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25 Years of Learning, Working and Growing

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IWC Hamilton

on 11 September 2013

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Transcript of 25 Years of Learning, Working and Growing

1989: The community leaders
The newcomer community took over.

An Association of Refugee Claimants was created by the people themselves, for mutual support and assistance.

1991 : First sign of permanence
Immigrant Settlement Services (ISS) replaced the Association of Refugee Claimants and was incorporated.
We saw the need and took a chance to provide language instruction with childcare for women. The first application for funding was filed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton.

Two months later, ESL classes were offered funding by Employment and Immigration Canada. They were housed at the Welcome Inn Community Centre.

1988: The First Move
With a staff of 12, the St. Joseph Outreach Program
began to train the people needed to properly run the centre's programs and began to build the human resources infrastructure.

1990: Training begins
1992 : Strengthening of position.
ISS and St. Joseph Outreach Program merged to form St. Joseph Immigrant Women’s Centre (sjIWC).
1994: A governing body
The Centre received its first round of Human Resources and Development Canada funding, and established employment counseling services. The mission was clearly defined and board policies were put in place.
The Centre’s policy governance model was discussed and selected.
1993: Applying the learning
1995: New funding, new responsibilities
Funding from federal government increased. The accounting system shifted to support new responsibilities.
1997: A stronger foundation
The Centre's infrastructure became more solid with renewed funding from CIC. The LINC national curriculum was implemented in the English instruction program.
The Centre became unionized to include rules to protect worker’s rights
1998: Labour unrest
1996: A model for governance
A formal board of directors is now operating. A disciplined board takes the reins.
2000: Measuring outcomes
CIC introduced outcome measures to increase accountability. The centre implemented annual evaluations to measure its organizational performance.
Cuts in primary funding by 10%. In response, sjIWC increased priorities for fund development.
2001: Tough economic times
1999: And yet, we soar!
sjIWC was selected as a Transfer Agency by the Public Health Department of the City of Hamilton. The Family Home Visiting Program was delivered to immigrant mothers in their first language. The Centre was thriving. Employment Supports Services became an anchor of the centre.
2003: Learning labour trends
Orientation to the labour market for immigrant women yielded extraordinary results.
We continued our operations, with a staff of 30 talented individuals, meeting the challenge of continuing to do more with less
2004: Doing more with less
2002: Being inclusive and client-oriented
It was a year of courage. We launched The Women’s Press newspaper, amplifying the voices of women in the media. But we also lost our employment services by Employment Ontario and gain Job Search Workshops modern and unique in the City.
Many industrious immigrant women chose to work in healthcare for the sick and elderly, including internationally trained nurses and personal support workers. sjIWC was awarded with the biennial Ontario Trillium Foundation Great Grand Award for this outstanding work.
2005: An occupational shift.
2008: A defining move, towards tenure
The centre's programs no longer operate out of church basements. LINC classes on Wellington St. moved to a brand new space at 182 Rebecca St.
The true champions continued to be the women we served. Armed with dreams, programs participants and their accomplishments energized our days. It was from them where we felt utmost respect and admiration — and we still do.
2007: Rising stars
2009: Lost and found
It was a year of courage. We launched The Women’s Press newspaper, amplifying the voices of women in the media. But we also lost our employment services by Employment Ontario and gain Job Search Workshops modern and unique in the City.
The Sisters of St. Joseph believed that the Centre was ready to fly on its own. Bittersweet tears met new challenges.
2006: Taking off
2010: Creating the future
We bounced back, recovered and began building strong partnerships with local community agencies. We endure to brace for and survive financial challenges.
We took the bull by its horns and extended our settlement services to the entire city. With more than half a million residents, a quarter of the population is foreign-born.
2011: Challenge accepted!
Accountability is at the surface of every dollar and cent. We have managed to exceed the targeted numbers of people we serve and be fully accountable for fiscal funds.
2012: The mantra of the day
It was the last day of this school year, but June 28 was the happiest day in our recent history. Our students made great progress in English language and made plans to educate their children, while the instructors beamed with satisfaction.

With 90 staff members, 20 volunteers and a $3.5 million budget, we continue to invest in the future of Hamilton.
2013: Back to the future
25 years of learning, working and growing.
Full transcript