In 2020, Ayub Benmansour, his wife Hind and their daughter Noor left all their lives in Morocco to settle in the Riviera du Lou, Quebec. Ayub left his 14-year banking career to work at a McDonald’s restaurant on the Riviera du Lou in Canada, where he tried his luck. An inspiring story of immigration, integration and openness to others.
Ayub Benmansour arrived in the Riviera du Lou in October 2020 with the firm intention of climbing the stairs. In a year and a half he was able to get the position of restaurant manager. “Before coming, it was difficult to succeed in any field other than finance. I also wanted to succeed in catering. For me, Canada is a country of opportunities. Nothing is free, but if we give our best, we will surely succeed.
The couple traveled extensively in Europe and Asia to discover other cultures. Their immigration project to Canada began in mid-2019. “We always want to know how things are going elsewhere. At one point, we said to ourselves, why not, we’re going to go on an adventure in North America and Canada, “explains Ayub Benmansur. Their choice fell on Quebec, a French-speaking province. “To facilitate my integration, we decided to look at the French-speaking side. Our daughter speaks French, and she started learning English. ” He is fluent in French, having obtained a master’s degree in finance from France at the University of Poitiers. Ayub’s wife, Hind, who was a state engineer in Morocco, got a job as a project manager at Premier Tech.
CHOOSE A REGION
Prior to arriving in Quebec, the small family lived in the Dar Boazza suburb of Casablanca. Therefore, their plan was to avoid the big cities in Quebec, as well as go to the regions. The couple was looking for a healthier lifestyle, away from the noise of highways and the madness of cities.
“It’s easier to fit into a limited environment than in a big city, either for us or for our daughter. We easily integrated into the Rivière-du-Loup. I started playing football, my daughter skates, she sees friends, my wife participates in the choir […] We have friends from Brazil, Moroccans, Tunisians, Quebecers, it’s really a mixture. The advantage is that the region has made our lives easier, ”said Ayub Benmansur. The latter has also been involved as an administrator at the Center d’action citoyenne des Seigneuries since March 2022. “I offer my time to volunteer because I am grateful to this host country,” he said.
Arriving in Quebec in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2020 did not promote community contact. They had to respect the strict health rules set by the government when they first arrived in the new city, without a set circle.
“With the pandemic in the beginning, it was easy and difficult. There was limited access to restaurants, cafes, less football. This allowed me, my girlfriend and granddaughter to do what we had never done before – for the three of us. We started hiking, focused a little on a small family.
Even if they have left many members of their large family in Morocco, social networks make communication easier, and so they can stay in touch despite the distance that separates them. “We are thinking about these people. I think that today’s social networks make work easier. It always weighs something, ”concludes Ayub Benmansur. First of all, he wanted to share his story to persuade people who are thinking of starting immigration procedures to make a breakthrough. “Try to believe in what you are doing. When you believe in what you do, you will succeed. We have to believe in our skills. That’s the most important thing, and that’s what makes the difference. “
Ayub Benmansur encourages immigrants and people from Quebec to contact each other to learn about their culture. “I was not sitting in my corner waiting for someone from Quebec to come and talk to me. He is in his country. I’m a beginner, so I have to go to him. It made things easier for me, I knew how to fit in and take my place in an organization like McDonald’s. It helped me get a promotion, become a manager. ” He also thanks his superiors who trusted and relied on him, even if he had no experience in catering.
Ayub Benmansour will soon begin the process of obtaining his certificate of selection in Quebec (CSQ), after which he will start applying for permanent residence. Despite these bureaucratic procedures that need to be carried out, he does not feel the difference every day. The support of various stakeholders in the region has been able to ease this pressure on his shoulders.
The local Riviera du Lou Development Center was also involved in the process of integrating the Ayub Benmansour family. “The company took care of logistics and housing for a small family. We helped them with administrative procedures, getting a social security number, understanding how the health care system works, a school kindergarten, and getting a driver’s license, ”explains CLD Immigration Officer Riviere du Lou Beranger Fubacco. She adds that the small family took part in several master classes, in particular, on winter preparations, tax returns, etc. “From the very beginning, Ayub asked us where the football league was. He is very involved in the community […] Thanks to people like them who are good ambassadors and volunteers, we can continue to develop our services and give them more opportunities. ”
In 2021, the CLD de Rivière-du-Loup Immigration Center supported 180 immigrants with spouses and children, as well as 142 immigrants who received the support of 322 people.