Multicultural Helping House Society co-founder wins Paul Yuzyk Award

“Tatay” Tomas Avendano has helped countless immigrants integrate into Canada

October 24, 2014—Vancouver, BC—“Tatay” Tomas Avendano is the recipient of the 2014 Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism, recognized in the Lifetime Achievement category, Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism announced today. Minister Kenney also announced that in the coming year, the Award categories will be expanded to allow a wider range of Canadians to be recognized for their work in multiculturalism.

Mr. Avendano immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 1982. In 2001, he helped found the Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS), which helps immigrants integrate fully into Canadian society. Mr. Avendano has acted as a bridge between Vancouver’s Filipino community and other cultural communities in the city.

His efforts to rally the community behind the establishment of the MHHS earned him a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in August 2002. For his continued work growing and developing the MHHS, he also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in February 2012. This was conferred on Mr. Avendano by Governor General David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a special ceremony in Ottawa.

Mr. Avendano is the sixth recipient of the annual Paul Yuzyk Award, which is bestowed on an individual or group that demonstrates dedication to pluralism and the integration of newcomers into Canadian society. Since 2009, individuals have been nominated for Outstanding Achievement or Lifetime Achievement. In the coming year, the Paul Yuzyk Award categories and criteria will be expanded to create two additional award categories: one for youth who have demonstrated leadership in promoting a welcoming and inclusive multicultural society in Canada, and one for organizations that have actively contributed to advancing Canadian multiculturalism.

Quick facts

  • The Award commemorates the legacy of the late Senator Paul Yuzyk who was a member of the Senate of Canada from February 1963 to July 1986 and played a key role in the development of Canadian multiculturalism policy.
  • Senator Yuzyk has been called the “father of multiculturalism.”
  • The Paul Yuzyk Award recipient receives a certificate of honour, signed by the Minister, as well as the privilege to select an eligible, registered, not-for-profit Canadian organization to receive a $20,000 grant from the Government of Canada. Mr. Avendano has chosen to direct the grant to the MHHS.


“As Canadians, we recognize the importance of multiculturalism, and of the contributions that newcomers make to Canadian society. It is thanks to Mr. Avendano and others like him that so many of these individuals have been able to fully integrate into Canadian life socially, economically and culturally. I am happy to announce him as the recipient of the 2014 Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism.”

Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism

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Alexandra Fortier
Minister’s Office – Minister Kenney

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.