Social Innovation and System Change
We recognize that immigrant and refugee women are the experts of their own lived experiences, and we aim to provide the platform to uplift their voices and expertise to affect the systems and policies that impact their lives. Together, we implement advocacy and social innovation projects to influence decision-making and address gender equity issues.
Our current social innovation and system change projects include:
Youth Advisory Committee
PIRS Youth Advisory Committee is a leadership committee of young newcomer women aiming to understand and reduce barriers to higher education for newcomer youth. This project is funded by the Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) Fund through the UBC Community Engagement office.
Building a Childcare System that Works for Immigrant and Refugee Women
The Building a Childcare System that Works for Immigrant and Refugee Women project is a 2.5-year PIRS initiative funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada. It supports a feminist response and recovery from the current impacts of COVID-19 through systemic change in the childcare sector.
Immigrant Women Advisory Committee (IWAC)
The Immigrant Women Advisory Committee (IWAC) is a platform that takes small but meaningful actions to close service gaps and break down barriers for immigrant and refugee women to thrive in Canada.
“It’s a place [where] I can learn and contribute with like-minded people – a great opportunity!”
– IWAC member
Food Security Research Project
The Food Security Research Project is a partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) to research local food access among newcomers to Canada in the Metro Vancouver area in 2021. As a result of this project, we developed the Food Skills For Families program.
In 2022 we launched the Immigrant Women Food Policy Group to engage in further discussion and knowledge mobilization for policy change around this important issue.
Substitute Child Care Staffing Solutions Research Study
The Substitute Child Care Staffing Solutions Research Study is a comprehensive study of the need for and potential impact of a centralized substitute child care staffing service funded by the City of Vancouver in 2021.This research continues to be timely due to expansion of childcare services to accommodate the $10aDay Child CareBC program. The province is now facing critical workforce shortages.
PIRS collaborated with Dianne Wilmann and Associates on a qualitative, action research study. The goal was to understand:
- how tensions within the broader childcare system play out in the realm of substitute childcare
- the implications for immigrant and refugee women, who make up one third of the overall childcare workforce.
Mobile Child Care Project
The Mobile Child Care Project (also known as Pop-up Child Care) is a social service delivery that aims to improve the accessibility of childcare in Metro Vancouver. We do this by developing innovative solutions to help address gaps in the childcare system, while also providing equitable employment for immigrant women.
The project operates supervised, play-based child care in settlement agencies and provides substitute staff to licensed child care centres. While being connected and exposed to a variety of early learning environments, our childcare staff receive continuous training, mentorship, and support making their careers in the early learning and childcare industry more rewarding.