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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. WOW offers a platform for us to celebrate this history and the future it will help…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre

“Teyze” Murielle

5 MurielleIn Turkish culture, the term “teyze” mean an incredible aunt, sort of a half-mother.

After Omer Livvarcin moved from Turkey to Ottawa in September 2016 with his spouse and two sons, little did he know he would find a “teyze” in the form of Murielle Lemay.

“We first arrived to an empty house,” said Omer. “An email was sent to a network of people who help immigrants and very soon Murielle was at our door, providing us with furniture, kitchen items and other things.”

“Beyond the material things, Murielle has a great deal of empathy for us,” added Omer. “Every time she talks to my wife, her spirits are lifted. Murielle has laughed with us and cried with us. She has motivated us to find jobs, improve our English, learn French and became a part of the wonderful Canadian society.”

Murielle is a humble woman in her 70s.  After retiring from a 28 year career as nurse, she began volunteering at the Catholic Centre for Immigrants 20 years ago with her husband, who passed away eight years ago. “I will never forget the first family I worked with,” said Murielle. “They had fled the Rwandan genocide and were afraid to go out of the house for fear of being killed.”

Over the years there were more families, from the Democratic Republic Congo, Burundi and other war torn countries. Sometimes the relationship lasted more than five years and her role ranged from a formal capacity to a task that evolved from a simple interaction Facebook.

“It fills me with pride to see how dignified and resilient these families are and to follow the small steps they make at first that lead to real progress,” added Murielle.

She even encouraged the Livvarcins to volunteer at a local long-term care home. “We had benefited from Canada and wanted to find a way give back,” explained Omer. “Volunteering isn’t as common in Turkey and it provided us with a way to show our appreciation to our new community.”

Murielle stresses that the giving is not one directional. “I have three daughters and now feel like I have two sons, Omer and another newcomer from Turkey,” she explained. “These families give me so much love and confidence.”

Murielle has made the Livvarcin family feel accepted in Ottawa, showing respect for their culture by bringing them a special banana cake for Ramadan. Something a “teyze” would do.