2017 Champion of Diversity Award Recipients
The Champion of Diversity Award recognizes individuals, groups, and employers in three categories: Inclusion and Diversity, Cross Cultural Understanding and Business Leadership in Immigrant Employment.
INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY
This category recognizes individuals or groups that embrace inclusion and diversity, and ensure immigrants and refugees have access to social services. The recipients are:
Orono and Community Syrian Refugee Sponsorship – Orono
The town of Orono decided to come together and sponsor a young Syrian family, and prove that refugees could resettle and thrive in a rural environment. The community raised money for the family and ensured that they felt welcome and safe when they arrived in Canada. Volunteers helped with transportation, housing, healthcare, language classes, and employment. The family shared their progress on social media and soon became valued members of the community.
Whitby Ethno-Cultural and Diversity Advisory Committee – Whitby
The Committee promotes diversity with programs benefiting both residents and newcomers, such as art shows, multicultural calendars and diversity events. Family bus tours and a ‘Whitby Passport’ program connect new Canadians to local businesses. Public performances and community seminars also educate the residents of Whitby about the issues affecting diverse groups.
Dr. Peter Sealy – Toronto
Dr. Sealy has spent more than 30 years helping underprivileged people overcome cultural and language barriers to access employment, education, and other essential services. He works with at-risk youth, helping young people get the documentation they need to apply for jobs or education. He also raises awareness of mental illness in minority and immigrant communities, and facilitates culturally-oriented support groups.
This category recognizes individuals or groups that make contributions toward preserving cultural heritage and supporting employees from different cultures. The recipients are:
Fauzia Baig – Waterloo
As Director of Community Programs and Outreach for the Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo, Fauzia Baig combats Islamophobia and builds interfaith understanding in her community. She created the ‘Salaams Canada’ campaign, where she and a team of volunteers baked more than 2,000 cookies and distributed them in public places, encouraging passers-by to share a conversation and learn about the Muslim faith and culture. Fauzia has also written articles about Islam, organized Eid celebrations, and established the curriculum for a mentorship program for young Muslim women leaders.
Hortense Mvuemba – Ottawa
Hortense is a community relations and partnerships advisor with Ontario’s largest French-language school board. She often gets in touch with immigrant families before they arrive in Canada, helping then transition to their new lives and ensuring their children get the most out of their education. She has introduced numerous extracurricular activities to help new students socialize and make friends. Hortense visits the families in their new homes, helps them access social services and find jobs, and encourages them to join community events and adult education courses.
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP IN IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMENT
This category recognizes the efforts of an organization to hire and promote immigrants at a level equal to their global skills, education and experience. The recipients are:
Hamilton Health Sciences – Hamilton
Hamilton Health Sciences provides job opportunities to highly-skilled immigrants through its Internationally Educated Nurse Integration Project, which recruits nurses educated in other countries and helps them adapt their skills and experience to the Ontario job market. Another program, ‘Nurses Nurturing Nurses,’ pairs immigrant nurses with experienced volunteers, further preparing them for the working environment of Canadian hospitals. Since 2009, the project has found employment for more than 400 internationally-educated nurses.
Ryerson University Law Practice Program – Toronto
The Law Practice Program helps foreign-trained lawyers get hands-on legal experience in Ontario and better prepare for work in the North American job market. Participants in the program are randomly divided into virtual law firms, creating diverse groups from a wide range of backgrounds. Each participant completes a four-month work placement, which ensures that they acquire the experience they need to find employment.