Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Environment > Canada Proves to be a Warm Haven for Immigrants

Canada Proves to be a Warm Haven for Immigrants

By Maria Luisa Grimaldi

CANADA: Immigrants leave their homes, families, friends, country and everything else that used to matter to them the most for a journey that could be for only a short time or turn into a lifetime.
As all of us do, we all arrive somewhere, in my case Toronto, Canada, for this new beginning. This new start in our lives has different names: landed resident, refugee, illegal, work-vacation or whatever the case may be.
How long will we stay? We don’t know. Even if we have all the required documentation, many obstacles must be conquered.
We must continue and persevere. Sometimes we don’t realize that even with all the hard work we are ready to offer to do, it is being here in an unknown place where our real crusade is only beginning.

On occasion, we have family waiting for us but we are not always so lucky. So it is either with a friend, an acquaintance or all by ourselves, we start to look around — and everything is new and different.
Toronto is a very cosmopolitan place. Travel by bus and you can find Arabs, Chinese or Italian people. Portuguese and Hispanic gatherings are from anywhere to everywhere in Toronto. Multiculturalism thrives in the city.

Toronto, Canada
Italians are the immigrants with seniority here. In general, most are well established though the first generation came here as humble workers. Most of the second and third generations have professional lifestyles.
At first, the cost of life shocks everyone. Things look so expensive, and yeah, it is expensive, because of the comparisons we make with our hometowns.
As a new immigrant, an important factor that always weighs on our minds is that looking for a job is more complicated if we have to do it knowing we have to care for our entire families, who came with us, rather than if we are alone.
If we were or are still illegal, we can only work for cash. Most of the time it’s usually in the construction industry or for cleaning companies where we receive very short salaries and do not have any benefits.
But, on the other hand, if we work for a union, even if we are illegal, we have the same benefits as any worker. Some immigrants do not use these benefits because they are not aware of these things.
We can work anywhere but one little detail is that wherever we go, employers always ask: Do you have Canadian experience?
Most of us immigrants do not have any Canadian experience. That is why we start as a volunteer. This word is famous here. Almost every employer offers opportunities as a volunteer first and it is then continued on a regular basis after our real jobs come through.
Even though our success or failure lies inside of us all along, we don’t always realize this and end up going to one of the many community centers Toronto has throughout the city.
I can tell you there are over sixty community centers that have a Hispanic social worker where language is not a barrier. Even if we are illegal, we can find paralegal lawyers offering their counseling services and conducting courses — all for free!
The important thing to remember is to think positive. Like everything else in life, it’s not all good but nor is it all bad.
We must continue to look and not stop until we reach our goals.
(To be continued…)
Learn More About Maria Luisa Grimaldi
Six years ago, Maria Luisa Grimaldi, her husband and sons, left behind a prosperous business and successful life in Peru to emigrate to the chilly climate of Canada.
Confessing that most of the people she knows, who have immigrated, choose to go to the United States, Maria Luisa and her family saw Canada as the better option for them.
And Canada has not disappointed this enterprising woman and her family. Today, Maria Luisa is general manager of public relations and marketing at the Canadian Spanish-language magazine Opinión.
Maria Luisa has a deep familiarity with the realities of Canada’s Latino community thanks to her work with area non-profit agencies. Holding numerous executive positions on non-profit boards, including being on the Advisory Committee for the Peruvian Consulate in Toronto, Maria Luisa has also worked extensively with other organizations that service Hispanic immigrants. It’s her experience with these organizations that she credits with her knowledge of what is happening with Hispanic communities in Canada.

“One of my ideals and fundamental aspirations is that Canada’s Hispanic community unites together for the advancement of all Latinos who have adopted Canada as their new home.
“From this perspective, our role should be well defined through an agreement, proactive and active, where we will have a voice and vote in the political life of the city and its social scene.
“In this way, with us all united we can make one Country in which we are not just a labor force but also a defined community with active participation in its society and a civic obligation.”

Maria Luisa is convinced that life is like a wheel that puts us in different positions on the road, and she with many others, are ready to push it to achieve the advancement of all.

Related posts


  • carlo luciano ceccarelli grimaldi
    September 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    ella es mi mami

  • Vincenzo
    October 2, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    te amamos mama…
    De tus hijos constantino, vincenzo y Franco que te aman y quieren todo lo mejor del mundo para ti…

  • Karoline
    December 3, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Que gusto me da oir de una latina que le esa yendo bien por alla, y muy bueno que cuentes tu experiencia, es de gran ayuda para quien este pensando en emigrar.

  • oscar
    April 13, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I’m a mexican inmigrant in Nebraska. The reason why I’m sending this e-mail
    is because I will like to know some latino organizations in Canada to get information about what should we do to inmigrate to Canada. I realize that you guys can help me with it. I will apreciate your help and I want to congratulate you for your page and I apolayaze for my typing, but English is my second language. Thanks

  • Roberto
    April 28, 2008 at 6:28 am

    Me pregunto y le pregunto a Maria Luisa Grimaldi..
    En tu comentario se lee “Six years ago, Maria Luisa Grimaldi, her husband and sons, left behind a prosperous business and successful life in Peru to emigrate to the chilly climate of Canada.”
    Ahora la pregunta: Porque vives en Canada si tenias supuestamente mejor vida en Peru? Un poco contradictorio no es cierto. Creo que la mayoria o un buen numero de Latinos siempre asumen la misma posicion o historia de los Grimaldi, entonces porque venir a Canada? persecucion politica? no lo creo, en todo caso.

  • Janette
    May 29, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    can i please have ur e-mail or somewhere where i can contact u for help??n advice thank u

  • ninnz
    May 31, 2008 at 6:33 am

    hi, i know this is not the right place for me to post any query, but i m so confused that i decided to give it a shot any way. me and my husband are well settled IT professionals in india having 8 years of experience. his parents and bro migrated to canada abt 8-9 yrs ago. our application has also been approved but we are confused whether we should go or not. we find it slightly hard to believe that even after having 8 yrs of work ex and various foreign assignments we would have to start from scratch again (as we have been told by some people). we would like to know this for sure as this probably will be the deciding factor. we don’t feel we have the stamina to go through the same struggle that we did at the beginning of our careers here.

  • angie
    September 22, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    yo y mi esposo vivimos 5anos en canada y nacio mi primer hija despues nos regresamos a ARGENTINA ahora vivo en USA 8 ANOS PERO NO HEMOS PODIDO REGULARIZAR nuestra situacion mi hija esta ahora en toronto terminando su high school. Nsotros la enviamos termimar alla sus estudios y que despues regresara como estudiante int pero ella dice que le ofrecen mejores portunidad para estudiar bueno enconclusion nosotros queremos regresar a Canada pero dicen que mi hija tiene que pedirnos cdo cumpla sus 18 ano que es el ano que viene pero de ganar $ 45’000 anualpero eso es imposible para una jovencita.nosotros somos 4 que podemos hacer para volver.

  • Marcel Cifuentes
    October 1, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Hola Sra. Marina,
    Estoy planeando emigrar a Canadá y quisiera saber cuales son las oportunidades de empleo en el sector editorial, mucho agradecería tu correo electrónico para ponerme en contacto con usted,
    Agradecido de antemando,
    Marcel Cifuentes.-

  • mauricio
    December 14, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    hola sra. Mra. Luisa Grimaldi
    yo vivo aqui en estados unidos soy ilegal y estoy cansado de esta situacion quisiera ir a canada.Soy uruguayo con ciudadania italiana quisiera vivir en un lugar con mis derechos. tengo flia. y tres ninos puedo trabajar en una imprenta pintar casas etc. No soy ingeniero o arquitecto o un genio de la computacion. que tal canada para vivir. si tiene alguna agencia que me pueda ayudar le agradezco. por favor espero su comentario gracias
    saluda atte.

  • Ernesto
    February 26, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Me gustaria que me orientara porque deseo migrar para Canada pero no se nada de ese pais, vivo el E.U como ilegal y entre mis planes esta migrar para Canada, espero y pueda obtener mejores oportunidades en cuestion de legalidad. Termine high school y fui a la universidad por 2 anos. Agradeceria cualquier informacion que me pueda brindar.

  • jose david perez
    March 11, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    hola me gustari hemigrar a
    canada vivo en las vegas
    soy ilegal e estado trabajando
    en contruccion por 13 anos
    agradeceria que alguien me
    pudiera ayudar

  • maria paula
    May 11, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Can you point me in the right direction for help for a nicaraguan friend living in Costa Rica who wants to immigrate to Canada. She’s educated, some English, willing to go north, evangalist affiliations, and two teen=aged children.
    Are there options for her?
    Thank you
    Maria Paula

Leave a comment