RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards include seven South Asians

SEVEN South Asians figure in RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners of 2017.

Presented by Canadian Immigrant magazine and sponsored by RBC Royal Bank, this annual awards program celebrates the achievements of inspiring Canadian immigrants.

“What an amazing year for the awards and Canada! We’ve had a record number of votes cast this year — 55,000+ — which is a true testament to the important contributions immigrants make to this great nation of ours,” says Margaret Jetelina, Editor, Canadian Immigrant magazine.

The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners were honoured at ceremonies in Toronto and Vancouver on June 29. The program is supported by title sponsor RBC Royal Bank. In addition, two winners were selected for special recognition, the RBC Entrepreneur Award and the new Youth Award.

Ajay Virmani, president and CEO or CargoJet, Canada’s largest cargo airline, is the third annual recipient of the RBC Entrepreneur Award for excellence in entrepreneurship.

Ishita Aggarwal, scientist, women’s rights advocate and youth philanthropist, is the first recipient of the Youth Award – a new award established this year. The award recognizes immigrant youth who are making a difference in their adopted country through achievement demonstrating that when we invest in youth great things happen.

“RBC is proud to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of Canadian newcomers. The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards showcase the richness and diversity newcomers add to the fabric of our communities,” says Ivy Chiu, Senior Director, Cultural Markets. “For close to 150 years, we have welcomed new Canadians from all around the world and we look forward to seeing how they help shape Canada for the next 150 years. Congratulations to all winners and nominees.”

Hundreds of nominations were received, from which 75 finalists were shortlisted by a diverse judging panel that included several past winners. Over 55,000 online votes were cast, making it the most popular year in the award’s history. The 25 winners were chosen based on a combination of votes and a second round of judging.

The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners received a commemorative plaque and a $500 donation will be made towards a registered Canadian charity of their choice. Winners will also be featured online at canadianimmigrant.ca/rbctop25 and in the July print edition of Canadian Immigrant magazine.


South Asian winners:


* Ishita Aggarwal (Vaughan / India) is the inaugural Youth Award winner. She recently completed an honours bachelor of science in cell and molecular biology, neuroscience and psychology at the University of Toronto. She is also a women’s equity advocate and youth philanthropist.

* Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta (Toronto / Pakistan) is the Robert Harding Inaugural Chair in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children and the co-director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health.

* Raghwa Gopal (Kelowna / Fiji) is CEO of technology accelerator Accelerate Okanagan and a notable entrepreneur, investor, business mentor, philanthropist and community builder.

* Noella Milne (Toronto / India) is a partner practising law in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. She was also one of the first minority women to head the Canadian Club; she is now an honorary life director.

* Dr. Muhammad Morshed (Vancouver / Bangladesh) is a public health clinical scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver, where he is program head of zoonotic and emerging pathogens. He is also a clinical professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

* Kuldeep Sharma (Mississauga / India) is President and CEO of Crown Group of Hotels. He is also a frequent sponsor and supporter of the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade, film festivals, multiple non-for-profit organizations, health foundations and many more community organizations.

* Ajay Virmani (Oakville / India) is this year’s RBC Entrepreneur Award winner. He is the President and CEO of CargoJet, Canada’s largest cargo airline. He’s also a film producer, recently producing the films Dr. Cabbie (2014) and Breakaway (2010) under Firsttake Entertainment Ltd.