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2006 05 02
Six Degrees of Separation - Can The Internet Help A Hard Working Immigrant Family?
As the readers of Reading Toronto have probably guessed by now, I love Toronto. I've been lucky enough to travel to many parts of the world and know how fortunate we are to live in a city that is perhaps the most culturally accepting place on earth. That's why I'm mad and ashamed about what happened to the immigrant family who ran the nearby corner store.

The couple came to Canada from eastern Europe (there may be a Persian connection here but they speak a number of languages including Ukrainian). Like many who come here attempting to make a new life for themselves and their families, they worked harder than most. He ran the store and she took part-time work to help build some savings. They had an entrepreneurial streak. Soon the store boasted an array of goods and services that made it competitive in what seemed to be an already saturated market.

But they had trouble with their landlord who, as the story in this middle-class neighbourhood is told, has a history of treating tenants - especially recent immigrants - unfairly. I'm told that many recent immigrants suffer the same fate because they lack the contacts and legal resources to fight back.

It happened during one of those dark, cold days last December: The family got locked out of their store. A security guard stood watch for about a week to prevent the family from collecting their inventory, legal documents, family photos - everything. Even their cat, who had the run of the store and the neighbourhood, had to fend for itself during those bitterly cold December nights because it got locked out too.

Fast forward to last week. I ran into the family and asked what they are doing. She's still working but they are struggling. He used to be a producer, writer, and actor. Not now. His parting comments to me were how proud he was to come to Canada and start his own business. They were happy. Their son was growing up well loved and well taken care of. Then the system that helps so many others failed them. The police said it is not a criminal matter. Their lawyer says they are right but they'll have to sue and probably will never be compensated... Many in the neighbourhood are angry.

Enter the power of the Internet. I want to help this family. Does anyone know of an opportunity or job (anything at all) that could benefit from a hard working, youthful, and creative employee? If you don't can you send this posting to someone who might? Your help could make all the difference to this wonderful family. email me at if you have any leads and I'll pass them on. Thanks so much for your help.

[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 05/02 at 03:46 PM

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