Gastown Vocational Services - East Hastings Street

Gastown Vocational Services (GVS) offers a range of vocational and educational services to both youth and adults with mental health disabilities to reach their employment or educational goals such as part-time or full-time work, vocational training, or volunteer work. 

Services include:

  • Career planning

  • Vocational or psychological/vocational assessment

  • Group or one to one work readiness skill training programs

  • Employment counselling

  • Specialized pre-employment workshops

  • Work experience placements

  • Job coaching and supportive employment

  • Supported education services

In the workplace, individuals participate in job shadowing and/or supported work experience placements to further assess their own work readiness, boost their confidence and stamina, and help identify a suitable vocational goal. Job developers actively assist with job marketing and job search. Supported education services include identifying realistic education programs needed for employment, sourcing educational funding, and finding training-on-the-job opportunities, and/or assisting clients to obtain their GED, academic upgrading and /or enrolling in further education. 

We have a multi-disciplinary staff who utilize a variety of evidence-based practices to foster rehabilitation and recovery; consisting of a Psychologist, Occupational Therapists, Job Developers / Case Managers, Peer Support Workers, Life Skills Coach, Group Facilitator, Psychometrician, Program Assistant, and Co-ordinator.

Outreach services are available for clients who may require assistance to engage. 

Gastown Vocational Services

288 - 2750 East Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
V5K 1Z9
Phone: (604) 675-2535
Fax: (60) 683-5099

Hours of operation

Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


?Individuals (ages 16-64) with a mental health disability who are receiving treatment from a mental health team or a psychiatrist/family doctor may self-refer to the program by booking and attending an orientation session.

Referral partners

  • ?Vancouver Community Mental Health Teams and Units for Adults and Youth
  • Ministry of Housing and Social Development  (MHSD) ? Vancouver Coastal Disability Consultants or Employment Assistance Workers (EAWs)
  • CMHA ? Vancouver-Burnaby Branch
  • Coast Foundation
  • Child & Youth Mental Health Services ? Fraser North ? Fraser Health Region
  • Private Psychiatrists & Family Practitioners
  • Ministry of Children & Family Development ? Child and Youth Mental Health Centres
  • Vancouver Community Health Centres
  • Aboriginal Health Services
  • MPA ? Motivation Power & Achievement Society
  • Kettle Friendship Society
  • BC Schizophrenia Society
  • Mood Disorders Association of BC
  • IAM Cares
  • Forensic Psychiatric Services
  • BC Coalition for Persons with Disabilities
  • Covenant House
  • Services Canada (formerly HRSDC) Case Managers
  • Psychiatric Services at Vancouver Hospital, UBC Health Sciences Centre, and St. Paul?s Hospital
  • Vancouver Hospital?s Department of Out-Patient Psychiatry
  • Burnaby Mental Wealth Society
  • New View Society
  • Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Orion Health
  • Stepping Stones Clubhouse
  • Private Insurers
  • Worksafe BC
  • Early Psychosis Intervention Program


Criteria for application 

Persons with a mental health disability are eligible to apply or to attend the GVS Orientation Session and must be:

  • currently receiving mental health treatment and support from a mental health team, private psychiatrist, psychologist, or general practitioner

  • between the ages of 16- 65 years old

  • in a stable living situation

  • living in the district of Vancouver (for most programs)

Application steps

Orientation sessions are open to youth and adult clients, and family members and / or supports of clients. Mental health staff (community and hospital), agency staff, referring agents, students and visitors may also attend the orientation; however priority will be given to clients and their family members and / or supports. As each program is voluntary, there is no obligation to commit to a program, attending the orientation is for information only. Refreshments are provided.

  1. Contact reception to book an orientation session at (604) 675-2535 extension "0" and the office staff will be pleased to book you into the next available session and to provide directions to the GVS office. Sessions are generally held once a month on a Thursday from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Please book in advance to secure a seat.

  2. Attend the one-hour orientation session when scheduled. The sessions provide an overview of the five different programs offered at GVS, and provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions and to obtain and review program handouts. An occupational therapist facilitates the orientation sessions, and representatives from each program are available to assist with applications or to answer any questions. At each orientation session, a Peer Support Worker shares his or her own personal experiences of attending GVS, and their journey to success.  Many of these clients are now employed or attending training/educational programs. You will not need to bring a resume or other employment information with you to these sessions.  DO BRING the name and number of your doctor. 

  3. Should you be interested in applying to one of the programs, GVS staff will assist you with completing the necessary application or referral. Should you not wish to apply ? that is your choice.  There is no obligation to register. All programs are voluntary.

Application for Youth Employment and Education Program (YYAP)

  1. Complete referral form for YOUTH EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION PROGRAM.  Referrals for the YYAP program are to be completed and submitted to GVS office by the youth?s mental health worker, MCFD worker, private psychiatrist or general practitioner. Contact the GVS office to receive a YYAP referral form. Should the therapist or treating doctor be employed at Vancouver Coastal Health, referrals should be sent to GVS via the PARIS electronic health record system, indicating a YYAP referral in the note box.

  2. Upon acceptance of referral, an Occupational Therapist or a Job Developer in your region will contact the youth to make an intake appointment. 

Custom 1

Gastown Vocational Services (GVS), in partnership the Employment Program of British Columbia (EPBC) assists eligible clients with a mental health disability to obtain work experience, employment/community attachment and/or to access educational/skill training programs. One-to-one job coaching and supported employment/ educational services are delivered as needed.

GVS Occupational Therapist and Case Managers/Job Developers have specialized training and experience in relating to and accommodating for this specialized population. The GVS approach offers each individual client a highly supported, flexible employment/educational range of options designed to assist each client to reach their employment and /or volunteer community attachment goal.

This unique population necessitates flexibility in the type of services provided, the way in which services are delivered and the pace in which the goal of work experience/ education/employment is attained. Referred clients may have considerable work experience and can be ?fast-tracked? into job search, while others may have little or no previous work experience and will require more time and support to reach their vocational goal. We are able to customize services to meet the needs of all referred clients.

Employment services provided as needed. In coordination with the client's mental health treatment plan, GVS staff will provide the following:

  • Occupational therapy and/or vocational assessment

  • Pre-employment readiness sessions (one-to-one or group)

  • One to one job coaching (recovery orientated goal planning)

  • Employment career counseling

  • Resume preparation

  • Interview skills practice

  • Job shadows, work trials and/or work experience placements

  • Assistance with securing and maintaining volunteer or community attachment placements

  • Computer tutorials sessions/career and educational research

  • Assistance with job placement/job maintenance

  • Assistance entering/re-entering school or skill training programs

Custom 2

The Youth and Young Adult Program (YYAP) assists youth and young adults to obtain work experience, employment and/or to access educational and skill training programs. One-to-one job coaching and supported employment services are delivered to each 16-29 year old referred to the program.

GVS Youth Job Developers have specialized training and experience in relating to and accommodating for this unique population.  A smaller caseload of youth clients allows the Youth Job Developer to offer individualized, highly supported, flexible employment/educational planning.

This unique population demands flexibility in the type of services provided, the way in which services are delivered and the pace in which the goal of work experience/education/employment is attained. Referred youth often have little or no previous work experience, and may have difficulty adjusting to the transitional stage of becoming an adult.  We are able to provide intensive support to meet individual needs.

Employment Services Provided:

In coordination with the youth client?s individual treatment plan, GVS staff will provide the following (as required):

  • Vocational/psychological assessment

  • Pre-employment readiness sessions (one-to-one or group)

  • Resume preparation

  • Interview skills practice

  • Employment career counseling

  • Job shadows, volunteer work, work trials and/or work experience placements

  • Computer tutorial sessions/career and educational research

  • Assistance with job placement/job maintenance

  • Assistance entering/re-entering school or skill training programs

  • Peer Support as needed