Who We Are
Settlement Orientation Services (SOS) is a community-based organization that supports refugee claimants in navigating Canada’s refugee determination process. We provide first language settlement services for refugee claimants in BC as well as health promotion and case management services for refugee claimants, refugees and recent immigrants living with HIV.
Empowering refugees to reach their full potential and build a new future in B.C.
We envision a society that celebrates diversity and that welcomes and empowers refugees regardless of their legal status while providing them opportunities to actively participate in society.
- Integrity: We are guided by the principles of accountability, transparency and honesty in our work and in our relationships with those we serve, our funders, community partners and the public.
- Quality: We work to deliver innovative, timely and professional services that are grounded in a deep commitment to creating the best possible outcomes for refugees and for our community.
- Respect: We value service delivery that is grounded in mutual respect, diversity and inclusion. We are dedicated to creating a welcoming and safe space for refugees and their families.
- Commitment: We are guided by the fundamental commitment to act in the best interest of those we serve and to provide them with the tools they need to successfully navigate Canada’s refugee protection process.
- Community: We value being part of a passionate service community that is dedicated to empowering refugees and we believe in working collaboratively with community partners to best serve refugees and their families.
Settlement Orientation Services (SOS) is a partnership organization anchored in the community. The organization was formed in 1993 as a service hub in response to an increasing number of refugee claimants arriving in Vancouver from South America. Community consultations identified service gaps for refugee claimants in BC, especially in regard to first language support. SOS was created at the request of 50 community partners and representatives to provide services for refugee claimants in Vancouver. In partnership with the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society, Ray Cam Community Cooperative Association, Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC) and MOSAIC who deployed staff to SOS, as well as with support from the Vancouver Foundation and the City of Vancouver, SOS opened in 1993 as a service hub for refugee claimants.
Over time and with the evolving needs of the community, the partner and sponsoring organizations of SOS changed. In the coming years, the Vancouver Association of Chinese Canadians, Strathcona Community Centre Association and the Network of Inner City Community Services Society (NICCSS) came on board to support the work of SOS to serve refugee claimants. Currently, SOS has transitioned as a program of ISSofBC, its longest standing sponsoring agency. SOS’s programs are funded through the long standing support of the City of Vancouver as well as the Province of BC and Vancouver Coastal Health.
Over its 21 year history, SOS has continuously expanded its first language services in response to growing numbers of refugee claimants arriving from all parts of the world. With over two decades of experience in working with refugee claimants, SOS has built up considerable expertise and has established itself as a hub for information and referrals for refugee resources in BC.
Currently SOS serves over 1000 refugees and refugee claimants a year and offers services in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Farsi, Dari, French and English.