Supporting the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association for International Women’s Day


For International Women's Day, we are delighted to profile one of BD&Ps valued community partners, the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA). CIWA is a Calgary not-for-profit that focuses on the unique concerns and needs of immigrant and refugee women, girls, and their families. The organization empowers women and helps its clients with employment support, settlement in Canada and training to help them integrate into the Calgary community.

We know it can be a challenge for foreign-trained lawyers to gain articling experience in Canada. Recognising the challenge, BD&P works with CIWA to provide composite articles to foreign-trained women lawyers so that they can become accredited to practice law in Canada. This partnership began in 2019, saw its first call to the bar in 2020, and we will see two more in 2021.

Ify Okaro, is a CIWA/BD&P articling student on secondment at Suncor. Speaking of her experience on the CIWA program, she said, "My people say, 'A person with a robust network of people is stronger than an individual with only money'. For me, CIWA was that network.

"New immigrants to Canada often face difficulties getting into the corporate workspace because they lack 'Canadian work experience'.

"CIWA bridged that gap for me and other immigrant women through their 22-week program which provided training on Canadian workplace culture, developed our communication skills and included a practicum placement in a partner organization.

"My placement was at BD&P where I made professional connections and returned the following year for my articling placement. I am grateful to CIWA and to BD&P for this opportunity, which was a springboard to launch my legal career in Canada."

In celebration of International Women's Day 2021 BD&P is donating $5,000 to the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association.