Victoria’s restructuring plans threaten employment services to immigrants

A complete restructuring of BC’s employment service centres now being imposed by Victoria could have a devastating impact on Vancouver residents, according to the leaders of the city’s immigrant service agencies.

But these agencies are reluctant to speak out because of an apparent gag order from Victoria.

I summarized the impact these changes could have in this column for Philippine News Today.

Anyone seeking a job — a recent immigrant, a person with disabilities or someone on income assistance — will be impacted by the proposed program, which would see Vancouver’s employment centres cut to seven from 18.

Province-wide, Victoria hopes to cut the number of agencies offering employment assistance to 73 from 400, a change that is sure to reduce access and quality of service.

Mayor Gregor Robertson has already intervened to seek a delay in implementation of the new system. Current service providers have until Jan. 7 to express interest in working under the new regime.

But with many service agencies expressing grave doubts about the new program’s delivery model and funding formula, more public pressure will be required, gag order or not.