Message from Karyn Steer, Interim Executive Director

  • Karyn Steer, OCISO Interim Executive Director

Message from Karyn Steer, Interim Executive Director

Dear friends,

This last month has been unprecedented for all of us at OCISO, along with our clients, community, country and the world. COVID 19 has transformed the way we live and work.

Although on March 16th we made the difficult decision to close the doors to our physical offices to ensure everyone’s safety, our team moved rapidly to make sure that we remain fully operational. Even though many were experiencing difficult situations at home, our staff reached out to our clients to update them on the status of our programs and services and to maintain that personal connection.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen what COVID‑19 has done to people’s health and the economy — but we’ve also seen the best in each other. The transition to working from home presented new challenges, but they were worked out with professionalism, flexibility and thoroughness.

What has impressed our management team and Board of Directors the most is the creative and innovative ways that our staff members have remained there for our clients. Their commitment makes all the difference. The stories included in this newsletter represent just a few of the many examples of this caring, dedication and perseverance.

During this time, we will continue to support our clients remotely via email, phone and web options, as we know in our hearts that they continue to need our support, perhaps now more than ever. We also cannot forget that what guides us the most is the incredible strength and resilience shown by clients during difficult times.

The safety, health and well-being of our clients, staff, volunteers and the community continue to be paramount in our efforts as we move forward in the coming weeks and months.

As this is National Volunteer Week, I would like to send a special thanks to our volunteers who are one of the cornerstones of our operations. The theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week is: “It’s time to applaud this country’s volunteers,” so I would like to send a great virtual round of applause to our 500 volunteers –  ????????????????????????????????!

Let’s work together to prevent the further spread of this virus by physical distancing and staying at home where possible! From all of us at OCISO, we wish you and your loved ones health and safety.

Best regards,

Karyn Steer
Interim Executive Director
Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization

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Our Mission!

OCISO supports immigrants through the journey of making Canada their home by providing creative and responsive programs that are culturally and linguistically appropriate, by building community through mutual respect and partnerships, and by fostering healthy and inclusive spaces for open dialogue and healing.

What we do 🙂

We are community based non-profit organization that has been providing services in Ottawa since 1978. We are motivated by the stories of new immigrants, and we are there every stage of the journey. OCISO directly serves over 10,000 immigrants and refugees every year. Our work is augmented by the generous efforts of our enthusiastic, caring and talented staff, volunteers, both established and new Canadians.