Born in Hong Kong, Wai immigrated as a child with her family to Vancouver, BC, where she has resided for over 40 years. An avid volunteer and community leader, Wai has been recognized for her significant contributions to her community by receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award with the Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation, and as a Nominee for the prestigious Women of Distinction Award from the YWCA of Vancouver.
Wai has been a seminal advocate for immigrant integration and accreditation, youth at risk, and diversifying the economy through expanded trade with the Asia Pacific. She has chaired, founded and lead many committees, task forces, and Boards of Directors with multi-million dollar budgets, which provide diverse services and programs to international as well as to local communities. Wai has experience with capital fundraising and infrastructure projects, human capacity development and mentorship programs.
A highly respected professional with over 30 years of ground breaking project management success, Wai’s projects have won a Canadian Federation of Municipalities Award and a rare Federal Cabinet appeal so OMNI watchers can enjoy free multilingual TV. Her seminal work has become part of Canadian society: an English / French language program for newcomers to Canada; the secondary school work experience program for youth throughout BC; incorporating social planning into BC’s Municipal Act;balancing responsibilities with citizenship rights; identifying gaps and developing creative and lasting solutions such as Canada’s longest breakfast program, first community garden, youth at risk/prevention programs, and international student safety programs.
In 2008, Wai ran for public office against B.C.’s previous Premier, coming within 20 votes in a contentious election. In 2011, Wai won and become the first Conservative MP in the City of Vancouver in over 23 years. Her strategic leadership while in public office leveraged historic trade and infrastructure investments in Canada’s Asia Pacific Corridor, and she was instrumental towards the establishment North America’s only Renminbi Financial Trading Hub with China in Canada. Locally, after 20 years of government inaction, Wai is most proud of keeping her promise to some 26,000 seniors to get the funds they needed to realize their dream of building a senior’s centre in Vancouver South.
While in public office, Wai was the elected Co-Chair, Canada-China Legislative Association; Vice-Chair, BC/Yukon Government Caucus; Chair, 24th Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum; Founder & Host of the Annual Parliamentary Asia Pacific Corridor Tour, and was an influential member of the Parliamentary Standing Committees of: Transportation & Infrastructure, Public Safety, Status of Women, Government Rules & Regulations, and the Library of Parliament. Wai was also honoured to have represented Canada at numerous State Visits, Delegations, Trade Missions, and Fact Finding Tours to countries around the world.
At home, Wai raised 7 foster children (3 refugees), and is the mother of twins, a daughter and son, in university. Her hobbies include cooking, playing the piano, and skiing.
- Principal, Wai Young & Associates. Award winning consulting group for policy, programs and governance. Clients include federal, provincial, municipal governments, corporate and NGO sectors. 20 years of project management to achieve successful outcomes.
- Founding Executive Director, Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance (CISSA). National umbrella organization for 10 Provincial Associations and 450 settlement service agencies across Canada.
- Consultant, Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC). Author, “Social Planning for BC Communities” guide and tool kit.
- Program Specialist and Senior Policy Advisor, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
- Director of Multicultural Services, Association of Neighbourhood Houses, Metro Vancouver
- Program Manager, BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations. Designed and wrote Foster Parent Training Program.
- Native Youth Counsellor, Outreach Alternate School, Downtown Eastside.
- Seniors and Financial Assistance Worker, Ministry of Children and Families
Member of the Board of Directors
- YWCA Vancouver, Vancouver BC
- BC Mennonite Central Committee, Abbotsford, BC
- Canada-USA Bi-National Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pennsylvania
- Victoria Conservatory of Music, Victoria, BC
- Strathcona Community Centre Association, Vancouver, BC
- President, Chair, Founder, Executive board member of numerous committees, task forces, etc.
wai [at] waiyoung.ca