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Settlement support in a ‘safe space’ – how this non-profit empowers immigrants and refugees in Burnaby

MOSAIC’s Moving Ahead Program offers consistent, months-long support for refugees and immigrants who are facing multiple barriers to settling in Canada
Tigist Dubus, Manager of the MOSAIC’s Moving Ahead Program (right) and MOSAIC’s Moving Ahead Program- Case manager (right). Photo via MOSAIC

Non-profit settlement organization MOSAIC knows there are a near-endless amount of challenges that some immigrants and refugees face when moving to a new country. 

From language barriers, to housing and income issues, to an overall lack of social support, they know it’s a lot for anyone to take on alone. So, for more than a decade, MOSAIC’s Moving Ahead Program has ensured that folks don’t have to take on these challenges alone.

“Most of our clients suffer from isolation. Some of them are in deep depression because of the challenges they’ve faced in Canada, and some have post-traumatic stress from what they experienced before they came here, so it can be very hard for them to trust others, to trust the system or even trust other newcomers like themselves,” says Tigist Dubus, manager of the Moving Ahead Program. “Our program provides that safe space for them.”

Dedicated to supporting newcomers settling here in the Greater Vancouver area and more widely in B.C., MOSAIC – which stands for Multilingual Orientation Service Association for Immigrant Communities – offers life-changing services to immigrants, refugees and individuals from diverse backgrounds.

As part of their Moving Ahead Program, services include creating individualized support plans for their clients to help them keep track of their settlement processes. Staff also help newcomers gain access to the resources they need to settle into Canadian life.

“Each individual is unique, so there is no way that we will be using the same kind of support system for everybody who walks through our doors. Our case managers are very talented and they are always modifying our services based on their client’s needs. I think this approach also makes us at MOSAIC unique, as well,” says Dubus.

MOSAIC’s Moving Ahead Program offers workshops on life and leadership skills, as well as opportunities that allow their clients to explore their job and career options.

“Clients can attend educational workshops, yes, but these workshops are also an opportunity to socialize at the same time. From there, they can start building that trust – trust in the program, in other newcomers – and then they can start focusing on addressing the issues they’re facing,” explains Dubus

The program’s team of compassionate, hard-working case managers can also visit clients at their homes, to accompany them to various appointments, host workshops and provide referrals. The goal is to provide newcomers with an increased sense of belonging and be able to fully participate in Canadian society.

“This is a place to share your challenges and we’ll find a way to address what you’re struggling with,” says Dubus.

All registrants for MOSAIC’s Moving Ahead program are required to complete an assessment before joining, Program eligibility is based on funder requirements and those who are not eligible will be referred to other programs. 

For more information about MOSAIC’s Moving Ahead Program, please visit their website at You can also follow them on social media @MOSAICBC. Burnaby, MOSAIC and its multi-service centre can be found at Highgate Village Mall on Kingsway.



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