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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 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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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

Helping “The Canadian Way”

When retired schoolteacher, Charles St-Louis, saw the devastating images of of Syrian refugees, like many Canadians he stepped up to help. He volunteered with the Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI), one of the lead agencies responding to the influx of 1,500 Syrian newcomers to Ottawa.

Mohammed Ali and Charles St-Louis at cheque presentation ceremony at CHEO during Welcoming Ottawa Week

Mohammed Ali and Charles St-Louis at cheque presentation ceremony at CHEO during Welcoming Ottawa Week

He quickly put his teaching skills to work as part of one of the CCI’s conversation circles, sitting around a table at a housing complex on Donald Street (where many of the Syrians have settled), helping his new Syrian friends learn English. Sometimes there were 20 people around the table, all anxious to learn or improve their English, a first step to integrating in their new hometown.

One of his students was Mohammed Ali, who had fled his home in Damascus with his wife and three children six years ago. They spent years living in a tent camp in Jordan, before being selected to come to Canada in February 2016.

Mohammed had worked as a nurse in Damascus for 20 years. His English is progressing well. “Learning English is my key to finding work. The CCI language circle has really helped, especially Charles who is so patient and kind.”

Charles has really taken the Ali family, who recently welcomed a baby girl, under his wing. “Charles is always helping my family and has become my best friend,” remarked Mohammed. “He has helped my children with their schoolwork. He even takes us to appointments. Without Charles, adjusting to the culture and language in Canada would be so much more difficult. He personifies the true face of Canadian generosity.”

Mohammed has himself become a community organizer, teaching Syrian newcomer children to paint. The group “Children for Peace,” recently raised $5,000 for CHEO by selling their paintings. At the cheque presentation on June 30, 2017, Mohammed and Charles were there, celebrating this great example of children giving back to children.

As Canada’s 150 approaches, Mohammed and Charles are busy volunteering together organizing Canada Day celebrations in the neighbourhood, because that’s “The Canada way.”