I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
The OLIP Council is committed to leadership.  In only a few years, we have a common vision and priorities, and are up to the task of implementing the Ottawa Immigration Strategy.

Salimatou Diallo
OLIP Council Vice Chair, Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa
All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa
OLIP helps to unite and share scarce resources for greater impact by working together in the field of student education.

Walter Piovesan
Associate Director of Education, Ottawa Carleton District School Board
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
The WOW seminar on immigrant women’s nutrition and health was a step in the right direction towards closing the gap between academic researchers and service providers.

Josephine Etowa
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
The target beneficiary of the work of OLIP is the whole community. In this short period we have planted together important seeds for Ottawa’s development.   

Dick Stewart
OLIP Council Chair
Welcoming Ottawa Week is wonderful platform to demonstrate our city’s longstanding openness to immigration and commitment to supporting newcomers’ successful integration. …

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

Buying a Car, Finding a Good Friend

Carol Jolin + Omer LivvarcinWhen Omer Livvarcin responded to Carol Jolin’s Kijiji ad to buy a car in Ottawa last September, little did he know it lead him to a new friendship.

Omer had just moved with his spouse and two sons from Turkey, and they were quite literally sleeping on the floor of their Orleans home. They had arrived in Canada with nothing and knew no one.

Carol, a retired teacher, could not believe that this young family was sleeping on the floor so he rallied into action to help.

“Carol and his wife Louise became like family to us,” said Omer. “When my family came to Canada, we felt like birds under water. We couldn’t breathe and we didn’t know where to turn. Then we met Carol and his wife Louise and they helped us to resurface and fly again.”

“This was my first experience in helping a newcomer to Ottawa,” remembers Carol. “I said to them, what do you mean you are sleeping on the floor? I brought them to Costco to buy beds for their boys and I lent them my inflatable mattress.

Carol also assisted Omer to get his learner’s license, to shop for car insurance, to find a dependable mechanic and how to install winter tires. He also wrote a letter of support for Omer’s immigration application.

On many occasions when Carol dropped by to visit the Livarrcins, he went through interview questions on various topics, to help the family learn about their new life in Canada.

“This family just needed a hand to get started with their new life,” remarked Carol. “We really like Omer and his wife, and their boys are very well behaved. We felt the boys needed a respite from the stress of moving to a new country – so we invited them to have a swim in our pool.  It was nice to watch them have a good time with the water guns. I had to step in because Omer was losing the battle.”

Carol provided a valuable contact that led to Omer’s first strategic planning contract. “It hasn’t taken Omer long to find employment — he already has two jobs,” describes Carol.

When Omer and his wife worry about taking too much of Louise and Carol’s time, Carol just replied, “don’t worry at all, we’re retired“. “We try to put ourselves in their shoes, and can’t imagine what it would feel like to arrive in a new country with nothing,” added Carol.

As the Livarrcin family continue their journey to integrating in Ottawa life, Carol has introduced them to Canadian culture, including a local delicacy, beaver tails. Carol laughs as he remembers the look of disbelief on Omer’s face when he told him he must try a beaver tail. Omer Googled the Turkish translation for beaver tail and seemed puzzled. Soon he would find out what a great pastry it is!