Tareq Hadhad, founder of Peace by Chocolate; Hamza Haq actor on the hit show Transplant and Michael Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby, B.C., have something in common — they have been named among the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners of 2020, along with other amazing community activists, entrepreneurs and academics from coast to coast. Presented by Canadian Immigrant magazine and sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, this is the 12th anniversary of the only national awards program that celebrates the inspiring achievements of Canadian immigrants.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown the world that we are all interconnected despite race, culture or country of origin. During these challenging times, these prestigious national awards remain a symbol for diversity, resilience and the importance of coming together as Canadians. With the inclusion of this year’s 25 winners, a total of 300 newcomers have been honoured for their incredible contributions and achievements in Canada.
“What an amazing year for the awards! We’ve had a record number of votes cast totalling more than 72,000 — which is a true testament to the important contributions immigrants make to this great nation of ours, and the need for us all to celebrate positive stories in these challenging times,” says Sanjay Agnihotri, Director, Canadian Immigrant magazine.
The program is proudly supported by title sponsor Royal Bank of Canada. In addition, of the Top 25 winners, two have been selected for special recognition, the Entrepreneur Award and the Youth Award.
Tareq Hadhad, is the fifth annual recipient of the RBC Entrepreneur Award, which recognizes excellence in entrepreneurship. From Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Hadhad is the Founder and CEO of Peace By Chocolate, spreading peace, acceptance, resilience and love through a wide offering of sweets and treats.
Maryam Yaqoob, is the fourth annual RBC Youth Award winner. From Calgary, Alberta, she is currently a Doctor of Medicine student, who mentors refugee youth, co-founded the Calgary STEM Cell Chapter and volunteers to make Canada a better place.
Read more about all 25 winners here.
The Settlement Agency Award was introduced in 2018 to recognize the amazing work immigrant settlement agencies are doing to help newcomers integrate and succeed in Canada. This year, too, we invited nominations from across the country and the nominated agencies were posted for an online voting process. After the votes were tabulated, one agency has been selected as the Settlement Agency Award winner for 2020. The winner is The Neighborhood Organization (TNO).
“RBC is proud to celebrate and support newcomers across Canada as they establish themselves and strengthen the fabric of our communities,” says Amit Brahme, Senior Director, Newcomer Segment. “By profiling such a diverse and accomplished group of winners, the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards continues to showcase the talent, passion, and resiliency that newcomers bring to the country and the inspiration we can all draw from their stories.”
Hundreds of nominations were received, from which 75 finalists were shortlisted by a diverse judging panel of past winners. The 25 winners were chosen based on a combination of nationwide online voting and judge’s scores.
This year, in honour of the RBC Top 25 winners, RBC has donated $50,000 to Windmill Microlending, a charity that helps internationally trained newcomers pay for the Canadian credentials they need. The donation will specifically support re-accreditation of 50 internationally trained immigrants in the healthcare profession who are helping on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners will receive a commemorative plaque and ceremonial gift package. Winners will also be featured online at canadianimmigrant.ca/rbctop25 and in the September print edition of Canadian Immigrant magazine. The awards program is supported by the Toronto Star, Metro, Omni, City TV and Sing Tao.