Skills for Change and CIBC Announce Pioneers for Change, a Gala Event Honouring Extraordinary Canadian Immigrants

--The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson Joins Honourees to Voice the Stages of Immigration--

TORONTO, May 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Skills for Change, a not-for-profit agency specializing in employment success for internationally educated professionals, and CIBC are proud to introduce Pioneers for Change, an evening of five short films that will be shot through the eyes of prominent Canadians who have championed immigration issues and played a role in furthering Canada's economic prosperity.

"Film is the perfect medium to tell the stories of the latest generation of Canadian newcomers, giving a face to the people building our future," says Cheryl May, Executive Director of Skills for Change. "Our country's history is all about the struggles and successes of immigrants, and that continues today."

The series is about the stages of immigration:  survival, adaptation, connectedness, acceptance and belonging, which will be filmed by award-winning Canadian directors, some of whom are immigrants or first generation Canadians themselves.

CIBC's ongoing support of Skills for Change reflects why the company is widely recognized as a leader in workplace diversity, and has been given its fifth consecutive ranking as one of the best places in the country for new Canadians to work by the editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers.

"For nearly 20 years, we have been a proud supporter of Skills for Change in honouring and celebrating the many Canadian immigrants who enrich our culture, our communities and of course, our business," says Colette Delaney, Executive Vice President, CIBC. "New Canadians play an important role for the future of our country, and employers need to continue to mirror the diversity we see within our communities."

"The support of the private sector is absolutely vital to create the innovative programs that help put our highly educated and experienced immigrants to work and keep Canada productive and prosperous," says May.

Pioneers for Change will take place on the evening of June 5th at the prestigious TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre and pay tribute to the 2012 Honourees, their families, friends and guests in a celebration of film and music. Each Honouree will speak about his/her experiences as a Canadian immigrant as it relates to one of the stages of immigration.

Pioneers for Change is open to the public and tickets are available through or by contacting Judy Csillag at

The 2012 Pioneers for Change Honourees are:

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson
Co-Founder & Co-Chair, Institute for Canadian Citizenship; former Governor General of Canada

Navin Chandaria
President and CEO, Conros Corporation

Dr. Alejandro (Alex) Jadad
Founder and Chief Innovator, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network and University of Toronto

Vahan Kololian
Managing Partner, TerraNova Partners LP; Co-Founder and Chair, The Mosaic Institute

Toni Silberman
National Vice-Chair, Canadian Race Relations Foundation; National Chair, Commission on Holocaust Education, B'nai Brith Canada; Advisor, The National Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research; Human Rights Activist

Ratna Omidvar - Honourary Patron
President, The Maytree Foundation; Founder, TRIEC; Director, CivicAction Alliance; former Executive Director, Skills for Change

For interview opportunities with Pioneers for Change Honourees, please contact Julia Harper at or 416-504-3977 X25.

About CIBC
CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, and has offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our corporate website at

About Skills for Change
For thirty years, Canadian not-for-profit, Skills for Change, has been providing strategic support and employment solutions to internationally educated professionals, helping people arriving in Canada connect with companies invested in diversity hiring. Courses are developed to assist professionals in obtaining the certification needed to meet Canadian employment standards. Career transitioning for international medical doctors and engineers, technical skills certification for tradespeople and specialized English-as-a-second-language studies are just some of the programs offered. For more information, please visit


For further information:

Julia Harper
Idea Workshop
416-504-3977 x 25
647-330-4706 (cell)

Sean Hamilton
Communications and Public Affairs, CIBC
(416) 304-8456

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