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Marking the end of immigration detention in BC prisons for refugee claimants

November 20, 2022 by Loren Balisky

Background

In the Summer/Fall of 2022, Canada’s Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, with partner agencies and people with lived immigration detention experience, successfully campaigned for four provinces to end their contracts with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for immigration detention. These provinces will no longer provide their prisons as places to hold immigration detainees. 

Why ending detention in prisons is significant for refugee claimants in BC

Canada’s immigration enforcement agency CBSA has the power to detain people for immigration reasons. Over decades, with only a very small immigration holding centre under the Vancouver International Airport, almost all immigration detainees were transferred to provincial jails where they were held for days, weeks, months, and in some cases years. 

For people arriving as asylum seekers looking for refugee protection, being detained in a prison built for criminals was extremely traumatizing. We heard often how, in their desperate need for safety, refugee claimants put in prisons felt as unsafe as they did in their home countries. 

Good news. The province of BC says it will not renew its contract with CBSA. Refugee claimants will no longer be put into a prison alongside Canadian criminals. 

This does not, however, mean the end of immigration detention. Canada Border Services Agency opened the new Immigration Holding Centre in Surrey, BC in 2020. This dedicated centre, while secure and prison-like, is only for immigration detainees.

Why do refugee claimants get detained?

Refugee claimants are detained if they raise suspicion in the mind of the CBSA officer that they pose security concerns, are a flight risk, and / or have not provided convincing documents as to their true identity. Learn more about why refugee claimants may be detained.

What’s Kinbrace’s connection to immigration detention in prisons?

Many refugee claimants who lived at Kinbrace since 1998 were detained on arrival or after arrival, and held at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (FRCC – men), Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, or the Burnaby Youth Custody Services Centre.

Their stories are very personal and painful, speaking to the humiliation, the violence, the fear, the confusion, and the injustice of being placed in criminal correctional institutions.

Perhaps the most significant one-time and extended use of prisons for immigration detention was for the 492 Tamil Sri Lankan refugee claimants who arrived on the MV Sun Sea on the BC coast in August 2010. All the passengers were initially detained, and then slowly released. Records indicate immigration detention in prisons was used as a means to punish and coerce those who had arrived on the ship, and to deter others from coming to seek asylum. Families – especially children and mothers – were separated from their husbands and fathers for many months. A few were detained in prison for years. The Kinbrace community walked closely with several of these families during this difficult time.

Kinbrace partnered with UNHCR Canada in 2016 to undertake detention monitoring. This monitoring included all immigration detainees, not just refugee claimants, and allowed access to the prisons mentioned above.

Marking the end of immigration detention in BC prisons

Kinbrace, in collaboration with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, hosted a by-invitation event on 18 November 2022 to mark the end of immigration detention in BC prisons and to celebrate the successes so far and ongoing push to end immigration detention. 

The photo above pictures some of the guests.

What’s next? #WelcomeToCanada

You can join the struggle to end immigration detention by sending your own petition. Go to https://www.hrw.org/welcometocanada.

A prayer to mark the end of immigration detention in BC prisons

Creator God – 

You are light.

You are love.

You are life.

Forgive us Canadians who, even with our best intentions and efforts, have failed till now to bring change to this practice of detaining refugee claimants in Canadian prisons. 

Forgive us for the ways – known and unknown – we are complicit in the power structures that make Canada an unwelcoming country.

May your light increasingly clarify what needs to change, and may we act in that light, to create a world of welcome.

Bless our sisters and brothers, who in their time of greatest need for refuge and safety, were instead put in a BC prison and suffered the fear, the cruelty, the indignity of imprisonment.

Free them, in ways meaningful and right to each of them, of their anger, their loss, their sorrow, their trauma.

May your love heal their minds and bodies of this injustice, and may they be free to welcome others.

We acknowledge with gratitude the people and institutions who, with creativity and tenacity, have pushed for and brought an end to immigration detention in prisons.

Thank you for

  • Human Rights Watch,
  • Amnesty International,
  • BC Civil Liberties Association,
  • Vancouver City Council, and
  • the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia.

And thank you especially for the courage for those with lived immigration detention experience who have raised their voices to bring change.

May your life continue to inspire – beyond imagination – a warm welcome with and for those arriving in Canada seeking refugee protection. 

Amen

– A prayer of the Kinbrace community 2022

My Refugee Claim – why this new resource matters for refugee claimants

October 11, 2022 by Loren Balisky

When Maria arrived in Canada seeking refugee protection from persecution in her country, she knew little about Canada’s refugee protection process or how to begin to make a refugee claim.

She knew she had temporary safety, but didn’t know who to ask or where to find good information on next steps. Traumatized by what happened in her home country and struggling to cope in Canada, Maria became increasingly desperate and isolated.

Eventually, she found someone who said they could help, but that relationship went terribly wrong for Maria. Tragically, she lost her claim for refugee protection and faced deportation back to her home country.

Unfortunately, this story is repeated for countless people desperate for safety, who fail to receive refugee protection because they didn’t get good information, didn’t get connected to the right supports, and/or were unprepared at critical points in the process.

My Refugee Claim seeks to change this.

My Refugee Claim is a new public legal education and information (PLEI) resource that is designed to inform, connect, and prepare each refugee claimant throughout their refugee claim journey.

With over 70,000 people projected to arrive in Canada in 2022 and seek refugee protection, there is urgent need to meet them with clear information.

My Refugee Claim is written with and for refugee claimants, utilizing in-print and online media to optimize discoverability and accessibility for refugee claimants.

The printable Orientation Booklet is a navigation tool, providing high-level guidance that helps refugee claimants locate themselves in the complex refugee protection process, and take important next steps to be prepared, connected, and informed. QR codes take users from the Orientation Booklet to MyRefugeeClaim.ca.

MyRefugeeClaim.ca is a comprehensive, user-friendly website providing in-depth, regionally relevant information on every stage of the refugee claim process. Warm illustrations and graphic design make the website approachable and engaging.

Visit www.myrefugeeclaim.ca to become familiar with Canada’s refugee protection process. Share My Refugee Claim with refugee claimants you know.
Layne Daggett holding cake, Sept 2013, retiring from the Ready Advisory Committee. Left to right: Andrew Kuipers, Fran Gallo, Jamie Spray, Loren Balisky, Layne Daggett, Alexandra Charlton, Andrea Armstrong, Lesley Stalker.

Layne Daggett’s legacy for refugee claimants – Ready Tours

September 18, 2022 by Loren Balisky

I first met Layne in 1999. My partner Tama and I had recently launched the Kinbrace community and I was looking for mentors. I’d heard about Layne, this Baptist pastor who had, by then, served as a decision-maker Member with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) for many years. I wanted to learn from someone who had such incredible experience. It would help Kinbrace better support refugee claimants.

As I got to know Layne, his concern and care for people seeking refugee protection became increasingly clear.

Prior to joining the IRB, Layne founded the Vancouver Airport Chaplaincy in 1982, and returned to work there for the rest of his career. He had an easy-going approachable way about him, and personally assisted hundreds of refugee claimants arriving at the airport over the years to get shelter. He told me stories of driving newly arrived refugee claimants to apartment buildings, walking up and down the halls knocking on doors of people he knew until someone would take the newcomer in.  Layne was too nice to say no to. He was also nonchalantly fearless.

In March 2008, I phoned Layne (who by then I’d recruited to Kinbrace’s Advisory Council) and asked if he might come and provide refugee claimants at Kinbrace an orientation to the refugee hearing process. Through the years, we saw refugee claimants struggling in the dark, not knowing what to expect at their refugee hearings. I thought Layne’s experience as a IRB Member would provide helpful insights for refugee claimants, so they could prepare better for their refugee hearings.

During that phone call, Layne said, “What refugee claimants really need is to get into a hearing room prior to their refugee hearings, so they can see the space, meet the staff of the IRB, and begin to learn about the refugee hearing process.

A shiver went up my spine.

Hanging up the phone with Layne, I immediately called Lesley Stalker, a remarkable refugee lawyer who had recently become the Legal Representative for the UNHCR in Vancouver. Lesley was that lawyer who gave extra time with each each of her refugee claimant clients, drawing pictures of the hearing room and carefully explaining who would be at the hearing and what would happen.

In her new UNHCR role, Lesley was well-positioned to reach out directly to the IRB, and she proposed Layne’s idea of bringing refugee claimants into the hearing room for orientation.

Just two months later, in May 2008, Layne, Lesley, and I accompanied 10 refugee claimants living at Kinbrace for what was to become the first Ready Tour for refugee claimants in Canada.

Month after month, the three of us would gather at the IRB hearing rooms at 300 West Georgia with refugee claimants. After the IRB staff made their presentation, Layne would talk about refugee hearings as a former Member, telling what things Members look and listen for. His pastoral heart and easy humour put refugee claimants at ease. Lesley helped participants understand important legal information.

Over the years, under the leadership of Jamie Spray and Fran Gallo, and in collaboration with the IRB staff and partner agencies across the country, Ready Tours grew and replicated across Canada, providing thousands of refugee claimants with critical pre-hearing support.

Sophia Underhill led Ready Tours through massive change during the COVID-19 pandemic, as everything turned virtual. Now, Masi Allahverdi is the Ready Tours Organizer. Thanks to the Law Foundation of BC (LFBC), Ready Tours are guaranteed for refugee claimants (see the focus on Ready Tours in the LFBC 2021 Annual Report, pp 8-9).

Layne passed away on 15 July 2022 after a long battle with cancer.

His warmth, care, passion for justice, and deep concern for the wellbeing of refugee claimants lives on in the Ready Tour program.

A Celebration of Life in Layne’s honour will be held on Saturday, October 1st at 1pm. You are invited to join family and friends at Kitsilano Community Church, 1708 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver BC.

The family have asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to support refugee claimants through Kinbrace. If you choose to donate, please dedicate your donation to Layne Daggett.

PHOTO BY JASON PAYNE /PNG

Ashki’s Story

June 10, 2022 by Loren Balisky

Ashki Shkur arrived in Canada in 2017, was student council president at Britannia Secondary School 2021-2022, and is now heading to UBC on a full $80,000 scholarship.

So proud of this young woman!

Thanks to you—if you are a Kinbrace supporter—Ashki not only lives safely in Canada, she is achieving her dreams.

Read her story in this Vancouver Sun article.

Read her story and watch the video in this CTV article.

She’s been on quite a journey so far, in her young life. What’s next?

In the photo above, Ashki, 12 years old at the time, was taken into custody by RCMP after walking across the U.S.-Canada border with her parents and sister in Surrey in 2017. (PHOTO BY BEN NELMS /Reuters)

Soon after crossing the border, Ashki and her family were welcomed with housing and wrap-around support in the Kinbrace community.

Donate now to support the next young person seeking refuge and protection. Intervene at this vulnerable moment so they can stabilize and thrive, like Ashki.

New Report – Changing the Way We Welcome Refugee Claimants

April 5, 2022 by Loren Balisky

Feeling the inadequacy and frustration of the humanitarian, charitable, and organizational approaches to welcoming refugee claimants, the Kinbrace community asked the question:

“What would a values-based, human-centred, and transformational welcome for and with people seeking refuge and protection in Canada look like?”

Thanks to donors’ ongoing support, the wisdom and guidance of a diverse research steering committee, the researching and reporting skills of Alexandra Dawley Consulting, and funding from the Vancouver Foundation and The Houssian Foundation, this new report – From Humanitarian to Human: Changing the Way We Welcome Refugee Claimants – is now available for you and for everyone wondering about about how to amplify dignity, belonging, and wellbeing for and with refugee claimants.

The research was conducted in a unique way: instead of asking about challenges refugee claimants faced, they were asked,

“In your journey as a refugee claimant, tell us about the ‘bright moments’ when you experienced dignity, belonging, and wellbeing…”

Creative processes (writing prose and poetry, making art – all captured in the report) were part of the telling and listening journey.

The voices of people with refugee claimant experience are distilled in 9 actionable recommendations. Some recommendations may resonate with you, affirming what you already know and do. Other recommendations may surprise and challenge you.

If we can collectively pursue these recommendations, we will indeed bring increased and much needed change with refugee claimants in Canada.

new safety pathway to Canada for Ukrainians bypasses refugee convention

March 23, 2022 by Loren Balisky

The harm inflicted on Ukraine by Russia is horrific. And it is deeply impacting Ukraine’s people who are fleeing for safety by the millions into neighbouring countries and beyond.

We need to do everything we can to help.

As we do, keep the following in mind, and take appropriate action.

Canada’s unprecedented offer to displaced Ukrainians requires our equitable action.

In response to the now more than 3 million Ukrainians who have fled their country into Poland, Romania, and other neighbouring countries, the Canadian government introduced the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel.

This special measure “offers Ukrainians and their family members free, extended temporary status and allows them to work, study and stay in Canada until it is safe for them to return home.”

As perfectly appropriate to the situation this is, it is an extraordinary, unprecedented offer by Canada to a population that is forcibly displaced.

I sincerely hope this is the way of the future – a timely, open-door response that fast-tracks people from forced displacement to safety with few barriers in between.

Until now, Canada’s refugee resettlement (Government Assisted and Privately Sponsored Refugees) programs have been used to provide a permanent home in Canada to over 73,000 Syrians since that war started in 2015.

The same mechanisms have been used to resettle about 9000 of the promised 40,000 Afghans since last summer.

For asylum seekers who get to Canada on their own initiative often at great cost and risk, they access Canada’s inland refugee determination system with its offer of refugee protection.

To date, prior to the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, forcibly displaced people found their path to safety in Canada through programs adhering to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Why, then, this unprecedented offer to Ukrainians that bypasses the refugee convention?

One rationale is based on the belief their stay will be temporary; Ukrainians will want to return home once the war is over.

While the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel is celebrated and already in use to offer Ukrainians safety, it also raises equity concerns.

Of the 48,014 people whose claims for refugee protection were finalized in Canada in 2021 by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 92% were non-white, non-caucasian. They were from Asia, South and Central America (and Mexico), Africa, and the Middle East.

At the end of 2021, 55,937 people were waiting for their refugee claims to be determined, 90+% of which are from non-white countries.

People currently in Canada’s refugee protection system – who have faced war and persecution like Ukrainians, who were once asylum seekers taking great risks to get to Canada’s safe borders, who have struggled through the complexity of being a refugee claimant with its uncertainty and waiting – are seeking to make sense of their story and situation in light of what is being offered Ukrainians.

Protected persons in Canada waiting to be reunited with their families from overseas, Afghans promised refuge in Canada yet still not here, and people in refugee camps waiting for their sponsorship applications to be finalized may also be seeking clarity.

Action you can take: for every displaced Ukrainian you can and should support – whether you are providing housing or giving financial assistance – give equal or more support to a refugee claimant currently in Canada’s refugee protection system.  Donate Now

use the right language – displaced Ukrainians, or Ukrainian refugees?

March 22, 2022 by Loren Balisky

The harm inflicted on Ukraine by Russia is horrific. And it is deeply impacting Ukraine’s people who are fleeing for safety by the millions into neighbouring countries and beyond.

We need to do everything we can to help.

As we do, keep the following in mind, and take appropriate action.

Ukrainians: are they refugees? – use language carefully

If you listen closely to media reports, and in general conversation, you’ll hear the word “refugee” being used to describe Ukrainians crossing their border into nearby countries.

Indeed, everything about their situation is accurate to the definition of a refugee: someone who has fled their country and fears returning because their life is in danger.

Two factors muddle the use of the word refugee:

  1. inconsistent application based on emotion and perception (the term “refugee” is exploitable)
  2. complex, technical, legal processes that are used to determine if someone fits the definition and merits refugee protection.

Under international refugee law, with its roots in 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), a person becomes a “Refugee” when either the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or the safe country they are in verifies their refugee status through an independent legal process. Getting “Convention Refugee” status is a powerful protection under international law.

A person may fit the definition of a refugee perfectly, but until they undergo the legal determination process and a decision is made, they don’t have refugee status and the rights that come with it.

The challenge with you and I determining refugee status is that we are fickle in our application of the term, often driven by our own emotions, which are often charged with deep biases and unconscious assumptions. At best, this can lead to a flood of goodwill and generosity. At worst: severe, unfair discrimination.

Perhaps one way to think of it is lowercase-r refugee and uppercase-R Refugee.

A person can be a refugee – having fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and having crossed an international border to find safety in another country. In this situation, this person is vulnerable to the gaze and prejudgements of those of us secure behind our borders and country identities.

This same person cannot become a Refugee – and get the protection and the rights that come with it – until they have gone through a legal determination process.

People who come to Canada believing themselves to be refugees and seeking safety are called “refugee claimants” as they pass through Canada’s legal refugee determination system.

It takes refugee claimants in Canada months, and sometimes years, to get Refugee status if they merit it. Convention Refugee or Protected Person is what they are called when their claim passes the legal test.  It is long journey, through a complex process.

For people who are seeking refugee protection, clarity of language is really important, both to set expectations, and to clarify legal protection rights. In Canada for example, a “refugee claimant” can’t leave the country (limited rights) but a Convention Refugee can get a special travel document (privileged rights) to travel internationally.

For our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, it is absolutely accurate to refer to them as refugees, but when we do, we should do so thoughtfully and carefully, remembering there are international laws pertaining to refugee protection, and that the use of the word refugee is vulnerable to exploitation.

Action you can take:

  1. be mindful of using the word “refugee” – use the term carefully, accurately, without exploiting it
  2. use “displaced Ukrainians” rather than “Ukrainian refugees” to be fair to other displaced people experiencing what Ukrainians are experiencing, but not being publicly perceived as refugees
  3. welcome and honour the dignity of everyone who is going through a displacement experience as though they are Refugees; advocate and support them, and do everything you can to ensure they access and engage a legal process that will fairly decide whether they merit refugee protection (don’t prejudge refugee status)
Mark Janousek

Ukrainian asylum seekers – how you can help at home

March 10, 2022 by Loren Balisky

How can you and I – when we are so far away – help those fleeing the war in Ukraine, seeking asylum in European countries?

The images and video footage of over 2 million Ukrainians crossing into Poland, Romania, and beyond these past two weeks are deeply troubling.

Personally, my eyes have welled up with tears many times watching the displacement unfold, young and old surviving a journey they never imagined they would be on, uncertain of where it is taking them. I feel their loss. I also feel anger. And I feel helpless.

I am half Ukrainian. Watching these distant unknown Ukrainian relatives on the move in search of safety casts a light on my ancestors’ undocumented journey over 100 years ago.

Since 1998, I’ve had the privilege to welcome hundreds of asylum seekers into the Kinbrace community. It is a liminal space, standing in the doorway of welcome, extending hospitality to a stranger whose story I don’t know, who is so at risk, so stressed.

Watching Ukrainian asylum seekers move west into Europe, I wonder: “Who is welcoming them? What doors are open to them?”

If the Kinbrace community was located in Europe, you and I would be on the front lines of their welcome.

Being in Canada, we may feel far away from the need.

That said, can I suggest we are not helpless?

Here are three suggestions for action, ways to show solidarity and ways to help in real-time.

The following actions build our own welcoming resilience in Canada. We become better equipped to help those crossing the Canadian border in need of protection. Asylum seekers arriving near you are as much in need of housing, a warm welcome, and refugee protection as are our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

1. You can strengthen your knowledge and explore opportunities to provide much-needed affordable housing for refugee claimants arriving in Canada. Learn more at the recorded Finding Home: Transformative Places Where Refugee Claimants Flourish virtual event hosted on Tuesday 15 March 2022 at 7:00 PM Pacific. My colleague Mohammed Zaqout and I were privileged to participate in this story-filled presentation hosted by BC’s Multi Agency Partnership. No matter where you live, this BC focused event has information that is applicable everywhere – even in Europe.

2. You can build the resilience and expand the capacity of asylum seeker welcoming communities in your region by donating financial gifts and volunteering your time. Forcibly displaced people struggle immensely to find safe and affordable housing on their journey to protection. Your steadfast and generous support of communities like Kinbrace – like every other refugee claimant welcoming community – means more desperate people are welcomed with wrap-around supports. If you haven’t supported Ukrainian asylum seekers in Europe, you can help others on your own doorstep through Kinbrace. Donate monthly to guarantee a 24-7 welcome. Donate one-time to show solidarity. Displaced Ukrainians will not be arriving as refugee claimants – learn more here.

3. You can further inspire your already-caring heart and imagination with ways to amplify the warmest welcome possible among asylum seekers by joining conversation with others. It is as much a journey of the heart as it is the head and hands. If you haven’t had a chance to read Anika Bauman’s new book (which is already in its second printing), you can read the free online book here or learn more and buy your hardcopy here. Becoming Neighbours – Five Values for a World of Welcome tells a story of transformation where refugee claimants and their hosts flourish together.

Loren Balisky

Neighbours like these…..

December 30, 2021 by Loren Balisky

A few weeks before Christmas holidays, the kids of Kinbrace faced a problem: the backboard on their well-used basketball hoop broke, leaving them to improvise a game that was more frustrating than fun.
Then, an unexpected email arrived from Mark, a neighbour of the Kinbrace community:
“I have noticed that the Kinbrace basketball net is broken – there’s no longer a backboard. It breaks my heart to see the kids still trying to use the net despite the lack of a backboard.

Our family would like to buy a new complete basketball system for the kids to play with. I was thinking I would assemble it and take it over for Christmas morning if you’re ok with that?”

For those seeking refuge in Canada, neighbours like these – attentive and hospitable – may be their single greatest gift.
Mark and Dyan, with their almost-three-year-old son Finn, are immediate neighbours. In fact, Finn’s bedroom window overlooks the backyards of the two adjacent Kinbrace properties in east Vancouver.
 
“Finn likes to look out the window in his room which looks down onto the Kinbrace courtyard as there’s always lots of activity going on with all the kids,” says his dad, Mark.
Day after day, year after year, Mark and Dyan generously toss back over the fence the various-sized balls that (despite best intentions) inevitably sail into their property from enthusiastic games of soccer or basketball next door.
A general surgeon, Mark credits team sports for helping shape who he is today.

“Any opportunity to help kids become interested in a sport is not an opportunity to be missed,” says Mark.

Mark and Dyan’s dad assembled and brought over the wonderful new basketball system on Christmas Eve, just as the snow began to fall.

It’s a gift generations of Kinbrace kids will be transformed by.

On this 5th day of Christmas, here is a shoutout to the numerous neighbours near and far who welcome people seeking refugee protection.

Loren Balisky

Your Pandemic FAQs Answered

July 23, 2020 by Loren Balisky

These are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about refugee claimants and the Kinbrace community amid the ongoing pandemic.  

The Canada-USA border is closed.  How is this affecting the number of people making claims for refugee protection in Canada?

The federal government closed the Canada-US border on 18 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This created a significant barrier for those questing  through the USA toward Canada for protection.  Each year the majority of people who make refugee claims in Canada arrive overland via the Canada-US border.  With the border closed, fewer people are making refugee claims.

Source:  canada.ca

Are lower numbers of refugee claimants affecting Kinbrace’s work?

No. The pandemic hyper-exposes those who are already vulnerable, meaning there’s more risk for refugee claimants.  Government processing systems have been upended and are re-ordering, resulting in refugee claimants seeking information and support.

How has my support helped refugee claimants so far through the pandemic?

Within the Kinbrace community in East Vancouver, there’s a profound “family” feel, a closeness and intimacy.  This may stem from the shared pandemic experience, staying put together, and receiving your critical and timely support.  This expressed experience of belonging and connectedness amid forced displacement is profound.  Your invisible presence makes the community safe, vibrant, and trusting in the midst of uncertainty.

The quest for permanent housing remains important among Kinbrace residents, even though it abruptly stopped mid-March with lockdown and resulting uncertainty.  Three families recently moved into permanent homes, solidifying their experience of settlement and wellbeing. Their move creates vacancy in the Kinbrace transitional housing community, providing openings for those refugee claimants abiding in shelters across Metro Vancouver.  It’s your steadfast solidarity amid their chaos of finding home that brings stability.

Thousands of refugee claimants in BC and across the country have been waiting for refugee hearings to resume. Your support is adapting READY Tours in collaboration with the Canadian government so that each person waiting for their refugee hearing can learn and prepare appropriately.  If you’re interested in more detail, visit www.refugeeclaim.ca

I heard Kinbrace’s Tuesday community dinners have started again. Can I come?

Regrettably, no. While your presence is valued, guests/volunteers/neighbours/former residents are currently asked to not attend Tuesday community dinners (which resumed in June) as per guidelines from the health authorities.  Until further notice, community dinners are only for those living in the houses; currently, two staff members attend per week – at a distance – to help with cooking, set up, and clean-up.