Canadian Immigrant - 2020 July

canadianimmigrant

Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020

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CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020


CONTENTS

Volume 17 Issue 3, 2020

4 FUSION

PROFILE: Entrepreneur Catherine Addai turns her

passion into a six-figure clothing company

NEWS: Canadian Immigrant Web Conference Series,

RBC Top 25 Awards, Solidarity and Commitment to

Diversity and Inclusion

HUMOUR BY HEMETERIO

22 MONEY AND BUSINESS

ENTREPRENEURSHIP: How to become an

independent consultant

TIPS FOR SETTLING IN FASTER: Saving up for

your financial goals

24 RANDOM ACTS OF CANADIAN

Celebrating acts of kindness in challenging times

28 PROFILE

A passion for science: Italian-Canadian scientist and

UBC Professor Carolina Tropini becomes the first

Canadian to win prestigious 2020 Global Scholars

Award in Engineering

8 COVER STORY

Emerging from COVID-19 and

Voices from the community:

Canadian immigrants share their

experiences in these pandemic times

14 CAREERS AND EDUCATION

HIGHER LEARNING: Dealing with the unknowns

CAREER COACH: Five job roles to explore in 2020

20 SETTLEMENT

IMMIGRATION LAW: Preparing for the start of

the school year

WELLNESS: Keep calm and carry on

RECOGNIZE AND QUESTION GENDER

STEROTYPES: Protect young women’s mental health

PARENTING: Maintaining family connections

during the pandemic

4

Catherine Addai

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 3


FUSION

People. News. Information.

VOLUME 17, ISSUE 3

2020

Group Publisher

Sanjay Agnihotri

Editor

Ramya Ramanathan

rramanathan@metroland.com

Editorial Design

Safi Nomani

Digital Media Developer

Kamil Mytnik

Sr. Ad Manager

Ricky (Kawaljit) Bajaj

rbajaj@metroland.com

Tel: 905 273 8170

Assistant Manager

Laura Jackman

ljackman@metroland.com

General Inquiries:

info@canadianimmigrant.ca

Circulation/Distribution Inquiries:

ljackman@metroland.com

ISSN 1910-4146

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect

the opinion of the publisher

Publications mail agreement number:

40065097

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:

3145 Wolfedale Road

Mississauga, Ontario, L5C 3A9

Printed on recycled paper.

Toronto Circulation 30,000 copies

Vancouver Circulation 15,000 copies

Calgary/Edmonton Circulation 5,000 copies

CATHERINE ADDAI

With hustle and heart

By Ramya Ramanathan

Tell us about yourself

I am a designer and CEO of Kaela Kay. I’m also a

wife and mother to three fabulous kids. I was born in

Ghana and my family moved to Amsterdam when I was

three and lived there till I was seven. My mother and I

moved to Canada and I remember turning seven here

in my new country. We came to Canada because we

had family here already and knew we would get family

support.

Tell us about the work you do. What inspires

you?

As a fashion designer and business owner, I am

striving to build a brand and a business with purpose

and stability – one garment at a time. My clothes

focus on using prints native to Ghana but fashioned

into modern North American attire. My team consists

of three seamstresses, an assistant and a marketing

representative – currently all positions are held by

women, a fact that is very important to me. I’m inspired

by women, working moms, boss babes who are striving

to be better and build the lives they want to live – and

do it all looking fabulous. I’m inspired by my heritage

and Ghanaian roots as well as my Canadian upbringing

and exposure to fashion and style. I want, through my

brand, to share my heritage in the prints and share

North American fashion through the styles – a beautiful

blend.

4

Canadian Immigrant is published five

times a year in print. Canadian Immigrant

welcomes submissions, but is not

responsible for unsolicited material.

Canadian Immigrant is a publication of

Metroland Media Group, a division of

Toronto Star Newspapers Limited.

Entire contents property of

Canadian Immigrant.

canadianimmigrant.ca

TORONTO

3145 Wolfedale Road, Mississauga

Ontario, L5C 3A9

Tel: 905 273 8111, Fax: 905 277 9917

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020

Ghana-born Catherine Addai is CEO, designer

and lead stylist of Toronto-based clothing label

Kaela Kay, which she describes as a lifestyle

brand for the modern woman who wants to express her

inner colours in an outward way.

With a degree in health informatics, Addai worked

in the corporate sector for a decade. In 2017, she quit

her job to focus on running her business full-time. Over

the years, she has taught herself to sew, design, manage

people, be a businesswoman – all with no formal

training; as she says with simply “hustle and heart”.

She has turned her passion into a successful six-figure

clothing company.

In April 2019, she opened her flagship retail store

Kaela Kay Fashion Boutique & Design Studio to offer

her customers a place to connect with the fabrics, enjoy

the shopping experience, express their personal style,

and immediately buy and wear African print fashion

and creative fashion. She has won many international

and Canadian fashion awards.

How did you get started as an entrepreneur?

What are you currently working on?

I literally fell into it. My mother bought me a sewing

machine and I started sewing for myself and a few

friends – the rest is herstory. I’m currently working on a

very special but super private project for August as well

as a fall collection. I am learning to navigate the future

of fashion in a pandemic. My boutique has reopened

[after COVID-19] and I’m also focused on bringing

clients back in smoothly and safely.

What is your advice to other immigrant

entrepreneurs?

For me, Canada has been a great place to start my

business especially one with such a cultural focus.

My brand, my aesthetic and style has been very well

received and growing. There are also a lot of great

resources and support, some geared towards immigrant

women in business. So far, whatever information I’ve

needed or looked for, I have found the resource for.

Visit government sites and find out about available

programs and go for it.


news

Canadian Immigrant launches industry-specific

Web Conference Series

Canadian Immigrant has launched a new Web Conference Series –

free, live, industry-specific virtual events, sponsored by Windmill

Microlending, to assist newcomers with information and inspiration in

their specific professions.

With more than one million immigrants coming to Canada in the next

few years, and many more arriving as students and temporary workers, it

is important to help newcomers integrate and succeed in Canada. With

the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 in terms of what the near future

holds, Canadian Immigrant has chosen to support newcomers with an

engaging and insightful virtual series, as we have temporarily put our inperson

large-scale signature fairs across Canada on hold.

Through these webinars, participants can engage in a myriad of career

and personal development experiences, guided and encouraged by

subject matter experts from licensing bodies, educational institutions,

professional associations, skilled facilitators, employers and even

successful immigrants themselves.

Each web conference will cover one specific industry to make it as

informative as possible along with a Q&A to dive deeper into the topics.

The first in the series was held recently, on July 23, 2020, specifically

tailored to internationally educated nurses and featured key speakers from

across Canada who are experts in the industry.

The next event in the series, brought to you by Osgoode Professional

Development, is on August 13, 2020, and will provide information and

advice to internationally trained lawyers, an overview of options available

and a roadmap of how to get there.

The following event on August 23, 2020, brought to you by the

Information and Communications Technology Council, will speak to

opportunities available for IT professionals.

To learn more about upcoming topics, line-up of speakers and how to

join, visit our website at canadianimmigrant.ca/web-conference.

OSGOODE’S

OPTIONS FOR INTERNATIONALLY

TRAINED LAWYERS AND

LAW GRADUATES

Whether you’re looking to get accredited to become licensed to practice law in

Canada, or want exposure to Canadian legal theory and practice, you’ll find the right

program with the support you need at Osgoode.

Register for an upcoming info session webinar to learn more about your options at

osgoodepd.ca/intl-options

Choose from graduate degree and

non-credit programs, including:

· LLM in Canadian Common Law

· LLM in International Business Law

· LLM in Tax Law

· Online NCA Exam Prep

· Certificate in Foundations for

Graduate Legal Studies

· YUELI’s Intensive Advanced Legal

English Program

· Select part-time Professional

LLM degree programs

Canada’s leading legal programs for

internationally trained lawyers and law graduates

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 5


FUSION

Have you cast your vote in the

12th annual RBC Top 25 Canadian

Immigrant Awards?

Top finalists for our 12th annual RBC

Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards

have been announced and voting is now

underway. While the voting phase of these

awards was initially postponed due to

the pandemic, we are excited to be going

forward with an online awards event.

We received hundreds of nominations,

and our judges have had the tough task of

choosing the top 75 finalists from such an inspiring and deserving group of

individuals. Now it’s your turn to help vote for the Top 25 by viewing the

finalists’ outstanding stories and voting for your favourites.

These prestigious national awards have always been a symbol for diversity

and the importance of coming together as Canadians. Now, more than ever,

we need positive stories of Canadians from all walks of life, all cultures and

all regions to show we are all in this together.

All the award winners will be announced on September 8, 2020, on

canadianimmigrant.ca and in the September issue of Canadian Immigrant

magazine. Each winner will also receive a commemorative plaque and $500

will be donated in their name to Windmill Microlending as part of the

$50,000 donation.

This year’s media partners are CityTV, Toronto Star, Metro Newspaper,

Metroland Community papers, Sing Tao and OMNI Television.

You can vote for up to three of your favourite finalists at

canadianimmigrant.ca/rbctop25 until August 7, 2020.

A message of solidarity and commitment to

diversity and inclusion: Editor’s note

By Ramya Ramanathan

At Canadian Immigrant, we tell many heartwarming stories of diversity

and integration. We share success stories of newcomers who’ve made Canada

their home. We speak to experts in various fields who share their advice based

on their own experiences about how newcomers and immigrants can build

vibrant new lives in their adopted home. But, at the same time, we don’t shy

away from spotlighting challenges and issues here in Canada.

We are committed to drawing attention to and coming together as a

community, not just during times like this, with the shocking murder of

George Floyd, but talking about critical issues of integration, diversity and

inclusion on an ongoing basis.

How can we stand in solidarity in fighting racism and discrimination?

How can we empower our communities to share their stories? How can

we ensure that we go beyond our commitment to diversity to focus on

increasing inclusion – in community and social settings and in workplaces?

This does mean change. Often, gender is the only checkbox that is taken

into account – and, it did take us a while to get where we are at (and we

have far to go!). I have often heard from our community and personally, in

boardrooms and meeting rooms, that there needs to be adequate gender

representation. But, when the question of diversity and inclusion arises,

often there is silence.

I have personally witnessed and heard of conversations around

recruitment for senior leadership positions or boards or thought leadership

councils: “We are colour blind” or “Immigrants won’t make the cut for

senior leadership positions” – how do we deal with these situations? How

can we bring these conversations front and centre? How do we ensure a

diversity of voices at the table?

What we need to do is to admit that there are issues. And that it’s okay to

not have the answers. But we have to start making a conscious commitment

to educating ourselves and making change.

It is also clear that we need to focus on inclusion (not just diversity!) in

social circles, political arenas and corporate settings. This means making

sure that decision makers, senior management, boards, committees and

thought leadership councils are all representative of the audiences we serve

and the country we live in.

Tackling racism goes beyond taking a knee at an anti-racism

demonstration. Indeed, this is a systemic issue – yes, even in a big, vibrant

city like Toronto and a country like Canada.

We need to acknowledge that it exists, talk about it and then, do

something about it. The team at Canadian Immigrant is thrilled to see so

many voices raised in our community. Now is the time to take some urgent

action.

Because vibrant, diverse and inclusive communities do not happen

in silence. Nor do they do not happen by accident. They take work, they

require conversations, they need ideas to be challenged and it could also

mean dealing with conflict. And sometimes, unfortunately, it is only when

situations escalate that these conversations come to the forefront. Let’s

keep these conversations going, be willing to believe that as a country, we

are capable of having these difficult conversations and making change.

Real change takes work.

(Thoughts or comments? Send an email to editor@canadianimmigrant.ca)

6

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020


Empower yourself through education

and achieve your career goals.

ashton admission awards 2020/2021

At Ashton College we work hard every day to address the post-secondary education

challenges faced by newcomers to Canada. Without acceptable credentials, career options are

very limited even with years of previous experience abroad.

Our programs and courses are uniquely designed for adult learners who want to maximize

their potential. For the past twenty two years we have been at the forefront in delivering

programs and courses which are accredited, career-focused and relevant to the needs of our

learners. And for the past twelve years we have invested heavily in delivering many of our

programs and courses live online.

The Ashton Admission Awards for 2020/2021 are designed to help deserving students further

their post-secondary education.

find out if you’re eligible at

ashtoncollege.ca/AWARDS

Now’s The Time To Study Live Online

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COVER STORY

EMERGING

FROM

COVID-19

Canadian immigrants share their experiences

during these pandemic times

By Baisakhi Roy

As the world continues to learn to deal with the COVID-19

pandemic, the newcomer and immigrant communities in

Canada are facing unique challenges of their own and finding

ways to cope.

While more recent arrivals to Canada are learning to deal with new

jobs, paying rent, income insecurity and building a social network in this

environment of social distancing, some more established immigrants

are working hard to keep their businesses going. The challenges created

by the pandemic have led to new government assistance programs,

a focus on mental health and innovative offerings from settlement

agencies serving immigrants.

Working through a lockdown

Kandiller acknowledges that she is luckier than most in finding

employment in the field of her choice and that both she and her

husband, Yigit, have had the benefit of government support.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on employment in

Canada, with over one million jobs lost in March alone. In response,

in April, the federal government created the Canada Emergency

Response Benefit (CERB), providing $2,000 every four weeks to

those have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19. If the

situation continues, those who are eligible can re-apply for CERB

every four weeks, for up to a total of 24 weeks till October 2020.

Yigit is also able to access the Canada Emergency Student Benefit

(CESB), also launched in April, which provides financial support to

post-secondary students and recent post-secondary and high school

Like many parents, Ukranian-born Oksana Kandiller has found

it hard to respond to her three-year-old asking when she’d be able

to meet her friends at daycare again. Kandiller, her husband and

daughter moved to Canada in October 2019 and were just about

settling down into their new lives when the lockdown happened.

“The hardest part of this entire experience so far has been that

my husband and I haven’t been able to give our child the attention

she craves and deserves at this age,” says Kandiller. With daycares

shut, the couple is struggling to keep up with office work, studies

and household chores, not to mention keeping their child in good

spirits. “She’s a very sociable kid and fits in very well at her daycare.

She misses her friends and when she asks us tearfully when all this will

end, we have no answers for her. It’s hard,” she says.

Kandiller recently found a job as a finance manager with a Toronto

non-profit, Aangen, while her husband started an online course in

logistics and supply chain management at Seneca College. Finding

the job through the Chance for Change Program at Aangen, a

program which supports marginalized members of the community

by providing them with job opportunities, was a godsend for her.

Oksana Kandiller with her husband Yigit

8

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020


graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.

“The CESB support that my husband secured was especially useful.

He got it at the end of May and it was the first month when we were

able to pay our bills without dipping into our savings,” says Kandiller.

The family is hoping that schools will reopen safely for the sake of

their daughter who is excited for junior kindergarten in September

and that Yigit will land a stable, well-paying job when his course ends

in August.

Pivoting in a pandemic

Stunning photos of aesthetically-plated cuisine make Sri Lankanborn

chef Muralitharan Thamba’s Instagram account a delight. Based

in Ajax, Ontario, Thamba has been running a successful catering

business, Brindleberry, for the last few years. However, the pandemic

has forced him to cancel more than 20 events including weddings and

receptions, resulting in losses that amounted to hundreds of dollars.

“For the past four years we had made a mark when it came to

major events…. This pandemic has been tricky and problematic for

not just me but for everyone who is trying to operate a small business,

regardless of the industry. But, despite all the obstacles the pandemic

brought on, this crisis gave my team and me an opportunity to explore

avenues that we hadn’t considered in the past.”

Thamba and his team had to pivot quickly to save the business that

he’s set up with so much love and passion.

The catering service started providing their customers with

delivery and pick-up options for pre-orders. It also benefited from

the timely relief provided by the Canada Emergency Commercial

Rent Assistance program (CECRA) – a benefit for small businesses

in Ontario that will help those impacted by the pandemic keep afloat

until the economy reopens fully. Under this program, Thamba has to

pay only 25 per cent of the rent for April to July.

His team has not only started on the road to recovery but is also

giving back to the community. “We at Brindleberry, have partnered

up with various local organizations in the community and have been

assisting with preparing over 1,000 meals for frontline workers to

date. This gives me and my team the satisfaction of being able to help

out in a time of need for those that risk everything to help the country

get back to where it once was,” he says.

Staying social virtually

For most immigrants and newcomers in Canada, community

centres, libraries, and recreation and cultural centres are a lifeline

that connects them to the community at large. These venues serve

as a safe space for sharing their experiences, meeting mentors,

participating in social and cultural programs and getting familiar with

their neighbourhood.

With the country going into lockdown mode in March, immigrants

experienced an acute sense of loss and disconnection. Though some

libraries in Toronto and the GTA have now started to offer online

versions of their in-person programs, services are not back up to a

100 per cent.

Settlement agencies have taken their services online to keep the

social connection alive.

“For immigrant families, there is already a sense of disconnect

when they come to a new country – everything is new, some are

Muralitharan Thamba

not familiar with English and now with this pandemic, this sense of

isolation and loneliness is heightened,” says Hui Geng, manager of

the Canada Connects program at North York Community House

(NYCH), an agency supporting newcomers with their settlement in

many ways and helping them feel at home in Canada.

The organization’s social mentorship program has been connecting

established volunteers with newcomers so that they may practise

their English-speaking skills through Zoom meetings. The fact that

these seasoned volunteers are immigrants themselves makes it easier

for newcomers to connect beyond just learning; they are able to open

up about their feelings.

A recent Statistics Canada report revealed that immigrants were

more likely than Canadian-born individuals to have higher levels

of concern about preserving social ties (44 per cent vs. 30 per cent)

and about the ability to support one another during and after the

pandemic.

It’s not surprising then that a popular program at NYCH is the

virtual conversation circle.

In April, COVID, and the fears and concerns surrounding it, was

a hot topic.

However, it’s not all serious conversations. Fridays are reserved

for virtual tours to popular Canadian destinations or virtual movie

nights, giving participants a great opportunity to break the cycle of

isolation.

Kandiller, who does not have extended family in Canada,

understands this need to seek out community during this time.

“We as a family have started valuing social connections so much

right now, since we’ve not had it for almost three months!” she

says. “Now we have ventured out gradually, made some friends in

the neighbourhood, and our kids are playing together—socially

distanced, but it’s something.

“On Canada Day, we went to Niagara Falls, our first trip since we

came to Canada,” she adds. “It was a dream come true. Once this is

over, I will chase every opportunity to go out!”.

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 9


COVER STORY

Voices from the

community

By Ramya Ramanathan

As they say, every crisis brings with it a new opportunity to adapt

and grow. Here are some diverse voices from the community

sharing their own unique stories in these pandemic times.

Ghaidaa Arbash was originally a pediatrician in her native Syria.

That expert knowledge of both health and children is helping her to

ensure the families she works with, through her job at WoodGreen

Community Services, are well supported during the COVID-19

pandemic.

Arbash and her husband moved to Canada in May 2012, when

her first daughter was three years old and she was five months

pregnant with her second daughter. “We chose Canada because we

wanted to raise our daughters in a safe, developed and supportive

community,” she says.

Arbash is committed to helping others who have made Canada

their home. She usually supports refugee families in need, from

in-person workshops to providing support with their citizenship

tests to helping them navigate the often-confusing government and

financial systems in a new country.

GHAIDAA ARBASH, family support worker,

WoodGreen Community Services

The pandemic has changed all that – no longer able to meet her

clients in person at the WoodGreen office or local libraries, she is

doing everything she can to ensure they continue to be supported

through this challenging time.

Arbash has pivoted to helping virtually – walking clients step-bystep

on how to apply for government benefits, translating complex

COVID-19 health information into Arabic, ensuring families can

10

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020


IT’S TIME

TO VOTE!

We received hundreds of truly inspiring nominations

for Canadian immigrants who have made a

significant impact since their arrival. Now it's

your turn to help choose this year's winners.

VOTE TODAY

canadianimmigrant.ca/rbctop25

Voting ends August 7th

Title sponsor: Presented by: Media sponsors:


COVER STORY

get their kids connected to online learning and organizing online

workshops and conference calls about how to access resources and

supports.

The situation has been challenging to her clients. “On top of the

personal challenges that everybody has, like adapting to the online

learning and quarantine, my clients lost their connections with the

governmental support channels and most of them were in fear and

stress because of the environment of uncertainty. In addition, some

of them lost their jobs.”

When she’s not connecting with clients online, she’s ensuring

newcomer seniors and others get the groceries and vital supplies

they need while in isolation. As an immigrant herself, Arbash can

relate to her clients’ struggles and is going the extra mile to ensure

they all have what they need to weather this crisis.

Arbash sees opportunities for learning as we emerge from these

times of COVID both at the community and professional level.

“On the community level, I think we proved that Canadians are

very supportive of each other, very responsible, and caring…at the

professional level, I think we need to better integrate with online

support programs. Web-based meetings may sometimes have a

better chance of attendance and more options of presentation.”

What makes her work meaningful to her is being able to help

vulnerable people through difficult times.

“It is an amazing feeling when you can do something for people

who are really confused and support them with all struggles that

they have as newcomers,” she says.

Kao is working with a group of immigrant women in B.C., sewing

cloth facemasks to help in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These entrepreneurial seamstresses are members of a sewing

business collective called Sewmates Craft, a part of the Intercultural

Women’s Maker Society.

The Cloth Facemask Initiative came together within days after the

women had their first virtual team meeting on March 25, soon after

the start of the pandemic in Canada. Research was done, sewing

machines came out, patterns were created and the women started

sewing masks — each from their individual homes.

As of mid-July, the sewing collective has already made and delivered

more than 2,700 cloth facemasks to vulnerable communities and

those in need who wouldn’t have access to medical masks. The plan

is now to call for donations so they can get the masks to designated

care home facilities and/or homeless shelters.

“Sewmates Craft members are genuinely appreciative of being

able to offer something in the COVID situation. By helping the

community, the group also implemented the whole business

operation process in this initiative, including product development,

promotion/marketing, production, delivery/logistics and accounting

practices. It’s a precious experience for a new business collective. The

sales from individual orders and designated donations are able to

cover the cost of fabrics, supplies and some of the members’ hours.

In the busy weeks, members were making 200-300 clothmasks per

week,” says Kao.

“Empowering immigrant women to become self-employed

is a passion of mine,” says Kao. “And I couldn’t be prouder of

this amazing group of women, who come from different cultural

backgrounds, for using their sewing skills for the greater good in

these difficult times.”

Taiwan-born Kao came to Canada in 2007 with a world of

experience as a senior human resources manager. But like many

internationally trained professionals, she found herself starting her

career over after immigrating to Metro Vancouver with her family.

Now Kao helps newcomers with their business ventures.

While these masks are not replacements for surgical or N95

masks, which are in extremely high-demand for health care workers,

such cloth masks are gaining popularity globally. According to BC

Centre for Disease Control, the virus is transmitted via droplets

when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A mask can act as a

barrier to help keep a person’s droplets in.

Dr. Harpreet Singh Bajaj is very invested in ensuring better

health care for the community, especially in a time like this pandemic,

as the medical profession braces for whatever comes next.

FLORENCE KAO, Employment Specialist,

DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society

Florence Kao says she’s someone who never gives up. “I always

look for solutions, instead of problems,” says Florence, who

works with B.C.-based immigrant-serving agency, DIVERSEcity

Community Resources Society.

Kao has found a way to use both her professional experience

and her sewing skills to find solutions to the problems caused by

COVID-19.

His specialization is in endocrinology – which means seeing

people with diabetes and other hormonal problems. People with

diabetes have a higher risk of severe infection with COVID-19 and

are required to take more precautions.

Dr. Bajaj has adapted his clinic to the new environment and

consults with patients over the phone and video and sees patients

who need to be seen. He believes it is important to provide patients

with a continuity of care, educate them and also, help them adopt

technology.

“I encourage patients to use new apps. For instance, with an app,

12

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020


DR. HARPREET SINGH BAJAJ, Endocrinologist and

Director of LMC Healthcare, Canada

their glucose readings can be shared with me, and I can look at their

readings and adjust medication if I need to,” he says.

Born in India, trained in India and the US, Dr. Bajaj started

his endocrinology practice with LMC Brampton in 2009 after he

immigrated to Canada with his family. Today, he is also the Founder

of the “STOP Diabetes” Foundation, volunteers as Vice Chair at

Diabetes Canada and a Principal Investigator, Canadian Diabetes

Prevention Program, among other things.

He urges members of the community to visit the Diabetes Canada

website for information about COVID-19.

“At Diabetes Canada, we have worked to provide information

related to COVID-19, including a FAQs document available on

the website, in addition to developing ‘ask the expert’ videos about

COVID-19 and diabetes,” he says.

Recently, Dr. Bajaj collaborated with the University of Toronto

to produce information to help family doctors manage patients

with diabetes during COVID-19. What lab tests or exams should

they focus on, what should they defer to a different timeline, what

are risks associated with COVID-19, what counselling services are

available?

MEANS ALL

omnitv.ca

Dr. Bajaj also hosts a weekly Monday night show on Channel Y

(which can also be accessed via YouTube) on behalf of the Stop

Diabetes Foundation, in Hindi and Punjabi, to educate the

community about COVID-19 in general and the link between

diabetes and COVD-19.

Dr. Bajaj’s advice to the community is to pay attention to advice

from reliable sources.

“Most immigrants are taking the right precautions and know the

risks. Continue to do so. Read, know and follow advice that comes

from public health agencies from the different provinces. There are

a lot of different channels where people get advice – social media

has a lot of misinformation.” On the other hand, he believes health

care professionals should adapt to the situation.

“Education is key. Providing information at the level that patients

need it at is necessary.” he says.

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 13


CAREERS & EDUCATION

Dealing with the unknowns

Advice for students on managing the impact of the virus

There is no doubt the worldwide

coronavirus pandemic has

upended plans for postsecondary

students. The impact can

be felt academically, socially and

financially. While plans and delivery

modes of academics may vary,

the result is bound to increase the

number of unknowns for students.

While some stress can be expected

at the post-secondary level due

to exams and new challenges, the

current environment makes the

usual worries pale in comparison. As

a student, there are some things you

can do to manage your worries and

get support from your school.

Find ways to help yourself

As a post-secondary student,

you are bound to go through many

different feelings. The coronavirus

has brought significant changes

to school life and many of them

are clearly ones you may not have

anticipated. While it is not yet

clear what post-secondary school

will look like in 2020-2021, it will

likely be different from what you

imagined and planned for. There

may be disappointment caused by

curtailed socializing and cancelled

events, isolation and loneliness, and

confusion on where to get good

information on school services,

facilities and academic regulations.

Contact with faculty will be different

and the customary ways of doing

things modified.

For first-year students, the

challenges are compounded as they

are not familiar with the lay of the

land at their school and may not know

how to ask for help. Familiarizing

themselves with the school’s website,

attending online orientations, and

asking questions will be crucial to

learning how to navigate school.

Maintaining academic standing

as well as physical and mental health

New to Canada?

Working in Technology?

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POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION

will be more important than ever.

You will need to take control of your

academic work, find time for regular

exercise, keep a good sleep schedule

and eat healthy without giving

yourself too much grief for slip-ups.

Staying connected with family and

friends and making the most of new

connections where you find them

will be very important. Although you

will be busy with academic work, you

will not want to eliminate sports,

interests and activities that give you

pleasure and add meaning to your

life.

Finding some volunteer work

may help you get perspective and

increase your sense of connection

during this time. Staying hopeful,

energized and positive will fall fully

on your shoulders. But you can also

look to your school for some help.

Most colleges and universities will

continue to offer counselling through

phone or video, so you don’t have to

do it all alone.

Look to your school for help

Most schools and student

associations have well developed

student support services including

counselling, academic advising,

career centres, tutoring, writing

centres, health providers and

other supports commonly used by

students.

Although the coronavirus may

change the way these services are

now delivered, help will still be

available even if it means being

referred to other services outside the

school. When you find yourself in

need, let the school do what they can.

The staff at school are professionals

who are experienced in dealing with

post-secondary students. While

there is a lot of information on the

internet, you want to be careful who

you listen to. Misinformation can

be detrimental to your wellbeing

whether it be academic, health,

financial or otherwise.

Even if you’re not physically at

school, you may still be able to find

ways to connect with other students.

Although opportunities to interact

with others is more limited, the

school’s student association, student

life department, peer centre and the

counselling office may continue to

offer online events and activities to

help keep you connected to others.

Examples of online events may

be trivia games, scavenger hunts,

mindfulness and yoga sessions,

wellness groups, workshops and

more. There may also be drop-in

times where you can chat with staff

and/or students about any questions

you might have or anything you

have on your mind. While it is more

challenging to feel connected, there

are ways to reduce isolation while

you study remotely.

The pandemic has created less than

ideal situations for post-secondary

students and no one can say when

they will improve, much less when

they might go back to what we knew

as normal. With your own efforts

and the resources of post-secondary

schools, you can move forward in

your academic and career goals.

You may still be able to learn, earn

credits, get help with your career and

job search, grow through personal

counselling and meet new people,

even online. School without the full

experience may be a disappointment

but given the current health,

economic and financial crisis, it may

have to be enough.

For some students, there may be

even some silver linings to be found

such as no more long commutes,

reduced travel costs, the preference

for online learning and the possibility

of surprises as professors tackle

teaching in new ways.

14

Immigration, Refugees

and Citizenship Canada

Immigration, Réfugiés

et Citoyenneté Canada

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020

Geneviève Beaupré and Susan Qadeer have

extensive experience working in university and

college settings, providing career, academic

and personal counselling to international and

immigrant students.


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CAREER COACH

5 Job roles to explore in 2020

In-demand skills that can be mastered online

raw materials, production and distribution of

consumer products.

With the emergence of e-commerce players

like Amazon and Zappos, logistics have

never been more important, thus those with

knowledge of logistics will be in high demand.

4

CAREERS & EDUCATION

Online marketing

Every major business area has embraced

online marketing and it is definitely the future.

More than ever, businesses need people who

understand the landscape of online marketing,

which covers social media, Search Engine

Optimization (SEO), content marketing,

blogging, email marketing and more.

Let’s face it. The pandemic is continuing to

reshape society and the way we live and

do things. The world of work, especially,

has been altered in ways we could never have

imagined. To emerge stronger from the crisis,

it is imperative for each one of us to start

reskilling and to adapt to the post-pandemic

ways of working.

Remember, remote working was gaining

currency even before the crisis, but the

pandemic is actually accelerating the need

to enhance skills. So you can make a choice

right now. You can simply resist or accept

this new normal and wholeheartedly embrace

technology. As Indiana Jones Senior tells Junior,

“Choose wisely”.

The truth is that there are thousands of job

vacancies available right now if you possess

the right skill sets. What’s more, many of these

skills can be acquired through online courses

– so you can learn from the confines of your

own home. Here are five career choices to help

you emerge stronger and add more durability to

your career.

1

Big data, statistics and data analysis

Big data is now the next frontier for

business innovation. With advances in

technology, the amount of data available is

growing exponentially, and it’s sweeping into

most sectors and businesses.

Thus, companies and individuals that are

able to harness, organize and analyze these

mega-sets of data stand to benefit greatly.

Consequently, a strong foundation in statistics

and data analysis is extremely valuable.

2

Local to cloud computing

One of the major changes in technology

is the move from local hosting to cloud-hosted

services. You may be familiar with some of the

major buzzwords like virtualization, software

as a service and so on. What all this means is

that the demand for cloud computing across

industry verticals is fast rising and you can

capitalize on it.

3

Supply chain management on digital

platforms

The science of supply chain management or

logistics is a crucial tool for product-based

companies. The supply chain manager is

tasked with minimizing the cost of sourcing

If you pick one area and become an expert in

it, you will definitely be a valuable asset. Once

again, there are excellent online resources to get

you started in digital marketing.

5

Apps and programming languages

Desktops and laptops are getting faster

and smaller, and more and more applications

are coming out that make our lives easier.

People are choosing new apps for their personal

computers and smartphones, so it’s no surprise

that the demand for programmers is sky-high.

You can choose from a variety of programming

languages. Even specializing in any one is

enough to get you in the door for an entry-level

job. You can even learn to code interactively

with many of the online resources, some free

and some offered by reputed universities.

Your future career may be right on your

desktop.

Prepare yourself for the new job world by

acquiring skills that are in demand now. The

skills mentioned above are just the tip of the

iceberg. With a little research, you can probably

uncover some other in-demand skill sets that

suit you.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick your

passion, upgrade yourself and go get that dream

job!

Murali Murthy is an acclaimed public speaker, life coach and best-selling author of The

ACE Principle, The ACE Awakening, The ACE Abundance and You Are HIRED!. He is also

chairperson of CAMP Networking Canada. Learn how he can help unlock your magic

at unleashyourwow.com.

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 17


SETTLEMENT

IMMIGRATION LAW

Preparing for the start of the school year

What does the academic future hold for international students?

they must remain in their place of residence, and arrange for items, like

groceries, to be delivered to them.

Online Courses

IRCC has modified its Post-Graduate Work Permit Program so that

those who are taking online-only courses remain eligible for a work

permit upon graduation.

As well, those who have study permits, or who have been approved for

study permits, but who cannot travel to Canada, will be eligible for a postgraduate

work permit.

In the above situations, students may begin their classes while outside of

Canada and complete up to 50 per cent of their program while outside of

Canada due to an inability to travel, and still be eligible for a work permit.

Students who complete the fall 2020 semester from outside of Canada

will not have this time deducted from the duration of their post-graduate

work permit.

As the summer nears to an end, students will be preparing for the

start of the school year. They will be double checking that they have

the most recent version of Zoom on their computers, and possibly

upgrading their home internet. COVID-19 has impacted everyone, and

international students have especially been left wondering what their

academic future in Canada holds.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has, in response

to COVID-19, implemented several public policies that international

students should know about. Most of them can be found on the IRCC

website under the ‘Visitors, foreign workers and students’ and ‘Study

permit: COVID-19 program delivery’ sections.

Prospective and current international students should check the above

webpages daily. The date that the webpage was last modified can be found

at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately, IRCC updates its COVID-19

policies through stealth editing (i.e. reworking articles without notice that

the content has been changed), so it may be advisable to save the webpage

to PDF to track changes.

Here are some of the key measures.

Restrictions on travelling to Canada

As of July 15, 2020, international students who have a valid study permit,

or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, can

travel to Canada for a non-discretionary purpose.

In determining whether a student’s travel to Canada is non-discretionary,

the Canada Border Services Agency will consider whether they are

established as residing and studying in Canada, whether they are expected to

begin studying upon arrival, whether their presence in Canada is necessary

for their continued participation in their program, whether pursuing online

studies is not an option for their school or from their home country, and

whether the semester has been cancelled or delayed.

Those who are travelling by air need to pass a health check conducted

by an airline before they will be allowed to board their flight. Anyone

showing signs of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board their flight. After

arriving they will need to quarantine for 14 days. During this period,

18

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020

Working while in school

IRCC has implemented a public policy to allow full-time students to

work off-campus if COVID-19 has resulted in them becoming part-time

students. Such students can work up to 20 hours per week during the

academic session, and full-time during scheduled breaks in the academic

year.

Students are allowed to work more than 20 hours if they are a study

permit holder, are eligible to work off campus, and are providing an

essential service. Public Safety Canada has provided guidance on what

constitutes essential services, and it pertains to specific services in 10

areas of critical infrastructure, including Energy and Utilities, Information

and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water,

Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing.

Processing

Perhaps the biggest question that most study permit applicants have is

when will their applications be processed. This, unfortunately, remains

uncertain. However, on July 14, 2020, Marco Mendicino, the Minister of

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, announced that IRCC

would be providing priority study-permit processing for those who have

applied online. Meanwhile, on July 20, 2020, IRCC announced that there

are no measures in place to provide for expedited processing of study

permit applications.

The department is also looking in to turning the study permit

application process into a two-stage approval process that will provide

pre-approvals to students so that they can start their programs abroad

with the confidence that their study permit applications will ultimately

be approved.

However, as per IRCC, it is important for prospective students to note

that commencing their studies online from abroad following approvalin-principle

of a study permit application is not a guarantee that they will

receive a full approval of their study permit application, or be authorized

to pursue their studies in Canada.

As with almost everything during COVID-19, the result is uncertainty.

Hopefully IRCC’s efforts to present welcoming and facilitative messaging

and policies will translate into flexibility at the individual officer level.

Steven Meurrens is an immigration lawyer with Larlee

Rosenberg in Vancouver. Contact him at 604-681-9887,

by email at steven.meurrens@larlee.com, or visit his blog at

smeurrens.com.


The year 2020 is fast becoming one we will always remember. A

year that will be recorded in the history books as that of the global

COVID-19 pandemic. A time of crisis, challenge, change, uncertainty,

cancellations, loss, trauma, sickness, death, grief, chaos, stress – all in epic

proportions.

As we celebrated the start of a new year, and considered our dreams, goals

and intentions, who knew that in just a couple of months, a deadly virus

would have such a devastating and immediate impact on our lives and our

economy. While we hoped it would be gone after a few weeks, we are now

facing the grim reality that the coronavirus will be with us for much longer

than any of us anticipated.

The future is not going to be what we thought it would be a few months ago.

WELLNESS

Keep calm and carry on

Virus or no virus, make the best of your summer

SETTLEMENT

Focus on what we can do, rather than what we cannot do

Summer rituals and traditions have been postponed this year. There are no

big events, large gatherings or celebrations. Travel restrictions and physical

distancing remain in place. Masks and hand sanitizers are this year’s ‘musthave’

accessories. Does all this mean that our summer is cancelled? Or that

fun is off the menu?

For small businesses in tourist hotspots or those working in the hospitality

industry, it may feel like summer is cancelled. For the rest of us, it is important

to focus on what we can do, rather than what we cannot do. What we have,

rather than what is lost.

We have seen a tremendous amount of creativity during this pandemic

as people shift, pivot and adjust. If we adjust our expectations and use our

imagination to find ways to enjoy what is available to us, then it is possible to get

a summer break. Life can be short – it is important we make the best of what

we have. Time moves on, virus or no virus, and we will not get this time back.

So, we can choose to sleepwalk through the summer, wishing it were different,

complaining about it, or we can accept the ‘new normal’ and navigate around it.

The latter will give our mental health the summer vacation it needs and ensure

we do not end up burnt out by the time September comes around.

you engage with your various devices and apps (especially those that

distract and hijack your time and focus). Less is more.

I once heard someone say, “Each morning, the moment you take your head

off the pillow, you have all you need”. A sobering thought that offers us some

perspective.

Our summer may not be the one we had hoped for, but it is certainly not

cancelled and neither does it have to be lost.

Hazel Morley has worked as a trainer, facilitator and coach for

more than 25 years, in England and after immigrating to Canada

in 2009. After her own personal health crisis, she shifted gears

to focus on strategies for enjoying optimal health.

Find ways to support yourself

Staying healthy – physically and emotionally, remains a priority, even

through the summer. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security with

warmer weather, fewer COVID cases and easing of restrictions. A strong

immune system remains our best defence again infection. Here are six basic

ways to support yourself:

1. Exercise or movement – ideally outside, and close to nature. Choose

something that brings you joy and does not require a lot of effort or

resources to get started or maintain. Move throughout the day – little and

often can be more beneficial than intense, infrequent exercise.

2. Connection – to people who lift your spirits, inspire, energize, encourage,

love, help and support you. In turn, you can do the same for them.

3. Nutrition – eat more vegetables and fruits, whatever is in season. Eat

the colours of the rainbow. Include anti-viral foods/herbs such as garlic,

ginger, oregano, sage, basil. Minimize processed, refined, sugar-laden

food and drinks. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

4. Sleep – reduce screen time an hour before bedtime. Limit stimulants like

caffeine and alcohol. Avoid intense exercise within four hours of bedtime.

Keep your room dark and well ventilated.

5. Meditation/mindfulness – breathe deeply and slowly, from your belly

not your chest. Stay calm, find peace of mind. Be present. Be compassionate

with yourself and others. Practice gratitude.

6. Digital detox – periodically, disconnect from technology. Learn to be

selective and intentional with your online time and pay attention to how

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 19


SETTLEMENT

Gender stereotypes create

barriers that can prevent

people from reaching their

true potential. It can lead to a lot

of harm and cause mental health

problems. The stereotypes are

simplistic over-generalizations or

preconceived ideas about gender

attributes, differences and roles of

individuals or groups in society.

Stereotypes such as boys are strong

and girls are weak, boys play with

trucks and girls with dolls, start

very early. Every day our girls could

be encountering these messages

from parents, peers, media and

institutions.

In Canada, various surveys

conducted nationally and

provincially, indicate that more

girls aged 10-17 are hospitalized

for mental disorders than boys

the same age. According to data

released by Statistics Canada in

2017, suicide among teen girls and

young women is on the rise, while

male suicide in the same age group

declined. Prevalence of higher rates

of depression and self-harm in girls

among racialized communities,

Aboriginal population and

immigrants also suggest the

vulnerabilities and multiple layers

of oppression experienced by them.

Stereotypical expectations not

only reflect existing differences,

but also impact the way men and

women define themselves and are

20

Recognize and question gender stereotypes

Protect young women’s mental health

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020

treated by others. Globally, the

negative and oppressive impact

of gender stereotypes on girls can

make them victims of gender-based

violence, early marriages, teen

pregnancies, among other things,

and lead to poor physical health and

mental health problems.

Here are three stereotypes

that are particularly damaging

to emotional well-being and

suggestions on how to deal with

them.

1. Girls as emotional

There are differences in how girls

and boys express their emotions;

however, the stereotype that girls

are emotional can lead parents to

dismiss the emotional outbursts

and mood swings experienced as

attention seeking.

It is important that parents and

professionals listen carefully, and

adequate, early attention and

proper treatment is prescribed

without maintaining the implicit

bias that feelings and emotions are

not to be taken seriously. Teach

them to express themselves in

healthy ways.

2. Girls as vulnerable and weak

When girls are perceived as

vulnerable, families can end up

restricting their freedom, mobility

and access to various activities and

skills. As they attain puberty, the

notion becomes more deep-rooted

and sex segregation is promoted

with the aim of preserving a girl’s

sexuality and protection from

violence.

Communities should realize that

empowering girls and providing them

with the tools to support themselves,

take risks and communicate their

feelings effectively is important

for them to be able to engage fully

in society. Encourage girls to be

physically active, participate in

sports and groups such as Girl

Guides of Canada to connect and

develop self-esteem and strength to

stand up for themselves. What they

learn is what they will pass on to

future generations.

3. Girls as objects valued for

their looks

Extensive stereotyping as

perpetuated by media and

community about the desirable

feminine look puts intense pressure

on girls to look pretty. Hyper

sexualization and objectification of

women in TV shows, music videos,

social media and advertisements

encourages a passive culture of

tolerance for exploitation and

violence against women. When

victims experience feelings of

shame, self-loathing and reduced

self-esteem it may result in eating

disorders, anxiety, depression and

self-harm.

Introduce the girls in your

community to powerful female

role models. Help them to explore

other healthy ways of coping and

encourage them to speak up when

they are not comfortable. Strengthen

their identities and create safe

space.

In my work with immigrant girls

who were referred for emotional

issues, relationship problems and

school-related concerns, I have had

the opportunity to see firsthand,

the role of gender stereotypes in

shaping their beliefs, attitudes and

self-concept. Pressures to conform,

bullying and shaming for nonconforming

can push many girls to

withdraw, get frustrated and resort

to poor decision-making.

There are number of complex

factors that interact, and contribute

to mental health problems in girls

and gender stereotypes put them at

specific mental health risks.

We need to recognize and

question these stereotypes as early

as possible to help our girls achieve

their true potential. Studies have

shown that these generalizations

are internalized by children as early

as age 10. We have to teach them

to value themselves and develop

authentic personalities early in

life. This will help them develop

their personal abilities and pursue

career paths in line with their

interests, even if it doesn’t align

with traditional expectations.

In addition to empowering girls

through workshops and education

on various topics, ongoing parent

education workshops on gender

norms and gender-based violence

can be facilitated to support and

promote wellness and change.

Change needs to happen at all

levels and systems. But, parents, it

starts from us.

Nandini Tirumala is a mental health wellness coach, educator

and advocate with 25 years of experience in Canada with a

special focus on mental health support services for newcomers

and immigrant families.


Due to the global pandemic,

connecting your children with

extended family members

such as grandparents can be

challenging. While it might not be

possible to visit or even make plans

to visit those near and far, there are

many ways that we can maintain

meaningful connections.

Ways to connect

Explore virtual connections: There

are many digital apps that families

can use to connect virtually and

spend quality time with loved ones.

Some apps include features such as

video calls, text messages and sharing

images which can be very useful in

staying connected. Even if it’s not real

time, recorded video messages can

brighten someone’s day.

Consider snail mail: There is

something special about sending

and receiving something tangible

from our loved ones. While there

might be an additional cost to

mailing letters and packages, the

cost is well worth it.

Plan an in-person visit: Are you

fortunate enough to have your

grandparents live nearby? If so,

do follow public health agency

recommendations to connect with

grandparents in safe ways, such as

meeting outdoors or sitting out in

the backyard, when you go to visit.

Whatever you do, practice social

distancing.

Activity ideas

• Include extended families in

celebrating milestones online,

such as birthdays, anniversaries,

class graduations – the many firsts

in a child’s life.

• Document and share a day in your

life or special moments, or your

memories of family members,

in the form of photographs,

video recordings or scrapbooks

with the children.

• Teach each other something new,

such as teaching grandparents

to use technology or grandparents

teaching children their family

PARENTING

language.

• Share family stories, culture and

history in the form of oral

storytelling or written stories.

• Write and/or sing songs to each

other. Have an online singing

concert with extended family

members or sing a lullaby online to

young toddlers before bedtime.

• Share experiences by doing

something together, such as

playing an online chess game.

• Find new ways to interact and

connect with each other, such

as telling jokes; send and decode

secret messages; or play treasure

hunt, trivia, memory games or

other educational games.

• Read to each other virtually.

Alternatively, ask extended family

members to record themselves

telling or reading stories and play it

to your children, so they can watch

SETTLEMENT

Maintaining family connections during the pandemic

Find meaningful ways to keep children connected with extended family members

it over and over again.

• Find creative ways other than

language to communicate, to

develop special bonds between

grandchildren and grandparents,

such as using photos, drawings,

dance and music, and special secret

greetings.

• Find ways to do some volunteer

work as a family, to give back and

help others in the community. It

can be as simple as brightening

up the lives of isolated seniors with

pen pal projects or helping out at

local food bank.

During the pandemic, it is

more important than ever to find

meaningful ways to connect with

extended families. Remember to make

connecting with grandparents or

extended family members a priority

and incorporate it into your life.

Cheryl Song, an immigrant from Malaysia, has more than

20 years’ experience of working in early learning and family

programs. Contact her at cheryl@learnwithsong.com or visit her

website at learnwithsong.com.

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CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 21


MONEY & BUSINESS

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

How to become an independent consultant

Seven questions to ask yourself before you jump

into your entrepreneurial adventure

Becoming an independent consultant is a big

decision that will influence your lifestyle in

many ways. Depending on your personal

situation and your industry, there are aspects

that you need to think about before deciding to

jump into an entrepreneurial adventure.

After close to a decade as a SAP consultant,

I took a leap of faith and created ERP Happy

to change the way CRM and ERP solutions are

implemented. Based on my personal experience,

here are some questions to ask yourself if you

want to become an independent consultant:

1. What type of consultant do you want

to be?

Some consultants are solopreneurs, while

others are small business owners. You have to

decide whether or not you want to fly solo or

want a partner with whom you will create a small

boutique firm. What a lot of people do is start solo

and find a partner with complementary skills

along the way. I am personally a solopreneur

who works with external partners.

2. Have you talked about it with your

relatives?

This is a crucial step. You need to discuss with

your family the fact that your revenue, even

though it may increase, may become unstable.

In addition, you might be without income while

setting up your business and will have to plan

for that. Your working hours might be longer,

your vacation may disappear or be shorter. It’s

a hard but much-needed conversation with your

22

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020

spouse, children and/or parents.

3. Which problem you want to solve or

what solution do you want to provide?

As an independent consultant, you have to

be very clear about the value that you provide

to your clients. For that, you need to determine

which problem(s) you solve or which solution(s)

you provide. In my case, a lot of manufacturing

and service companies waste time and money

because their processes are not documented,

properly applied and systems don’t fit what those

organizations need. I solve it by putting in place

appropriate processes and systems so that they

become more profitable.

4. Is your market a blue or a red ocean?

Is your market crowded by competitors

trying to eat up each other’s market share (i.e.

what is called a red ocean)? Or is it a market in

which the supply of your services is much lower

than the demand (i.e. a blue ocean)? Do your

analysis accordingly. Think about the effect

on the industry of your entry into the market.

Will you be in a position to serve one or several

clients? Will your prices be undercut by your

competitors? Can you put yourself in a position

in which you can set your own prices? Always

look for a blue ocean. I highly recommend

reading the book “Blue Ocean Strategy” on this

subject.

5. How do you price your services?

A lot of independent consultants trade their

time and expertise for money. Put a price to it

and when I say “put a price”, it doesn’t have to

be a single amount. It can be a base price with

options. Why not value your services the same

way a restaurant offers options on the menu? A

base price with options for higher-end services is

a great way to price your services.

6. Are there legal and compliance aspects

to take into account?

Do you need a permit, a license or a

certification to sell your services? Some

industries may require you to have that. If you

want to do business with the federal government

for example, you need to have a certain level of

security clearance. Do some research.

7. Will you put yourself out there through

marketing and sales efforts?

No client or prospect will knock at your door

to enquire about your services. You will have

to get your ideal client to find out about you.

Put yourself out there in ways that suit your

personality, your skills and your clients. For

example in my case, I like to do audio therefore

I have a podcast called “Consulting Lifestyle.” I

also publish some videos on LinkedIn.

Eventually, marketing will drive sales, which

is the fuel of your company.

Diogène Ntirandekura is a B2B

consultant and founder of ERP

Happy, and hosts the podcast

“Consulting Lifestyle”.


TIPS FOR SETTLING IN FASTER

Saving up for your financial goals

Tips to keep you on track

2. Stay the course

If you had plans to make a bigger

investment for things like a home

or a wedding but have had to hit

the pause button, don’t lose sight of

those plans, just adjust your timing.

Take the delay as an opportunity to

re-evaluate what you want and pivot

as needed. The extra time may allow

for a chance to save a bit more or

cut back if you decide to adjust your

plans.

3. Have a plan

It may sound like a cliché but

having a concrete savings plan

written down may actually help you

stick to it. Map out what you want to

save for in the short and long term

and set incremental goals on how

MONEY & BUSINESS

you will get there. Buying a home

may seem like an out-of-reach goal

right now, but having a plan in place

to achieve that over the next little

while will give you direction and

something to work towards.

4. Check your finances

While spending may be up

in some areas like groceries and

online orders, you may be spending

way less in other categories like

entertainment and travel. Take

some time to check your finances

on a regular basis to see how you are

doing. Setting up a virtual call with

a financial advisor is a great way of

assessing and taking care of your

financial health.

Amit Brahme is senior director, newcomer client strategy with

Royal Bank of Canada. Visit rbc.com/newcomers or visit a branch

near you for help and advice to help you save more and settle

in faster.

For many, the fallout of

COVID-19 has stalled plans

for the foreseeable future. If

you have recently moved to Canada,

you may be feeling the impact even

more as you get settled and plan

ahead for your life here. Everything

from buying a home to planning a

vacation has taken a back seat as the

whole world has come to a grinding

halt. But as things slowly start to

reopen and we adjust to the “next

normal” you may be thinking about

how you can get back to saving up

for your short-and long-term goals.

After participating in webinars

and speaking with countless

new immigrants, I have noticed

a common recurring question:

“How do I manage my finances in

Canada?” The underlying emotions

I have noticed are anxiety, security

and safety – common feelings for

any newcomer, something I can

certainly relate to!

I remind them they are going

through a huge stage of change,

especially amidst a global pandemic.

But no matter what’s going on in

the world around us, one thing we

should never lose sight of is our

short-and long-term financial goals.

And while the world is certainly a

different place right now, consider

these tips to keep you on track to

save up for your financial goals –

whatever they are!

1. Start a rainy day fund

As you may have noticed, all of

our social calendars are quite empty

right now. When you typically

would have had regular dinner plans

or even a summer getaway in your

calendar, those plans have likely

been cancelled. Set aside some of

the money you would have put

towards these summer activities

and put it in a “rainy day” fund. You

never know when that money will

come in handy!

Internationally Educated

Nurses are CARE Centre’s

Heroes in 2020 and

Every Year!

IENs and CARE

Centre: Partners in

Healthcare Diversity

Contact CARE Centre

to find out more about

IENs in Your Workplace

Info@care4nurses.org

www.care4nurses.org

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 23


Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horvath

visits Steve Kidron and his team at Kitchen 24

RANDOM ACTS OF CANADIAN

Celebrating acts of kindness in challenging times

By Kaitlin Jingco

We are months into quarantine, and it

feels like we’re continuously being

bombarded with negativity and bleak

information about COVID-19.

Despite all of the circulating negative news,

there are so many Canadians who are doing great

things to help one another during this difficult

time. And RBC wants those stories to be heard.

That’s why they launched Random Acts of

Canadian, a space filled with positive stories that

highlight the great things Canadians have been

doing amidst this pandemic.

RBC describes this initiative as “a celebration

of the incredible acts of kindness, generosity and

ingenuity of individuals across our country.”

This is a new national call to showcase the

incredible ways in which Canadians are positively

impacting and supporting one another, their

communities and Canada as they cope with the

ongoing stress of living through – and emerging

from – the global pandemic.

From musicians putting on performances for

self-isolating residents in Toronto apartment

buildings, to kids donating homemade cookies

to homeless shelters in Vancouver, to grandmas

24

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020

sewing countless masks to donate to frontline

workers across the country, RBC says people are

showing “what it means to be Canadian.”

Many Canadian immigrants have been

involved in this movement. Numerous stories

continue to come from this RBC initiative that

spotlight the selfless work of Canadians who

have moved here from different countries.

Astrid Arumae | Supporting seniors through

these challenging times

This Estonian-born Quebecer, who was

featured on Random Acts of Canadian in July,

founded the Outremont COVID-19 Help

Foundation, a non-profit that picks up and

delivers groceries and medications for selfisolating

seniors and other individuals who are

more vulnerable to the virus.

“I was really worried about our seniors who

were told to self-isolate without any immediate

solutions [for] how to get simple things like

groceries,” says Arumae. “I felt the need and

urgency to act to help out those in need.”

Friends and community members were quick

to support Arumae’s idea of getting volunteers

to run errands for higher-risk individuals. But

soon, she realized that infrastructure to deal

with grocery bills and to collect donations would

be necessary to make a bigger impact, which is

why she recently incorporated the idea into an

above Astrid Arumae


official non-profit.

Today, the foundation has a governing body, with over 60 volunteers,

and has completed about 600 deliveries and help requests, and they are not

planning on stopping any time soon.

The Foundation has big plans for the future. Looking ahead, Arumae says

that in addition to grocery operations, they are planning to expand into

creating social engagement programs to help break social isolation for those

who are in confinement.

Speaking of the impact she and her team have had on the Outremont

community so far, the non-profit founder says, “It feels great! … Helping

others has helped me just as much. It has changed my life, actually.”

Bredin

College

Steve Kidron | Feeding Toronto’s vulnerable during COVID-19

Steve Kidron, an Israeli-born Torontonian, has gone from being hungry

to helping the hungry.

“I moved from Israel in 1990. My transition was not an easy one and

I experienced homelessness for a time,” he says. “When you experience

something like that, you automatically develop an empathy for those that

go through the same thing. When you have strangers sharing a portion of

their sandwich with you, you have an appreciation for human kindness and

generosity.”

Our Programs:

• Comunity Support Worker

• Legal Assistant

“I’m proud to say I graduated from Bredin College. Some

days it felt like a long road with some potholes, but I

achieved what I set out to do. The team behind Bredin

College made it happen, as well as my instructor Deb. I’m

above Steve Kidron

Three decades after he moved to Canada, Kidron is now the owner of

Kitchen 24, which has 35,000 square feet of commercial kitchen space that

is rented out to chefs, caterers, and food start-ups.

Knowing what it’s like to experience food insecurity, he has felt the

responsibility to help, recognizing that the pandemic put Toronto’s

vulnerable at an even greater risk.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the business owner has been using

a portion of his kitchen space for the Kitchen 24 GiveBack Initiative, where

volunteers have come together to make and donate meals to the community.

“There is no better achievement in life then knowing you were able to

help so many,” he says.

So far, Kidron and his team have made 50,000 meals, and they are looking

forward to continuing and growing their efforts by turning the GiveBack

Initiative into an official non-profit. In addition to this expansion, Kidron

also plans to help restaurant businesses that have negatively been impacted

by the pandemic.

“There is always a need to do more and help more,” he says. “I am not

going to stop now or even when the pandemic is over.”

To learn about the other selfless ways Canadians have been showing

up to support their communities and celebrate the acts of kindness that

are happening across Canada, or to submit your own story, head to

randomactsofcanadian.com

I’m glad she pushed as she did! It makes me stand out as

Edmonton Campus

9th Floor, 10004 104 Avenue

Spruce Grove Campus

101, 131-1 Avenue

Red Deer Campus

5010-43 Street

Calgary

500, 744 - 4th Avenue SW

Calgary, AB T2P 3T4

Phone: 780-784-202

www.bredincollege.ca

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 25


Urgent Interim Suspension



PROFILE

A PASSION

FOR SCIENCE

Italian-Canadian scientist and UBC Professor Carolina Tropini

becomes the first Canadian to win prestigious

2020 Global Scholars Award in Engineering

By Vernon Lee

Carolina Tropini was born in Alba, Italy, a small town close to the

Maritime Alps. At 17, she and her parents moved to Vancouver

where they still live today. Her father’s work had initially brought

both her parents to Vancouver, where her mother immediately fell in love

with the city and people. After the work trip, they decided to relocate their

family to Canada permanently.

Splitting her teenage years between Italy and Canada, Tropini felt like

a citizen of the world. Moving at that age meant that she was discovering

and developing multiple identities — a Canadian and an Italian one. She

still fondly remembers growing up in Italy and has strong ties to the

language and culture. Today, she identifies as Italian-Canadian — a nod to

her heritage and the country she has lived in for half her life.

While moving meant that she had to leave family and friends behind,

Tropini is very grateful for the welcoming atmosphere and opportunity for

multicultural connections and experiences in Canada. It presented a fresh

start for herself and her family.

After obtaining her undergraduate degree at the University of British

Columbia (UBC), Tropini completed a PhD in biophysics and a postdoctoral

fellowship in microbiology and immunology at Stanford University. After

spending over 10 years in California, she returned to Vancouver where it

all began, to pursue her academic career.

“I left UBC with the goal of coming back after my graduate studies, and

I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to do so. The amount of discovery,

support and mentorship I experienced at UBC during my undergraduate

was the reason I wanted to come back,” says Dr. Tropini on why she chose

UBC and Canada to pursue her career.

“I never experienced a university that was more committed to

undergraduate research, and for me it was a life-changing experience that

eventually contributed to me becoming a professor and leading a research

group.”

Tropini is currently an assistant professor in the School of Biomedical

Engineering and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at

UBC. She has been named the winner of the 2020 Johnson & Johnson

Women in STEM 2 D Scholars Award for her outstanding leadership and

contributions to the engineering field, becoming the first Canadian to be

honoured with this award since its launch in 2017.

Winning the award marks a significant achievement for her and also

carves a path for other women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering

and Math). The award — $150,000 USD in funding and three years of

mentorship — honours women making key discoveries, spearheading

innovation and shaping the future in the areas of Science, Technology,

Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design. Only six winners were

selected from a highly competitive field of more than 541 exceptionally

qualified nominees from around the globe.

“I am hopeful that this award can have an impact on my community

locally, on the students I mentor and teach, and on the UBC community

at a wider scale,” says Dr. Tropini. “It is impossible for me to represent the

diversity and brilliance of women in engineering on a global scale, but

I feel really honoured, lucky and grateful for this opportunity, and the

possibilities that come with it.”

Finding a community that supported her research and personal pursuits

was important to Tropini. Having mentors and strong connections has

helped her throughout her academic career. She encourages students to

reach out to their professors.

“Students don’t talk to their professors,” she says. “Professors are

more available than you think. Genuine interests open doors and lead

28

CANADIAN IMMIGRANT Volume 17 Issue 3 | 2020


to new opportunities.”

“For immigrant students, there are cultural and language barriers

to connecting but we need to overcome them,” Dr. Tropini says. As an

immigrant, she understands the challenges that newcomers face but sees

the value they bring. “We need different ideas. We need to hear their

voices.”

As a woman in a STEM field, Tropini is passionate about empowering

and supporting underrepresented academics to fulfill their leadership

potential. In order to promote equality in her professional world and

society, she strives to increase diversity as a key determinant for long-term

competitiveness, impact and success.

According to Tropini, “Helping underrepresented academics stay

afloat is so important at a time when new and outside-the-box ideas

are necessary to combat the pandemic. From the creation of vaccines,

to managing the current economic challenges, diversity will be key to

finding durable solutions.”

Tropini sits on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee in her

department where she promotes the voices of underrepresented groups

and inspires the next generation of women in STEM. Tropini believes there

is still a lack of female representation in leadership positions in academia

and STEM. She works with university leadership to continually push for

diversity and inclusion.

Research-wise, Tropini wants to educate the public on gut microbiota.

“The goal is to better people’s health and lives,” she says. She enjoys the

intellectually-stimulating environment of UBC and continues to advance

research using multi-disciplinary techniques.

At the end of the day, Tropini is passionate about investing in the lives of her

community. Whether it is fellow scientists or undergraduate students, she gets

energized about mentoring and supporting others in achieving success.

CANADIANIMMIGRANT.CA | 29



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OCTOBER • 2020

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