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2013 "10 most influential Hispanic Canadians"

Canada’s Immigration Minister and CEO of Pan Am Games recognize 10 most influential Hispanics
Hispanics: driving force behind Canada’s Creative Class

Toronto, ON (Wednesday, November 27, 2013) — The Honourable Chris Alexander, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, and Mr. Ian Troop, CEO of Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games presented awards tonight to the “10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians” 2013. Three hundred executives, media, diplomats, past winners and community members attended this national program organized by the Canadian Hispanic Business Alliance (, a private sector social enterprise. Nominations were declared opened in Saskatoon with His Worship Mayor Donald J. Atchison, Mayor of the City, in July. Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with past awardees; a similar meeting is in the works. This year’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians come from five provinces representing eight countries of origin.

In alphabetical order by first name, the three woman and seven men 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians are:

  • Alfredo Caxaj (Guatemala, ON): Founder and ED, London’s Sunfest, second largest music festival in Canada
  • Fernando Triana (Colombia, AB): Founder, Soy Hispano TV and Edmonton’s Latin Heritage Carnival
  • Guillermo Schible (Nicaragua, ON): Lawyer and co-founder, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Ontario
  • Hector Vergara (Chile, MB): ED, Manitoba Soccer Association, holds FIFA record on Word Cup games
  • Dr. Hugo De Burgos (El Salvador, BC): Anthropologist, filmmaker, activist and professor at UBC
  • Dr. Juana Muñoz-Liceras (Spain, ON): Linguist, Spanish professor and supervisor for PhD thesis, U of Ottawa
  • Laura Cuner (Argentina, BC): Founder, Avafina –organic foods firm with annual sales of $14 million in 6 years
  • Mario Pochat (Mexico, BC): Founder, Vancouver Animation School and CIRA awardee for innovation
  • Saul Polo (Colombia, QC): President, Liberal Party of Quebec
  • Ximena Muñoz (Chile, MB): Manitoba’s first Fairness Commissioner appointed by Lieutenant Governor


Copa Airlines, Ingle Insurance, York University and TLN TV were national sponsors of the event. Supporting sponsors were Andes Travel agency now offering scholarships to Hispanic families, Seneca College and awardwinning private English school ILAC. The Embassy of Colombia was also a Patron of this year’s event. Other countries may join in next tear. Since 2007, seventy Hispanics from eight provinces and 15 countries of origin have been selected by past winners and executives from the National Post, CBC, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council, Canadian Council for the Americas, Diversity Business Network, Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance, the University of Ottawa and the North American Association of Asian Professionals. “As Canada’s Creative Class, Hispanics continue to make history,” asserted Mauricio Ospina, director of the program. Ospina advocated for the
diversity policy in place for the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games, and is implementing a home ownership plan for the Pan-American Village in downtown Toronto.

Canada’s 740,061 Hispanics are five years younger and more likely to be university educated than other Canadians. Most Hispanics live in the Greater Toronto Area and over 70 per cent have arrived in the last twenty five years, according to a Statistics Canada study based on the 2006 census. A recent FOCAL study puts Spanish as the third most commonly spoken language in Canada.

The launch of nominations for the 2014 “10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians” is scheduled for June with awards ceremonies taking place in November 2014 in two major Canadian cities. Sponsorship opportunities are now available.