Working Together For Refugee Claimants

MAP is an organization like no other.

It is a collaboration between over 40 Government, non-Government and not-for-profit agencies in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley that work with and for refugee claimants.

We are ground-breaking in our approach to find solutions and partnerships to help refugee claimants to navigate the challenges of legal process, housing, employment and ultimately successful integration into their communities in British Columbia.

We are politically neutral as a partnership and are funding through grants from VanCity and the Department for Jobs, Training and Technology.

MAP has one paid member of staff – our Executive Coordinator – and all other offices are held voluntarily by members following an election among the full membership.

To reach the MAP Executive Coordinator please see the contact page.

A Collaborative Partnership

The mission of MAP is to work collaboratively to identify barriers and provide solutions to promote the protection and well-being of refugee claimants and service providers, by facilitating networking and information sharing.

MAP strives to ensure that refugee claimants and service providers benefit from:

  • Accurate, timely information and referrals
  • Access to settlement assistance, housing, legal advice, healthcare, and other social services
  • Early identification of issues and trends that affect refugee claimants; and
  • Development of efficient, collective solutions and responses through the collaborative work of service providers

Our core values

The values of humanity, integrity, neutrality, impartiality and respect have been fundamental to the success, credibility and effectiveness of MAP.

Our Approach

MAP’s approach isn’t to duplicate the work of our partner agencies, rather it’s about finding solutions in a collaborative way to the challenges that refugee claimants face when they come to BC. We’re all about finding innovative ways forward, sharing information and troubleshooting difficult issues.

MAP also provides a forum for its members and attendees to learn from peers and experts in the field. We regularly update ourselves with speakers from partner agencies, overseas agencies who work in different ways to us, and Government policy makers.

Monthly Meetings

MAP meets everything month as a whole group. Our agenda covers all kinds of issues related to refugee claimants – as well as agency updates and information sharing. Outside of meetings we share information that is important for service and housing providers, as well as work with all levels of Government (Municipal, Provincial and Federal) to find creative and innovative solutions to some of the challenges and issues of processing and settling refugee claimants.

Statistics and trends

Our members work with asylum seekers on their whole journey of refugee claimants – from the moment they land in Canada, through the legal and appeals process, to their path to permanent residency. We monitor statistics and trends, as well as work to prepare for any sudden increase in the number of people seeking asylum in Canada.

Working Groups

There are currently two working groups formed by MAP members. These are the Housing Working Group and the Information Working Group.

The partnership that MAP has formed is ground breaking in its approach in Canada and has already seen much success in solving some of the issues that refugee claimants face. You can find out more in the Impact section of this website.

We are a diverse group of organizations, but we’re united in our approach to problem solving and creating innovation in our work.

For a detailed list of our partners, please click here to visit our partners page. 

Saleem Spindari

Saleem has a passion for social justice and strives to support those in need. Saleem has been active in advocating for refugees, immigrants, migrant workers and other marginalized groups. Saleem has presented and continues to present on refugee and migrant worker issues at conferences and forums and addressed the Senate’s Committee on Human Rights about the resettlement of refugees.

Saleem is the recipient of the Service Recognition Staff Award from AMSSA. Saleem is a member of the Canadian Council for Refugees’ Executive Committee and he is also the co-chair of the Multi-Agency Partnership (MAP), a partnership of representatives of more than 40 refugee claimant-serving organizations in BC. Saleem holds a BA in English from the University of Mosul, Iraq.

Mariana Martinez Vieyra

Mariana Martinez Vieyra is a graduate of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and the UBC Counseling Psychology Masters Program. She has twenty-five (25) years of experience working with survivors of political violence and torture both in Canada and in Latin America. Raised and educated during the Argentinean dictatorship Mariana learnt to recognize the impact that torture has on individuals, relationships and families, thus becoming very aware of the crucial role that community-building and social justice play in the healing process.

Not surprisingly, when she moved to Vancouver 13 years ago she joined The Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST). Mariana sees her work as a trauma counsellor as a way to raise her voice against torture, resist social injustice and fight for clients’ Human Rights as well as psychosocial well-being.

For the last 13 years at VAST Mariana has provided trauma counselling to refugees both individually and in groups. She was VAST ‘s Group Therapy Program Coordinator and Clinical Supervisor. In December of 2015 when the Province of British Columbia launched the Refugee Readiness Project Mariana was appointed BC’s Provincial Refugee Mental Health Coordinator. Mariana is also part of MOSAIC’s I Belong Program for LGBTQ+ Newcomers to Canada and has a trauma-informed private practice in downtown Vancouver.

Richard Belcham

 Richard Belcham works with Inasmuch Community Society in Abbotsford. Inasmuch provides transition housing, settlement services and customized employment support for refugee claimants in the Fraser Valley. He is a passionate advocate for refugee claimants and loves to remove barriers to service access, giving them the very best start to their new lives in Canada.

Prior to working for Inasmuch he was Employee Experience Manager at a large manufacturing company in the Fraser Valley. He has an extensive background in HR, corporate communications and marketing. Originally from the UK, Richard immigrated to Canada in 2011 and has been a resident of the Fraser Valley ever since. 

Newly formed in 2018, MAP Fraser Valley takes the unique approach of MAP in Metro Vancouver and extends its reach east, from Langley to Hope, incorporating the urban centres of Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack.

Visit the MAP FV page here: MAP FV