• 2021 – A Year of Abundance

    2020 has been an extraordinary year of uncertainty, challenge and change for everyone. Since March Covid-19 has taken some of our loved ones and our livelihoods. We have been forced into isolation and a growing loneliness. We wonder when will things return to ‘normal’. Our daily lives have changed. We will not return to a pre-pandemic ‘normal’. Human creativity has no bounds. We can take on challenges, survive and thrive […]

  • Single coordinator needed to end humanitarian crisis in DTES

    Op-ed originally published in The Vancouver Sun on March 19, 2021. Photograph by: Jesse Winter / Reuters The humanitarian crisis in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has been decades in the making. Rooted in Canada’s traumatic colonial legacy, the ongoing effects of poverty and racism combined with the proliferation of drugs and a patchwork of ineffective government policies have abandoned thousands of Downtown Eastside residents and created a social and economic crisis […]

  • Tackling Surrey Crime

    Op-ed originally published in The Vancouver Sun on July 6, 2018 and in The South Asian Post on July 3, 2018. Surrey has Canada’s third-worst crime problem after Grande Prairie and Red Deer, according to Statistics Canada. The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit says there are over 180 established criminal gangs in B.C. The RCMP’s 2015 annual report on organized crime ranked the Indo-Canadian groups third after bikers and Asian […]

  • vaisakhi

    It’s time to celebrate Vaisakhi

    Op-ed originally published in The Vancouver Sun on April 12, 2018. Photograph by: Jason Payne Dust is slowly settling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s turbulent trip to India and the diplomatic fallout from convicted terrorist Jaspal Atwal’s presence in India with the Trudeaus. Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has finally condemned use of political violence and “all acts of terrorism in every part of the world”. But Canadians are left […]

  • Are we successful in Canada?

    Are we successful in Canada?

    Originally published in The South Asian Post on February 28, 2016. We are as Canadian as anyone else. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this year, let us consider the role of Indo-Canadians in building one of the leading democracies in the world. From the blueberry and strawberry farms in British Columbia’s fertile Fraser Valley to the Centre Block of Parliament in Ottawa, and from small town lumber mills to […]

  • Furnace in India

    Welcome to 2016!

    For me 2015 was filled with wonder and a deeper sense of the greatness of Canada, my adopted home. We are blessed with democratic institutions that function reasonably well  and benefit all Canadians. The air we breathe is clean, and the food we eat is abundantly available to most. Access to education and health care is universal. Not all is perfect here, but only a few countries in the world […]

  • Merry Christmas 2015!

    Reflections for the Holiday Season Today many Syrian refugees are celebrating Christmas in Canada and perhaps their first safe and peaceful Christmas in many years but without all their loved ones. I can only imagine their joy mingled with loss and sadness. Sixty seven years ago in 1948, my mother-in-law’s family celebrated its first Christmas in Canada in a wooden shed warmed by fire from a stove on a farm […]

  • Beyond Multiculturalism

    Beyond Multiculturalism: Seeking Unification in a Diverse Canada

    Op-ed originally published in The Vancouver Sun on February 2, 2015. Photograph by: Mark van Manen I will never forget my first lesson about being Canadian. I was 10 years old and it was my first day in my new country called Canada. I woke up and looked out the window to see a middle-aged Caucasian man walking down the street. Excited, I called out to my father, “Look! There’s […]

  • Remembering the Brave on November 11th

    Most of us will pick up a poppy on our way out of the local grocery store or bank by donating a coin or two and pin it on our jacket as a sign of respect for our soldiers. On November 11th we will remember the brave men and women who died in the line of duty for our country. When we look around our neighbourhoods today, our community is […]

  • Barj Dhahan John Oliver School

    10 Things You Didn’t Know about South Vancouver

    10 Things You Didn’t Know about South Vancouver South Vancouver is very dear to my heart. It is where I have spent most of my life, where I graduated high school, where I’ve worked many jobs, and where I met my wife. Like many other immigrants to Vancouver, South Vancouver has played an important role in my life, and yet I am always learning more about the area’s vibrant history […]

  • Justin Trudeau, Kas Guha, and Barj Dhahan

    We Should Support Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs

    Op-ed originally published in The Vancouver Sun on September 11, 2014 Kas Guha came to Canada 10 years ago from an area in India known for silk manufacturing. Over the years, she has worked in many retail and non-profit jobs but she always dreamed of connecting Canadians with the beautiful weaving by artisans in her home region. She turned her dream into a reality in 2013 and launched Ethnik Yarn, […]

  • Barj Dhahan and Stewart Beck in Delhi

    Asia Pacific Foundation Looks to Expand to South Asia

    The new president of the Vancouver-based think tank is looking to expand Canadian relations with South Asia and Southeast Asia. Asia Pacific Foundation’s new president, Stewart Beck, was Canada’s former High Commissioner to India, and has extensive experience working in the region. Barj Dhahan met with Mr. Beck in New Delhi earlier this year during a visit to India with the Governor General. Business in Vancouver interviewed Beck and Barj Dhahan about […]

  • Eran Sandler, Creative Commons

    Beyond Daycare: Providing Options for Young Parents

    We need a comprehensive childcare program with a variety of options to ensure strong, healthy, and happy Canadian families. A few weeks ago, The Vancouver Sun featured a front-page article on the issue of daycare costs in British Columbia, referencing a report from the Surrey Board of Trade. The report presents the case for providing $10/day childcare for British Columbians, and calls on the federal government to create a national child-care program. The […]

  • Barj Dhahan Hiking the Inca Trail

    5 Best Hikes in Beautiful British Columbia

    One of my favourite ways to enjoy nature and bond with my family is to go hiking. British Columbia has a bounty of outstanding hiking trails nestled within beautiful forests and parks. In November 2013, I was fortunate enough to visit Peru and experience the beautiful landscape with my son, Gabriel. We hiked the Inca Trail and climbed to Machu Pichu – it was a lifetime high for me! We’re lucky […]

  • Vancouver Skytrain travel investment

    Canada Needs an Infrastructure Plan

    All levels of government must collectively identify needs. Op-ed originally published in The Vancouver Sun on August 5, 2014 We need to invest now in public transit to accommodate the one million new residents expected during the next 30 years, yet there is much debate about which projects to focus on and where the funding will come from, according to Barj Dhahan, the founder and chief executive officer of Sandhurst […]

  • Barj Dhahan Smiling

    Watch: Barj Talks About Health and Education in Punjab

    Barj is deeply passionate about issues related to education and health, and has worked on a number of international and local projects related to these two areas since the 1980s. Learn more about Barj and the Dhahan family’s work in providing access to health services and education in Punjab, as well as their groundbreaking international collaboration with the University of British Columbia School of Nursing in this video from Canada India […]

  • Building International Collaborations in Health Sciences

    Building relationships between education and community-based institutions here in Canada and internationally is the key to economic development and supporting community growth. On Monday June 30, an exciting new agreement of cooperation was finalized between the University of British Columbia and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS). The agreement builds upon the already successful nursing collaboration between both institutions facilitated by Barj Dhahan and the Canada India Education Society. […]

  • Community Ambassador Award Barj Dhahan

    Barj Receives Community Ambassador Award

    The Writers International Network Canada awarded Barj Dhahan the Community Ambassador Award.

  • Vancouver South Barj Dhahan

    Celebrating Summer in Vancouver South

    On Sunday, June 29, we hosted a wonderful community summer barbecue and picnic at Memorial South Park. Over three hundred enthusiastic friends, supporters and volunteers, mostly from Vancouver South, joined us for good conversations and great food. Some of us reminisced about our high school days at John Oliver. Lots of laughter and fun! Thanks to everyone for making it a great day!

  • Canada Day Vancouver, Barj Dhahan, Sunset Community Centre

    Celebrating Canada

    Celebrating Canada Day at Sunset Community Centre. There is no other city like Vancouver, and absolutely no other country like Canada. I’m proud to be Canadian! And what a Canada Day celebration it was at Sunset Community Centre this year! Wonderfully hot and everyone happy, it was a great turnout with fun-filled activities for all. There were lots of kids running around with our flag painted on their faces, while […]

  • Barj Dhahan and father in law

    The Dignity of All Work

    We often undervalue the contributions of our nation’s workers. Instead, we must value and celebrate the dignity of all honest work. There is much talk in the media these days about the thousands of jobs in British Columbia and the rest of Canada that will have to be filled by non-Canadians – meaning new immigrants and/or temporary foreign workers. Most of these jobs will require workers with trades skills, technical experience […]

  • Philippines Independence Day 2014 gala Vancouver

    Celebrating Philippines Independence Day

    This year, the Filipino community celebrated the 116th anniversary of Philippines independence. Filipino Canadians are proud that their ancestors fought the first revolution against western colonial rule in Asia. On June 13, I was fortunate enough to attend a gala commemorating Philippines Independence Day at the Renaissance Hotel in Vancouver.   I am fortunate to know Elena Agala, seen with me in the photo above. She is well known within the […]

  • Canadian veterans and Barj Dhahan

    Veterans Are Not Just For Remembering

    We must do more than simply “remember” our veterans, we must ensure that we are honouring and supporting them. Last week a group of veterans rallied on Parliament Hill to call attention to what they call a broken Veterans Affairs system in the country. Despite recent recommendations from a House of Commons committee to ensure better services for ex-military members, the protesters are skeptical that these recommendations will come to […]

  • Consul General Rajani Alexander with Barj Dhahan, Amrik Sangha, Dr. Susan Dahinten, Harinder Dhahan

    Consul General Rajani Alexander Talks About Canada-India Relations

    On May 28, 2014, Barj Dhahan and friends hosted a reception with Her Excellency Rajani Alexander, Canadian Consul General, Chandigarh, India. Her Excellency shared a unique viewpoint on the various facets of the Canada-India relationship and more specifically about Canada’s relationship with Punjab/Haryana/Himachal/Uttarakhand, her areas  of coverage from Chandigarh. Ms. Rajani Alexander was a researcher and university instructor in Pacific, Asian and Gender Studies, and an independent consultant on cooperative education before joining the public service […]

  • Barj Dhahan organic farming in Ladner

    Land is Life: Thoughts on Organic Farming

    Loving the land is not just important for me; sustainable, local agriculture is an issue of great importance for all Canadians. I was born on a small farm in rural Punjab, India and grew up watching my grandfather work the land. He would take me for walks around our property and explain to me how important it is to know the land. He reminded me that even if you can’t […]

  • On Board the Komagata Maru

    Remembering the Komagata Maru 100 Years Later

    Today, May 23rd marks the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru ship’s arrival in Vancouver’s harbor. It was a dark, sad and unfortunate period in Canada’s history. In the early 1900s, Canada was not a welcoming place for new immigrants and visitors who were not from Europe. Racist and exclusionary policies discriminated against people coming from India, China, Japan and other parts of the world. The Komagata Maru carried 376 […]

  • Barj Dhahan Smiling

    News: India untapped opportunity for B.C. companies

    Originally published in Business in Vancouver on May 12, 2014. The number of students from India enrolling in Simon Fraser University has been rising steadily over the past four years but business connections between India and British Columbia are still hampered by a lack of easy access, according to a Surrey businessman.  “India has gone through massive economic growth in the last 10 to 15 years,” said Barj Dhahan, who sits […]

  • Surrey Board of Trade – 6th International Trades Awards

    I had the pleasure of speaking on behalf of SFU’s India Advisory Council at the Surrey Board of Trade -6th International Trades Awards on May 8th, 2014. Below is the speech that I was fortunate to give on this night honouring excellence in Surrey. I am grateful to Surrey Board of Trade for hosting this evening’s International Trade Awards in recognition of Surrey based companies engaged in international trade. I […]

  • IC-IMPACTS “Water for Health” Initiative in India

    Just announced today is the joint “Water for Health” initiative between India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and IC-IMPACTS Centres of Excellence, Canada. This is a project I have been involved with creating over the last year that supports collaborative research projects focused on developing and evaluating new technologies in the research areas of water and health. DBT and IC-IMPACTS will each commit $1.5 million (Canadian dollars / equivalent Indian Rupees) to help […]

  • Barj Dhahan with Dr. Arvind Gupta and Others

    Welcoming Reception for Dr. Arvind Gupta

    Community welcomes new UBC President Dr. Arvind Gupta The incoming President of the University of British Columbia, Dr. Arvind Gupta, was welcomed at an intimate reception hosted by Barj S. Dhahan on Thursday, April 17. The reception introduced the university’s new president to key business and community leaders who gathered at Seasons Restaurant in Queen Elizabeth Park. Barj S. Dhahan, a well-established local entrepreneur and UBC Alumni, has led a partnership […]

  • Celebrating Vaisakhi in Vancouver

    April 12th, 2014 was a beautiful day to celebrate Vaisakhi in Vancouver. My wife Rita and I had the pleasure of spending time with family, as well as meeting new and old friends. Enjoy these photographs from the Vaisakhi parade:

  • Thinking about Human Rights and Memory

    I was recently invited by Mr. David Choi to join the launch of the naming contest for the “Breaking the Silence” gallery at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg. Mr. David W. Choi is the Chair for the Chinese Canadian Community Campaign for the “Breaking the Silence” Gallery at the museum and their goal is to raise $2 million for gallery. The Canadian Museum of Human Rights is […]

  • John Oliver Barj Dhahan

    News: Couple Funds High School Literacy Program

    Couple’s high school literacy program is one for the books. By Paul Waldie, originally published in The Globe and Mail on January 31, 2014. The donors: Barj and Rita Dhahan The gift: Helping to raise $100,000 The cause: Vancouver’s John Oliver Secondary School The reason: To fund reading programs for at-risk students Barj and Rita Dhahan know how difficult it can be for immigrants to fit into a new community. Mr. Dhahan immigrated to […]

  • View of the House of Commons

    Dhahan Parliamentary Internship Program Announced

    Carleton University and the Canada India Centre for Excellence announced the Dhahan Parliamentary Internship Program, a new initiative that offers young Canadian students the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of Parliament and complete course-related research. The amount of the award is $10,000 and is available for fall 2014 and winter 2015. The internship will be given to a third-or fourth-year undergraduate student at Carleton. Students from all faculties will […]

  • Governor General in India

    Film, Finance and Education in Mumbai

    From February 22 to March 2, 2014, Barj was a member of the Governor General’s delegation to India. These are stories from his trip. Feb. 27 – March 1: Mumbai is India’s financial, commercial and entertainment capital and naturally its richest and most populous city. It is home to many of India’s leading financial institutions and corporations including those with the largest investments in Canada such as the Tatas, Birlas and Essar […]

  • Governor General in Bangalaru

    Tech Talks in Bangalaru

    From February 22 to March 2, 2014, Barj travelled with the Governor General’s delegation to India. These are stories from his trip. Bangalaru is one of the fastest growing cities in India and sought after by companies, multinationals and tourists. Known as the “Silicon Valley of India,” Bangalaru is one of the world’s top technology clusters and hosts R&D centers for major global companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett and Packard, Infosys and […]

  • Governor General David Johnston, his wife Sharon Johnston and Barj Dhahan.

    Governor General’s Delegation in Agra and Delhi

    From February 22 to March 2, 2014, Barj travelled with the Governor General’s delegation to India. These are stories from his trip. Two fantastic days in Agra and Delhi. We visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, which was closed to the public, and although I have seen it before, its beauty and impressive architecture stood out. After spending an hour at the Taj Mahal, we drove a short distance to the […]

  • John Oliver Alumni Pledge

    News: John Oliver alumni pledge to raise $100,000

    John Oliver Alumni Pledge to Raise $100,000 for Wonder of Reading Legacy Fund Originally published by Vancouver School Board on January 21, 2014. A group of John Oliver Secondary alumni, spearheaded by local business owners Barj and Rita Dhahan, has established the Wonder of Reading Legacy Fund to support the school’s reading programs and raise funds targeted at student literacy. Administration, staff and alumni were all smiles on Monday morning when they […]

  • Barj Dhahan Literacy Funding

    News: Grads repay school with gift of reading

    Vancouver couple leads fundraising drive for literacy program. By Cheryl Rossi, originally published in Vancouver Courier on January 21, 2014. John Oliver alumni Barj Dhahan and his wife Rita are funding a breakfast program at the school for disabled students for the next three and a half years. When Barj and Rita Dhahan heard in November about disabled students arriving with empty stomachs at John Oliver secondary school, they decided […]

  • Teacher Koryn Heisler with Barj and Rita Dhahan

    News: Donations help feed special-needs students

    Alumni come to the rescue at John Oliver Secondary. Donations to help feed special-needs students and fund literacy program. By Gerry Bellett, originally published in The Vancouver Sun on January 20, 2014. Several members of the grad class of 1975 showed up at John Oliver Secondary on Monday, bringing with them $22,500 in cash and cheques and a promise to raise a $100,000 endowment to ensure teacher Koryn Heisler’s special-needs […]

  • Work is needed to make Canada’s leadership diverse, inclusive

    Opinion: Board diversity shown to improve decision-making By Barj S. Dhahan, Special to The Vancouver Sun, originally published February 5, 2013 Last month, Kathleen Wynne became Ontario’s premier after winning that province’s Liberal leadership race. There are now six women premiers in Canada. While it is a great sign of our progress on the path to gender parity in Canadian politics, there continues to be a general lack of diversity […]

  • Christy Clark at Festival

    Politicians should try and understand Vaisakhi festival

    Opinion: Keep Vaisakhi festival’s true meaning in mind during election By Barj S. Dhahan, Special to The Vancouver Sun, originally published April 11, 2013 This week, preparations are underway for the popular Sikh festival of Vaisakhi. Sikhs from Amritsar to Abbotsford, Birmingham to Brampton, New York to Nankana Sahib are getting ready to celebrate this historic and deeply spiritual event. While families are happily anticipating joining in the festivities including […]

  • Teacher Koryn Heisler with Barj and Rita Dhahan

    News: John Oliver alumni start fund to feed kids

    Dhahan family’s endowment aims to give $5,000 annual grant for school’s life skills program. By Gerry Bellett, originally published in The Vancouver Sun on Dec 25, 2013. Vancouver businessman Barj Dhahan wants to ensure teacher Koryn Heisler will never again have to worry about how to feed those severely disabled and impoverished students attending her life skills class at east Vancouver’s John Oliver Secondary. Dhahan who attended John Oliver — […]

  • News: Barj Dhahan on business and spirituality

    Vancouver entrepreneur Barj Dhahan has found success in business; satisfaction in spirituality. By Douglas Todd, originally published in The Vancouver Sun on January 2, 2014. Canadian. Immigrant. Corporate president. Philanthropist. Punjabi. Sikh. Christian. Certified yoga teacher. Property developer. Gas station owner. Tim Horton’s franchisee. Globe-trotter. Adviser to governments. Husband. Father. Son. Mover. Shaker. Barj Dhahan is all of these things. And more.He is a boundary crosser. He has followed many […]

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