TORONTO: The Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), along with 80-odd community bodies, has launched its ‘Oxygen for India marathon fundraiser to collect $2 million to send oxygen equipment to India, even as Ontario announced to send 2, 000 more ventilators to the Covidbattered country.
Almost $500,000 was raised during the very first session of the marathon fundraiser on Sunday. It will be held for three hours every Sunday for four weeks. Surprisingly, the biggest contribution of $50, 000 came from Canada’s native or indigenous Metis people.
“We have similarities with Indians even though we are from different parts of the world. India will be there for us when we need, and we should be there for them now. We will donate $50, 000 to the ICCC and do more if needed, “ announced David Chartrand, President of the Manitoba Metis Federation.
ICCC president Vijay Thomas said their initiative aims at garnering donations not only from the 1.6 million Indo-Canadian community, but also businesses and cities across Canada.
“The money will be used to send oxygen concentrators and generators and we will find new pathways to send oxygen to India. We want to ensure that oxygen reaches tier 2 and 3 cities and towns before they get severely hit by the virus,” Thomas said.
Top political leaders, including the Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Mayors, business owners and medical professionals took part in the marathon fundraiser. Ford announced that 2, 000 additional ventilators are being sent to India, in addition to 3,000 already delivered.
“The whole plane-load of Air Canada is filled from front to back and arriving (in India) by Tuesday with all sorts of supplies.
“The people of India have been there for us and we will be there for them,” the Ontario Premier said, referring to India’s delivery of one million vaccine doses to Canada earlier this year. Markham city’s Frank Scarpitti, who has been to India many times and is very well respected in the Indo-Canadian community, announced a donation $10,000 to the initiative by the ICCC.
The mayors of Brampton and Mississauga, the outlying cities which are home to the biggest concentration of the Indo-Canadian community in Canada, urged their residents to donate liberally to the initiative.
Premier Ford said: “Our government is doing everything we can, to support our friends and partners in India. Our government is donating up to an additional 2,000 e700 transport ventilators to India, manufactured by O-Two Medical Technologies in Brampton, to help meet the country’s continued urgent medical needs.
“The ventilators will be distributed to various states across India based on the needs on the ground and in consultation with the Indian Red Cross and the Consul General of India to Toronto, Apoorva Srivastava.
“This support is in addition to our government’s earlier donation of 3,000 ventilators, which started arriving in India this week. Our government is also helping to coordinate the transportation of other critical medical equipment, donated by the private sector and community organizations.
“These ventilators and much-needed medical supplies will make a difference in supporting the people of India. “Thank you to the Premier and the people of Ontario for acknowledging this great need and for taking action,” said Nina Tangri, Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville.