About Us

Our History

IWSO was founded in 1988 to meet the needs of immigrant and visible minority women who were victims of domestic abuse. It was originally named Immigrant and Visible Minority Women Against Abuse (IVMWAA). In 1989, we provided integrated crisis support and language interpretation services in three languages: Spanish, Arabic and English.

Our Beginning

At the 2002 Annual General Meeting, the name Immigrant and Visible Minority Women Against Abuse was changed to Immigrant Women Services Ottawa. The new name reflected IWSO’s expanding representation in the community and the wider range of services provided to newcomers to Ottawa. Today, the agency provides counselling and support services to women and their families in over 70 languages and dialects.

IWSO continued to grow and added other services and programs, such as Settlement and Integration Services (including job search workshops and computer training) and a service for children who witness violence. IWSO is an important resource for other service agencies. They value our cultural awareness training for community workers and the opportunity to access our pool of trained language interpreters who are available to assist their work with newcomers to Ottawa and the Eastern Ontario region.

Our Structure

IWSO is a non-profit organization operating in the City of Ottawa. Its charitable registration number is 131976581RR0001. A 15 member Board of Directors is elected by IWSO members at an Annual General Meeting. The Board provides policy and service directions. Day-to-day operation is managed by an Executive Director with the support of a team of staff and volunteers.

About IWSO Language Services:

Language Services is a division of IWSO. Its goal is to bridge the communication between service providers and individuals who do not speak English and/or French. Its vision is to give a voice through language so that everyone can access the services available to them.

We believe that communication is key to the effective delivery of any service in the community and we thrive to ensure that the gap is filled through our interpretation services.

Our Mission

Our mission is to connect people to services by giving them a voice through language.