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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
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

Overcoming the Challenge of Finding the First Job

2 JoanneEmmanuel Israel, originally from Nigeria, came to Ottawa in 2012, after studying in Cyprus for five years.

When he began his Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Ottawa, the soft spoken young man didn’t know anyone in his new city and needed to begin a job search.

He went to the Vanier Community Service Centre where he met Jo-Annie Castonguay, an Employment Ontario Services counselor.  “Jo-Annie assisted me in understanding the barriers to getting a job and how to overcome them,” said Emmanuel.

The outgoing and energetic employment counselor interacted with Emmanuel informally at first during a job fair, then she formally registered him as a client when he came to the Employment services at the Vanier Community service Centre. “There is really no typical type of client or situation in my line of work,” said Jo-Annie. “Emmanuel was a very easy client to help, as he presents himself well and just needed encouragement and moral support.”

 “Jo-Annie went out of her way to help me for close to three years, said Emmanuel. “She’s friendly and jokes a lot, which made me feel at ease, but most importantly she became my advocate.”

For Jo-Annie, it’s very important to get to know her clients as people so that she can better direct them to other services in the community. This familiarity also helps with their social integration as newcomers. “I tried to go the extra mile for all my clients including Emmanuel,” added Jo-Annie.  “I referred him to a couple of services that he didn’t know about. I kept telling him that he can do it and not to give up.”

Jo-Annie assisted with practical things too, like editing his resume, formatting his cover letters and sent him countless job advertisements. She even encouraged him to change his LinkedIn profile picture and learn French. “It’s important for immigrants, who represent about 70 per cent of my caseload, to understand that all of these steps matter in the long run,” remarks Jo-Annie.

Initially Emmanuel found a six-month contract job at McGill University, Montreal. After the contract ended, he moved back to Ottawa –the city he loves – and was quickly hired at a coffee shop.

Emmanuel breaks into a bright smile as he shares the best news that it wouldn’t have been possible without Jo-Annie’s support – he starts a full-time federal government job in a week!