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

Over three decades of civic and policy leadership

Wai Young’s professional accomplishments have had a significant impact on those whose lives have been touched by her passionate contributions to Vancouver.

As a community and business leader, she has authored and contributed to important studies, policies and implemented programs and services for local, provincial and federal government across Canada. Wai is proud that her work has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Here are just a few highlights:

Wai has spent over 35 years working and volunteering in Vancouver South, the Downtown Eastside, and a number of community agencies including the Social Planning and Research Council of BC, Association of Neighbourhood Houses, the Strathcona Community Centre, YWCA Vancouver, and the BC Mennonite Central Committee.

As a Native Youth Worker, Wai worked with youth and families in the downtown Eastside. Concerned about youth joining gangs, Wai founded a Youth at Risk Task Force in the early 1980’s. Her work resulted in the growth of community policing centres as a positive model to combat neighbourhood crime as well as the establishment of a new government funding program called the National Crime Prevention Program, which still funds youth programs today.

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.

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.

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

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.

Awards Highlights

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