Money spent on refugees a hot topic at upcoming Kelowna immigration symposium | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Money spent on refugees a hot topic at upcoming Kelowna immigration symposium

Syrian refugees wait at the port of Lesbos island, Greece, to board a ferry travelling to Athens, on Monday, Sept. 7, 2015.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Petros Giannakouris
September 23, 2015 - 9:00 PM

KELOWNA – The effects of immigration on the Okanagan will be a topic of discussion at an upcoming two-day symposium at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan this weekend.

The Immigration Symposium is a series of in-depth discussions about the impacts various Canadian policies have on immigrants, refugees and temporary foreign workers. It takes place Friday night, Sept. 25 in the Lecture Theatre at Okanagan College and all day Saturday, Sept. 26 in the UNC 200 Ballroom at UBC Okanagan.

The symposium comes at a controversial time, as a local collection of churches recently spent more than $60,000 to bring a family of five to Kelowna from Syria. For 30 years the Central Okanagan Refugee Committee have rescued families and individuals from countries afflicted with famine, wars and disease. Although the family is adapting well to their new lives, some have commented that the money would have been better spent addressing local issues.

The symposium starts on Friday and goes from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. with a Keynote address about immigration in the Okanagan from a Syilx First Nation perspective.

“We have identified two key areas of concern, and will look at these through multiple lenses, beginning with Indigenous perspective,” says the UBC Okanagan website for the event.

The site also says the talks will touch on difficulties faced by community groups like the Central Okanagan Refugee Committee, and how the current system can be adapted to have more positive outcomes for communities across the valley. The consequences of immigration policies and the effect they have on groups like temporary foreign workers will also be discussed.

The majority of the speakers, which include representatives from the colleges, the Catholic Archdiocese of Nelson, recent immigrants, community activists and others, will be at UBCO on Saturday. The Saturday symposium runs from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and includes a lunch break, chances to talk with those affected by immigration policies and panels of experts as well as a photo gallery by Shirley Chau, who will share her series Becoming and Being Canadian: A glimpse from recent immigrants in Kelowna, BC. 

For more information or to register for free visit this website.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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