Author, Coach, Speaker

Journey to Home

About the Book

Journey to Home presents a rich tapestry of diverse immigration experiences –from the very young to the mature, from desperate flights from danger or economic hardship to marriage-based migration or professional moves– and traces Canadian stories coming from many continents and walks of life to one ultimate destination.


We often hear that Canada is “a nation of immigrants”, but we rarely get to know who these people are and what they had to endure. The book documents original stories from immigrants and refugees who have made Canada their home and we asked first generation Canadians, from all over the world, to let us help them tell their stories. These are individuals who gave up everything for a chance at a better life. We asked them questions. How did they get here? Do they have regrets? Is living in Canada everything they expected? The results are fascinating. This book contains tales of hope, despair, heartbreak, and triumph. They are all unique and extremely personal, but they all had one goal in common…to make Canada their home.



“With humour, candor, and courage, Journey to Home: Canadian Immigrant and Refugee Stories of Hope and Courage will remind every Canadian that we each hold an “Origin Story.” These stories provide rare and heartfelt vignettes into the hopes, fears, and legacies of those whose courage to move to a new country, speak a new language, and embrace a new culture prompted them to learn more about themselves, all while learning about a new land. Whether you are a first generation Canadian or are part of a centuries-old family legacy on Canadian soil, the wit and wisdom shared by Laher and Garson will inspire you, energize you, and give you a refreshed love for the country you call home.

– Duncan Sinclair, Chair, Deloitte Canada and Chile


Journey to Home reflects the optimism, courage, humour and resilience that define so many new Canadians. These stories, which all begin on distant continents, remind us not only how hard many immigrants must work to feel at home in Canada but also why Canada, for all its faults, is worth choosing. Kudos to Laher and Garson for this uniquely Canadian collection.

– Claudia Hepburn, CEO, Windmill Microlending


“Journey to Home is about ordinary people who came to Canada full of hope. Stories of courage, determination, hard work and the quest to belong. Stories of contribution, triumph and resilience. People who reflect our shared humanity. It is my hope these stories will inspire us to pay it forward by helping newcomers realize their dreams. This in turn will build shared prosperity – I call this a win-win“

– Zabeen Hirji, retired CHRO, Royal Bank of Canada (came to Canada as a teenager)


“Journey to Home: Canadian Immigrant and Refugee Stories of Hope and Courage is a must-read for all Canadians, and especially Canadian business leaders, many of whom employ large numbers of immigrants in their work force. We often believe immigrants are fortunate to come to Canada, without fully appreciating the extent of challenges many immigrants face in this country, which can persist long after their arrival. Barriers to reskilling, unaffordable housing, systemic racism and discrimination, coupled with the challenges of trying to adapt in a new country, culture, and language, in some cases, is beyond the experience of many Canadians born in this country. Yet understanding where other Canadians have come from, and the richness of their experiences prior to arriving in Canada, is vital for our continued growth as a peaceful, fair and increasingly society. The individual stories of hardship, resilience, optimism and bravery in Journey to Home are deeply inspiring, reminding all of us that Canada is both a compelling home to many, and also that many of us carry a sense of “home” in our hearts that transcends geography”.

– Miyo Yamashita, President & CEO, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation-

Azhar Laher

Azhar Laher is an educator, author and leadership consultant. He works with senior leaders on culture, inclusion, retention and becoming an employer of choice. He helps leaders amplify their strategic talent agenda by attracting and retaining diverse talent and improving bottom line results. His previous book, Confessions of a Dad: My Kids Don’t Understand the Value of Money, has received praise for highlighting the importance of financial literacy for young adults.


Azhar has worked as a senior Human Resources professional in South Africa and Canada and is currently Professor of Human Resources at Seneca College in Toronto. His big loves are his family, paying it forward, and following Toronto sports teams. 

David Garson

David Garson has been practising immigration law for 29 years and is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Immigration Law. According to the “International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers,” the official research partner of the International Bar Association, David Garson is rated as one of the highly regarded individuals in immigration law in Canada. David is a past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association – Ontario, Immigration and Citizenship Section.


He is currently a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a past Chair of the Canada Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a past Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Young Lawyers Division – Canadian Bar Association. You can learn more at