A new organization that aims to harness the economic clout of Canada’s Hindu community was launched over the weekend, becoming the nation’s first chamber of commerce dedicated to representing Hindu business enterprises.
The Canadian Hindu Chamber of Commerce’s president, Nareshkumar Chavda, a senior immigration law professional based in Toronto, Ontario, said the organization is dedicated to becoming the vehicle of expression, representation and improvement for the Hindu business community in Canada.
It will also tap into the potential of young Hindu professionals to provide a “unified representation” to propel them as leading contributors to the growth and development of their adopted country.
The digital inauguration event was held in conjunction with Makar Sankranti, a Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Surya.
It was attended by about 250 people ranging from federal and provincial politicians, spiritual leaders, academics and diplomats.
According to Statistics Canada, Hinduism is followed by nearly 1.5 per cent of the nation’s total population. There are about 500,000 Canadians of the Hindu faith mainly originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa and Fiji. It is the second fastest growing religious group in Canada after Muslims.
“The Hindu community has made important contributions to the Canadian business landscape, and I am sure the Chamber of Commerce will become an indispensable forum for representation, development, and improvement,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in his congratulatory message.
Dipika Damerla, a Hindu-Canadian and a City of Mississauga councillor, added that she was “proud to see the great work you are doing in support of the Hindu business community in Canada. It is a credit to the Canadian Hindu community and the tremendous, positive impact they have had in our great country.”
Ajay Bisaria, India’s High Commissioner to Canada, said in a message from New Delhi that the new Chamber will build on two of the most important pillars of India-Canada relations: the commercial interests and the deeper people-to-people contacts.
He said business ties between Canada and India are at an all time high with more than $13.5 billion in goods and services trade in 2020, and that Canadian funds and intuitional investors have pumped about $60 billion in India.
The inaugural event’s guest speaker was Professor Ved Nanda, a globally renowned author and expert on international law based in Denver.
“The chamber will help preserve, promote, and protect Hindu values and the Hindu business community in Canada,” he said.
He urged the Hindu diaspora around the world to follow the lead of the Canadian Hindu Chamber of Commerce to promote Hindu values of protecting the environment and upholding human rights in their entrepreneurial endeavours.
A multiple-award winning journalist, Fabian Dawson is an internationally acclaimed author, filmmaker and media expert. His work over the last four decades spans the globe and he also serves as a consultant/strategic advisor to a variety of international companies. As deputy editor-in-chief of The Province, part of the Postmedia chain, Dawson led initiatives within a special publications group to provide directed content for a variety of organisations. He was named the 2019 recipient of the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award at Jack Webster Awards. Dawson has been invited by the governments of India, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and the United States to act as a media observer/advisor on a variety of Asian-Canada issues. Dawson, now operates FD Media, which specializes in harnessing editorial assets to revenue generating opportunities.