Published: May 2024

From now until August 31st, Waterdon will match the donation of each new monthly donor for a year. 

“There is a story to every donation that we make,” Russell Grass explains.

He and his wife Linda have been supporting local charities and initiatives in the community, both personally and through their companies, for many years, and there is always a story behind the good work they do.

Like making sure there are enough Toys R Us gift cards to go around during the holidays, because “I can’t imagine a child going without presents at Christmas,” says Russell. Or answering a call for help from The Ottawa Mission to make sure they had the downpayment for the van they desperately needed to carry out their vital work.

Russell and Linda Grass and family at the ribbon cutting for the Grass Family Men's Health Clinic

Their philanthropy spans across many other organizations, including Ronald McDonald House, Dreams Take Flight, Candlelighters, the Stittsville Food Bank, and The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. And their businesses, Waterdon Construction, Merlin Door Systems, and Alloy Fabrications, have also been making a difference in the lives of countless members of their community.

But it’s their support of healthcare that tells a deeply personal story, and it’s why they are issuing a match gift opportunity through their company, Waterdon, for new monthly donors to The Ottawa Hospital.

Linda was treated at the former Breast Health Centre, and Russell is receiving care through the Division of Urology. Both of Russell’s parents died of heart disease, and Linda’s father died from cancer.

“I also lost my sister — my best friend,” says Russell. “My brother had cancer twice, and he had a heart attack. I have good friends who are patients at the Men’s Health Clinic.”

"To me, supporting healthcare in Ottawa is incredibly important.”

— Russell Grass

When the Grass Family Men’s Health Clinic opened at The Ottawa Hospital in 2021, creating a dedicated space for excellence in men’s healthcare and research, it was those personal stories that inspired them. “It can be difficult when facing a health scare,” Russell said at the time. “We know this from personal experience. From research to diagnostics and testing to ongoing care. — we wanted to be part of ensuring the people of Ottawa had access to this kind of excellent care.”

When it came to supporting the Campaign to Create Tomorrow, it was yet another story that inspired Russell and Linda.

As he considered making a donation, Russell’s thoughts kept turning to a friend who had undergone cancer treatment and had experienced anxiety over a lack of privacy during some parts of that treatment.

He learned that when the new hospital campus opens, it will open with additional beds, all designed with patient well-being in mind and using evidence-based design principles to create spaces that go beyond medical care, fostering an environment conducive to healing.

A key feature of this approach is the one-patient, one-bedroom, one-bathroom model. This ensures better infection control, greater privacy, and a more restful environment for patients.

The Ottawa Hospital welcoming the apheresis machine in 2023, thanks to the generosity of Waterdon and Merlin Door Systems. From left to right: Jennifer Van Noort, Mike Kennah, Julie Renaud, Russell and Linda Grass, Tom Warford, and Sheryl McDiarmid.

“Every time I thought about those one-patient rooms, I thought about my friend."

— Russell Grass

When it came time to make the decision to donate, it was these thoughts of his friend that inspired him. “I think we should do this. We should get in on the front end of this.”

Though Russell and Linda are community philanthropists, it’s not something they’ve often spoken about. “We’ve always been behind the curtains,” explains Russell. “It’s only in the last two years and a half that we’ve become vocal about our support.”

By coming forward, they’re hoping to help instill a community-minded spirit in everyone around them.

“Ottawa has been very good to us, and we want to give back to this city we love and call home. Our kids are here, and their families are all here,” says Russell. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Employees shaved their heads in support of colleague Isaac Mackie and gave generously, with a $10,000 match from Waterdon.

With this sentiment top of mind, Waterdon is hoping to inspire others with a special gift-matching opportunity. From now until August 31st, Waterdon will match the donation of each new monthly donor for a year.*

Russell and Linda hope sharing their story — and the stories that have moved them to make their community a better place — will inspire others to support the Campaign to Create Tomorrow and ensure a better healthcare future, right here in Ottawa.

(*up to $100,000)

Monthly gifts provide a predictable source of much-needed funding and offer donors the convenience of evenly distributed automatic payments.

Agnès Jaouich and her husband Rémy.

Published: March 2024

Agnès Jaouich and her husband Rémy strongly believe in the power of giving back. Their journey of supporting The Ottawa Hospital began two decades ago, when Rémy was a hospital pharmacist in the region and Agnès was appointed as vice-chair of the first Ottawa Hospital Board. In that role, she saw firsthand the dedication of the staff, the challenges they faced, and their unwavering commitment to their patients.

“It was obvious that there was a need for funding to support the healthcare of the community,” says Agnès, “so we became monthly donors, and are now supporting The Campaign to Create Tomorrow.”

Their dedication became deeply personal when, in 2021, Rémy was diagnosed with colon cancer. Dr. Robin Boushey’s team at The Ottawa Hospital started working immediately. The results after surgery were encouraging, and thankfully, no further treatment was needed.

But their journey wasn’t over.

“As soon as the diagnosis was made, Nurse Kelly tapped Rémy’s shoulder and said, ‘Welcome to the family.’…She understood the effect of this news and wanted Rémy to know that they would take care of him.”

— Agnès Jaouich

A year later, Rémy faced another battle, this time with bladder cancer. At the Urology Clinic, Dr. Jeffrey Warren identified the tumor. “As soon as the diagnosis was made,” Agnès recounts, “Nurse Kelly tapped Rémy’s shoulder and said, ‘Welcome to the family.’ She knew that Rémy would have many visits. She understood the effect of this news and wanted Rémy to know that they would take care of him.”

They were referred to Dr. Scott Morgan and Dr. Christina Canil, who developed and led Rémy’s radiation and chemotherapy treatments with expertise and optimism, offering hope in the face of adversity.

“The difference between my parents’ cancer treatments and Rémy’s was like night and day. One can see how important research and innovation are for treating cancer and how donations can make an impact.”

— Agnès Jaouich

“Through this process, every member of the team was there for him,” Agnès recalls. “Whether responding to his questions or his discomfort during treatments, they always had a positive and encouraging approach.”

Rémy surrounded by family on Father’s Day weekend 2023.
Agnès and Rémy.

The experience also reinforced her feelings about the importance of research at The Ottawa Hospital. “I lost both of my parents to cancer, and they both passed away at a young age. The difference between my parents’ cancer treatments and Rémy’s was like night and day. One can see how important research and innovation are for treating cancer and how donations can make an impact.”

As Rémy’s last visit to the hospital yielded no signs of cancer, Agnès and Rémy found themselves embracing life with renewed vigor. “After the treatments, he has gone back to a normal way of life,” Agnès shares.

For them, The Campaign to Create Tomorrow isn’t just about bricks and mortar; it is about creating a future where every patient receives the care and compassion they deserve.

Thanks to our monthly donors, like Agnès and Rémy, we continue to see breakthroughs in research and care that once seemed unachievable become the healthcare we count on today.

Published: March 2024

Rupert receiving care at The Ottawa Hospital

Former Cognos executive Rupert Bonham-Carter’s life took an unexpected turn during a visit to Florida, when a fall resulted in a dislocated shoulder. After having his shoulder relocated at a Florida hospital far from home, Rupert cut his trip short and headed back to Ottawa — and to the Emergency Department at the Civic Campus where plans were made for shoulder surgery.  

But his second visit, just a few days later, took a much more urgent turn after his situation worsened. 

Arriving back at Emergency, Rupert recalls he was suddenly in distress and could hardly breathe.  A vigilant triage nurse got him on a gurney right away, and doctors found he had a massive pneumothorax (a collapse) in his right lung. For 12 days he remained under the care of the trauma team at the Civic, undergoing treatment that saved his lung as well as receiving shoulder surgery. 

Deep connection to The Ottawa Hospital

“I looked up and saw the Cognos logo. And in that moment, I felt like I had gone full circle.”

— Rupert Bonham-Carter

Rupert’s connection to The Ottawa Hospital runs deep, spanning more than two decades of life’s milestones and medical emergencies. “I’ve been there a lot in my life. I lost a finger in an accident, and The Ottawa Hospital was there to take care of me. My kids were both born there, and I had my gallbladder removed on an emergency basis. The Ottawa Hospital has been there for me for the last 25 years.” 

But on that day when he was admitted, Rupert experienced a profound sense of reassurance as he was being wheeled through the Emergency Department. 

“I looked up and saw the Cognos logo on a recognition plaque. And in that moment, I felt like I had gone full circle. I was part of the group at Cognos that had raised money for The Ottawa Hospital’s Legacy Campaign years ago. Seeing that logo, I felt comforted, and I was nostalgic about the Cognos community and the effort we’d made to support the hospital.” 

Inspired, once again, to give back

“The Ottawa Hospital is ours. It belongs to the community, and we have a responsibility as a community to care for it.”

— Rupert Bonham-Carter

Seeing the Cognos plaque highlighting the company’s past contribution not only gave Rupert comfort, but also inspired him to get personally involved in The Campaign to Create Tomorrow. “Throughout my most recent experience, it became clear to me that The Ottawa Hospital is ours. It belongs to the community, and we have a responsibility as a community to care for it.”   

With this sentiment in mind, Rupert decided to join the campaign cabinet, and he’s helping to inspire the community to support the largest fundraising campaign in Ottawa’s history. With a goal of $500 million, the Campaign to Create Tomorrow is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform healthcare by taking research to unprecedented heights and building the most technologically advanced research hospital in the country.  

Rupert recognized the potential of the campaign and became more motivated than ever to give back. “If I wasn’t sure before this experience, I was sure after. The Ottawa Hospital and the staff were there for me, and I knew I had to do something. So, I went to the first fundraising event, and I’ve made a donation. Now what I can do is try to motivate others to donate.” 

Rupert’s gift is in support of the Campaign to Create Tomorrow, which will help support the new hospital campus.

Hand-in-hand with building their business, Myers and the Mews family are building communities

You don’t have to go further than your own street, maybe even your own driveway, to find some connection in this city to Myers Automotive Group. After all, they’ve been putting people in the driver’s seat for the better part of a century. But, as their website attests, they are so much more than that — the people on their team are our friends and neighbours, and the company is an integral part of our community.  

“Without community support, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Harry Mews

While Gordon Myers founded the company in 1942, it was Hank Mews who took over in 1972, building the business while he and his family also helped build this community. 

“Our dad just felt that this was where they had made their home and grown the business. And without community support, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” says Harry Mews, who, along with his brother Rob Mews, now runs the business. They have driven its growth and are prepped to open their 17th dealership this spring.  

The Mews story has roots that are both rich in history and philanthropy. It starts with a poorly executed layup on a basketball court in Newfoundland when a young Hank Mews fell into the lap of an adoring fan whom he vowed he would marry. And he did. Phyllis and Hank would celebrate 61 years together, until Hank’s passing in 2022. They made Ottawa their home and, together, they built a successful business and a family as committed to this community as you could find.  

“All businesses rely on the community for their success. And this is just a means of giving back.”

Rob Mews

Rob says it’s an honour for them to make donations.  

“I think it’s important for all businesses to help as much as they can, whether it’s donating money or donating time. You know, all businesses rely on the community for their success. And this is just a means of giving back.” 

And this generosity has not gone unnoticed. In fact, Myers Automotive Group was recently recognized at the 2023 AFP Philanthropy Awards for Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist. This will come as no surprise to the thousands of athletes who have sported the Myers logo or to the food banks and community centres have benefited from the Mews family generosity. They truly are a driving force in our community.  

But nowhere has their mission been more directed and their commitment more profound than with healthcare. In 2015, the Queensway-Carleton Hospital received $1 million from the Myers Automotive Group towards the Acute Care of the Elderly Unit. In 2022, five years after Hank Mews underwent valve replacement surgery, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute received $1 million from the Myers Automotive Group. And now, The Ottawa Hospital has received $2.5 million towards The Campaign to Create Tomorrow. This is the company’s largest philanthropic gift to date. 

“At the end of the day, if the community can’t support something like this, well, we’re not going to have it.” 

Harry Mews

“We felt that it was important to support the effort because health is everything. We’ve seen that directly in our family,” says Harry Mews. “Our hospitals, our healthcare system, we’re so lucky to have the system we have in Canada, and it’s important that everybody recognizes that. At the end of the day, if the community can’t support something like this, well, we’re not going to have it.”  

It’s a source of pride for the Mews brothers — and the entire the Myers Group — that they support the very community that has supported them over the decades. While Hank Mews may not have perfected his basketball layup, it’s clear he succeeded in instilling valuable life lessons to those close to him, that, whether it’s a million dollars or a few dollars, the act of giving on an ongoing basis is what will carry our community forward.  


Years after losing his dad to cancer, Robert Nsengiyumva faces his own diagnosis

Published: February 2024

When Robert Nsengiyumva was 24, he lost his dad to liver cancer. It was a devastating time for this young man and his family. Little did he know, 25 years later, he’d face a cancer diagnosis himself — stage IV stomach cancer.

After his dad died, Robert assumed the role of father figure to his four younger siblings — two sisters and two brothers. While his mother worked to help support the family, he also stepped forward to help provide care and financial support for his family.

In the years that followed, cancer was no stranger to Robert’s family — several other members also faced a cancer diagnosis. Then in 2021, he received his own devastating diagnosis after experiencing weight loss and abdominal pain, along with nausea and vomiting. “I was 53. I was an active person, and so it was a very difficult time for me,” explains Robert.

Coming to terms with the news was also difficult for those closest to him, like his wife and circle of friends. “I will not lie; it was a like a bomb dropped — it was that shocking. When I decided to tell a few friends what was going on, they didn’t believe me at first. They thought it was a joke — then they realized it was true,” explains Robert.

Understanding a stomach cancer diagnosis

Stomach cancer — also known as gastric cancer — is a growth of cells that starts in the stomach. While it often starts in the lining, it can start in anywhere in the stomach. Thankfully, occurrences have been declining, but it is still one of the most common cancers worldwide.

Robert at the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital. Photo by Ashley Fraser

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, most stomach cancers are found when the disease is advanced and remission is less likely. When it spreads past the stomach wall or into other parts of the body, it’s harder to cure.

In Canada, the five-year survival rate for stomach cancer is 29%.

Due to the stage of Robert’s cancer, treatment began right away. His medical team at The Ottawa Hospital included, Dr. Dominick Bossé, medical oncologist, and Dr. Carolyn Nessim, surgical oncologist, who were ready with a plan. The first course of action was four chemotherapy treatments. These started on October 18, 2021, and the last treatment was at the end of November. Next up would be surgery.

By early January 2022, Robert underwent surgery on his stomach, led by Dr. Nessim. “It was an isolating time. I had to live within four walls because of the pandemic. I had to be careful not to get COVID,” he says.

After a successful operation, Robert was given some time to recover before he resumed chemo treatments. By the end of April, his treatments were done and deemed a success.

“The first round of chemotherapy treatment was very difficult; I suffered a lot, but the final four were much easier. After my treatments were done, I started to improve and feel better,” explains Robert.

Here to say thank you

By July 2022, Robert returned to work part-time. “Then by August, I was back on the job as a Building System Technician in the Public Service, full time. That’s something I never thought would happen when I first received my diagnosis,” says Robert.

“I wanted to support those who faced cancer like me, and so becoming a donor to The Ottawa Hospital was an easy choice.”

— Robert Nsengiyumva

Today, he shows no signs of recurrence, and Robert is making the most of every day.

Robert at the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital. Photo by Ashley Fraser

He’s also deeply grateful for the team of medical experts that were ready to care for him when he needed them most. In fact, he’s always wanted to give back in some way. “I wanted to support those who faced cancer like me, and so becoming a donor to The Ottawa Hospital was an easy choice ,” says Robert.

It’s a monthly donation that allows him to say thank on a regular basis to those who helped give him more time. “This is my way to thank everyone who cared for me. The staff, including the doctors and nurses at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, who treated me during my illness. I don’t know how to thank them enough, so I decided to send my donation every month, and it feels good.”

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research, and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa.

Published: December 2023

You would be hard-pressed to find someone living in Ottawa who hasn’t had a slice of Gabriel Pizza. 

Served up in 42 restaurants in Ontario and Quebec, at events including Hope Beach Volleyball, RBC Bluesfest, City Folk, and the Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival, or enjoyed while you cheer on the Ottawa Senators, RedBlacks, and 67’s, Gabriel Pizza has been an integral part of the local community’s food scene since 1977. 

When Michael Hanna opened his first location on St. Joseph Boulevard, he not only started something that would make its way to our tables, but he also started something that would make its way into the heart of our city. 

“My dad always had that philosophy of giving back to the community, whether it was a free pizza or giving out a cheque for a baseball team or a hockey team,” says George Hanna, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Gabriel Pizza.  

“Whatever we can do to help — to grow our city and to make it that much better for our kids and for generations to come — that’s what we’ll do.”

— George Hanna
Michael Hanna in the early days of Gabriel Pizza.

George’s father, Michael, brought that philosophy with him when he moved his family to Canada from Lebanon in 1968. He built upon the Gabriel name, and by 1985, opened a second location. That expansion — both in business and in giving back — has continued ever since. 

In fact, the franchise has now reached 23 locations in the National Capital Region. And in the summer of 2023, they opened their first location in Atlantic Canada, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. 

Michael Hanna (right) with his brother, Joe, in 1977
Gabriel Pizza’s George Hanna (middle, left) with President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital, Cameron Love (middle, right) and former Ottawa Senators Chris Neil (far left) and Laurie Boschman (far right).

Even as they expand, George emphasizes the significance of their home base. “Ottawa and Gatineau are where we had all our great success, and this is why we always like to give back to our community, to be thankful for the opportunity that we were given. That’s been our philosophy from the beginning.” 

Gabriel Pizza’s commitment to community is evident each year during Staff Appreciation Week at The Ottawa Hospital, where more than 14,000 slices of pizza are served to staff. Even during the challenges of the pandemic, the business continued to give back. As George puts it, “I’m in the pizza business. If I can give out some free pizza and it makes everybody happy and it helps the hospital save some money to put it towards something else, why not?” 

Their commitment to The Ottawa Hospital and the community goes beyond pizza slices. In 2014, Gabriel Pizza made a significant contribution of $250,000 in support of women’s health, which resulted in the naming of the Hanna Family & Gabriel Pizza Waiting Area at the Rose Ages Breast Health Centre located at the General Campus. Now, Gabriel Pizza has made another significant donation, this time for $500,000 —their largest philanthropic gift to date — to The Campaign to Create Tomorrow

“We need it. Being able to build a state-of-the-art hospital in our community is going to help save people's lives.”

— George Hanna

This ambitious campaign is the largest in Ottawa’s history and sets in motion a vision to completely reshape healthcare by taking groundbreaking research and innovation to unprecedented heights and through building the most technologically advanced hospital in Canada. 

George recognizes the critical need, stating, “We need it. Being able to build a new, state-of-the-art hospital in our community is going to help save people’s lives.” 

For Gabriel Pizza and the Hanna family, George says giving back is more than a one-time event; it’s a way of life. “There’s a sense of pride when you see your company at the forefront of many community initiatives. We were brought up this way.” 

The Hanna family and Gabriel Pizza have long-supported various initiatives at The Ottawa Hospital. Recognition for their generosity can be seen at the hospital’s Cancer Centre.

He also emphasizes that any contribution to the campaign, whether a million or a thousand dollars, whether from a local business or local resident, will go a long way in realizing the vision of a new hospital. For him, it’s about leadership and making a difference.

“I think we need to be responsible as a business and as citizens of the city. I think we need to give back.”

— George Hanna

Looking ahead, George is eager to continue supporting the hospital and the community. He looks forward to next year’s Staff Appreciation Week, already planning to distribute pizzas to express gratitude to the hardworking hospital staff. 

For George and his family, the true reward lies in making a positive impact. “Just knowing that I was able to make a difference, I think that that’s my reward.”

Michel Brazeau was just 19 years old when he faced his first healthcare challenge. After a horrific motorcycle accident, he spent four months at The Ottawa Hospital where healthcare professionals worked to save his leg.  

“Because of the extent of my injuries and the number of surgeries I required, the doctors and nurses were like a lifeline for me,” says Michel. “They listened, answered all my questions, and went above and beyond countless times.” As a result of that accident, he is forever grateful for the care he received. 

In 1992, Michel married Laurie, and just one year later — while they were still just newlyweds — he had reason to once again be grateful for the care at The Ottawa Hospital after Laurie was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She successfully underwent treatment and credits her recovery to her exceptional care team. 

In a tragic coincidence, Michel, now a senior partner at Deloitte Canada, was recently also diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which has progressed aggressively. But the Brazeaus are turning adversity into action.  

Earlier this summer, Michel’s colleagues at Deloitte Ottawa banded together to donate $1 million to The Ottawa Hospital’s Campaign to Create Tomorrow to support the construction of the new hospital campus on Carling Avenue. 

Laurie and Michel Brazeau

Now Michel and Laurie are making a generous gift of their own and personally offering to triple each Giving Tuesday donation on November 28, up to $100,000. 

Michel and Laurie’s three children

“This donation means a lot to us and it’s deeply personal,” says Laurie. “We want to be good role models for our three children and show them what it means to meaningfully contribute to your community. We want them to look back and be proud of the impact we left behind as a family.” 

Michel is facing the future with bravery, humour, and most of all the support of his family. His hope is that their healthcare journey will inspire others to contribute to the campaign as well. 

“This hospital will be for everyone — we will all need the care of The Ottawa Hospital at some point. And the more innovative the facility the better the care and the better the talent it will attract,” says Michel. “We want to do what we can to ensure our kids and their kids have the very best healthcare.”  

Thank you, Michel and Laurie, for sharing your inspiring story and for your generous Giving Tuesday match gift.  

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research, and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa.

Ryma Nasrallah

Ryma Nasrallah has built her career around philanthropy. A Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Ryma specializes in advising registered charities and non-profit organizations, and she’s often helped charitable organizations and foundations get off the ground. She recently took it one step further and made it personal, making her largest ever donation to our Campaign to Create Tomorrow. With an ambitious $500-million fundraising goal, it is the largest campaign in our city’s history.

Now, on top of her roles as the Vice-Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Charities and Not-for-Profit Section and serving on the executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s Charities and Not-for-Profit Section, Ryma has joined The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Learn more about what motivated Ryma to give and get involved — and what you can gain by giving gifts of securities

Q: You recently made your largest gift ever when you gave to the Campaign to Create Tomorrow — what motivated this?

A: After joining the Board of Directors of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, I was inspired by all the donors who had generously contributed to the Campaign to Create Tomorrow. I wanted to push myself to make my most significant donation in hopes I would inspire others around me to do the same and help reshape the future of healthcare in Ottawa.

Q: What impact do you hope your gift will have and why should others give?   

A: I hope my gift will bring The Ottawa Hospital one step closer to delivering a new, state-of-the-art hospital. Building a new hospital is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and I believe we all have a duty to do what we can to help. Every dollar counts. 

Q: Why did you decide to join the Foundation’s Board of Directors?

A: I joined to give back and strengthen my ties to The Ottawa Hospital, because healthcare is so important to me and my family. I am excited to support the largest fundraising campaign in Ottawa’s history and to help The Ottawa Hospital transform and revolutionize healthcare.

Q: Based on your experience with your own clients, what are the benefits of giving gifts of securities?

A: The benefits of gifting publicly listed securities are threefold. 

First, gifting publicly listed securities entitles the donor to an official donation receipt equal to the fair market value of the securities on the date they are donated to a registered charity. An official donation receipt will result in a charitable deduction for corporate donors or a non-refundable charitable tax credit for individual donors that will reduce income taxes. 

Second, the donor may be exempt from paying any capital gains tax on the appreciated value of the publicly listed securities. In order to receive this favourable tax treatment, the donor must gift the publicly listed securities directly to the registered charity. If the donor sells the securities in the open market and donates the cash proceeds, they will be subject to income tax on any resulting capital gain. By donating the publicly listed securities directly to a registered charity, the donor benefits by paying no capital gains tax on the disposition, and the charity benefits by receiving the full value of the securities.

Third, if the publicly listed securities are held by a corporation — including an individual’s holding company or business — the full amount of the capital gain is added to the corporation’s capital dividend account (CDA). Amounts in the CDA allow the corporation to pay tax-free dividends to its shareholders. Usually, only half of a capital gain is added to the capital dividend account. This extra amount in the CDA can be distributed to the shareholders of the corporation on a tax-free basis, which results in additional tax savings.

Q: What would you tell a donor who is nervous to try giving a gift of securities?

A: There is no reason to be nervous about gifting publicly listed securities. Although it may sound daunting, it is frequently done. Foundation staff are familiar with the process and are ready to help. They will work closely with the donor’s financial advisor to complete the donation. The benefits of gifting publicly listed securities significantly outweigh any additional steps.

Q: With proposed tax changes on the horizon next year, when is the best time for donors to give gifts of securities and what should donors know about these changes?

A: The 2023 Federal Budget introduced new rules for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) regime that will increase the tax cost for high-income individuals donating publicly listed securities to registered charities. The AMT is a parallel tax calculation that allows fewer deductions, exemptions, and tax credits than under the ordinary income tax rules, and that currently applies a flat 15% tax rate with a $40,000 basic exemption. The taxpayer pays the AMT or regular tax, whichever is the highest.

Budget 2023 proposed changes to the AMT calculation include increasing the AMT rate to 20.5% and the basic exemption to $173,000, which raises the amount of income an individual would need to trigger the AMT. Notable changes for high-income individuals donating publicly listed securities include adjusting the inclusion rate for capital gains resulting from the donation of publicly listed securities from 0% to 30% and limiting the charitable donation tax credit by half. These changes will reduce the financial incentive for these individuals to donate publicly listed securities.

The proposed changes will come into force for taxation years that begin after 2023. So, to take full advantage of the current tax benefits, the best time for individual donors to gift publicly listed securities is before December 31, 2023.

Honouring strong ties to the community that embraced his family

Ten thousand dollars can buy you a decent used car. Maybe a trip to Europe and certainly a few months’ worth of groceries. However, for Kareem and Souhaila Saickley, $10,000 in 1954 provided them an opportunity to leave Lebanon for the opportunity to build a future for their family in Canada. 

Years later, the residents of Ottawa would reap the benefits of that decision, in terms of the Saikaley family’s deep commitment to community development and philanthropy here.

“I was born and raised in Ottawa,” says Charles Saikaley, Kareem and Souhaila’s son. “All my children and grandchildren were born in Ottawa, and we are very happy and proud of that.”

It is that love for family and that pride for community that resulted in a recent decision by Charles and his wife Majida to contribute $1 million to The Ottawa Hospital’s Campaign to Create Tomorrow.  

Majida and Charles Saikaley

“It is important that all residents of Ottawa and eastern Ontario be able to benefit from a new state-of-the-art hospital.”

— Charles Saikaley

Charles was a real estate lawyer and partner with Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall. He retired from law and now runs Saickley Enterprises Ltd., the family company that owns and manages several apartment buildings in the city. With four daughters and now three granddaughters, Charles says he recognizes the importance of building one of the most modern, patient-centred, and technologically advanced hospital in the country — right here in Ottawa.

“We have all been part of the Ottawa healthcare system,” he says. “It is important that all residents of Ottawa and eastern Ontario be able to benefit from a new state-of-the-art hospital, and I hope it will benefit my children and grandchildren long after I’m gone. I hope this gift will be a teaching moment for my children and others about the need to give back to the community.”

The family also hopes their gift will inspire others, especially those in the Lebanese community, to contribute to the campaign. It is the largest in Ottawa’s history and sets in motion a vision to completely reshape healthcare by building the most technologically advanced hospital in Canada and by taking groundbreaking research and innovation to unprecedented heights.

“I think it is important for the Lebanese community that major gifts like these are recognized and are symbolic of the philanthropy of those people of Lebanese origin living in Ottawa.”   

“I felt it was important if we are able to, we should give back to the city in some form or another.”

— Charles Saikaley

But most importantly, Charles says he wants this gift to be a legacy for their family, a way to honour the Saikaleys’ strong ties to the very community that embraced a young Kareem and Souhaila so many years ago.

Sadly, Souhaila passed away ten years ago, but to the end, she remained proud of the life she gave her children and proud of the community her family helped build.

Charles and Majida’s gift is the latest example of the impact their extended family has had on our community over the years and their dedication in continuing to see it thrive. “I felt it was important, if we are able to, that we should give back to the city in some form or another.”

Join the Saikaley family in helping create a better tomorrow through a donation today.

About the Campaign to Create Tomorrow

The Campaign to Create Tomorrow is the largest fundraising campaign in our region’s history. It will help fulfil the most ambitious vision ever for the future of The Ottawa Hospital, focused on four critical pillars.  


See how we’ll become the most technologically advanced hospital in the country, using the latest tools to provide the right care in the right space with the right provider.
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Through our unique collaborative model of clinicians and researchers working side-by-side, we will bring groundbreaking discoveries to patients in Ottawa — and around the world.
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From trauma care to cancer advancements to neuroscience, we will strengthen our critical services for patients across the region.
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Published: September 2023

Before January 2008, Georges Gratton and Jeannine Constantin’s family hadn’t needed The Ottawa Hospital. Living in Boucherville, Quebec and then in the Outaouais region of western Quebec, they had always received care at their local hospitals and clinics. But when their grown daughter, Geneviève Gratton, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, she needed specialized care and was transferred to The Ottawa Hospital within one day of her diagnosis. 

Geneviève with her parents, Georges and Jeannine, July 2023

Specialized care for patients from western Quebec and beyond 

This scenario is not unique to Geneviève’s case. In fact, The Ottawa Hospital regularly provides care that extends well beyond the city’s borders, and one quarter of our patients live in a rural area.  

Many patients from the Outaouais region choose to or need tocome to The Ottawa Hospital, particularly the Emergency Department for care, or like in Geneviève’s case, for specialized cancer care that they are unable to access closer to home. In addition to those who travel from western Quebec, patients also come from across eastern Ontario and as far away as Nunavut. At times, people from coast to coast come to our hospital for care they can’t get anywhere else. 

“Our hospital is uniquely positioned to provide care for patients coming to us from far and wide and with a wide range of needs.”

— Suzanne Madore

According to Suzanne Madore, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Executive, The Ottawa Hospital plays an important role in healthcare delivery in Ottawa and beyond. “Our hospital is uniquely positioned to provide care for patients coming to us from far and wide and with a wide range of needs,” she says. “We have also worked hard to develop multiple collaborative partnerships within the region that provide our patients with access to specialized services.” 

Diagnosis leads to stem cell transplant 

While this was the first time Geneviève needed our hospital, she was grateful to be receiving the specialized cancer care she needed. At the time, she was working as a notary in Quebec and was a busy mom of three young children — aged 9, 6, and 1 — when her spleen suddenly ruptured.  

A month later, she and her husband, Jean-François, noticed she wasn’t healing properly from the surgery to her spleen. She was incredibly weak and pale and was also experiencing a host of other symptoms including red spots all over her body (petechiae), constant nightmares, and fevers.  

Geneviève and her husband, Jean-François, and their children.

“My husband brought me to the Hull hospital on two occasions, and when they were taking my blood during one of those visits, my blood started gushing out like a fountain,” recalls Geneviève. “A hematologist took a biopsy and found out it was leukemia.” 

Within 24 hours, Geneviève was transferred to The Ottawa Hospital where her specialized care began right away.

Family rallies following leukemia diagnosis  

Geneviève with her sister, Julie, in February 2018.

Geneviève’s entire network of family and friends immediately came together to support not only her, but also her husband and her children throughout this ordeal.  

“It was like a net unfolding to protect and support me.”

— Geneviève Gratton

After her initial treatment, her medical team said that she needed an allogeneic stem cell transplant, meaning the stem cells needed to come from a donor, rather using Geneviève’s own stem cells. Fortunately, one of Geneviève’s two siblings, her sister Julie Gratton, was a perfect match, and she didn’t hesitate to donate her own stem cells to help save her little sister. 

“Although I feared the whole thing, I would do the same if Geneviève would need it again. I was reassured by The Ottawa Hospital on the process of what I would have to do to give my stem cells. It wasn’t painful, and I was well treated” says Julie. 

“I would do the same if Geneviève would need it again.”

— Julie Gratton

For Geneviève’s parents, it was a frightening time with a rollercoaster of emotions. They were worried for her and the seriousness of her diagnosis and also deeply grateful that Julie was a match and willing to donate her stem cells. As the transplant date approached, the entire family anxiously waited and hoped for the best.  

Geneviève’s eldest brother overcame his fear of hospitals to spend time with her. He even shaved her head in preparation for treatment.

Stem cell excellence at The Ottawa Hospital 

Thankfully, Geneviève was in the most capable hands. In fact, The Ottawa Hospital is a major centre for the growing area of stem cell transplantation and research and is home to the Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program, the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research and the Sinclair Centre for Regenerative Medicine..  

This expertise paid off. Geneviève’s initial care team included Dr. Mitchell Sabloff, Director of the Ottawa Hospital Leukemia Program, and Hematologist Dr. Jill Fulcher. Following her stem cell transplant on March 29th, 2018, she was cared for by Dr. Natasha Kekre, who was recently named the Research Chair in Advanced Stem Cell Therapy. Dr. Kekre and extended care teams at the General Campus supported Geneviève each step of the way.  

The stem cell transplant was a success, and Geneviève has been in remission ever since.   

In the weeks following the transplant, Geneviève was weak and fragile, so she stayed in with her parents, who had moved into an apartment in the Ottawa area to care for her. Being at home with her husband and children would have been dangerous for Geneviève, since her immune system was still recovering after the stem cell transplant.

Being apart was difficult, but she was fortunate to be in loving care of parents. With their help, she regained the strength she needed for this next step to healing. 

“We wanted to show how thankful we were for what they had done, their kindness and sensitivity in all the care they provided me … My heart was filled with gratitude.” 

— Geneviève Gratton

“On the 100th day after my stem cell transplant, since I had passed the darkest period of my life, my mother and I brought two huge cakes to The Ottawa Hospital — one for the team on Module L and one for the fifth-floor team,” says Geneviève. “We wanted to show how thankful we were for what they had done, their kindness and sensitivity in all the care they provided me since January 2018. My heart was filled with gratitude.”  

Following her stem cell transplant, Geneviève had to go to the hospital daily for blood tests and transfusions, if necessary. The care team became like a little family to her, always making sure she was as comfortable as possible.

“We are infinitely grateful” 

Geneviève post-treatment celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary.

“We want to support the research and care efforts of the hospital and believe that even a small regular donation expresses our support of the hospital.” 

— Georges Gratton

It was the lifesaving care Geneviève received at The Ottawa Hospital that inspired Georges and Jeannine to donate, and they’ve been giving ever since – each month. They want to ensure the hospital has the funds they need to continue providing expert care to patients like their daughter.  

“We want to support the research and care efforts of the hospital and believe that even a small regular donation expresses our support of the hospital,” says Georges. 

Their monthly donations are also a meaningful way to express their deep gratitude for seeing Geneviève beat her cancer and get back to watching her three children grow up. 

“We give to say thank you for the wonderful care Geneviève received,” says Jeannine. “The Ottawa Hospital saved her life, and we are infinitely grateful.” 

Geneviève is now back to work and spending time with her kids, doing the things she loves most, like reading, boating, and walks in Gatineau Park. She’s not only grateful for her health, but also making the best of each day she’s been given. 

In 2019, Geneviève and her husband, Jean-Francois, took their three children on their first family vacation post-leukemia.