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Canadian New Hospital names Guru Nanak Emergency
Harpreet Sethi donated $500,000 for the establishment of Guru Nanak Emergency

Toronto, March 11, 2005

William Osler Health Centre (WOHC) is paying tribute to the Canadian Sikh community by naming the new hospital's emergency department after the religion's founder.

"Guru Nanak Emergency Services Department is a name that recognizes the size, scope and contributions to our society by the Sikh community living and working in our hospital's catchment area," said Bryan Held, WOHC Board Chair.

"This is a fitting and lasting tribute to the Canadian Sikh and South Asian community, We look forward to a long and healthy relationship with them."

At the same time, Navjeet Mangat, a WOHC foundation board member, said an aggressive grassroots funding campaign has been launched in the Sikh community this week with the goal of raising $10 million.

So far, $914,000 has been collected in a short amount of time, said Mangat, adding he wouldn't be surprised if the Sikh community surpasses their target.

However, the naming of the emergency department is not a direct result of the fundraising effort.

"It's a two way street. If the hospital recognizes the importance of the community itself, I think we have to look at that as an opportunity to show our appreciation," he said.

The idea for the department's name was suggested to the board last April by one of the hospital's doctors, Bajinder Reen.

Promote community participation

A Sikh sub committee was also created by three of WOHC's hospital foundation board members, including Mangat, to help promote more community participation.

"It was formed as a working group with an open door policy (that has now) grown to about 10 members," he said.

"As important a role as government plays in funding health care, being a part of Brampton as citizens (makes) it's necessary for us to do whatever we can within our own means to ensure our children, seniors and residents get the service they need and walk away feeling good about their experience."

So far, the Sikh sub committee has helped generate significant donations including:

* $500,000 from Harpreet Sethi, a local contractor who had two of his children born at WOHC hospitals;

* $250,000 from Guru Nanak Community Services Foundation;

* $160,000 from the Sikh sub committee members.

"Brampton is one of the greatest cities in the world and we have to do whatever we can to make sure all these institutions provide excellence at a world class level and that's what it's really about," said Mangat.

According to 2001 Statistics Canada information, the Sikh religion is the third largest in Brampton behind Catholic and Protestant.

Mangat hopes the Sikh community's efforts spark more donation efforts in Brampton.

Under the public private partnership (P3) funding formula being used to build the new hospital, the community has to raise 30 per cent of the building's total cost of $536 million. (Brampton Gaurdian)