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 the City of Vancouver.
As a community and business leader, she has provided important improvements to immigration and settlement resources, community safety, and social services.
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.
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.
- 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
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.
Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipient
YWCA Woman of Distinction Award Nominee
Volunteer of the Year, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation