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’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
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
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
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 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 work and expertise that OLIP brings to our community is so important as it helps us to build bridges and break down silos.  I look forward to our continued work together. 

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
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

The Importance of Friendship to a Newcomer

Mustapha arrived in Ottawa in October 2016 with his 11 year-old son and spouse. Although he is fluent in English and well educated, he still has found the transition to a new home challenging at times.

“Immigration is a difficult process,” said Mustapha. “It’s not just packing your belongings and travelling to a new country. It’s about establishing a new life and environment and meeting new friends. It’s basically building a brand new life from scratch.”

Little did Mustapha know that opening a bank account two weeks after his arrival in suburban Ottawa would set him on a path towards adjusting to a new community and culture. When Claudine Revert-Gravel, Senior Financial Representative at the CIBC branch in Orleans overheard Mustapha saying he was a newcomer, she immediately offered to help.

Although she had assisted many immigrants with the paper work involved in opening up a bank account, she felt a kinship towards Mustapha as he shares the same profession as her husband. “I have travelled to Turkey three times and felt the incredible warmth and hospitality of the Turkish people,” explained Claudine. “I felt compelled to show Mustapha and his family the same welcome and positive experience I had in Turkey. People shouldn’t rely on stereotypes or what they see on television, because it’s truly fascinating to learn about different cultures.”

Claudine invited Mustapha and his family to her home for dinner. “We immediately felt part of a warm, welcoming Ottawa family,” added Mustapha. “Claudine is very kind and constantly asks if there is anything she can do for our family. She has a very warm, welcoming heart and soul. As we transition towards making Ottawa our home, her close friendship has really helped us to adjust to Canadian life. In many ways she feels like a sister to me.”

The friendship between the two families has continued to grow over the months with many dinners and introductions to other Ottawa friends. The introductions are opening doors that may help with Mustapha find employment. Claudine’s family has also met two other Turkish families through Mustapha.

Clearly both of these families are strengthened and enriched by their new friendship.