CARE Centre’s IEN Connector – Winter 2015/2016

Joan Lesmond IENs of the Year Celebrated

The 2015 Conference for IENs included a morning presentation of the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards, this year presented to Alexis Lamsen, an RPN from the Philippines, and Rupali Krishna, an RN from India. Lamsen works at Shalom Village Long-Term Care Home in Hamilton, and Krishna works at Revera’s Dover Cliffs Long-Term Care Home in Port Dover. “As new landed immigrants my husband and I had to work in front of a hot furnace in a plastic factory; nobody cared about our education, knowledge and experience.

Rupali krishna ( left ) and Alexis Lamsen, winners of the 2015 Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards

Now I feel those challenges helped us to get stronger every day,” says Krishna, who served as a nurse and midwife for 14 years as an Indian Army Lieutenant and is mother to two boys, 14 and 4-years-old. As a nurse in the Philippines Lamsen worked in the ER, OR and delivery rooms in a government hospital for a $50 monthly allowance. Today he is also an RPN at St. Joseph’s Health Care’s Mental Health and Addiction Center, and works as a research assistant at the University of Waterloo and McMaster University. IENs of the Year indeed!


No Stopping 93-Year-Old IEN Lillie Johnson 
93 Year old IEN Lillie Johnson

One of the highlights of the 2nd annual Conference for IENs held in Toronto on November 20th was featured speaker Lillie Johnson, founder of the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario and an Order of Ontario recipient. Ms. Johnson was born in Jamaica and trained as a nurse in Scotland, achieving many “firsts” in her life, not the least of which was bearing the Pan America Games torch in Toronto this past June. Ms. Johnson spoke to conference attendees about her early nursing career, the importance of fathers in welcoming babies to the world, and her determination to see sickle cell disease be part of universal newborn screening in Ontario. She captivated the audience with tales from her decades-long experience, and regaled them with a closing chorus of “Anything you can do I can do better!” inviting the room to sing along. Ms. Johnson also signed copies of her memoir which is part of the Canada 150 publication series marking the country’s sesquicentennial in 2015. Ms. Johnson’s memoir My Dream is available for sale through the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario (, or through All proceeds from the book will benefit the charity’s important work.

New PASS Program Welcomes IENs in Transit

Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) is a new CARE Centre initiative funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). PASS will help pre-arrival IENs in their countries of residence who are planning immigration to Canada. PASS offers supports and services to shorten the time that IENs spend from arrival in Canada to professional registration and employment. There is no cost to enroll in PASS but IENs must have proof of graduation from a nursing school and a letter of immigration confirmation from the Government of Canada. The program is based on the same case management model that is the foundation of CARE Centre’s services in Ontario. Clients will take part in six, eight or ten-week work plans. However, as a federally-funded program, PASS will provide information for IENs planning to settle in any of Canada’s provinces and territories. PASS Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel says, “CARE Centre was Ontario’s first government-funded bridging program, and after 15 years of developing our best practices, it’s exciting to be sharing those internationally, and forming new partnerships across the country to help IENs join the workforce as soon as possible, no matter which part of Canada they choose to call home.”

CELBAN Preparation Foundation for Success

The Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) is a language assessment that reflects nursing in real life. This occupation-specific language test assesses language and communication skills within the healthcare workplace. It evaluates proficiency in listening, writing, reading and speaking and is recognized by all Canadian nursing regulators. CARE Centre is pleased to now offer CELBAN Preparation support for nurses who need to fulfill College of Nurses of Ontario requirements. The Institutional CELBAN, or iCELBAN assessment allows participants to have a test-taking experience that closely mirrors the official CELBAN test. We are also pleased to offer an 8-week CELBAN Preparation and Orientation Course. iCELBAN testing will also be available to IEN clients enrolled in the PASS program. A CARE Centre member who took part in a pilot of the course said: “I realized I had a lot that still needed to be corrected in terms of my use of language,” while another noted, “The tips, material and English grammar were especially important and useful to me.” The CELBAN Preparation course is delivered over eight weeks in six-hour sessions including one pre-assessment session to determine eligibility. For more information contact CARE Centre at 416-226-2800, ext. 221.

Deloitte Shows the Meaning of Community
Deloitte’s Shelizé Hirji, Josephine Kwong and Steven Pedlow (missing: Beth Nuniam)

Some of the highest-regarded organizations in the world rely on Deloitte to provide a range of services to improve their performance. In Canada, Deloitte serves clients from 60 locations with over 5,600 professionals and specialists providing audit, financial advisory, risk management, tax and related consulting. Deloitte is committed to corporate social responsibility, diversity and community spirit, including their annual Impact Day which puts Deloitte personnel out into the community for a firm-wide day of volunteer service. CARE Centre was recently the recipient of Deloitte’s esteemed advice over several months of volunteer consultation from a team based in Toronto and other Canadian offices. As a registered charity and non-profit, CARE Centre is extremely grateful for the benefit of their pro bono work for us, and took a moment to say thanks in person to our Deloitte colleagues in Toronto. Pictured are Shelizé Hirji, Josephine Kwong and Steven Pedlow (with virtual gratitude to Beth Nuniam, now in Vancouver). We discovered Steven Pedlow is an IEN from Ireland, which allowed him to bring additional insight to Deloitte’s greatly valued counsel. Thanks everyone!

Giving Tuesday and Beyond- Support CARE Centre

CARE Centre is a member of CanadaHelps, a non-profit serving Canadian charities and donors. CanadaHelps is dedicated to increasing charitable giving across Canada by making it easier to donate and fundraise online. Because they are non-profit, transaction fees are a fraction of the for-profit alternatives, so your donation dollars go further when you give to CARE Centre online. Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday; Giving Tuesday is a new Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Cyber Monday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others. This year it took place on December 2nd, but continues throughout the holiday season. CARE Centre’s theme this year is New Canadian Traditions, encouraging IENs and others to post, stream, tweet or otherwise share holiday activities they did back home and how they continue them in Canada. Every time you share you can honour your tradition with a donation to CARE Centre!