Realizing UN Sustainable Development Goals with MCIS

By: Cheryl

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator

In the second last week of November, MCIS celebrated the third annual Purpose in Business Week. In this week, we joined the conference of Purposeful Business: Rapid-Fire Insights from Social Purpose Leaders, listened to our peers and the forerunners in the relevant fields, presented on what we have participated and achieved, and reflected on what we’ve learned through others’ experiences as well as our own work. This year, we would like to review with you our Social Purpose journey through the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What are the SDGs?

The concept of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was written in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations (UN). Adopted in 2015, the document was recognized as a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet,” calling for action to strengthen universal peace through ending poverty. The 17 SDGs, at the heart of the Agenda, were drafted under the consensus that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with improvement of many other matters that impact human rights. The 17 SDGs are:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for The Goals

In 2022, MCIS attended the SDG Cities Academy and started to incorporate the SDGs and their principles into our work, both on a level of daily tasks execution and in long term planning. Through the three main areas of activity (growth and delivery of free services, capacity building in the language sector and advocacy and strategic partnerships), we were able to advance our social purpose with the SDGs in mind.

Aligning our work with the SDGs

In the past two years, MCIS prioritized to focus our work on SDGs 3, Good Health and Well-Being, 10, Reduced Inequalities and 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. We have also published two SDG reports summarizing our impact on free language services, training, and advocacy.

Through professional translation and interpretation, we strived to break language barriers for a diverse community consisting of refugees and immigrants in Canada, especially when it comes to accessing critical services such as health care, public health information and basic services. As of December 2022, 39 per cent of MCIS’ free scheduled interpretation work was for serving those seeking counselling and mental health, and free interpretation services with a value of $50,000 value were conducted in relation to health care. In the fiscal year 2021-2022, 53 per cent of our funded translation assignments were COVID-19 related.

To address inequalities, MCIS provided free services funded by our Social Benefit Fund to those who might not be able to afford professional language services. In the year 2021-2022, we saw an increase of 25 per cent in translation services related to civic participation; which acted as an encouragement for low-income families and disadvantaged groups to voice their opinions and participate in decision/policy-making.

While providing professional language services, MCIS also educates and advocates for language rights, the appropriate use of inclusive language and relevant policies in the work and other environments. Since 2021, with the collaborative work of partner organizations and stakeholders under the Language Access Coalition of Canada we have supported the annual Language Advocacy Day Canada initiative and have been sponsoring the Our Language Right Conference every year.

Future work

The SDGs journey for MCIS has been a challenging yet rewarding one. Through participation with the SDG Cities Academy and workshops, we were able to gain a better understanding of the universal values that the UN has introduced, and to align ourselves with the works and effort happening in various fields internationally and move towards the same direction. Additionally, in 2023 MCIS was accepted into the UN Global Compact Academy, which will help share our SDG Impact to a global audience, and provide MCIS staff additional learning opportunities to understand how our work connects to the SDGS. Wrapping our work and strategies around the SDGs helped us to clear our view of where we are at in the movements, the next steps of work and focus, and determining our future through a wider-angled perspective.

View the MCIS SDG Reports Here: