View shortlisted nominees
Christina Biron—community leader for children and families in Wemindji, Québec.
Christina believes in focusing her energy ‘upstream’ in her northern community of Wemindji, along the east coast of James Bay. Despite tensions between the Cree and non-Cree populations, she has mobilized a process to help families from both groups to develop problem-solving skills and work together. Her leadership has challenged assumptions about cultural barriers and has resulted in greater mutual respect, understanding and healing. Because of Christina’s work in the community, the Cree population in Wemindji now has a greater role in decision-making in key determinants of health, including housing and education.
France Dallaire - transforming the work of a Francophone community in Hearst, Ontario
As Executive Director of Notre Dame Hospital in Hearst, France has worked hard to expand community health services for Francophones in her community. Through the Aging at Home program and other integrated services, she has improved inclusion and access for isolated and rural residents. Despite challenges such as aging infrastructure, shrinking budgets and rising costs, France has found solutions through collaborative partnerships. Her leadership has resulted in improvements to hospital services across the lifespan, from new incubators for babies to better palliative care services. Her work has also led to innovations such as the Carrefour-Santé’, a web hub where Francophone professionals to share information about activities and services.
Tracy Ford—an unwavering commitment to youth engagement in Toronto
As Coordinator of Volunteer Services, at the Children’s Aid Society and through her extensive volunteer work, Tracy’s leadership enables others to shine. In her early years as an advocate, she helped to mobilize youth to participate in the City of Toronto’s first ‘inclusive policy development’ to create safer all-ages dance events. She also mentored members of the Toronto Youth Cabinet on a campaign to preserve funding for Youth Violence Prevention Outreach Workers. Drawing on her own life experience, Tracy ensures that all voices are included, respected and empowered to work against injustice and create change.
Tina Nadia Gopal—social change through education for vulnerable youth in Toronto
Tina brings her leadership skills to address the needs of youth who are involved with the criminal justice system. In 2009, she recognized that young people in custody who were awaiting a further court appearance had no means of continuing their education. In response, Tina launched Amadeusz and ‘The Look at My Life’ project. Started in Toronto’s West Detention Centre, the project helps young people to complete high school. It has since been expanded to three other detention centres. Because of Tina’s leadership, many young men and women have obtained their high school diplomas, made positive changes in their lives and become role models and mentors for younger community members.
Kelly Holmes— creating change for marginalized youth in Winnipeg
Kelly inspires people and organizations to see how their contributions can make a greater impact on the community. In her role as Executive Director of RaY —Resource Assistance for Youth, she has been able to gather diverse community members to work together to improve the lives of homeless and street-involved youth in Winnipeg. Her leadership has allowed RaY to support hundreds of youth to move into an independent lifestyle. Her vision and advocacy for social justice has resulted in partnerships across all sectors in the community and has inspired organizations and individuals to play a role in healthy change.
David Jeffery— supporting tri-cultural respect and collaboration in Midland, Ontario.
A leader who is not afraid to challenge the status quo, David Jeffery takes risks and uses innovative approaches to reach communities. As Executive director of Chigamik Community Health Centre in the South Georgian Bay area of Ontario, he has supported inclusive programming that benefits all of Midland’s three cultural groups – francophones, First Nations, Métis and Inuit and anglophones. Through Chigamik, David has achieved a holistic integration of culture and language in all of the centre’s physical spaces, practices and policies. He has been a powerful role model for his staff and for the broader community.
Jacky Kennedy—creating leaders and change for walkable communities across Canada
As the Director of Walking Programs for Green Communities Canada, Jacky wants to help foster a culture of walking by helping to create communities where everyone can walk to school, work, play, shopping and transit. Her commitment can be traced back to 1995, when, as the mother of school-aged children, she was shocked to see how few families walked to school. Working together with local champions, Jacky’s leadership has led to programs that are now nationwide, including the ‘Active and Safe Routes to School’ program and School Travel Planning. Through the ‘Walkability Roadshow’, Jacky has successfully expanded the model to support community members of all ages. Thanks in large part to her leadership, 39 Ontario municipalities have signed the International Charter for Walking.
Susan Ladouceur—honesty and reciprocity working with Métis youth in Buffalo Lake, Alberta
Susan responds to community needs and priorities on behalf of the people at the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement. Working with the University of Alberta, her unassuming leadership style has allowed her to build bridges between the worlds of academia and the community of Buffalo Lake. She demonstrates a deep respect for the history of the community and an ability to draw on local experience. This collaboration has resulted in inclusive health intervention strategies that are developed, owned and delivered by community members themselves. The Life Skills Journey project offers a summer camp program for children 7-14 that includes cultural specific content for Métis people and supports young people to become community leaders.
Bruno Marchand—changing public attitudes about suicide prevention in Québec, and beyond.
Bruno Marchand’s vision is to achieve a society where suicide no longer exists, and he invites all of us to become part of the solution. As the Executive Director of the Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention, he understands that isolation and exclusion are two of the biggest risk factors for suicide. He works with others to create a greater sense of belonging for families, schools, workplaces and communities. For Bruno, preventing suicide is a collective responsibility. A key message of his organization’s suicide prevention campaign is, “T’es important pour nous” (You are important to us). Bruno has raised awareness about suicide prevention in Quebec and other regions of Canada and has collaborated with partners around the world.
Fay Martin—taking a hands-on approach to secure affordable housing in Haliburton County, Ontario
For many decades, Fay has worked to address the needs of those marginalized by society. She leads change by motivating and encouraging the community to work together to do what they can to make the world a better place for all. Fay views each challenging circumstance as an opportunity for positive change. Since founding and overseeing Haliburton County Non-Profit Places for People (P4P), she has helped to find safe and affordable housing for some members of the community whose needs were not being met through current government or other community programs. Fay has brought people together to achieve a common goal and her tireless dedication to affordable housing has gained the respect of the local community.
Catherine Mindorff-Facca—linking community assets in Ontario’s Niagara region.
As the founding Chair of Niagara Connects, Catherine works across the community to engage community members to work together for a stronger Niagara. Catherine has a knack for including people who might otherwise be overlooked. She rarely uses the word “problem”, but chooses to focus on community assets. She inspires the people around her to explore new opportunities. Catherine’s leadership has helped to link people together to unearth unused assets and to plan as a collective for a more cohesive and vibrant Niagara. Catherine’s leadership has resulted in key publications such as the ‘Living in Niagara Report’. She helps individuals and organizations to see the value in working together for a stronger future.
Christine Post—quietly determined to reduce poverty in Ontario’s Peterborough region
Christine works tirelessly behind the scenes in her community to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of her community. She collaborates with a wide variety of community agencies and volunteers to improve living conditions for those living in poverty, advocating for better housing, higher social assistance rates, affordable dental care and enhanced primary health care. A passionate member of the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network, Christine also works to advance the health equity agenda within her local public health unit. She effectively develops and supports partnerships to create healthier and more equitable public policies.
Terry Thomson—building community partnerships across sectors in Ontario’s Niagara region.
Detective Sergeant Terry Thomson’s early work on substance misuse prevention used to focus on enforcement. He recognized that, to create change, he needed to collaborate with other parts of the community. Terry formed a partnership between the Niagara Regional Police Service and Niagara Public Health, and built a bridge between two very different community sectors. An unconventional leader who understands the role of the social determinants of health in substance misuse, Terry takes the time to get to know people’s personal struggles, and reaches out to refer them to treatment or mental health services. He is a leader who understands the bigger picture. By stepping outside of the “police box” and collaborating with others, Terry has been able to find solutions that have a long-term impact on prevention, such as Canada’s first Prescription Drug Drop-Off Initiative.