Immigrant with heart makes a difference

By Gerald V. Paul

Dhaman P. Kissoon
Dhaman P. Kissoon

When The Camera visited Kissoon and Associates, Barristers and Solicitors, nestled at 8 Beamish Dr., (near Kipling Subway Station), there was a feeling of warmth and hospitality emanating from a sharing and caring owner, Dhaman P. Kissoon, B.A. L.L.B, an immigrant, who became a professional and continues to make a difference in the community.

After a stint on Bay Street, Kissoon moved his law practice to Etobicoke in 1992 and never looked back.

“We cannot separate the practice of law and community involvement. Also, nothing pleases me more than when I help someone and they come to this country and they do very well,” Kissoon said.

Ah! Justice and kindness focus on what we do in business and how we do it. There’s an inner strength and character. A successful and experienced criminal and immigration lawyer, he is a steward of wealth for the benefit of others. Indeed, sharing ones’ possessions with family, friends, community and nations is the core of the Creator’s definition of justice.

Of course, it’s the Guyanese, Caribbean sunshine and guiding light from his beloved parents, his late Dad Sugrim who lived as a devout Hindu and his precious Mother Latchmin, blessed with the love of family and friends that causes Kissoon to pour his life day and night into altruistic service, beyond social responsibility.

“Our Mother continues to be our guidance and light,” Kissoon said.

His Dad’s name graced the Devi Mandir for the $100,000 raised and the Sick Kids Hospital for the $150, 000 gleaned in love.

“I have always had a drive. Things that I want to get because I never give up.” Yes, he wanted to make a difference!

Indeed, that journey from Beehive, Guyana, to Canada to pursue a post-secondary education was all in the making. On reflection he recalled a family of lawyers, high court judges and legal luminaries in his native land, some even venturing to Barbados, England and Canada.

Kissoon received his legal training at the University of Kent, Cantebury, UK and at Queen’s University in Kingston. Shortly after graduating from Queen’s, he was invited to teach at the Faculty of Law there. ‘Race and the Law’, was one of the first such courses in Canada. He has been teaching there for the last 20 years.

Small wonder Kissoon and his relatives decided to establish in honour of their parents The Latchmin and Sugrim Kissoon Scholarship Fund. This scholarship assists those deserving high school students who will be going on to college or university. The scholarship is in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Brampton Flower City where Kissoon is finishing his term after serving as president.

The scholarship also includes funding for students pursuing studies at the University of Guyana. And yes, the love emanated to India: “We have also assisted an orphanage in India this year, for the first time.”

Kissoon, a dedicated servant leader, encompasses fundraising for numerous charities, building bridges with police and youth, providing education and even meals for the hungry in the so-called at-risk areas.

Kissoon works with Advocates for Etobicoke Youth (AFEY), in partnership with Division 23 Staff Supt. Ron Tavernor. AFEY, is an organization that champions the causes for young individuals in that area and touches the lives of more than 1,000 young people each year.

Also, he assists in assisting youth when judges, lawyers and other prominent business people attend and provide guidance and mentorship.

Then there was the Annual Thanksgiving Lunch served by members of Toronto Police Service, local judges, lawyers and other friends serving with loving care and support of the underprivileged youths and seniors in the community.

Wait, there is more, such as the Annual Movie Day which allows 200 children, who have never been to a cinema, the opportunity to see a current movie at no cost to them. And of course, Kissoon is there with them in love at their annual Christmas breakfast for disadvantaged kids. He distributes toys which are donated by local businesses and provides lunch to more 400 children, with a parent, for a total of 8O0 happy souls.

Kissoon’s impact on the community is felt near and far as he marked the 15th Annual Kissoon Charity Golf Tournament in support of Sick Kids Hospital. This event raises funds for those in need in Guyana, Canada and other parts of the world, and is one of the most successful tournaments.

“Health of children became a major concern and so now we are supporting the Toronto Sick Kids Foundation, Guyana Help the Kids and the Three Rivers Kids Foundation were the main beneficiaries. Funds from the putting contest over the years have been donated to the Cancer Society.

“You help people because you are in a position to offer assistance to them. The fact that I have been able to give back to the community, that’s the most pleasing thing.”