Inclusive Communities

This program works to build the capacity of businesses, community groups and agencies to better serve immigrants. It offers educational seminars, tools, information and strategies on becoming more culturally inclusive.

Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society

Enable Program for Newcomer Children and Youth

This program provides social, academic and emotional support to newcomer children, youth and their families. Through group social activities, one-on-one academic help, art therapy groups and individualized action-planning, Enable helps newcomers feel empowered and included. The program also engages volunteers, community members and community partners to create a more inclusive community for everyone.

Learn more about one program participant’s success story – please meet Samantha.


Samantha built the connections she needed to successfully transition to Canadian life by accessing services available to immigrant youth through United Way’s funded community partners Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society.  She has not only become a successful high school graduate, but her sights are now set on completing university to become a doctor. Through United Way Greater Victoria you can help other young people like Samantha achieve success in your community. United Way Greater Victoria is accepting donations online or by phone 250 385 6708.

If individuals are interested in providing contributions to an international aid relief charity such as the Red Cross, the Government of Canada will match each dollar (up to $100 Million) to support the response to this migration and refugee crisis. For more information, please visit