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 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
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
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
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
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. Welcoming Ottawa Week offers a platform for Ottawa residents to celebrate both this…

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
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

Welcome to Ottawa

Shukria receives her Welcoming Ambassador award from Minister Ahmed Hussen, IRCC and Mayor Jim Watson

Shukria receives her Welcoming Ambassador award from Minister Ahmed Hussen, IRCC and Mayor Jim Watson

The first time Entisar Yusuf met Shukria Samanter, a few months after Entisar immigrated to Ottawa from Ethiopia in 2011, Shukria said “Welcome to Ottawa.”

Those were not empty words, as Shukria would soon be like family and a guide to the newcomer. Shukria herself had come to Ottawa 26 years earlier as a refugee from Somalia. “I remember how hard it was to navigate the system when I arrived in Canada,” said Shukria.  “Sometimes the alienation can be even more profound for women arriving in a new country, without family and knowledge of the community. There are often more barriers for newcomer women who want to integrate into Canadian society.”

When they first met, Shukria helped Entisar by taking her on a furniture shopping trip, even negotiating installation payments and transportation for the purchases.

“Shukria has been exceptionally helpful to me,” said Entisar. “She introduced me to her social circle and invited me for dinner. She has guided and mentored me through my work search and connected me to the Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ Career Transitions for International Health Professionals program, which helped me to find employment.”

“Shukria has become part of my family, like a mother or aunt,” adds Entisar. “Although I have my husband and two children with me in Ottawa, I left my large extended family back in Ethiopia. She provides me with both practical and emotional support. Her wisdom, shared experiences and constant words of encouragement have kept me going.”

“It’s very important for women to help other women,” explains Shukria.  “When I was a newcomer a woman working as a settlement counsellor with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) was my guide and mentor. She helped me prepare for a job interview. When I thanked her she just said, “pass the torch.”

Shukria has had a long career in immigrant settlement and social services. She recently retired from a position with the Youth Services Bureau and previously worked with OCISO. She expects to continue her volunteer work with newcomers, so the solidarity and kindness she has shown in welcoming Entisar and many other newcomers to Ottawa, will continue from many years to come.