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About Sickkids
About SickKids

March 22, 2011

SickKids celebrates Canada’s newest citizens

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New Canadians take their citizenship oath

“I wish you peace, happiness, prosperity and a rewarding life in Canada.”

The audience broke into applause as Canada’s newest 39 citizens were officially welcomed at The Hospital for Sick Children’s (SickKids) Citizenship Ceremony by Presiding Officer and SickKids President and CEO Mary Jo Haddad.

The March 22 event was hosted by SickKids and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. During the ceremony, the Oath of Citizenship was read aloud by Haddad and repeated enthusiastically by the newcomers as well as by guests and staff members who welcomed the opportunity to affirm their citizenship.

The formal part was followed by a musical performance by the SickKids Glee Club who sang Maple Leaf Forever, I Believe, Wavin’ Flag and The Hockey Song.  “Proud to be Canadian” decorations and poetry had been created by students in the Epilepsy Classroom and other SickKids patients.

Candidates hailed from 18 countries across the globe. A citizenship ceremony is the final step in achieving Canadian citizenship. Ibrahim Ibrahim, a native of Iraq, proudly waved his new flag. He has been in Canada for almost five years and was thrilled to receive his citizenship.  “I am happy to be a part of this big and beautiful country,” he said. “Once I get my physician qualifications, I can begin serving my community.”

His two young daughters will find it easy to adjust to being Canadian, he said. “They will have more opportunities and it will be easier for them because they’re here from the beginning. For adults it takes time.”

Staff at SickKids understands that language barriers and cultural differences can impact the patient experience and outcomes. SickKids staff strives to provide culturally competent care and service. Through funding received from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, SickKids has provided cultural competence education workshops to staff and is translating important patient education materials in multiple languages.

The Citizenship Ceremony is the flagship event for SickKids Cultural Competence week, which began Monday and runs to March 25. Events during the week include the Tapestry Awards and Champion Recognition Ceremony and Grand Rounds with cross-cultural medicine expert Dr. Joseph Betancourt. 

“SickKids has the privilege of serving patients and families from around the world,” says Haddad. “Our community is a microcosm of Canada – through its diversity of staff, patients and families we see the great Canadian virtues of respect, tolerance and understanding in action every day.”

Also see: Message from the President - Winter 2011

By: Ginger Shewell