Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 27, 2003
CSS wins Citation for Citizenship
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Catholic Social Services' Immigration and Settlement Service has been awarded the 2003 Citation for Citizenship for its contribution in assisting newcomers to Canada.
Citizenship Judge Gurcharan Singh Bhatia presented the award Oct. 17 to CSS's Immigration and Settlement director Alice Colak. "We were surprised and pleased to have this recognition of our collective work," Colak said.
The federal government hands out about 20 Citizenship Citations each year to honour individuals and organizations for "outstanding contributions in assisting those who are newcomers to Canada to make a successful transition and integration into Canadian society."
Denis Coderre, minister of Immigration and Citizenship, announced the award to CSS in early September. "Your organization's active involvement in helping others and your community exemplifies Canadian ideals and enhances the meaning of Canadian citizenship for us all," the minister said in a letter.
Some 50 people, including immigration officials, CSS staff and politicians, attended the ceremony at Canada Place.
"I'm truly delighted that Catholic Social Services has been recognized for its contribution to immigration and refugee settlement," said Health Minister Anne McLellan.
Catholic Social Services has been welcoming and assisting immigrants and refugees to settle and integrate into Canadian Society since 1961. On average, it assists about 11,000 immigrants and refugees from about 109 different countries, said Colak, who has been with CSS for 32 years, more than 20 of them as director of immigration and refugee settlement.
The organization's 60 multilingual and culturally diverse staff, along with 500 volunteers, provide various settlement, educational, language/language assessment, employment and outreach services to immigrants and refugees from all cultures, ethnic origins, religions and immigration categories.
"We are kind of a little bridge that helps them make connections with society, explained Colak."