Dr. Amrik Sidhu is the proud owner of a tax and accounting firm in Surrey – a dream he couldn’t have imagined 40 years ago while recovering in hospital after a devastating accident and with his marriage on hold.
Sidhu arrived in Campbell River, BC, with his parents in 1976. He began working in a sawmill to gain Canadian experience – as he had only received his Grade 10 schooling in Punjab, India, up to that point. Then, one year after his first day of work, the unimaginable happened.
“I lost my left hand from the wrist down and the three middle fingers on my right hand,” Sidhu recalls. “I had to put my planned marriage arrangements on hold while I recovered. It was very difficult.”
Despite facing a disability and little professional experience in Canada, Sidhu refused to give up. After he was discharged from hospital, his betrothed arrived in Campbell River from India and they were married in July 1977. After that, he enrolled in a high school diploma program for adults and received his Grade 12 in 1979. This was the start of what became Sidhu’s lifelong passion for education and career growth.
On top of fathering two boys and two girls with his wife of now 40 years, Sidhu pursued numerous educational programs, including computer programming certification – he worked as a computer programmer for CBC for a while. He also received an accounting degree, a bachelor’s degree in management, an MBA, a PhD in management and a Certified Management Accountant designation.
“I have 18 certificates on my wall at work,” he says with a laugh, noting that his love of reading helped get him through many distance and night courses over the years.
Sidhu’s perseverance earned him not only many degrees, but substantial work experience along the way. After working for various employers for several years, he launched has his own tax and accounting firm 1999. This entrepreneurial leap of faith paid off, and he now has the chance to give back to other immigrants through offering volunteer and employment opportunities.
“They start working as volunteers for me, and then after two to three months, they often get hired,” he says. “I don’t need to hire people from outside my business; I give immigrants a chance because I know that they can learn.”
Despite the challenges he’s faced along the way, Sidhu considers himself to be one of the lucky ones. Sidhu hasn’t let anything slow him down or prevent him from achieving his goals.
“When new immigrants come to work for me, I often tell them: if I could do it, they can do it.”
And if they still feel like they can’t, Sidhu recommends: “Go back to school to get more education.”