Catholic Centre for Immigrants – Ottawa

The Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI Ottawa):

  • promotes and facilitates the reception of newcomers to Canada
  • sensitizes the community to address newcomers’ needs and invites it to respond
  • assists newcomers to realize their full potential in Canadian Society


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Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

Each year, the City of Ottawa acknowledges the business success of select individuals who were born outside of Canada and who now make Ottawa their home, for their considerable contribution to the Ottawa economy.

Nominate an immigrant entrepreneur for the 2016 awards today! The nomination period is open until September 30 and the awards will be presented on November 4, 2016.


Picnic on the beach

Picnic on the beach

CCI Ottawa’s Community Connections Team organized a Potluck picnic at Petrie Island with clients, volunteers and friends.  It was a perfect day to make new friends, share some food and mark the end of the summer. Thanks to everyone who joined us to enjoy a picnic on the beach!

The Community Connections Program encourages social, cultural and professional interactions between newcomers and the established community. It assists immigrants and refugees to become engaged and feel at home in Ottawa. The Community connections program offers group activities to help newly arrived immigrants and refugees practice English and French, meet people and learn about Canadian and other cultures.

Free Interpretation Services for Healthcare Providers

Free Interpretation Services for Healthcare Providers

One of the key challenges when serving newcomers is communicating with them in their own language. Refugees, in particular, usually have a limited knowledge of English or French.  Ottawa Language Access (OLA) – a program of Somerset West Community Health Centre’s Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre – exists to fill this gap by providing free interpretation services to support service providers in Ottawa who have refugees and immigrants as patients or clients.

Launched in July 2015, OLA provides guaranteed interpretation services on request in over 150 languages, either in-person or over the phone. By providing health information that is accurately and safely conveyed, professional interpreters contribute to improved client safety and better quality of care. They are trained to be professional, accurate, and impartial at all times, and are bound by a code of ethics and strict standards of practice. Like any member of a healthcare team, professional interpreters maintain client confidentiality.

To find out more  |  Call 613-691-0192 ext. 6007 or visit

UN Secretary General visits CCI Ottawa

UN Secretary General visits CCI Ottawa

“A once in a lifetime opportunity.” That’s how CCI Executive Director Carl Nicholson characterized the informal visit of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Catholic Centre for Immigrants on Thursday, February 11.

Seven Syrian refugee families who had arrived in Ottawa in December and January were invited to participate in the special visit by His Excellency and his wife, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek. The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, and Ms. Anita Biguzs Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada were also on hand.

Handshakes and cell phone photos were the order of the day as His Excellency and his wife made their way around the circle of chairs, greeting newcomers one by one, and leaning down to touch the faces of the excited children. His Excellency then began his remarks to the families by expressing his gratitude to Mr. Nicholson and the Centre for its generous support for the refugees.  He praised the “long civilization and culture” of Syria’s people.

His Excellency Ki-Moon noted that the UN was mobilizing record amounts of resources, and “working day and night” to aid those affected by the crisis in Syria, through political negotiations and humanitarian aid.  “Do not despair, do not be frustrated,” he told the group, saying that in his childhood his own country, South Korea, “was able to be rescued by the help of the UN.”

Participants took the opportunity during the informal interaction following His Excellency’s remarks to reiterate their gratitude to the Canadian government for the support, and for the honour of the Secretary General’s personal visit. “You’ve put hope again into our lives,” commented one family member.

Prior to His Excellency’s arrival, Minister Bibeau spoke about the work CCI and other Canadian agencies are doing to settle refugees. “You make us look good,” she joked to Mr. Nicholson. “You are doing the big job.” She encouraged everyone to “work hard to learn the language, it’s the key to integration and the key to finding a job.”  Deputy Minister Anita Biguzs noted that her parents had been refugees to Canada who spoke neither English nor French, and probably never imagined that their daughter would become a Deputy Minister. She described herself as “very privileged and very humbled” to hold this office “because it has a lot of personal meaning for me.”


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