YWCA building

YWCA Policies

YWCA Metro Vancouver's policies are in place to protect the interests of our organization and its stakeholders.

YWCA Metro Vancouver is committed to advancing gender equity alongside women, families, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people through advocacy and integrated services that help support personal, collective and economic well-being.  As an equity-seeking organization, we work to remove barriers and build a safe, inclusive and welcoming organization for all.  This includes, but is not limited to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and people with disabilities and neurodiversity.

Our approach to advancing gender equity is inclusive and intersectional.   An intersectional approach means we consider the many ways different individuals are impacted by barriers and discrimination in addition to gender, like race, class, sexual orientation and ability.

We subscribe to the principles of the Human Rights Code of British Columbia and as such will not tolerate unjust, unfair or unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, political belief, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, gender, sex, sexual orientation or age.   We recognize that there are other forms of discrimination not listed above e.g., ethnicity, socioeconomic status, body size, etc. which will also not be tolerated.

We work towards creating an organization that reflects the community in which we operate and recognize the vital importance of taking into account the varying needs of our stakeholders. This includes recognizing and respecting the:

  • Diversity of individuals, ideas and opinions
  • Value of differences and unique abilities
  • Equality of opportunity, accessibility and inclusion
  • Right to reasonable accommodation
  • Right of individuals to self-identify their gender
  • Financial status of all, regardless of their ability to pay
  • Need to foster a community where members feel safe, welcomed, and respected and where no one is subject to any form of oppression and discrimination.

Specifically, we want to ensure that Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, as well as 2SLGBTQIA+ people and people with disabilities are supported to safely contribute and engage within the YWCA.   As such, we will:

Treat each other with respect and dignity and conduct ourselves in accordance with YWCA policies. This means that we will create and maintain a safe environment that is free of acts of oppression and discrimination.

  • Honour our different lived experiences and recognize that the way we perceive the world and how systems and structures have impacted us will be varied.
  • Respect the diversity of multi culturalism
  • Identify systemic and other barriers to employment or program participation and take steps to rectify any discriminatory policies or practices.
  • Hire, engage and retain leaders, employees and volunteers who reflect the diverse community that we serve.
  • Develop programs that respond to the needs of our membership, participants and the community.
  • Provide on-going information, training and education for all stakeholders to help eliminate discrimination and promote equity and inclusion.
  • Empower staff to deliver great customer/client experiences, knowing that they are doing the right thing and conduct business with integrity.
  • Be mindful of invisible disabilities such as chronic health conditions, serious illnesses, learning differences and mental health issues.
  • Make all reasonable efforts to accommodate, when required and subject to operational feasibility.
  • Recognize when language is a barrier to accessing services and make reasonable efforts to provide supports in the languages spoken by the majority of clients.
  • Ensure that when someone has a concern, that they have the right to speak up and share their concerns, knowing that the YWCA wants to hear them and that there will be no repercussions.

We also recognize that the primary purpose of the YWCA is to work towards gender equity. To do this, we may focus on service delivery that is restricted to women and gender diverse individuals. Please note: when we refer to women we are inclusive of all self-identified women.

The YWCA has zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in our organization and anyone knowingly found in breach of this policy may be subject to a range of corrective measures, up to and including termination of employment or participation in programs.

The YWCA is actively looking inward and examining our own privilege, structures and systems in order to  fight racism, colonialism and systems of oppression. and we are committed to embedding equity and inclusion across the organization.


If you have accessibility needs, please reach out directly to the YWCA program or service. If you would like to share feedback on your experience accessing YWCA services, please complete this anonymous form.


YWCA Metro Vancouver respects the privacy of our customers (including members, clients, guests and parents), donors and volunteers.  We also recognize our obligation to protect all personal information.

According to the B.C. Personal Information Protection Act, personal information is defined as:

information about an identifiable individual and includes employee personal information but does not include

(a) contact information, or

(b) work product information

The YWCA’s policy is based on the Canadian Standards Association’s Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information and complies with the Provincial privacy laws.

1. Accountable:

YWCA Metro Vancouver is responsible for all personal information under its control and its Privacy Officer is accountable for the YWCA’s compliance with the principles described in this Privacy Policy. The YWCA has designated Raphael Lim as the Privacy Officer, effective September 1, 2020.  The Privacy Officer can be contacted at:

YWCA Metro Vancouver
535 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC, V6C 2E8
Fax: 604.684.9171

At times, the Privacy Officer may designate other individuals to act on their behalf.

Under this principle, the YWCA is responsible for the collection, storage, use, disclosure, protection and accuracy of personal information collected and controlled by all YWCA programs and services.

The YWCA has established:

  • Procedures to protect personal information
  • Procedures to receive and respond to complaints and inquiries
  • Staff training to explain the privacy policy and to help them respond to customer queries about our privacy policy
2. Identify the Purpose:

The purposes for which personal information is collected will be identified and documented by the YWCA at or before the time the information is collected.

The YWCA collects personal information only for the following purposes:

  • To establish and maintain responsible relations with customers, donors and volunteers and to provide ongoing service;
  • To understand client needs;
  • To develop, market or provide programs and services that helps us to achieve our Mission;
  • To recognize donors and volunteers 
  • To track statistical information; and
  • To meet legal and regulatory requirements

We collect, use and disclose personal information only for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in light of the circumstances.  

Upon request, staff collecting personal information shall explain these identified purposes or refer the individual to a designated person within the YWCA who shall explain the purposes.

Unless required by law, the YWCA shall not use or disclose for any new purpose, personal information that has been collected without first identifying and documenting the new purpose and obtaining the consent of the customer.

3. Consent

In determining the appropriate form of consent, the YWCA shall take into account the sensitivity of the personal information and the reasonable expectations of its customers.

In general, the use of services by a customer or donor constitutes implied consent for the YWCA to collect, use and disclose personal information for all identified purposes.  For sensitive information, the YWCA will obtain express consent at or before the time of collection.

Individuals may withdraw consent at any time, subject to legal or contractual restrictions and reasonable notice.  Individuals wishing to withdraw consent, should allow for 15 working days for this to be processed.  Customers may contact the YWCA for more information regarding the implications of withdrawing consent.

4. Limit Collection

The YWCA will restrict its collection of personal information to that information which is necessary and reasonable for the purposes identified by the organization.  The YWCA will not collect extraneous personal information.

The YWCA will collect personal information only by fair and lawful means, and by being transparent with customers.

5. Limit use, disclosure and retention

The YWCA shall not use or disclose personal information for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law.  We shall retain personal information only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of those purposes, or as required by law.

Personal information that is no longer necessary or relevant for the identified purposes or required to be retained by law shall be destroyed, erased or made anonymous.

6. Be Accurate

The YWCA will keep personal information as accurate, complete and up-to-date as necessary for its purposes.  Personal information about customers will be updated as and when necessary to fulfill the identified purposes or upon notification by the individual.

7. Safeguarding Personal Information

The YWCA shall protect personal information by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.  We will protect personal information against such risks as loss or theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, modification or destruction, through appropriate security measures.  The YWCA shall protect personal information, regardless of the format in which it is held.

All YWCA employees with access to personal information shall be required as a condition of employment to respect the confidentiality of personal information.

8. Be Open

The YWCA makes available to all customers, donors and volunteers information about our privacy policy and practices relating to the management of personal information.

We shall make information about our policies and practices easy to understand, including:

  • The title and contact information of our privacy officer;
  • The means of gaining access to personal information held by the YWCA and
  • The complaint process for the management of personal information
9. Customer Access to Personal Information

Upon request in writing, the YWCA shall inform a customer of the existence, use and disclosure of his or her personal information and shall give the individual access to that information.  A customer may challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.

Upon request, the YWCA shall provide a copy of the information requested or a response that includes reasons for not providing access, within 30 business days.  According to the Personal Information Act, there may be certain circumstances whereby the YWCA is not able to provide access to personal information it holds on a customer.  

10. Challenging Compliance

A customer will be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to the YWCA’s privacy officer.

The YWCA will establish and maintain procedures to receive and respond to complaints or inquiries about its policies and practices related to the handling of personal information.  The complaint procedure will be easily accessible and simple to use.

The YWCA will investigate all complaints concerning compliance with the policy.  If a complaint is found to be justified, the YWCA will take appropriate measures to resolve the complaint including, if necessary, amending its policies and procedures.

This website is owned by and operated for YWCA Metro Vancouver. By viewing this website, you are agreeing to the Terms of Use, as specified on this webpage. 

YWCA Metro Vancouver reserves the right to update these Terms of Use at any time without notice to you. 

YWCA Metro Vancouver may also suspend or terminate access to its website and change or make improvements to any portion of its website without notice to you.

Intellectual Property

All content included on this site, including all information, trademarks, logos, text, opinions, views, graphics and the selection and arrangement of information (Materials) is the property of YWCA Metro Vancouver or its suppliers.

The unauthorized use, modification or copying of the Materials may violate copyright, trademark and other laws that protect YWCA Metro Vancouver's intellectual property.

General Disclaimer

All information provided on this website is as is, without any representations, warranties or conditions of any kind. While YWCA Metro Vancouver makes all reasonable efforts to review content before it is published, YWCA Metro Vancouver makes no guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or suitability of the content of its website.

YWCA Metro Vancouver has no control and takes no responsibility for the non-delivery, loss, delay, defect or alteration to communications and transmissions through the Internet.

YWCA Metro Vancouver is not responsible for viruses or other destructive items that may infect a website. You must not intentionally post or send communications to YWCA Metro Vancouver that contain viruses, Trojan horses, worms or other computer programming routines that are intended to damage or detrimentally interfere with any system, data or information.

YWCA Metro Vancouver is not liable for any losses or damages, whether direct, indirect, incidental or otherwise, arising from the use of this website. YWCA Metro Vancouver is committed to continuous improvement, and values your input. We welcome your comments or suggestions on improving our website and policies.

Online Donations

As a registered charity, YWCA Metro Vancouver has a strict no refund policy for all online donations, except when a transaction has occurred due to an error in the software or donation processing.

If you would like to discuss your donation, please contact us at 604 895 5820 | donations@ywcavan.org

Please email your general comments or suggestions to privacy@ywcavan.org.


Complaints Policy

The intent of this policy is to fairly resolve complaints raised by stakeholders in an equitable, transparent and timely manner. 

Complaints are defined as any dissatisfaction or unacceptable behaviour that a stakeholder may have experienced at YWCA Metro Vancouver.

Most issues can be resolved by speaking directly with your contact at the YWCA, or with their supervisor. However, if the problem cannot be resolved in this way, please email privacy@ywcavan.org, outlining where and when the incident occurred, the names of all who were involved, including any witnesses, and how the incident impacted you.

The following guiding principles will be adhered to in resolving the issue:
  • All complaints will be dealt with fairly and resolved as quickly as possible
  • Investigations into the complaint will be respectful of all parties involved, impartial and confidential and limited to the impacted individuals
  • The appropriate person will contact you within five working days to acknowledge your complaint
  • The YWCA will investigate the complaint and take any action necessary to address the subject matter of the complaint
  • The YWCA will communicate in writing to the complainant addressing the complaint and any action taken within 30 days of receiving the complaint. We anticipate that many concerns may be sufficiently addressed through common problem-solving processes
  • The complainant must notify the YWCA in writing within 15 days as to whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the reply
  • If the complainant does not respond, a follow-up written communication will be sent within 10 days of sending the findings, and if still no response is received, the complaint will be considered resolved
  • If a complaint requires immediate action because of a significant health or safety concern, or if the issue behind the complaint can be damaging to the organization’s reputation, the YWCA will take immediate necessary action and continue to undertake the steps necessary to address the complaint

YWCA Metro Vancouver (“YWCA”) is accountable to many stakeholders including employees, volunteers, clients, donors, funders and the community in general. The YWCA requires employees and volunteers to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. Employees and representatives of the YWCA must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. While the YWCA’s internal control systems are intended to detect improper activities, even the best systems and internal controls cannot provide absolute safeguards.

This Whistleblower Policy is intended for anyone with concerns about the organization regarding accounting, internal controls, auditing matters or other activities that are inconsistent or in violation of the YWCA’s legal, financial, regulatory and ethical responsibilities.

The YWCA has an obligation to expediently and thoroughly investigate and take corrective action against any serious violation of its policies and responsibilities.


This policy applies to all employees and volunteers of the YWCA. This policy applies to improper conduct or wrongdoing, which includes, but is not limited to, activities that:

A. Are unlawful or not in compliance with any laws or regulations to which the YWCA is subject;

B. Do not adhere to the YWCA’s accounting and internal control procedures and policies;

C. Do not adhere to the YWCA’s Core Values, Operating Principles, Human Resources Policies and Practices or any other program/department operating policies and procedures;

D. May amount to fraud or corruption;

E. Reflect a real or perceived conflict of interest;

F. Represent the unauthorized use or misuse of YWCA funds or property;

G. Constitute unethical or improper conduct or abuse.


Maintaining confidentiality is important to the YWCA. The organization will attempt to keep these complaints confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation, with only those who absolutely have to be informed included in the communication. The organization shall notify the complainant if any circumstances arise where confidentiality may not be maintained.

If applicable, the legislation under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) will take precedence over the complainant’s request for confidentiality.


Anyone with concerns or complaints regarding improper activities as listed are expected to share their concerns by submitting a written statement with supporting evidence attached.

a. Complaints may be sent as follows:

i. Via email to privacy@ywcavan.org

ii. In writing to the complainant’s vice president or director or to the CEO

iii. In the event that the complaint pertains to the CEO, the complaint should be made in writing to the YWCA Board Chair and the Treasurer. The Board will conduct their own investigation and communication process.

The YWCA Board Chair can be contacted at boardchair@ywcavan.org and the Treasurer can be contacted at treasurer@ywcavan.org.

b. The YWCA will provide the complainant with an acknowledgement of receipt within 5 business days of receiving the complaint.

c. The YWCA will investigate the complaint and take any action necessary to address the subject matter of the complaint. This action could include the appointment of a designated investigator who could be internal or external to the organization.

d. The YWCA will, within 30 days of receiving the complaint, communicate in writing to the complainant addressing the complaint and any action taken. We anticipate that many concerns may be sufficiently addressed through common problem-solving processes.

e. The complainant must notify the - YWCA in writing within 15 days as to whether if they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the reply.

f. If the complainant does not respond, a follow up written communication will be sent within 10 days of sending the findings, and if still no response is received, the complaint will be considered resolved.

g. In the event a complaint requires immediate action because of a significant health or safety concern, or if the issue behind the complaint can be damaging to the organization’s reputation, the YWCA will take immediate necessary action, and continue to undertake the steps necessary to address the complaint.

h. If the complainant feels that their concern is not adequately addressed or if the complainant did not get a reply within the 30-day period, the complainant should contact the YWCA Treasurer in writing, resubmitting the complaint and attaching all information available. The complainant should also state the reasons why they are not satisfied with the earlier reply.

i. The Treasurer will conduct a merit assessment of all complaints received and assess the need to proceed with a formal investigation. The Treasurer will report back to the person who filed the complaint within 30 days of receipt as to whether a formal investigation will be undertaken. The assessment will be made on the basis of evidence that supports the complaint.

j. If a formal investigation is undertaken, the Treasurer has the responsibility to undertake any action necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation.


Objectiveness and avoidance of bias are to be observed throughout an investigation. This serves to protect the rights of everyone involved and will help enhance public confidence in the process.

The following will be observed:

  • All relevant parties must be informed of the complaint, should be heard and their submissions considered;
  • The investigator must be impartial in assessing the credibility of the respondents/witnesses. Where appropriate, conclusions as to credibility should be included in the investigation report;
  • The investigator will not have a personal or direct interest in the matter being investigated.


The welfare of the person who is the subject of a complaint should not be ignored and steps will be taken to avoid unnecessary harm to that person and where possible, the protection of identities. At the earliest possible opportunity, the person should be given an opportunity to respond to the generalities of the allegations made against her/him.

Where possible, support will be given to the person either through an internal contact or the use of the organization’s employee assistance program.

In the event that the complaint is found to have grounds, the respondent, if an employee, will be provided with support in accordance with the YWCA Performance Management Policy.


No person who files a complaint shall suffer retaliation. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a complaint in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. Conversely, anyone filing a complaint must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation of the YWCA’s legal, financial, regulatory and ethical responsibilities.


Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offence.

Appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken.


A record of all complaints received will be retained on file. Files will include the original complaints as well as all other relevant notes and documents, such as signed and dated testimonies. The files will be kept separate from existing personnel files.

Organizational COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan

This document is provided as a guide for staff working at the YWCA during the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan is meant to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and protect employee’s health and wellbeing while still allowing normal work to proceed. 

  • Note:  Every workplace is different and practices may vary depending on the location and nature of the program/department. As such, customized YWCA site-specific work plans have been developed and kept on-site.
  • This information is subject to change to ensure compliance with Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, BC Centre for Disease Control, and the BC Ministry of Health’s most recent guidelines.
  • Since the novel COVID-19 outbreak began, we have been following the directions of Dr. Bonnie Henry, our Provincial Health Officer.