My Journey to Canada: Chapter Four

Hardships aside, I have been blessed with over 30 great years of running my business. The business as it is, can practically run itself with some gentle guidance here and there thanks to my dedicated team. This has allowed me to increase my giving of both my time and financial resources over the past few years. The realization that this business will fade once I am gone has not been overlooked. This community will be my lasting legacy to leave to my children, my grandchild, future grand children and generations to come as they grow up in this community.

My next chapter, is up to you my friends. My pledge to you, is that the knowledge and networks from the entirety of my life’s work will be brought with me into this next journey of continuous improvement and growth of our great community.

January 15th 2021, marks this next milestone.

I encourage you all to vote for the candidate of your choosing. Stay positive, test negative, and be safe. See you all at the polls.


My journey to Canada: Chapter Three

As part of my odd jobs to make ends meet, my work as a part-time interpreter for the Canadian Immigration Department peaked my interest in immigration cases, as this hit close to home being a new immigrant myself. Coupled with the entrepreneurial hunger in my belly that grew from my managerial experience at McDonalds, there was little that could get in my way. I founded my company CITS in 1989.

For the next few years, this was my baby. My business quickly grew as I was able to connect and build trust with my prospective clients through my work ethic, honesty and integrity. I’ve always felt a strong bond to my community and I volunteered, donated, and sponsored as many community events as I could. I quickly became the beneficiary of referrals and word of mouth. As my business grew, so did my family with the additions of my daughter Cherie and my son Andre. However, running your own business is not the glitz and glam as start-ups are presented as today. My main source of clientele from Hong Kong dried up after 1998, and times grew tough. I broadened my clientele to service. When things started to ramp up again, SARS hit and immigration dried up once again. I pivoted – this time to the internet and the phone to provide interpretation.

In those beginning 15 years of my business, my team and I learned quite a few tough lessons that I take with me every day. Firstly, is to understand that even when times are good, it is important to budget and control costs for the gloomy seasons, because they will come. Secondly, honesty and integrity are keys to maintaining relationships and building a lasting foundation of clients and employees. Thirdly, being quick to adapt to changes is the difference between surviving long enough to thrive again and extinction. Fourthly, strong communities are built on strong businesses.

The more I made, the more I gave back. I am a firm believer in what you put out into the world you will receive. These four tenants are what helped build and maintain my business for over 30 years, growing from just me and my wife, to now a full team of employees as well as satellite offices internationally.


Keeping seniors—and their votes—safe in our elections!

Crowds mean standing in line for long periods and potentially getting jostled. This is uncomfortable for anybody but can be especially difficult for seniors. Rush hours in the early morning and early evening should be avoided. So should lunchtime. Quieter times would be late morning or early afternoon.

If you need PPE for the vote, you could contact our campaign office at 416-299-9771 or email us: info@votetonyluk.ca. We are here to help!


Ward 22 byelection in Scarborough-Agincourt deemed ‘essential,’ will proceed as planned Friday, city says

A byelection being held to find a new Ward 22 councillor will proceed as planned despite the fact that it is scheduled to be held a day after a provincial stay-at-home order goes into effect.

Voters are set to go to the polls on Friday in Scarborough-Agincourt in a byelection that was scheduled last year to replace former councillor Jim Karygiannis, who was ousted from office over campaign expenses.

But on Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford declared a new state of emergency for Ontario amid soaring COVID-19 case counts which threaten to overwhelm the healthcare system. Ford also said a stay-at-home order would be in effect for the entire province as of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. All residents aside from essential workers are being asked to stay home as much as possible and to venture out only for essential reasons such as grocery shopping and doctors appointments.

In a statement Wednesday, the city said that the election is also deemed an essential government function and that it will proceed as planned.

“The City Clerk is confident that the voting place health and safety measures will keep electors, candidates, scrutineers and election staff safe on election day,”  the statement said.

There are 27 candidates running in the no-incumbent race and at least one of them has called for the by-election to be postponed in light of the stay-at-home orders.

Following Ford’s announcement on Wednesday, council candidate Tony Luk sent an open letter to City Clerk John Elvidge and the his fellow candidates urging that the by-election be postponed.


“This announcement will undoubtedly affect very many voters who will no longer go to their voting places to cast their ballot on January 15th,” Luk wrote, calling on his fellow candidates to join him in asking for a postponement. 

But the city said that it has reviewed the provincial order and that elections are deemed essential.

“The City Clerk, in consultation with Toronto Public Health, has reviewed the recent provincial announcement to determine any implications for the planned by-election.

“Government services, including elections, are essential for the continuity of government. Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt has been without representation since September 24, 2020, and it is important that the electors are able to exercise their democratic right to vote.”

The city said that health and safety measures such as line management, reduced touch points and distancing, were successfully implemented for advance polls and that they “exceed the requirements for other business and services that have remained open.”

More than 2,200 people have already cast a ballot in the election in advance voting held on Friday and over the weekend and more than 4,000 mail-in ballots were requested. Some 1,280 of those mail-in ballots have already been tabulated, the city said Wednesday.

Polling stations will be open across the ward between 10 AM and 8 PM on January 15. Electors are required to wear a mask at all times in voting places and are being asked to stay home if they are not feeling well, the city said.

More information about voting places and procedures can be found on the city’s website.


State of Emergency won’t stop Scarborough-Agincourt byelection, Toronto says

A mail-In voting drop box sits out front of Stephen Leacock Seniors Community Centre on Jan 11. – Dan Pearce/Metroland

Voting is essential, and residents of Scarborough’s Ward 22 can cast ballots for a new councillor on Friday, Jan. 15 as planned, the City of Toronto says.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s stay at home order takes effect Thursday, a day before in-person voting in the byelection to replace Jim Karygiannis.

The timing of the order and provincial state of emergency prompted one candidate to ask the city to postpone Election Day.

Tony Luk also wrote the 26 other candidates in the race, asking for their support.

“This announcement will undoubtedly affect very many voters who will no longer go to their voting places to cast their ballot,” he said in an open letter.

So far, though, no other candidate seems to agree, and City Clerk John Elvidge said he’s confident special measures against COVID-19 at voting places will keep voters, candidates, scrutineers and election staff safe.

“These measures exceed the requirements for other business and services that have remained open,” the city added in a release, but warned people to stay home if they are not feeling well.

More than 4,000 mail-in ballots were sent out, with 1,280 returned so far, and 2,227 other voters cast ballots at advance polls.

Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and mail-in ballots can be dropped at boxes outside Stephen Leacock Seniors Centre and L’Amoureaux Community Centre until 6 p.m.

Unofficial results will be posted, starting at 8 p.m., at the city’s Election Services page at www.toronto.ca/byelection.

Karygiannis’ seat has been vacant since Sept. 24, 2020.Mike Adler

by Mike Adler

Mike Adler is a reporter with toronto.com and Metroland Media Toronto who covers Scarborough and other overlooked parts of Toronto. He worked previously for Metroland in York Region. Email him at madler@toronto.com


My Journey to Canada: Chapter Two

Harsh reality set in rapidly as I finished my schooling. I got married in Hong Kong and my wife and I moved to Canada. Although I found fulfillment volunteering and providing assistance to those similar to my own situation, volunteering unfortunately did not pay the bills. Practicality quickly came to the forefront. How would I afford our basic necessities? As before, I narrowed down the most efficient course of action – to make friends and communicate more effectively, I needed to learn English; to not only put food in our belly but also pay our bills, I needed to work in food services. Comical as this may sound, as a new immigrant with no family support, food was a top priority.

I worked in a variety of part-time jobs to make ends meet- from marketing, insurance, interpreting, pizza delivery to dishwashing at restaurants. It wasn’t glamorous, but it accomplished putting food in our bellies and paying our bills. Eventually, it was food services that led me to my first managerial role at one of my go-to restaurants, McDonald’s. McDonald’s was a staple of the community and also our diet. I started in an entry level position and quickly worked my way up. Many fond memories were made here. Senior management took a liking to my ability to connect with both the customers and my fellow employees leading to my first big break – a manager position. This gave me my first taste of managing a team of employees and running a business. This created a hunger in me that no number of Big Macs could fill. 


My Journey to Canada: Chapter One

My parents sent me to Toronto, Canada in 1974 as a high school student leaving everything and everyone I knew behind in Hong Kong, the only home I had even known.

For the first time in my life, I was alone and lost in a strange city, surrounded by strangers. As much as these strangers were welcoming and friendly, nothing could replace the loneliness I felt being so far from my friends and loved ones.

I had two choices at this point, continue to wallow in past or look towards the future. I chose the latter. To have friends, I would need to be able to make meaningful relationships and the only way to do so was to be able to communicate with them. I focused my efforts on learning English and my efforts paid off.

As my grasp of the English language grew, so did my circle of friends, and Scarborough Toronto quickly became my new home as I surrounded myself with new friends, connections, and memories.

Having always been a problem solver, I realized other new immigrants would suffer the same way I did during their transition process. I committed myself to making that transition for them as seamless as possible as a volunteer at the Queens Mental Centre, and the University Settlement House as a translator.

I had overcome my first hurdle, and my second was just beginning – moving from student life to work life. As reality set in, I gradually came to realize that I would now need to make ends meet and shift my focus to survival.


Mail-in voting registration for Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt by-election extended to January 4th

Toronto Elections is extending the deadline to apply for Mail-in Voting for the Councillor Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt by-election. Eligible voters can apply to Vote by Mail until 4 p.m. on January 4, 2021.

Mail-in Voting

Make sure that you follow the steps below and that you return your Mail-in Voting package by the deadline of 6 p.m. on January 15, 2021 to have your vote counted:

Step 1:

Before you can apply to Vote By Mail, you must check your voter information. We require you to validate your name, address and birth date to confirm your information as it appears on the voters’ list.

Step 2:

Upon approval of your application, you will be sent a Mail-in Voting package which includes:

  • A declaration form that MUST be signed in order for your vote to count
  • An official Ballot for the Councillor Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt By-election
  • A Ballot Secrecy Envelope
  • A Yellow Return Envelope with pre-paid postage

Step 3:

Complete the following steps in order to have your vote count:

  • Sign the Declaration Form, and insert into the Yellow Return Envelope
  • Mark the Ballot, and put your marked Ballot into the Secrecy Envelope
  • Insert the sealed Secrecy Envelope into the Yellow Return Envelope
  • Return the Yellow Return Envelope, either by mail using the pre-paid envelope or hand deliver to one of the two drop-box locations beginning January 8:
    • Stephen Leacock Seniors Community Centre
      2520 Birchmount Road, Toronto
    • L’Amoreaux Community Recreation Centre
      2000 McNicoll Avenue, Toronto

All required return documents from your Mail-in Voting package, including your marked ballot and signed declaration, must be received by no later than 6 p.m. on January 15, 2021.

If you have applied to vote by mail your application has been approved, you will be sent a Mail-in Voting package. We will be mailing out the packages in three phases:

  • Applications that have been received and approved by December 16 will be mailed out on December 18.
  • Applications that have been received and approved between December 17 and 4 p.m. on December 22, will be mailed out on December 23.
  • Applications that have been received and approved by January 4, 2021, will be mailed out on January 5, 2021.
  • Check the status of your Mail-in Voting package.

Keeping everyone safe is our priority – we encourage you to register for mail-in voting today

If you have any questions or difficulties, please contact our campaign office:

416-299-9771 or send your email to: info@votetonyluk.ca


Tony Luk announces he will run for Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt City Councillor

Tony Luk recently registered to participate in the by-election for Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt City Councillor in Toronto. On the afternoon of December 16th, he held an online press conference with a number of media outlets to formally announce his candidacy and elaborate on his political platform. 

City councillors are a vital part of every community’s development. Tony hopes that he can serve as a bridge of communication between Toronto city government and his local community, bringing a voice to his constituents and positive change back to the community.

Many community leaders such as: Tony Ruprecht, Former Member of Provincial Parliament and Former Minister of Citizenship-Multiculturalism; Joe Li, Markham Regional Councillor; Dr. Reza Moridi, Former Member of Provincial Parliament and Former Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; and Carol Chan, former York Region District School Board Trustee publicly expressed their support for him in the press conference and called on the public to vote for him.

Please visit www.votetonyluk.ca for more information on Tony and feel free to contact him at info@tonyluk.ca for more details.