What does it truly mean to be a “Canadian”?
Gee, easy question, right?
The question is one that’s being asked by people all across the country this year for Canada’s 150th anniversary. As a Canadian owned and operated company, we know that we’re proud to be Canadian, but we also find ourselves wondering what exactly it means to not only to be located in Canada, but also to be dedicated to our Canadian clients, laws, and values.
It’s More than Maple Syrup and Celebrities
The Canadian national identity has historically been elusive to define. From our greatest leaders to our most talented celebrities, everyone has their own idea of what it means to be Canadian, but it can be a bit tricky to put your finger on. There really isn’t one single definition or point of reference, other than the old joke that being Canadian means NOT being American! Funny, but not all that helpful. Of course we always have maple syrup, right?
This upcoming July 1st will mark 150 years since Confederation. It’s our Sesquicentennial! On that day, the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia banded together 150 years ago to form the Dominion of Canada. Since then, our country has only grown, bringing in other provinces and welcoming their unique cultures and contributions. Unlike the United States, we aren’t a melting pot where all cultures become one. Instead, we’re a mosaic, celebrating our differences to create a rich tapestry of cultures that stretches from coast to coast.
This is a huge, expansive country, with every province having their own sense of identity and culture. When you visit the Maritimes, you know it’s the Maritimes. If you’re on the coast of BC, you can tell as much by the smell in the air as by the people you meet. So, what is it that binds all of these provinces, territories, and regions together? What is it that makes us Canadian?
It Starts with the People
Remember the old “I am Joe and I am Canadian” commercials? Well around here, we feel a lot like that. The Owl founders, owners, employees, customers… we’re all Canadian. At Owl Practice, we exist in order to serve Canadians. Everything we’ve built at Owl Practice was designed and developed in Canada. Our innate Canadian values are inseparable from the company we’ve created.
When you use our service, you can be sure that we’re working to support Canadian psychologists, social workers, and therapists to help them do their jobs helping the people of our country.
We believe strongly in Canadian privacy. Your clients have a right to privacy, and we’re committed to the laws made in our country. That’s why all of our servers reside in Canada. Canadian laws are designed to protect people and patients; in Canada, you don’t have to worry about the U.S. Patriot Act intruding on your or your clients’ privacy. We believe in PHIPA compliance. You can rest assured that all of your data is safe and sound, protected by some of the best privacy laws in the world, right here at home.
If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from interacting with Canadian professionals and patients every day, it’s that no two Canadians are alike. We’re all different, and we all hold different points of view about what it means to be Canadian. There are so many values that we share, and we don’t let an overriding national identity interfere with our celebration of differences.
What brings us together are our differences.
You might say that there is no central, overriding Canadian identity. In fact, having one would sort of be anti-Canadian! There just isn’t one single thing that binds us all together. Oh. Except maybe when Americans insist that we all say “aboot”. We ALL hate that.
Still, we feel that there’s an ingrained, hard to pinpoint sense of what it means to be Canadian that we all feel on some deep level. Maybe it has to do with our values. Even with all of our differences, Canadians share certain values. Respect for each other, respect for other beliefs and ways of doing things, and a wonderful sense of open-mindedness. In Canada we believe in equality, for all peoples.
The Canadian national identity keeps evolving, ever changing with the demographics and generations. We’re proud of our past, of our symbols like the Mounties, the enterprising beaver, the Maple Leaf, and the “duh-duh-duh-DAN-duh-duh” of Hockey Night in Canada. And we keep moving forward into the future, acting as an example of what a progressive, welcoming, and, yes, polite multi-cultural country can be. We want our company to be the same way.
At Owl Practice, we’re proud to represent these Canadian values, and to serve you, the Canadian therapist, psychologist, and social worker community. We’re honoured to serve you in the important work that you do for the Canadians who need it most. Thank you.