We respectfully acknowledge that our main office and many of our programs are located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and that our work across British Columbia spans the territories of more than 200 First Nations.
YWCA Metro Vancouver is committed to truth and reconciliation. This includes understanding the truth of our shared colonial history, making positive changes within our organization and taking actions that advance safety, justice and equity for Indigenous peoples. It is our commitment to proceed with clarity of truth about our collective past and reconciliation guiding our future.
YWCA Metro Vancouver boldly envisions a just and equitable world for women, families and allies. Forward with Purpose outlines the actions we will take to support programming, advocacy and organizational resilience.
Program participants tell us they are best served through an integrated "hub" model that includes access to housing, child care, youth, family and employment programs. As the affordability crisis drives people further away from big cities, our focus will be on meeting families where they live with convenient, accessible services and supports. Delivering innovative programming for greatest impact also means collaborating with community and deepening our relationships with host First Nations.
Bold, systemic change is needed to ensure people have equitable access to safe, affordable housing, early learning and child care, opportunities for education, training and employment, and freedom from violence.
We will increase our efforts to raise awareness on issues that impact our communities, drive forward progressive policy solutions and hold governments accountable to their promises.
We have grown into a complex organization with multiple social enterprises and many branches of service delivery. For long-term sustainability and success, we must invest in our foundation – the people and systems who make our work possible.
Activating our Commitments at all levels of the organization and increasing cross-departmental collaboration will keep our work participant-focused; leveraging technology to modernize our systems will increase efficiency and productivity; and pursuing new revenue sources and investing in our people will increase our ability to deliver on our vision and mission.
The teachings of nə́c̓aʔmat ct – that we are all one – are reflected in our commitment to a holistic approach, participant-centred work, and our shared vision for a just and equitable world.
We are grateful to the Musqueam Indian Band for permitting YWCA Metro Vancouver to use nə́c̓aʔmat ct as a guiding principle in our five-year plan.
When I assumed the role of CEO of YWCA Metro Vancouver in June 2022, the world was emerging from a global pandemic and the organization’s 2019–2022 Strategic Plan was ending. With this pause in the order of things, I asked: what could our organization look like in five years if we were truly aspirational?
Over the course of the YWCA’s 125-year history, the world has seen inspiring progress in some areas, and a glaring lack of it in others. Today, still, violence is routinely committed against women, Two-Spirit and gender diverse people. The high cost of living and lack of affordable housing threaten safety and stability. Racism and oppression are entrenched in our health, justice, education and employment systems, with devastating consequences that echo through families and communities for generations. And those most impacted by these inequities continue to be women and gender diverse people living at the intersection of one or more identities, especially Indigenous and racialized peoples, those with disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA+, gender diverse and Two-Spirit people, youth and newcomers.
For an equitable and just society, opportunities must be fair and accessible, and they must be rooted in safety and autonomy. This is the aspirational vision we have for the future.
Forward with Purpose confirms three overarching goals, along with strategic priorities and intended outcomes to align our actions in the coming five years. As part of this work, we must be wholehearted and disciplined in our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, with specific focus on advancing gender inclusion, anti-racism, truth and reconciliation, decolonization and participant-centered work. Collectively, these Commitments will guide our decisions for programming, advocacy, resourcing and growth.
Progress is neither easy nor linear and we will always adjust course to adapt to a quickly changing world. We all want the same thing—a world that is safe, just and equitable. I believe this Strategic Plan will help get us there.
CEO, YWCA Metro Vancouver
231 Calls for Justice
The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls delivers 231 individual Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians. To learn more: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Calls_for_Justice.pdf
94 Calls to Action
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued 94 Calls to Action to "redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation." The proposed actions call on all levels of government to work together to repair the harm caused by residential schools and begin the process of reconciliation. To learn more: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/indigenous-people/aboriginal-peoples-documents/calls_to_action_english2.pdf
The vehicle by which the YWCA influences and supports policy, informs public opinion and works in collaboration with government, business and community leaders and organizations to create systemic change. Our advocacy is informed by frontline experience, credible research, and in collaboration with the people we serve.
From Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls:
“A decolonizing approach aims to resist and undo the forces of colonialism and to re-establish Indigenous Nationhood. It is rooted in Indigenous values, philosophies, and knowledge systems. It is a way of doing things differently that challenges the colonial influence we live under by making space for marginalized Indigenous perspectives. The National Inquiry’s decolonizing approach also acknowledges the rightful power and place of Indigenous women and girls.”
To distribute/receive resources according to people’s needs, interests and experiences to achieve equal opportunities and outcomes. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the resources and opportunities needed to help make things more equal.
The practice of striving to do the best for YWCA program participants by seeking to understand their perspectives and putting their interests at the centre of our work and decision-making.
Aligning our work to continuously meet the needs of the communities we serve. This includes bringing awareness, empathy and responsiveness to values, beliefs, norms and circumstances of people and our environment.
The recognition that systems which dictate behavior and expectations in society – capitalism, patriarchy and colonialism, for example – are designed to keep some people oppressed and must be examined and re-designed for all people to achieve freedom and personal wellbeing.
A state that is achieved when personal goals of health, happiness, prosperity and safety are met.