Charan Gill is the founding president of Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society and for the past 30 years has been working as the CEO of the Society. Under his leadership, the Society has effectively addressed the socio-economic needs of the community at large. He has taken his many years of experience as a Social Worker and Community Activist to work on developing and implementing practical solutions to the community’s needs. For over 40 years, he has worked directly with immigrants, youth, seniors and the working poor.
Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society was established in 1987 as a one-man organization. It has now developed into a major community organization with over 120 staff members. PICS offers many programs and services including language and settlement services, employment programs, housing for seniors, housing for immigrant women, training, and programs for women and youth.
Charan, in his role as CEO of PICS, has also successfully established a multicultural seniors housing facility, adult day care centre and second stage housing for immigrant women fleeing abuse. These housing projects are both innovative and unique and were a direct response to the changing familial dynamics within the Asian community. PICS new project, PICS Diversity Village is a unique culturally sensitive urgently needed complex care home for seniors which will be built in the community of Cloverdale. The home will deliver customized services for each patient, respecting their culture and lifestyle and giving them a home away from home.
Charan has been a tireless fighter for the farm workers for the past 40 years. He is a founding member and Secretary Treasurer of the Canadian Farm Workers Union (CFU). It was formed to address the deplorably unsafe work conditions on farms across BC. To directly combat emerging racism within BC in 1980, he established the BC Organization to Fight Racism, and prevented the KKK from moving their hatred to BC.
Furthermore, he also established the Deol Agricultural Society, Canadian Anti-Racism Society and the Rainbow Community Health Co-operative (RCHC). Through these organizations PICS was able to assist newcomers, immigrants, seniors, women, children, youth and anyone else requiring assistance. Charan has devoted his life to working towards the betterment of his community because he believes that all people have the right to exercise their democratic rights and to live a happy, healthy and prosperous life.
Charan has received the following awards for his continuous community work: Honorary Doctor of Laws from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2013, Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 BCNPHA. The Janta Sewak Society Recognition Award in 2012, the Community Leader Awards (CLA) in 2012, Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) Distinguished Service Award (BC) in 2011, the Top 25 Immigrants in Canada award in 2010, the BC Community Achievement Award in 2010, the City of Surrey Good Citizen of the Year Award in 2009, the Mewa Singh Lopoke Award in 2007, the GOPIO International Community Service Award in 2007, the Humanitarian Award by Pakastani Canadian Cultural Association (PCCA) in 2006, the Operation Remembrance Award by RCMP in 2006, United Way’s honoured VanDusen Community Service Award in 2002, the Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, the prestigious Order of BC in 1999 and the BC Human Rights Award by MOSAIC in 1983. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Service Award by the Canadian Association of Social Workers.