September 23, 2011

Each year, we receive hundreds of referrals from immigration and refugee lawyers, doctors and nurses at health clinics and hospitals, community mental health teams, neighbourhood houses, schools. and settlement services providers. We also receive referrals from family and friends of current and former clients.

For Social Service Providers 

If you are a social services provider, and you would like to refer one of your clients to VAST, please contact us at 604-299-3539 ext. 221 or by email at

  • Please see “Who We Serve” section below to ensure your client falls within our mandate

For Lawyers 

If you are an immigration and refugee lawyer, and you would like to refer one of your clients to VAST, please contact us at 604-299-3539 ext. 221 or by email at

  • If you are working with a refugee claimant, please contact us for a referral to our weekly psychosocial support group for claimants held every Wednesday at Settlement Orientation Services’ offices. At the group, we will provide an intake and assessment for all new claimants to continue with the group and/or continue into one-on-one counselling. Please refer your clients to us as early as early in the claim process as possible.
  • If you require a psycho-legal letter for the refugee claim process, please provide us with a minimum three (3) week notice prior to the documentation deadline

For Family and Friends

If you are a family member or friend of someone who you think could benefit from counselling at VAST, please contact us at 604-299-3539 ext. 221 or by email at

  • Please see “Who we Serve” below to ensure we are able to assist your family member or friend.
  • Please tell your family member or friend that they can call us directly if they would like.


Who We Serve

While our offices are located in Vancouver, we provide services to refugees who live in Burnaby, the Fraser Valley, the North Shore, Richmond, Surrey, the Tri-Cities, and throughout the province of British Columbia.

Based on our mandate, and because of limited resources, we are only able to servce the following people:

  • Survivors of Torture and their Families: a person(s) who is a survivor of torture, or a family member(s) of a survivor of torture, who has experienced “torture” in their home country as set out in Article 1(1) of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
    • “[T]he term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
  • Refugee Claimants: a person(s) who arrives in Canada by land, sea, or air, and is in the process of making a claim for refugee status with the Immigration and Refugee Board
  • Convention Refugees and Protected Persons: a person(s) who is determined to be a “refugee” or “person in need of protection” by the Immigration and Refugee Board
  • Failed Refugee Claimants: a person(s) who is in the process of appealing a claim for refugee status or who is facing deportation after exhausting avenues of appeal

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