About Us

Our History

Our History

For 45 years, DIVERSEcity has been helping newcomers to Surrey, Langley, White Rock and Delta.

The Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISSofBC) is registered as a multi-ethnic organization serving all major immigrant groups arriving in BC.

An ISSofBC Expansion Program funded by federal and provincial governments leads to the establishment of advisory committees in nine centres outside of Vancouver, but not Surrey.

Racial disturbances in Surrey result in considerable negative publicity. The Human Resources Branch of the provincial government becomes concerned about the development of racial tensions there, as well as in Prince George, and ISSofBC is asked to undertake research and to develop a program of correctional action. Staff researcher Christian Steckler is sent to Surrey to assist in the establishment of a Surrey branch. The organization also supports the establishment of OASIS (a settlement agency that served the “Indo-Canadian” community).

Programs to ease the adjustment of newcomers are expanded but are staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Programs follow a two-directional approach: direct services provided for immigrants combined with educational and assistance programs offered for “locals,” so that they can become familiar with incoming cultures. Volunteers are drawn from both resident and immigrant communities, providing an opportunity for understanding and cooperation to grow and for newcomers to become actively involved in Canadian and community life.

In recognition of Surrey’s growing role as a landing place for immigrants, ISSofBC agrees to the launch of an independent Surrey satellite. The Surrey Delta Immigrant Services Society (SDISS) is registered under the British Columbia Societies Act.

For the first time, programs geared to helping newcomers settle are augmented by an employment program that aids them in finding jobs.

DIVERSEcity Interpretation and Translation Services are launched. The Northwood United Church site is opened.

The Cultural DIVERSEcity Awards are launched to recognize businesses in Surrey, Delta and White Rock that excelled at implementing culturally diverse initiatives within their workplaces.

In the 20th anniversary year of its founding, the Surrey Delta Immigrant Services Society is designated by the provincial Ministry of Children and Family Services to provide Children and Family Services in the South Fraser Region.

The Learn and Play Preschool opens.

The Society is recognized by the City of Surrey’s Social Planning Awards.

The Society achieves accreditation with the Council on Accreditation, affirming it as an organization that meets or exceeds international standards of practice in all of its operations.

The organization is rebranded as DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, to reflect the diverse community that Surrey is becoming and to help foster inclusivity during a time of dramatic growth for the young city.

During its 30th anniversary year, in partnership with the Fraser Health Authority, DIVERSEcity opens the Surrey New Canadian Clinic, located on society premises at 7337 137 Street, Surrey.

First Steps Early Years Refugee Program is launched.

The provincial Skills Connect Program taps DIVERSEcity as a provider.

DIVERSEcity is awarded the Riasat Ali Khan Diversity Award, presented by the province-wide AMSSA in recognition of innovative programming.

DIVERSEcity’s Hazelnut Meadows Community Garden is opened in partnership with the City of Surrey.

The Get in the Know website and resource bank is launched.

DIVERSEcity’s South Asian Seniors Project wins the Scotiabank and United Way of Lower Mainland`s Community Spirit Awards in the Celebration of Community Category.

The Child & Youth Empowerment Camp wins the Soma Ganesan Spirit of Hope Award.

DIVERSEcity’s Community Garden program is nominated for the Civic Beautification Award by the City of Surrey.

DIVERSEcity wins its second Riasat Ali Khan Diversity Award, presented by the province-wide AMSSA in recognition of innovative programming.

On its 35th anniversary, DIVERSEcity receives the Premier’s Award for its First Steps program, which promotes innovation and excellence in the category of partnerships.

The Sports and Me children’s program is a recipient of the BC Recreation and Parks Association Award for program excellence.

Grand opening of DIVERSEcity’s Community Campus at 13455 76 Avenue in Surrey.

DIVERSEcity is awarded the provincial government Refugee Response Team contract to support the coordinated response to Operation Syrian Refugee for seven communities in the Fraser Valley.

The organization wins its third Riasat Ali Khan Diversity Award, presented by the province-wide AMSSA in recognition of innovative programming.

DIVERSEcity is the recipient of the Wellness Fits Extra Mile Award by the BC Cancer Agency and Healthy Families BC for providing workplace wellness for employees.

DIVERSEcity’s lead work on the Refugee Readiness Fund initiative wins a Premier’s Award for Innovation in the Partnership category.

On its 40th anniversary, DIVERSEcity celebrated with a Community Gala and was recognized by the City of Surrey for its contributions as the first settlement organization in the city. DIVERSEcity launched its partnership with the Fraser Health Authority through the opening of the Roshni Clinic for substance use addictions and counselling.  The Get in the Know website and Guidebook is rebranded and launched.

DIVERSEcity opens its City Centre (North Surrey) site.

DIVERSEcity continues its growth in programs and services. When COVID-19 hit, DIVERSEcity pivoted to offer virtual services in everything from counselling to settlement to employment, recognizing that its clients need support perhaps more than ever before. DIVERSEcity Skills Training Centre reaches learners from across the province via WorkBC Centres with its online courses.

DIVERSEcity becomes the convener for the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership (LIP).


DIVERSEcity expands its 137th location to include health promotion programs and services, along with language programs.


DIVERSEcity receives the South Fraser Refugee Readiness Team and Cariboo North Refugee Readiness Team contracts to support the coordinated response to support Afghan and other refugees from around the world, as well as displaced Ukrainians.


DIVERSEcity launches two signature community events: Black in BC: A celebration of Black Excellence, during Black History Month, and a Women’s Leadership Forum in recognition of International Women’s Day, in collaboration with Minerva BC.