First Contact Vancouver

If you are a refugee claimant requiring assistance, please phone Red Cross First Contact:

  • (604) 787-8858 or 1-866-771-8858

Many refugee claimants arrive in British Columbia with minimal resources and may face the daunting reality of being homeless. They are often unaware of what services are available to help them and may have no one to confide in.

Refugees face multiple barriers that can include language, financial constraints, and a lack of familiarity with government agencies, service providers, the transportation system and geography.

What is First Contact?
Launched in November 2008, the Canadian Red Cross First Contact program provides assistance to refugee claimants in 60+ languages to help them avoid becoming marginalized, distressed and exploited.

First Contact services in the claimant’s first language include:

  • Referrals to settlement agencies, legal, paralegal, health, government and other services and resources.
  • Emergency services that can provide refugee claimants with safe shelter, clothing, transportation and food for up to 72 hours.

Refugee claimants are more likely to access Red Cross First Contact because they are already familiar with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in their country of origin.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in Vancouver have agreed to provide a Red Cross Information Kit for Refugees (produced in multiple languages) to claimants at all ports of entry, in detention, and at IRCC offices. The Kit provides vital information for people arriving in Canada for the first time, as well as the First Contact 24-hour phone number. The Information Kit for Refugees is also available at several community agencies, public libraries, shelters, and community centres throughout Metro Vancouver.

Coalition of agencies
The Red Cross has helped build a coalition of more than 60 agencies, including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, that works collaboratively to assist claimants. The Red Cross helps those agencies in meeting their needs and builds capacity within the sector to better address the needs of vulnerable clients.
To-date, First Contact has assisted more than 4,000 refugee claimants in British Columbia.

If you are a refugee claimant requiring assistance, please contact:

  • (604) 787-8858 or 1-866-771-8858

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