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Access, Equity & Human Rights Awards
Past Award recipients
Aboriginal Affairs Award
Access Award
Constance E. Hamilton Award
Pride Award
William P. Hubbard Award
Equity, Diversity and Human Rights
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Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards:
2006 recipients

Aboriginal Affairs Award
Access Award
Constance E. Hamilton Award
Pride Award
William P. Hubbard Award
2006 Photo gallery

Aboriginal Affairs Award

Eileen AntoneEileen Antone is a member of the Oneida of the Thames First Nation. Dr. Antone has many years of experience as a volunteer and a professional with Aboriginal communities and organizations, both as a committee member and a concerned individual advocating for Aboriginal perspectives.

She is an active participant with the Wahahi:o Iroquois Drumming and Singing Group and a member of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, Taam Kaadinakiijik Elders Council. She has served on the Boards of Anduhyaun (1996 - 2003) and Native Child and Family Services (1998 - 2006).

As a respected academic, Eileen has used her knowledge and skills to conduct workshops in the Aboriginal community, as well as in the academic community and to carry out opening and closing ceremonies at workshops, forums and conferences. Her doctoral thesis for the University of Toronto "In Search of Voice: A Collaborative Investigation on Learning Experiences of the Onyota'a: ka", deepened her understanding of traditional teachings and has been the basis for sharing and teaching.

Today, Eileen Antone is an Associate Professor in the department of Adult Education, Community Development, and Counselling Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She is also a faculty member in the Transitional Year Program with a cross-appointment with University College at the University of Toronto. She is dedicated to the goal of ensuring Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students are successful with their academic studies.

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Access Award for Disability Issues

Fostered on the simple premise of the incredible power of friendship, Best Buddies/Vrais Copains Canada is one of the country's fastest growing charitable organizations. Since its incorporation as a registered charity in 1995, the organization has quickly expanded across Canada, with chapters in every province.

Best Buddies/Vrais Copains Canada
Penny Shore, Daniel J. Greenglass
Co-Chairs and Co-Founders
Best Buddies/Vrais Copains Canada - Penny Shore, Daniel J. Greenglass, Co-Chairs and Co-Founders

Best Buddies/Vrais Copains gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to have experiences that most people take for granted - going for coffee, seeing a movie, or simply enjoying the company of a good friend. Participation in the Best Buddies program helps to eliminate the biases that perpetuate exclusion by fostering friendship, compassion, and empathy. Their efforts are based on the understanding that exclusion can lead to loneliness and low self-esteem. It also provides an opportunity for students to get involved in their communities.

Best Buddies Canada was founded by two friends, Daniel J. Greenglass and Penny Shore. They were inspired after attending a Washington gala for the American Best Buddies organization. The founder of Best Buddies International, Anthony Kennedy Shriver, laid down the gauntlet to Shore and Greenglass to create a similar organization in Canada; and they rose to the challenge.

Best Buddies/Vrais Copains Canada - Kimberley Esguerra, Nivedita Ramsakal, matched in Best Buddies for past three years Best Buddies/Vrais Copains Canada
Kimberley Esguerra, Nivedita Ramsakal
matched in Best Buddies for past three years

The demand for the program is extensive, as there are approximately one million Canadians with intellectual disabilities living in almost every community nationwide. What began as a challenge has expanded from coast to coast, in both official languages. By the end of 2006, there will be over 135 chapters at universities, colleges and high schools across Canada, involving almost 3,500 volunteers. Over the past 11 years, 20,000 participants have been part of the programs. Back to Top

The programs of the Ontario Track 3 Ski Association started in 1972 with funding from the Easter Seals Society, to help young amputees to learn how to ski. Based on its success, the program soon expanded to include children with physical and developmental disabilities. In 1987, the Ontario Track 3 Ski Association became an independent organization with the mandate "to provide the best possible program for youngsters with disabilities, using only current ski equipment and fully trained and qualified instructors, support staff and ski technicians."

Henk Engels, Executive Director Ontario Track 3 Ski Association
Henk Engels, Executive Director (left); Brenda Brooks, Chair, Training Committee & Program Director (right)
Brenda Brooks, Chair, Training Committee & Program Director

The program enhances the participants self confidence and self esteem, and gives them experiences similar to others who do not have disabilities. No applicant has ever been turned down due to disability or ability to pay.

Over the years, Track 3 has more than met its mandate and has developed a training system with detailed manuals that correspond to a graded instructor training program. Track 3 has their own trained, experienced course conductors to help new volunteers. In an average year, close to 80 new recruits receive Level One training, and 30 or more instructors strive for Level Two and Three certification.

All support staff, assistants, instructors, training and program directors are volunteers. Currently there are 220 participants supported by 450 volunteers with programs at 16 locations.

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Constance E. Hamilton Award on the Status of Women

Parvathy KanthasamyThroughout her life, Parvathy Kanthasamy has combined her career in linguistics and a love of theatre with her volunteer work on behalf of immigrant women, immigrant seniors, and women's physical and mental health.

Beginning in the Tamil community, she has become an advocate for marginalized and traumatized women of all cultures. At the Clark Institute (now part of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), she advocated for institutional change as a member of the Ethnoracial Services Committee; at Mount Sinai Hospital, she helped create the Assertive Community Treatment Team to integrate ethnoracial considerations into case management work.

She has worked primarily with the Sri Lankan Tamil community, but her efforts have benefited so many others. To raise awareness of social issues in the Tamil community, she has written and staged plays and films. Topics have ranged from depression, to women abuse, senior abuse and conflict resolution for teenagers. She has written information booklets for the Tamil community on depression, how abused women can find shelter, heart attacks, alcoholism, sexuality and AIDS.

Perhaps all these accomplishments were only preparation for her work as one of the founders of Vasantham - A Tamil Seniors Wellness Centre that has groups across Toronto. Begun in 1998, the centre tends to the mental well-being of an aging population in a changing world.

Most recently, Parvathy's skill and energy have been directed towards fundraising and providing psychological counselling to victims of the December 26, 2004 tsunami that devastated northeast Sri Lanka. Back to Top

Marcie PonteMarcie Ponte began her work with the Working Women Community Centre (WWCC) in 1976, serving as a board member twice in its 30 year history. She was appointed Executive Director in 1999 and through her remarkable efforts, the organization has grown from 12 to 63 staff, and their budget has increased from $1.3 to $3 million, thereby increasing their capacity to serve women.

Marcie came to Canada at the age of seven from the Azores and began her career in community development work at the age of 17. At St. Christopher House, she worked with Cleaners Action, a lobby group working for the rights of immigrant women cleaners in Toronto. After graduating from Centennial College with a Community Development Certificate, she worked with at the West End 'Y', reaching out to the predominantly Portuguese community, with a focus on women and girls.

She has worked as the coordinator for Women Working with Immigrant Women (WWIW), a union organizer with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and as coordinator of the Labour Studies Program for the Labour Council of Metro Toronto and York Region. She is a founding member of the Portuguese Interagency Network and continues that work today as an active member of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and as a Vice President of the Portuguese Canadian National Congress.

Currently at WWCC, she has worked hard to develop innovative projects that speak directly to immigrant women and the broader community about issues that are important to women. Marcie initiated the idea of a creating a popular theatre play, Tomorrow's Time, performed by and for immigrant women about breast cancer care. She also initiated an innovative project that reached out to local community access points like hair salons to talk about prevention of violence and how communities can and should take responsibility.

One of her successful fundraising projects has been "Tasting Diversity: A Celebration of Immigrant Women and Their Cooking," which celebrates immigrant women and their stories of living/immigrating to Canada and features a recipe of their childhood. Back to Top

Virginia RockVirginia Rock spent most of her professional life teaching English at the university level, work that has taken her across the United States, Canada and Europe. She joined the faculty at York University, where she was the first woman to be appointed as Master of a college - Stong College - in 1969.

As a scholar and a teacher, Virginia focused on the literature of the southern United States, introducing the work of women writers and redressing their absence from earlier, male-oriented curricula. As a colleague and faculty member, she was tireless in her efforts to make universities more welcoming of women as faculty, students and staff.

When York University began to develop a graduate programme in Women's Studies in 1992, Virginia became involved in the development of the proposal. Since then, she has continued as a course designer, instructor, an admissions committee member, and as an advisor to Masters and PhD students. Her enthusiasm for her own work and for that of her colleagues and students has helped define the Women's Studies programme.

As part of her commitment to Women's Studies, she has been an active supporter and promoter of the Canadian Women's Studies Association (CWSA), encouraging students to present their research in public. From 1995 to 1998, she also served as the Treasurer of the CWSA. She retired from York University in 1989 and remained as active as ever. In 1992, she joined the York University Retirees' Association (YURA), and from 1995 to 1997 served as president.

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Pride Award for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual and Two Spirited Issues

Dick MooreDick Moore has worked for 30 years with retired people and their families, including nine years as Director of Senior Services of the Family Service Association, and five years as Director of the Older Adult Centre at St. Christopher House. He provided the momentum and leadership necessary to bring together some 30 community organizations and individuals to form the Seniors PRIDE Network.

Since 2003, he has worked toward better understanding and issue resolution between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & transsexual (LGBTT) and straight communities as Co-ordinator of the Older LGBTT Program at the 519 Community Centre.

Through his work with Toronto Homes for the Aged, he established recognition for the needs of seniors in the LGBTT community. As a result, Fudger House, Kipling Acres and True Davidson Acres are the first nursing homes in Canada to be designated and recognized by the community as "safe havens" for LGBTT seniors. This program received one of the 17 Awards given to the City of Toronto at the 2006 Public Sector Quality Fair, which showcases service quality excellence in government, health-care and education sectors across Ontario.

In March 2006, he helped bring together LGBTT seniors, service providers, students and the media for a one-day conference called "Opening the closet on Aging". The land-mark event provided information and a networking opportunity for the ever-increasing LGBTT senior population. Back to Top

PFLAG Toronto has provided support to the LGBTT community, their families, friends and parents for over 20 years. As part of a national umbrella organization of over 60 chapters, PFLAG is a grassroots organization that supports, educates and advocates for tolerance and acceptance of their children and friends. They provide support to cope with an adverse society and education to enlighten the public with the aim of ending discrimination and securing equal rights.

PFLAG Toronto
(Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Ernest Lacasse, Board Member Jim Callaghan, Board Member and parent
Ernest Lacasse
Board Member
Jim Callaghan
Board Member and parent
Marlene Morais, Board Member and parent Simone Lebreton, Board Member and parent
Marlene Morais
Board Member and parent
Simone Lebreton
Board Member and parent

PFLAG members have the courage to "come out" and speak truthfully about their families and experiences. In doing so, they provide tremendous public education and invaluable mutual support. The Toronto Chapter offers support meetings, a 24 hour speaker bureau, education meetings; representation and advocacy to bodies such as the Toronto Police Services Board. PFLAG has come to symbolize love and acceptance and has a long history of courageous volunteer members.

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William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations

Douglas StewartIn the field of social justice, Douglas Stewart has brought both Black identity and queer issues together, and to the forefront. Douglas has been a founding member of many Black LGBTTIQ organizations, such as: in 1983, ZAMI - the first Black and West Indian lesbian and gay support group in Toronto; Black Lesbian and Gay Action Group; Simon Nkodi Anti-apartheid Committee; Aya Men - a group for Black gay men; and the Blockorama entertainment venue at Pride. From 1990 to 1994, he was the founding Executive Director of the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP), steering the organization through its formative years. He has been active in various equity oriented arts initiatives, including film and video projects like "Apples and Oranges," an elementary school anti-homophobia resource.

Douglas has demonstrated a long history of commitment to youth development, regularly providing training and organizational development to many youth empowerment agencies such as SERVE! He has also worked with the Toronto District School Board on anti-discrimination initiatives and in alternative school programs such as the Nighana Afrocentric Transitional Program for at-risk African-Canadian students.

Douglas is an equity consultant in the field of organizational change management, diversity, human rights and cultural competence. His work focuses on building the capacity of smaller community based not for profit organizations, providing strategic planning, systems reviews, process facilitation, and a range of professional development services. He has worked as an equity trainer, dispute resolution officer and as Chief Human Rights Advisor at Centennial College.

His contributions have made a considerable difference to the lives of many individuals in Toronto. His work has assisted others to develop pride of race, ethnicity and culture by helping them recognize similarities, value differences and to take responsibility for advancing social justice and positive race relations.

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