HAVE YOUR SAY: Help Make Victoria a More Welcoming City

The City of Victoria is creating a Welcoming City Strategy that will serve as a roadmap to guide Victoria towards becoming a stronger, more inclusive community where everyone, including newcomers, immigrants and refugees, is accepted, respected and feels like they belong.

Newcomers to Victoria and long-time residents are invited to share their lived experience to ensure the Welcoming City Strategy will reflect their collective voice, vision and values.

“Council is committed to helping create a city where everyone feels welcomed, accepted, safe and has the opportunity to prosper,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “The Welcoming City Strategy is intended to remove barriers to City services and foster a compassionate and neighbourly community where all residents experience a sense of belonging and where we tackle racism and discrimination head on.”

Have Your Say

From now until May 30, the community can go to the City’s online engagement platform Have Your Say to share their stories: do they feel a sense of welcome and belonging? What would make them feel like they belong here? Stories can also be about experiences of inclusion or exclusion, participating in community life, and if/where they feel diversity is welcomed. In addition, the City is inviting ideas on what would help make Victoria a more welcoming city for all.

The lived experiences and ideas that are shared will broaden the community’s perspective and help inform the development of the Welcoming City Strategy.

“As a former refugee, I have experienced first hand how important it is to make connections and find community,” said Councillor Sharmarke Dubow. “In developing the Welcoming City Strategy, we can reimagine together how to make Victoria more welcoming, equitable and inclusive so that everyone can reach their full potential.”

The Council-appointed Welcoming City Task Force is co-chaired by Mayor Helps and Councillor Dubow and made up of people who reflect Victoria’s increasingly diverse population. The Task Force is leading the Welcoming City work with the assistance of consultants and City staff. Sharing their own expertise and lived experience, Task Force members are reaching out to other community stakeholders through a series of virtual workshops to gather input to inform the Welcoming City Strategy.

The Task Force is assessing Victoria against an international Welcoming Standard, which helps cities become more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. The Welcoming Standard is organized into seven categories: government leadership; civic engagement; equitable access; education; connected communities; economic development; and safe communities.                                                             

Building on the stories we hear in this first round of engagement, the community will also have an opportunity to provide feedback on potential ideas for the Welcoming City Strategy in an online survey in June.

The draft Welcoming City Strategy will be presented to Council for consideration this fall.

Learn more and have your say.