| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Civic Impact

Roberta L. Jamieson receives special YWCA Women of Distinction Award

Recognizing this year’s Women of Distinction, the Toronto YWCA awarded its President’s Award to First Nations leader Roberta L. Jamieson, only the third time that the special award has been given in the event’s 36-year history.
Jamieson has spent five decades advocating for change and justice for Indigenous people and Canada. “It’s very timely with the publishing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report which includes many, many recommendations for things she’s been working for through her whole career,” says YWCA CEO Heather M. McGregor. “We wanted to add our voice to the importance of this issue in Canadian society and her name sprang up when we were thinking about that.”
A Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario, Jamieson is CEO of Indspire, an Indigenous-led charity advancing Indigenous achievement through education and training. She was the first First Nations woman law school graduate in Canada, the first woman ombudsman of Ontario, the first woman elected chief of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and the first non-Parliamentarian to sit on a House of Commons committee, among her many other achievements.
While the President’s Award is only presented in exceptional circumstances, this year the YWCA also recognized seven others for their work in improving the lives of girls, women and marginalized groups, including student activist duo Tessa Hill, 15, and Lia Valente, 14, who were recognized as Young Women of Distinction, the youngest people ever to received the accolade.
“In fact, they really are girls, not women, but we made an exception this year because they made such a significant change in Ontario, showing that you can make a big difference at any age,” says McGregor. Hill and Valente successfully petitioned their school—and then the province—to include sexual consent discussions as part of the Health and Physical Education curriculum.
Other winners include Colleen Johnston, group head of direct channels in Technology, Marketing and Real Estate at TD Bank Group, in the Corporate Leadership category; Georgia Quartaro, dean of the Centre for Preparatory and Liberal Studies at George Brown College in the Education category; Reeta Roy, president and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation, in the International Development category; Elizabeth Shilton, senior fellow at the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace at Queen’s University in the Law and Justice category; and primary health giver and HIV/AIDS activist Dr. Cheryl Wagner in the Health category.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Heather M. McGregor
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts

Related Content