Newcomer accessibility program launches

October 24, 2022

An innovative new program at MOSAIC will enhance accessibility for immigrants, refugees and newcomers in the Lower Mainland. Named the Accessibility for Newcomers Program, it will connect newcomers with disabilities to employment and disability support services while working to create a local network of accessibility and settlement service providers.

Funded by the City of Vancouver and supporting the new Accessibility Strategy, the program offers one-on-one sessions and outreach support as well as language assistance and cultural interpretation that is necessary to participate in settlement and employment programs that are largely designed for local-born English speakers.

“It’s so important to have a program like this that is specifically designed for newcomers with disabilities so that services can be provided in a culturally appropriate manner,” said Sam Nikmanesh, MOSAIC’s Newcomers with Disabilities Referral Specialist.

Nikmanesh, who has lived experience with visual impairment, works with clients with disabilities to co-create ‘service connection plans’ to ensure necessary language and cultural support when accessing employment programs, informational workshops, legal clinics, and other disability services.

Another important aspect of the program is advocacy. The program will champion a unified network of Vancouver accessibility and settlement service providers, and aims to bring the intersection of disability and (re)settlement experiences to bear on all policy and partnership discussions—especially when implementing the City’s new Accessibility Strategy.

“We are working with local accessibility partners to strengthen and collaborate on advocacy efforts in order to provide the best possible support for newcomers with disabilities,” said Hugo Velazquez, Senior Manager of Community Engagement, Refugees and Migrant Workers Programs at MOSAIC.

Find out more about the program.