History and Mission



Founded in 1988, the Immigrants Working Centre (formerly the Immigrant Women’s Centre) is an equality seeking, anti-racist, charitable organization dedicated to the social, political and economic inclusion of refugee and immigrants in a just and supportive Canadian society. Our Centre is committed to enabling refugees and immigrants  to discover and build their new futures through skills development and settlement support.

Read about our Accessibility Policy and Complaint Procedure.

Our History

The IWC was formed in 1988 by the synergy of grassroots refugee groups and the support of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton as an informal response to the needs of hundreds of refugees arriving from Central America during the 1980s. Our emphasis at that time was to assist with immediate needs including temporary shelter and provisions, orientation to the community and search for employment. This grassroots, community-based association eventually evolved into a multi-ethnic and multi-service providing organization, focusing on the specific needs of immigrants and refugees. The services are designed to support the settlement and advancement of newcomers in the areas of employment, education, skills training, and the growth and development of their children aged 6 and under.

Our Mission: Working with immigrants to build new futures in Canada

IWC and their families fully participating in a just and supportive Canadian Society.
Consistent with the Mission is the attainment of the following results:

  • “Immigrant and refugee women and their families using their abilities, gifts and skills to promote their own well-being and that of other community members.”
  • “Collaborative and participatory programs provided in a non-judgmental, safe and respectful environment.”
  • “Immigrant and refugee women and their families claiming their rights in Canadian society.”
  • “Immigrant and refugee women and their families with enhanced language and life skills for full participation in Canadian society.”
  • “Participants, staff, board and service volunteers committed to a philosophy of self-help, mutual aid, and collaborative action that enhances dignity and capacity.”