McGuinty Government Names Newcomer Champion Award Recipients



    First Awardees Named On Canadian Multiculturalism Day

    TORONTO, June 27 /CNW/ - Ontario's first Newcomer Champion Awards are
being given to 14 individuals who have either helped make their communities
more welcoming for newcomers or made contributions toward fostering cultural
diversity, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Mike Colle
announced today in recognition of Canadian Multiculturalism Day.
    "These Newcomer Champion Award winners have been outstanding in their
efforts to build bridges that promote cultural understanding and help new
immigrants settle and succeed in our great province," said Colle. "Ontarians
value diversity for the social and economic richness it brings, and the
McGuinty government is pleased to recognize those who move values into action
in a way that benefits us all."
    The Newcomer Champion Awards program, launched earlier this year, honours
persons who have made significant contributions in areas such as cultural
outreach, cultural celebration and connecting and integrating newcomers to
communities. Submissions were received from across the province and reviewed
by an independent selection committee.

    
    Award recipients are:

    -   Delfino Callegari of Guelph for his work as the volunteer chair of
        the Guelph and District Multicultural Festival.

    -   Sue Coffey of Barrie for her commitment to helping foreign trained
        nurses get licensed to work in Ontario and championing on their
        behalf.

    -   Bob Dufton of London for exercising leadership in developing and
        advancing strategies that effectively link London's newcomers with
        relevant employment opportunities.

    -   Ehsan Ghrear of Kitchener for his ongoing contributions to helping
        Arab newcomers adapt to their new home by organizing social
        gatherings, an Arabic language school for children, as well as
        organizing youth groups.

    -   Anita Hobbs of Sarnia for promoting cultural diversity in the
        community through the Sarnia Lambton Folk Arts Multicultural Council,
        which she founded.

    -   Paul Hogendoorn of London for recognizing the international skills of
        newcomers and championing on their behalf in the area of employment.

    -   Olfat Ibrahim of Toronto for her commitment to pioneering and
        delivering programs to newcomers in the high needs communities of
        Oakridge and Teesdale.

    -   Morteza Jafarpour of Hamilton for his work with newcomer communities.
        Jafarpour is a founding member of Settlement and Integration Services
        Organization.

    -   Gus Kotsiomitis of London for his commitment to connecting newcomers
        with meaningful employment opportunities. Kotsiomitis is vice-
        president of commercial banking for the Royal Bank.

    -   Vivian S. Rambihar of Toronto for his involvement in the social,
        cultural and health needs of newcomers for 25 years. Dr. Rambihar is
        a passionate activist for the health rights of newcomers.

    -   Phyllis Retty of London for her work on the London/Middlesex
        Immigrant Employment Task Force. She is country leader, human
        resources for 3M Canada.

    -   Chirag Shah of London for championing employment opportunities for
        London's newcomers. Shah is president of the London Chamber of
        Commerce and a member of the London/Middlesex Immigrant Employment
        Task Force.

    -   Thiru S. Thiruchelvam of Toronto for his work in publishing a
        magazine in Tamil for that community.

    -   Shailja Verma of Ottawa for her contributions over three decades to
        helping develop standards and curriculum as well as delivering
        English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for newcomers.
    

    Recipients will receive their awards at a ceremony on July 9 in Toronto.
    "The initial sacrifices and barriers that many of these nominees and
recipients faced did not deter them in their willingness to truly make a
difference," said selection committee member Doreen Iannuzzi. "As a Canadian
and as an Ontarian, it was particularly inspiring to discover and learn of the
personal stories of those who have done so much for our province, in our
cities, even in our rural areas. Their efforts to positively impact the lives
of our newcomers have enriched us all."
    June 27 has been observed annually as Multiculturalism Day in Canada
since 2003.
    The Newcomer Champion Awards are the latest example of how working
together, Ontarians have achieved results in areas such as:

    
    -   Promoting Diverse Voluntary Sector Leadership - in partnership with
        the Maytree Foundation, the abcGTA program is expanding to recruit,
        train and match candidates from diverse backgrounds to volunteer for
        leadership positions in agencies, boards, commissions and not-for-
        profit organizations in the Greater Toronto Area.

    -   Promoting Greater Understanding of Citizenship Rights - the Ontario
        Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) is developing
        resources to increase awareness of the importance of volunteering and
        increase newcomer participation.

    -   Seniors Mentoring Newcomers - the Catholic Immigration Centre Ottawa
        is developing opportunities to engage new retirees and individuals
        who are approaching retirement. As part of the project, a targeted
        website has been created to connect volunteers to volunteer
        opportunities; networking events will match organizations with
        potential new volunteers.

    -   The Volunteer Service Awards which this year honoured more than 8,500
        volunteers in 45 ceremonies in 34 communities across the province.

    -   The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship which honours up to 20 people
        annually who have made outstanding contributions to their communities
        over many years in any field.

    -   June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Awards for Voluntarism which
        recognize individuals and groups that have made exceptional
        contributions as volunteers or in the area of volunteering.

    Disponible en français

                          www.citizenship.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
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                           NEWCOMER CHAMPION AWARDS

    About the Award

    The Newcomer Champion Awards program was announced on March 1, 2007 by the
Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The newly created program was
designed to recognize Ontarians who have facilitated cultural understanding
and diversity or helped newcomers to successfully settle and integrate. Awards
will be presented for contributions in areas such as:

    -   Cultural outreach: recognizes contributions in education and
        information sharing that increase the awareness of an ethnic group's
        culture within the broader community.
    -   Cultural celebration: recognizes outstanding individuals who organize
        events to showcase Ontario's diversity.
    -   Connecting newcomers in Communities: recognizes exemplary individuals
        whose actions helped to welcome and integrate newcomers into
        communities across Ontario.

    Visionaries

    At the time of the launch, Minister Colle named three visionaries who
epitomize the award and who served as an inspiration for others to follow:
Daniel Iannuzzi, Jean Lumb and Mary Ann Shadd.

    -   Iannuzzi was a pioneer in the media industry. Among his many
        accomplishments, he founded CFMT, the regional multilingual
        television station, in 1979.

    -   Lumb was a tireless community worker who accomplished a number of
        firsts as a Chinese woman in Ontario. Lumb was the first Chinese
        woman on the Board of Governors at Women's College Hospital as well
        as at University Settlement House.

    -   Shadd was a pioneering black lawyer, abolitionist and editor. Born a
        free person, Shadd settled in Windsor in the 1850s and led a movement
        to integrate blacks into the community. Her many accomplishments
        included establishing the first racially-integrated school in Canada.
        Shadd also started the newspaper The Provincial Freeman which made
        her the first female newspaper editor in Canada.

    Selection Process

    A call for submissions went out following the launch. Entries were
received from throughout the province. Following the closing date, they were
reviewed by an independent selection committee made up of community members
involved in helping newcomers and promoting cultural diversity. They are:
Jehad Aliweiwi, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office; Dan Mui, Center for
Information and Community Services of Ontario; Hamlin Grange, DiversiPro Inc;
Doreen Iannuzzi, Multimedia Nova; and youth representative Saeed Selvam.

    Disponible en français

                          www.citizenship.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Michel Payen-Dumont, Communications Branch,
(416) 314-7010

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Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

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