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2005-21

CANADA, WE ALL BELONG!

OTTAWA, October 14, 2005 — The Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced that dozens of special citizenship ceremonies will be held in communities across Canada from October 17 to 23 as part of this year’s Citizenship Week festivities. Close to 1,800 newcomers from all over the world will take the citizenship oath during these ceremonies, and many Canadians will reaffirm their pride in being Canadian citizens.

“I encourage everyone to join in this year’s Citizenship Week celebrations and express their pride in being part of the great Canadian family,” said Minister Volpe. “Canada’s Citizenship Week provides an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on the value of Canadian citizenship, our rights and responsibilities as citizens and the principles of respect, liberty, peace and belonging.”

Citizenship Week festivities this year will also feature the presentation of 19 Citation for Citizenship awards in communities across Canada. The awards are presented every two years to honour Canadian individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary citizenship in helping newcomers to successfully integrate into Canadian society.

“All Canadians can be immensely proud of the generosity and tireless effort each of this year’s Citation award winners has demonstrated in helping newcomers more quickly adjust to their new life in Canada,” Minister Volpe added. “These awards both recognize and reflect the values of caring, sharing and respect that have played such a critical role in helping make Canada the great country that it is today and that will continue to do so over the coming years.”

For more information on Canada’s Citizenship Week, including citizenship ceremonies open to the public, Citation for Citizenship recipients, and how you can get involved in promoting citizenship in your community, please visit the "What’s New" section of the Citizenship and Immigration Web site at http://www.cic.gc.ca.

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For more information

Stephen Heckbert
Director of Communications
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(613) 954-1064

Greg Scott
Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(613) 941-7028

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PROFILES OF THE 2005 CITATION FOR CITIZENSHIP RECIPIENTS

André Aubert, Trois-Rivières, Quebec
André Aubert counts more than 30 years of volunteer work. Since May 2004, he has taken care of a nine-member family from Colombia, finding them a place to live and helping them with many other aspects of their new life in Canada.

Archpriest Michel Fawaz, Saint-Laurent, Quebec
Archpriest Michel Fawaz has helped thousands of newcomers settle in their new home through his social, humanitarian and spiritual volunteer work.

Betty Peters, Morden, Manitoba
As a home/school liaison worker for the Western School Division in Morden, Betty Peters works with immigrant families who are struggling with day-to-day tasks related to school.

Changing Together: A Centre for Immigrant Women, Edmonton, Alberta
Changing Together: A Centre for Immigrant Women is a place for immigrant women to meet and work together to solve their problems. The Centre provides free services in about 40 languages.

Eugene Winter, North York, Ontario
Eugene Winter passed away in 1995. During his lifetime, he established several organizations to support the cultural and spiritual life of the Jewish community. He helped 10,000 Hungarian Jewish immigrants to adapt to Canadian life by providing food, shelter, clothing and employment.

Farida Chishti, Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Since arriving in Canada in 1993, Farida Chishti has volunteered to help settle refugees and promote tolerance for and harmonious relations with minorities. She produced the play “New Canadian Kid” about the problems faced by an immigrant family in Canada. The play was presented to over 3,000 students in schools across Prince Edward Island.

Father Eddie Cormier and the Comité d’accueil des réfugiés, St. Louis, P.E.I.
In 2003, Father Eddie Cormier approached Citizenship and Immigration Canada and offered to sponsor a family of refugees in Prince Edward Island. He formed the Comité d’accueil des réfugiés (refugee welcoming committee). The committee ensured that the Burundi family of 10 had housing, food, medical care, transportation, education, and especially friendship.

Father Gratien Girod, Ottawa, Ontario
As a trained psychotherapist, Father Gratien Girod offers counselling to immigrants through the Intercultural Counselling Program he established at Ottawa’s Catholic Immigration Centre. He is also the co-founder of the Herridge Community Health Centre, which promotes illness prevention and a healthy lifestyle in ethnic communities.

Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, Prince George, British Columbia
The Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society provides a wide range of services and programs, including language training, employment counselling and assistance, interpretation and translation services, and programs for youths and seniors. It is the only service provider for immigrants in the region.

John Halani, Vancouver, British Columbia
John Halani is active in more than a dozen organizations, including the Vancouver Multicultural Society, the Greater Vancouver Citizenship Council, the Alexander Housing Society and the Ethno Business Council. He has helped many people with personal, occupational and settlement guidance, giving many of them a sense of self in their new country.

Leticia Adair, Saint John, New Brunswick
Leticia Adair is an active volunteer in her community. In 1988, she became involved with a group of refugee claimants from Central America. Since then, she has helped hundreds of refugees and immigrants adapt to their new life in Canada.

Luella Gaultier, Edmonton, Alberta
Luella Gaultier began by volunteering in the Refugee Sponsorship Program and as an English-as-a-second-language teacher. She then took a job as an employment counsellor and job developer for immigrants. She currently develops programs to help internationally educated engineering and accounting professionals find employment in their field.

Marianne Skoropad, Regina, Saskatchewan
Marianne Skoropad’s involvement with refugees dates back to the time of the Vietnam refugee crisis. She often took extra jobs cleaning houses to earn a little more money to help her refugees. Recently, she organized an interfaith church group to encourage refugee sponsorship in the Regina area.

Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, Halifax, Nova Scotia
The Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA) is a community-based organization that welcomes newcomers and recognizes their essential role in Canada. MISA offers a broad range of programs, including settlement and employment services, translation and interpretation services, language assessment, and immigrant business development services.

Multicultural Association of Carleton County, Florenceville, New Brunswick
The Multicultural Association of Carleton County works on two levels: providing settlement services to immigrants and educating the community to ensure that newcomers feel welcome. The Association is also organizing a rural forum on immigration in February 2006.

Nayyar Javed, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Nayyar Javed is a psychologist who has spent years researching, writing and speaking about immigration, racism, violence against women and children and health issues. She has worked tirelessly for 25 years to help newcomers feel welcome in Canada and settle successfully into the Saskatoon community.

New Canadian Program, Waterloo, Ontario
The New Canadian Program was set up 13 years ago to help immigrants pursue their career goals. The program provides a wide range of services, including career and job search counselling, an in-class job search program and support in obtaining employment related to their background.

Refuge Juan Moreno, Montréal, Quebec
Refuge Juan Moreno is a short-term emergency shelter that offers services to women and children who are refugees. The refuge also offers services that promote integration, and provides referrals to other community resources.

School District 23 – Racism-Free District Steering Committee, Kelowna, British Columbia
School District 23 (Central Okanagan ) established the Racism-Free District Steering Committee in 1997. The committee has developed a five-year plan that includes promoting racism-free initiatives in schools, providing diversity training for students and staff, and hosting citizenship ceremonies in schools.