Immigrant Advisory Council

In addition to BIPT members, the work of this Local Immigration Partnership is supported by an Immigrant Advisory Council. The Council provides feedback on the BIPT and its work, shares and promotes promising practices and research, serves as a resource for community service providers and reaches out to ethno-specific communities to share committee information and encourage participation in its work.

The council is comprised of immigrants who live and/or work in Burnaby. Members are selected by the BIPT membership for two-year terms and represent a range of countries of origin, length of time in Canada, occupational backgrounds, age and gender. They also have experience, knowledge, abilities, or skills related to immigrant integration and are non-partisan.

The Advisory currently has eight members, representing eight countries of origin.

Description of Council structure

The Council has two co-chairs selected by the membership and its work is guided and supported by the BIPT’s Project Coordinators and the Executive Assistant. The Council meets every two months.

Click on the drop-down menu to read about our Immigrant Advisory Council.

Country of origin: Colombia

Length of time in Burnaby: 18 years

Languages spoken besides English: Spanish

Alba is a passionate Community Worker with an extended career always oriented to help others, especially the most vulnerable members of a Society. She started her career in Colombia, her native land, as a Psychologist helping young women in the marginal districts in the second largest city of the country.

As a skilled immigrant herself, she understood the toughness of this experience and she is committed to overcome the barriers faced by immigrant families going the extra mile with a sustained effort and dedication towards family wellbeing. Her personal experience, added to her genuine passion to build healthy family environments, allowed her to work in Canada facilitating parenting groups, training immigrant women and coordinating family programs.

Country of origin: Jordan

Length of time in Burnaby: 12 years

Languages spoken besides English: Arabic

I am a trained lawyer with a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Jordan. I immigrated to Burnaby with my family in 2006. I have experience in customer service and social work. I currently work as a community-based victim support worker, through which I support racialized families and women.

I am passionate about developing resources that combat violence against women. I have strong communication skills and enjoy working with a diversity of people.

Country of origin: China

Length of time in Burnaby: 5.5 Years

Languages spoken besides English: Cantonese, Mandarin

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to continue to be an active member of the Immigrant Advisory Council for BIPT since I joined the committee in late 2014.

As a new immigrant landing in Canada in mid-2014, I have settled down in Burnaby and started a new journey with my family in this beautiful city that we call home ever since. Similar to other new immigrants, there were no short of challenges living in a new country, but I have made huge accomplishments in my life thanks to my endeavors and other people’s very kind help. Not only have I changed career and advanced in the supply chain industry, but I have also obtained my first professional certification as CPIM after completing supply chain and project management courses at BCIT. In the meantime, I am blessed to be a father of two lovely children, both of who were born in Burnaby.

Having benefited a lot from this wonderful city, I have been giving back to the local community as a committee member, mentor and volunteer. I will continue to do so to make Burnaby a better place for immigrants and local people. I am proud to have contributed to Burnaby’s success today, and I am looking forward to being a part of Burnaby’s future success.

Country of origin: Madrid (Spain)

Length of time in Burnaby: 5 years

Languages spoken besides English: English, Spanish, French and some Italian

I was born and raised in Madrid (Spain). Since I was a child, I had an inner desire to travel and know about different cultures. After getting my Tourism degree, I had the opportunity to live and work overseas. I lived in 3 continents and 5 beautiful countries. In each of them, I learnt to communicate, integrate and create solid relationships with the culture and the people of each nation. During these travels, I was able to also develop resilience, inner strength and empathy.

I came back to Canada for a second time 5 years ago and settled down in North Burnaby.

I have learnt to know and love the community.

I am eager to have the opportunity to help and share experiences with new immigrants, so they can realize that they are not alone in this adventure, and there is a great and healthy community that can make their transition easier.

Country of origin: Uganda

Length of time in Burnaby: 6 months

Languages spoken besides English: luganda

It was an honour for me to be appointed as a member of the Immigrant Advisory Council for BIPT which I joined in July.

As a new immigrant landing in Canada in June 2019, I am starting a new life in Vancouver, a new journey in this beautiful city. Similar to other immigrants, there are a lot of challenges living in a new country all by myself and in this short time I have made huge accomplishments. I have managed to get a job at the aboriginal shelter were I have helped and encouraged many people in this short time thanks to all the help and encouragement I have been getting from my church and new friends.

Having benefited a lot from this wonderful country and city, I have been giving back to the local community as a committee member, mentor and volunteer and I will continue to do so to make this city a better place for immigrants.

Country of origin: Egypt

Length of time in Burnaby: 15 years

Languages spoken besides English: Arabic and basic French and German

I’ve been living in Burnaby for almost fifteen years and since I came here I started participating in local cultural and community events with my family. Living and working in Burnaby for so many years I became aware of the challenges and opportunities related to diversity and integration. I would like to be engaged in the community and be able to foster local engagement of organizations that offer services to newcomers, support community-level research and planning and improve coordination of services that help immigrants settle and integrate. I sincerely wish to help address the challenges faced by immigrants to create a united community in Burnaby.

Country of origin: Mexico

Length of time in Burnaby: 4 years

Languages spoken besides English: Spanish and conversational French

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Education from the Jesuit University in Mexico. I have worked as a professor of religious and social education. I also specialize in event planning, fundraising and implementing educational programs and social services for seniors, single mothers, and children with disabilities and cancer.

Since arriving in Burnaby, I have participated in four civic engagement projects. Two of the projects involved providing immigrant women makeovers to aid in boosting their self-confidence and prepare them for job interviews. The third involved facilitating an arts engagement event for community members. The recently one a photo exhibit “Burnaby through the eyes of Immigrants and Refugees”.

My vision for the City of Burnaby is to build a multicultural community where we can learn from the wealth of different cultures and build a healthy community for children and families.

Country of origin: Colombia

Length of time in Burnaby: 16 years

Languages spoken besides English: Spanish

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Master in Business Administration. Life brings different paths for us, I accepted to have a family which has been my priority than my career. There are no regrets for this amazing choice because overall family is the most important one. I have been participating in many local activities with my family. We love this green city of Burnaby which offers diverse geography places to enjoy all year round, mountains, lakes, many parks and a beach.

I can understand all the challenges that we face when we come to a new country, stress, disappointments, isolation, and depression. We left everything behind our family; our friends and our country to start a new life .You are not alone as we have many immigrant supporting programs right here at our neighbourhood in Burnaby.

I decided to give back to Canada and help many immigrants to start with the right foot and succeed in all areas of their lives.

Country of origin: Afghanistan

Length of time in Canada: 3 years

Languages spoken besides English: Dari (=Farsi)

Sossan  was born in Kabul-Afghanistan. Back home, She saw women’s situations improved, and thus I worked in various institutions advocating for women and human rights. She a Bachelor degree in Law and Political Science from the Kabul University. Once graduated, she worked with the government and NGOs.

Sossan came to Canada by the end of 2016 with her husband and her son. Since her arrival she has volunteered with various organizations working with newcomers and immigrants with ISS of B.C. and now works with the Umbrella Coop as Farsi/Dari interpreter.

She has lived in Burnaby and New Westminster.  She found these cities to be lovely places with diverse population and beautiful places to visit.

She loves Working for a better community where our sons and daughters can appreciate a peace of mind and where inclusion is seen as our strength.  This is her objective for this journey.

Country of origin: Iraq

Length of time in Canada: 3 years

Languages spoken besides English:

Country of origin: Taiwan

Length of time in Burnaby: 15 years

Languages spoken besides English: Mandarin, Taiwanese

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Taiwan, a Diploma in Hotel Management from Switzerland, and an MBA from the University of Victoria.

For the past eight years I have worked for TELUS Communications in both marketing and customer solutions and currently lead a team of customer service representatives in the Burnaby call centre. Prior to this, I was the director of sales and marketing at a five-star hotel in Taipei.

Canada is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms touched me deeply when I first considered immigrating, due to the inclusiveness of all peoples who call Canada home.

I chose Burnaby as my home, as it is centrally located within Metro Vancouver, with easy access to neighbouring cities.

Burnaby is a very welcoming and inclusive community for everyone to live in. My vision for the city is that it is inclusive for all, not only immigrants and refugees.

Country of origin: Eritrea/ Ethiopia/Sudan

Length of time in Burnaby: 9 years

Languages spoken besides English: Arabic; Amharic; and Tigrigna

I have completed University Transfer Courses of Social Sciences and Psychology. I have a working background in Settlement; Interpretation and Translation.

Currently, I am working as a Settlement Worker with ISSofBC. It is very rewarding working in a settlement Sector helping immigrants and refugees settle in Canada.

I worked as a Settlement Worker; Case Worker; Interpreter and Translator for different national and International humanitarian organizations such as ISSofBC; Mosaic; and UNHCR.

I lived in Burnaby since I came to Canada, 9 years ago. I came to Canada through government assisted refugee program and I lived in Burnaby and I and my family have been helped by almost all the charity organizations in Burnaby to settle in Burnaby. I enjoyed living in Burnaby because Burnaby is ethnically diverse; multicultural; inclusive for all; centrally located within Metro Vancouver; easy access to neighbouring cities.

My vision to the residents of Burnaby especially immigrants and refugees is to do all my best in addressing the barriers for settlement and integration and with collaboration with the Council members of the BIPT to find the solutions as much as we can.

Country of origin: Afghanistan    

Length of time in Burnaby: 4 years

Languages spoken besides English: Dari, Farsi

I am very privileged to join the Immigrant Advisory Council-BIPT and work with this devoted team to keep Burnaby a welcoming, connected, safe, attractive, affordable, accessible, green, and strong city for those who are new residents and those who grew up in Burnaby.

I came to Canada with my family in fall 2015. Our journey in Burnaby coincided with tree blossoms in spring 2016 and we had been living in this beautiful city sense then. Although, reestablishing in a new country is very troublesome, but with the help of many good people and our hard work we could overcome many challenges and are gradually feeling home. Along with our four children, my wife and I continue to learn new language and our new wonderful diverse multiculture. We think Burnaby is very unique and is very interesting city and there are many things to learn and enjoy because Burnaby is like a small but peaceful world where people from almost all around the world live together in harmony and in peace. From the very beginning, we realized that although Burnaby is very diverse, but is very inclusive and we felt part of the community. We always appreciate the hard work of the many people who work behind the scene to make sure every community member is connected and make the life a little easier for those who otherwise overburden by the challenges.

I am very passionate about our community and I brought years of health care and lived experience and since my arrival, I been involved with multiple volunteer roles. Although, I am not practicing my profession as a medical doctor, I am very happy that I can use my education, my experience, and my passion to serve our community through a range of different services including settlement, health promotion, advocacy, and networking. I joined MOSAIC as a full time employee on July 2018 and currently I am working in the Health Promotion Coordinator role.

I believe we should not take all of these blessings for granted, and we need to acknowledge and appreciate by giving back to our community and by taking care of our mother nature.