Manager, Program Development and Promotion, Immigration Programs Branch (BC Provincial Nominee Program)
Aireen Luney is the Manager, Program Development and Promotion in the Immigration Programs Branch. She leads the strategic planning, operational policy and program development for the BC PNP. Her portfolio also includes managing the marketing & outreach and engaging with stakeholders.
Senior Program Advisor, Immigrant Integration Unit
Immigration Policy and Integration Branch
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Alex has worked in the immigration/settlement sectors for over 10 years. He worked with direct and indirect settlement service providers for six years before joining the BC Public Service. Working first with the BC Provincial Nominee Program, Alex now manages the BC Settlement & Integration Services (BCSIS) program.
Resilience BC Communications and Outreach Manager, VIRCS
Avigail Olarte is the Communications and Outreach Manager of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network under the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS). Her career in journalism, as an editor/writer for non-profit media in the Philippines and Southeast Asia spans 18 years. In this period she reported on issues confronting racialized and marginalized communities.
Manager, Resilience BC
Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Branch
Ministry of Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing
Baljinder is a Manager with the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Branch for the BC Government. She holds responsibility for the Resilience BC Anti-Racism program and anti-racism public education programming. She’s worked in the public sector for almost 20 years, developing and delivering programs that challenge racism, promote multiculturalism and address historical wrongs.
Executive Director, Immigration Policy and Integration Branch,
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Carling has been in the BC Public Service for over 13 years. She has worked in the area of immigration for the past 6 years and has been the Executive Director since 2018. Carling’s background is in health and social policy and she has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Victoria.
Director, Labour Market Forecasting, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training,
Government of British Columbia
Chris and his team tracks future changes in labour market supply and demand contained in the annual B.C. Labour Market Outlook. He started this role in 2015 and was previously Director of Economic Development at the Toronto Region Board of Trade and Vice President of Global Economic Consulting at IHS.
Resilience BC Program Manager, VIRCS
Jane Hurtig is the Program Manager for Multicultural and Anti-Racism Programming at the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) where she leads the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network Hub. Before joining VIRCS in 2018, Jane was providing public engagement and research services to the Province of BC. Her long career in citizen engagement includes nine years working for the National Democratic Institute in Haiti, Mauritania, Morocco and Iraq, five years managing a volunteer program at a Victoria healthcare facility and over a decade of community organizing.
Director, Strategic Policy and Planning – Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
Juanita Jara is the Director of Strategic Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions (MMHA). Prior to joining MMHA in 2017, Juanita worked with several cross-ministry initiatives in the area of Policy and Project Management. Juanita’s portfolio includes Peer Support, Situation Tables and Service Providers for People in Crisis.
Chief Executive Officer, AMSSA
Katie Crocker is the Chief Executive Officer of AMSSA, a British Columbia provincial umbrella association that strengthens over 80 member agencies as well as hundreds of community stakeholder agencies who serve immigrants and newcomers. Katie represents the BC Settlement Sector on the National Settlement and Integration Council and is the Board Secretary for the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance (CISSA-ACSEI), the national body for settlement associations. Katie is also on the Executive Committee of the newly appointed UBC Centre for Migration Studies. Along with her background in not-for-profit management and her knowledge of the settlement and integration sector, Katie brings an expertise in children, family, and women’s issues
Since joining AMSSA in 2014, she has worked with the Federal and Provincial governments to grow AMSSA’s technological expertise to provide online and e-learning opportunities for service providers throughout BC as well as on a national level. Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Business Administration.
A/Director, Social Sector Partnerships and Planning – Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
Kelly Czmielewski is the Acting Director, Social Sector Partnerships and Planning for the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. Prior to joining the BC Public Service in 2008, Kelly worked with victims of crime, provided youth and family counselling in alternative schools and worked as an outreach counsellor for children, youth and families. Kelly has worked in the Ministry of Children and Family Development as a Child and Youth Mental Health Clinician, Practice Consultant as well as in policy. Kelly’s diverse experience from front line to policy and practice provides her with a unique perspective on mental health and addictions.
Director, Immigrant Integration,
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Lily brings over a decade of experience in the field of immigration to her role as Director of Immigration Integration, where she oversees the Province’s settlement service delivery for newcomers. Lily holds a BA from UBC and a MSW from the University of Toronto.
Lisa Herrera has an MA in Educational Administration from UBC and is a regular presenter at conferences. She taught in LINC/ELSA for 15 years and has been Lead Instructional Coordinator for ISSofBC LINC since 2008. Lisa is also a CLB Lead Trainer and PBLA Regional Coach, training Lead Teachers and classroom teachers online.
Director, Thrive Training & Coaching
Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is the Director of Thrive Training & Coaching. Over the past 25 years, she has worked with thousands of helpers, healers, change agents and leaders in the areas of stress management, self-care, burnout prevention, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, resiliency and work-life balance. http://lyndamonk.com
Coordinator, Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre,
Vancouver Public Library
Mark oversees Vancouver Public Library’s Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre, a free online and in-person resource hub that helps newcomers to Canada explore careers, find a job or start a business. As a librarian, Mark loves to discover and share information. He’s passionate about building vibrant community relationships and helping newcomers achieve meaningful employment in Canada.
Registered Clinical Counsellor,
Mona Hassannia is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with Nia Counselling providing therapy, debriefings and workshops to individuals and organizations. She has over 15 years of front-line and management experiences in the BC settlement sector.
Director, Labour Market Information and Immigration Analysis, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training,
Government of British Columbia
Naomi has been leading labour market and immigration information and insights since 2015, after joining the BC Government to advance economic priorities in 2008. She has taught at the University of Victoria as a limited-term professor and holds a doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre
Norm Leech, Executive Director of the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, and a well-known speaker, facilitator, and storyteller, will engage IRCC funded Service Providers to talk about the experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Norm has been the Executive Director for the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre (VACPC) since May 2016. He is trained in facilitation with the Canadian Human Rights Foundation (now Equitas) and with St’at’imc Restorative Justice in Lillooet. Norm was the Facilitation Specialist with the National Centre for First Nations Governance and worked with communities across Canada to develop Indigenous governance models and constitutions. For the VACPC, Norm facilitates the cultural sessions for Police Academy and Sheriffs Academy at the Justice Institute. He has been teaching Indigenous Tools For Living (ITFL) across Canada and online. ITFL is based upon Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy.
Outreach Officer, Immigration,
Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Sarah Finall is an Outreach officer with the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada since 2018. Sarah joined the government of Canada in 1998 with the formerly named department of Citizenship and Immigration. In 2006, Sarah joined IRCC’s foreign service and has served in India, Ukraine and Italy and most recently as Migration Program Manager in Peru.
North Vancouver City Library
Shideh Taleban is the Community Librarian at the North Vancouver City Library. As a non-ALA accredited librarian who moved to Canada in 2009, Shideh had to re-do her education here. Going forward, she gained a wide range of experiences in academic, special and public libraries. As an immigrant herself, she is aiming to use her current position to help those in need.
BC Provincial Nominee Program
Trina McKinlay is a Policy Analyst for the BC Provincial Nominee Program. She has worked on issues that affect new immigrants for over a decade. Her experience includes community & university-based research projects, not-for-profit organizations and government. She completed a BA and MA in Social Anthropology from Concordia University.
Cpl Vinh Ngo
Corporal NGO is a member of the RCMP’s Federal Policing Prevention and Engagement unit in British Columbia. He is working to realize the unit’s objectives by engaging partners and bringing awareness on financial crime to communities across the Province.
Director, Innovations, Research and Advocacy
Mothers Matter Centre
Yusra Qadir leads the Innovations and Advocacy portfolio at Mothers Matters Centre. She is a sociologist and human rights practitioner. She has led policy work to mainstream vulnerable groups (refugees, displaced communities, minorities, women, youth, children) in governance processes through meaningful inclusion, and worked on sensitive issues including working at the ground level in emergency and conflict settings. Yusra has worked with various international development organizations and the United Nations on programs driving long-term sustainable development efforts in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and Europe.
Assistant Director, Asylum Program Division – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Zelo Soyalp is an Assistant Director within the Asylum Program Division in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in Headquarters. Zelo held various positions related to refugees and humanitarian migration programs within the Government of Canada, including in Canada’s historic Operation Syrian Refugee and most recently in the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, that aims to establish refugee sponsorship programs around the world. Prior to joining the government, Zelo spent several years in the humanitarian sector, notably with the Red Cross in capacity building programs and monitoring of immigration detention facilities. Zelo lives with her husband and her daughter in Ottawa.