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The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
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
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
The City of Ottawa will continue to play a lead role in the implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy, just as we did in the founding of OLIP.

Steve Desroches
City Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Ottawa
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
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
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
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
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

Mentors through the Matching Program

6 BruceAs with many newcomers to Ottawa, Majid Al Yamoory, turned to the Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ Matching Program for help in adapting and integrating into to his new life. Through this program, the 74 year-old civil engineer from Iraq was paired with Bruce Grant and Mike Brosseau.

“I came to Canada in April 2015 and really needed help improving my English,” said Majid. “Although I had learned English in 1972, I was evaluated at a level three and needed a much higher level to fully participate in Canadian life.”

“Majid and I would meet regularly over coffee,” explained Bruce, a 76 year-old retired structural engineer. “He told me so many fascinating stories, enough for an article about him that I had published in my community newspaper. I like to travel and keep busy, so Majid and I had the same motivation.”

The friendship with Bruce helped Majid to learn about communication in the workplace, the law in Canada and the benefits of volunteering. Soon Majid would volunteer at the Catholic Immigrant Centre, helping to translate English documents into Arabic – a much needed skill with so many refugees arriving from Syria.

The more he gets involved in the community, the younger Majid feels. “Ignore my grey hair,” laughs Majid. “When I flew from Iraq to Syria and then onwards Canada, I felt as though I became younger by 40 years! My advice to other newcomers is that although it’s difficult at times, it’s not impossible to start a new life at any age.”

His interactions with Mike Brosseau, a 73 year-old retired civil servant, have kept his interest in his profession alive. “Mike not only helped me to improve my English, he taught me a lot about engineering and design in Canada and introduced me to new friends and other engineers.”7 Mike

“I feel like helping immigrants is a Canadian tradition,” remarks Mike. “When my ancestors came here, they too were helped by other to integrate and become established. Volunteering is very fulfilling for me.”

Majid’s life has changed a lot in the last two years. He participates in conversation circles with other newcomers, studies English and volunteers — translating and teaching Arabic. Often he leaves his apartment at mid-morning, not returning until well into the evening.

With the assistance of these two friends, and through much hard work, Majid has proudly brought his English to a level seven.  Majid continues to “grow young” and will be attending Algonquin College this fall to study green architecture.