In memoriam: Thank you Paul!

Everyone in our OCISO community was greatly saddened to hear the news that our dear friend, Paul Dewar, passed away on February 6, 2019.

We were honoured that Paul served on our OCISO Board of Directors, and was such a strong supporter and advocate for making Ottawa (and our whole country) a welcoming community for newcomers to Canada.

In spite of his illness, Paul agreed to be the guest of honour at our October 2018 Marion Dewar Scholarship Fund dinner, named after his mother Marion Dewar. His words to us that night, and his very presence, were an inspiration to everyone in attendance.

Please read below the note of condolences that OCISO President Jessie Thomson has written to Paul’s family, on behalf of the OCISO Board and our entire community, as well as the notes from OCISO’s Saadia Nuh and Can Le of the Vietnamese Canadian Centre.

And we encourage OCISO supporters to consider making a donation in Paul’s memory to his final initiative, Youth Action Now (YAN). 

Click here to support “Youth Action Now”

Dear Julia, Nathaniel and Jordan,

I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, clients and partners of the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) to express our deepest condolences on the passing of your lovely partner and father, Paul. He will be so very missed in our community and we feel a profound sense of loss knowing that he is no longer with us to help bring about the change we continue to fight for in our city.

Paul was such an important ally, supporter and champion of OCISO and its work for many years. In addition to serving on the Board, he regularly attended our Annual General Meeting to present the scholarship in honor of his late mother and played a critical role in advocating and following up on client cases during his time as a Member of Parliament. Even the day after Paul lost his seat in the house, he turned up at the OCISO AGM to present the Marion Dewar Scholarship Fund award to two young newcomers, leaving many staff and friends of OCISO in tears, knowing he would no longer be in the house to advocate for newcomer rights and needs.

I last saw Paul at the Marion Dewar Scholarship Fund Fundraising dinner, where both Paul and his mother’s legacy were celebrated by friends, family and community members. As always, Paul had a big smile, a warm hug and words of encouragement to offer, reminding us all that we can and must do more to make the world a better place.

I am hopeful that Paul’s amazing work and a life well-lived with so many touched by his generosity and vision, will give you peace in this difficult time.

A donation has been made on behalf of OCISO’s Board of Directors and staff in support of the Youth Action Network. May Paul’s legacy live on in this beautiful initiative.

In solidarity,

Jessie Thomson
President, OCISO Board of Directors

Ottawa lost a shining star, Paul was an amazing human being.

I met him  when we first came to Ottawa, he was not my MP but he wrote a support letter for us to Immigration Canada. He supported us as a Somali community, when ever we had an event, a demonstration at Parliament Hill or held a vigil, Paul was there with his candle.

He was an honorary Somali. I will definitely contribute.

Saadia Nuh, OCISO Multicultural Liaison Officer

Remembering Paul Dewar

We are saddened to learn that Paul Dewar, former Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, has passed away yesterday, February 6, 2019, in Ottawa.

Paul was a great Canadian citizen and a truly inspirational politician to all of us.

We remember him for his dedication to the community and his compassion for the plight of refugees around the world.

We will follow his advice to “look for the beauty that exists all around us and share it with each other. Smile, Laugh. Give.” Paul’s legacy lives on.

Our deepest condolences go to Julia, Nathaniel, Jordan and Paul’s family and friends.

With Paul’s passing, the Vietnamese community has lost a best friend.

May he rest in peace.


For immediate release: February 7, 2019

Can Le, President, Vietnamese Canadian Centre