About Wai Young

About Wai Young

Community Advocate, Policy Leader, Business Owner, Member of Parliament

Over three decades of civic and policy leadership

Wai Young has over 30 years experience in social policy and program development. She has contributed tremendously in the development and planning of immigration policy, social policy, immigration settlement, employment training services and community safety. 

Wai has worked for the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Citizenship and Immigration. She started her own consulting firm in 1993, and for the past 20 years, she has contributed to many important policies and programs. Her diverse clientele includes: the cities of Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey, CIC, Rogers Communications, the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Area Society, the South Vancouver Policing Centre and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. 

Wai has spent over thirty years working and volunteering in the Downtown Eastside, at a number of community agencies including the Social Planning and Research Council of BC, Association of Neighbourhood Houses, the Strathcona Community Centre and YWCA Vancouver. 

As a Native Youth Worker, Wai worked with youth and families in the downtown Eastside. Wai worked with government to fund Youth at Risk Task Force, which became the National Crime Prevention Program.

Wai became a foster mother, and raised 7 children in her home.

As President of the Strathcona Community Centre, Wai Young recognized that many inner-city children did not have breakfast at home while attending school. She worked with various government departments and funders, and cleared administrative hurdles to found what is now the longest running breakfast program in Canada at the Strathcona Elementary School.

Wai also supported the establishment of Canada’s first community garden, and expanded the linear park system.

During her 30 years of experience, Wai has contributed to the following programs and services: 

Immigrant Services 

  • Implemented a cultural staff training program for South Vancouver Neighborhood House and supported the expansion of its programs to serve new immigrants
  • The development and implementation of LINC/ELSA,  a national English language training program for newcomers to Canada 
  • Numerous settlements and newcomer serices and projects at SUCCESS, the Immigrant Services Society, MOSAIC, and others. 
  • City of Vancouver's Newcomer Guide, Immigration Newcomers' Program
  • Assisted in the founding and the development of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance (CISSA), a national umbrella organization for the 450 settlement agencies across Canada. 

Children and Youth Services

  • Worked on the BC 21 Youth Strategy, which incorporated work experience into the B.C School Curriculum so that all youth attending Killarney, David Thompson, and Churchill schools gained credits and valuable work experience. 
  • Developed Canada's first Foster Parent Training program to provide training for B.C's foster children 
  • Identified and developed "youth at risk" programs, advocated for local programs and chaired the development of the provincial framework resulting in existing provincial and federal programs in Community Centres today. 
  • Developed an International Student Safety Program used throughout Vancouver in private and public schools such as Langara, UBC, SFU, etc. 

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Proven. Experienced. Inclusive. 

In 2011, Wai Young defeated the former Premier of British Columbia to become Member of Parliament for Vancouver South. Wai was proud to be part of a government that balanced the budget. As the only Government MP in the City of Vancouver, Wai championed over 60 major infrastructure projects. The projects included:

  • The Killarney Seniors Centre – this 10,000 square foot facility provides seniors in southeast Vancouver with much-needed programs and support services.
  • Kitsilano Neighbourhood House – this redevelopment project includes new seniors housing with a rooftop garden, a child-care centre and expanded community centre.
  • Supportive Community Housing – projects at 1249 Howe Street, the YWCA “Cause We Care House,” and others, provide housing and vital community services for individuals and families who are homeless or at the risk of homelessness, throughout Vancouver.
  • The Salvation Army Deborah’s Gate Program – funding was provided to help victims of human trafficking reintegrate into the community.
  • Funding for the Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre Society (Wavefront) was provided, to drive economic growth and facilitate foreign investment for wireless small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Western Canada through a Global Expansion Pilot program.
  • The Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Program investment helps Canadians to make informed career decisions and connect with available jobs.
  • Fare gates on SkyTrain were installed throughout the network to update the system and make it more financially beneficial.

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Education

  • Certified Director, Directors College, McMaster University
  • Post-graduate coursework, Urban Planning & Design, British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Post-graduate coursework, Mass Communications, Simon Fraser University
  • Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, University of British Columbia
  • B.C. Secondary School Diploma, Killarney Secondary School

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Personal

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver since the age of four, Wai is a birth mother of twins and a foster parent to seven children. She has been a resident of Vancouver South for over 45 years. 

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Awards

  • Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipient
  • YWCA Woman of Distinction Award Nominee
  • Volunteer of the Year, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation