Chinese-only ads to be pulled

A bus shelter advertisement from SUCCESS at Cambie and No. 5 roads is promoting counselling services for gambling addiction.  - Matthew Hoekstra
A bus shelter advertisement from SUCCESS at Cambie and No. 5 roads is promoting counselling services for gambling addiction.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra

A government-funded charity that helps immigrants settle in Canada has pledged to pull its Chinese-only advertising from local bus shelters after drawing criticism for not including one of Canada’s official languages.

“We are working closely with our funder to address this issue. All the (advertisements) in Chinese for this campaign in Richmond will be removed this week,” said Queenie Choo, CEO of SUCCESS, in a statement issued Monday night.

The ad promotes a problem gambling program for Chinese-language speakers. The text features only Chinese characters, apart from a name and phone number, which leads to a Chinese voice message.

“SUCCESS has no intention of alienating anyone with this advertisement. We are also working on an internal guideline on placing advertisement of this nature that English shall be a base language, as appropriate, and other languages can be an add-on,” said Choo.

Nearly three-quarters of SUCCESS’s funding comes from government. Beyond settlement services, the charity also offers services in language training, employment, counselling, economic development, health care and housing.

The ad campaign drew the attention of Kerry Starchuk, a longtime resident who has advocated for English to be included on public advertising and storefront signs. She called Choo’s decision “a step in the right direction.”

“SUCCESS receives considerable public taxpayer dollars as a Canadian immigrant support organization whose mission is to build bridges, harvest diversity and foster integration. They have now recognized that placing their advertisements in an official language reinforces an inclusive medium for all Canadians.”

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