Canada was the first country who adopted multiculturalism officially in 1971 to affirm the values of humanity regardless of their race, gender, colour, or religion. This acceptance gives a new ray of hope, feelings of security, self-confidence and harmony.
To celebrate this diversity and multiculturalism, members of UFCW Local 401, along with management at Safeway Millbourne Mall, arranged a get together to recognize the value of new Canadians, encourage a welcoming environment that will assist with integration to Canadian society, including their workplace. We also asked many of these new Canadians to share their experiences with us.
Union Representative Sam Nuako got in on the action as well, sharing his experience with immigrating to Canada. “I spoke about my own experience in Canada for the past twenty years and added that even though the beginning can be tough, the light at the end of the tunnel is bigger and over-shadows the pain of immigration red tape,” Nuako said.
This idea was brought forward by Norma Johnson who arranged all the posters, welcome signs, tables, and coordination of all the different foods for the potluck.
Store Manager Boris Maik opened up the event with some remarks. He estimated that 80% of the workers in the store are of diverse cultured backgrounds and customers are attracted to the store because of this diversity. “This is a good step that we are celebrating this diversity and it will help to know each other better”, said Maik.
After Boris’ opening remarks, there were introductions and everybody in the room introduced themselves. It kicked off much interaction among those in attendance. There were several additional speakers who talked about their thoughts and ideas around what it is to be a new resident.
Uswa talked about the difference between education systems here in Canada and Pakistan. In Pakistan, for example, there are two types of schools – public and private. Public schools, like in many parts of Canada, are underfunded and don’t offer the best facilities. Parents who can afford it will send their kids to private schools in Pakistan too!
Uswa described that when she came to Canada she was in grade 3 and it was a much different school system from what she was used to. Back in Pakistan they wore uniforms for example. The structure was quite different as well. She says she survived all the differences well because she was welcomed with open arms. Uswa is studying to become a teacher now and she is in her last semester at University of Alberta. We wish Uswa all the best!
Brenda came to Canada for peace of mind. She is from Kenya and travelled to the USA to meet her father who was studying in Canada. Brenda and her sister were not prepared for the cold weather and did not bring any appropriate clothing to stay warm but they made it! The journey was not easy. Brenda also shared how surprised she was to see the frozen foods here in Canada. In Kenya there is no concept of frozen food. She also talked about how confused she was about the streets and avenues in her new home and that she got lost many times during her travels around town but she reports that she is very happy here. Brenda also has an adorable son and her family obtained citizenship just last year. Welcome, Brenda!
Sabahat also talked about her emmigration from Pakistan and shared her experiences with immigration to Canada. She travelled to Canada with two kids and landed on Toronto airport in December. While the process of immigration is not an easy one and is a long way to go, “life was not easy to start but I am happy here and making it more peaceful”, Sabahat tells us.
We want to extend our warmest thanks to all those who contributed to making this event such a huge success.
Posted on: March 23,2017