A Brazilian with a mission to help patients in Latin America


By Leila Monteiro Lins | Published 23/07/2019

Discover Magazine is launching a special report called “Inspirational Stories” in its 2019 Summer  edition.

We will give a voice for Brazilians and Portuguese that decided to change their countries of origin for Canada. The reports will tell the obstacles, challenges and achievements they faced once the decision to immigrate was made. 

Brazilian José Bacellar decided to move to Canada with his wife 10 years ago.

Like every young man, he had his dreams. Contributing to a better Brazil and forming a family were the most important ones. He completed his university diploma and a master’s degree in São Paulo. He got married and had two children in Brazil. Eventually, in 2008, Bacellar moved to Canada with his second wife.

“I started to contemplate the idea of moving permanently to Canada when my wife decided to accept a position as a medical researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. I decided to come with her and, consequently, fell in love with the country because of its quality of life. I realized that it was also my moment to pursuit an international experience.”

The Differences

“There is no unworthy work in Canada. The grocery clerks, the servers at the coffee shops, bus drivers, taxi drivers, receptionists, all these professionals are proud of what they do. The rules of success here are not measured just by the money each one has. Contributing to society through volunteering, for example, has a huge weight in Canadian society. Solidarity is a reality here in the North.”

Another aspect pointed out by Bacellar is the usual sense of organization of the Canadian people.

“Since there is usually no domestic help to bring some ‘relief ‘ to the middle class in daily activities, we have to work around our schedules in order to keep up with domestic tasks, cook meals and pick up the children at school. Another good example of organization is that in Canada no one jumps the queues. I also wanted to emphasize the respect Canadians have in paying their taxes on time.

A Piece of Advice

“Don’t come to Canada without doing your homework. Planning is paramount. You may need to accept a simpler job in the beginning. Do not insist on working only in your area at first. If you need to take two or three steps backwards, see them as an opportunity to focus on your main goal. Be patient and persistence.”

Common Mistakes

José Bacellar points out one of the main mistakes immigrants make when they arrive here.

“Most immigrants want to continue their careers when they move to a new country. When I arrived in Toronto, I opened my own consulting firm named Bacellar Inc. It took me three years to realize that I should have planned my move to Canada more thoroughly. I should have acquired experience in a Canadian company before start my own.”


“Don’t come here if you don’t like the cold weather”, says Bacellar. “It’s very cold here for a long period of time. The cold weather starts in September and runs through April. Another factor that I like to highlight is that the month of December is very depressing, as it is the time of the year when we have the longest night of the year. It’s not very pleasant.”



José Bacelar with his assistant Fabiana Lapa, in his office in Toronto. 

After several major positions in large companies, such as president of Bombril in Brazil and as an employee of Canopy Growth in Canada, the world’s largest cannabis company, José Bacellar visualized the opportunity to help patients in Latin America and launched VerdeMed in Canada.

The startup VerdeMed plans to raise about CAD27 million over the next two years to invest in the development of cannabis-based drugs. Its operations are divided into four countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Canada.

“We are a small company with 20 employees. The founders are doctors and executives from Brazil and Colombia. We intend to expand to the six leading Latin American countries. We are working to make our brand become a trusted name for cannabis users. We are building the future brand of choice for Latin Americans.”

Leila Monteiro LIns

Leila has more than 35 years of experience in journalism and marketing. In April 2010, LML launched Discover magazine in Canada.