News Release
December 7, 2023

The City of Toronto has named the recipients of the 2023 Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards, which recognize people and organizations that have helped build a more equitable city by advancing reconciliation and justice, addressing discrimination and working to eliminate barriers to equality.

The 2023 awards recipients are:

  • Joyce Carpenter – Mino Bimaadiziwin Award (Indigenous Award): advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people
  • Shannon Simpson – Mino Bimaadiziwin Award (Indigenous Award): Senior Director, Indigenous Initiatives, University of Toronto
  • Shakhlo Sharipova – Disability Access Award: founder, Thorncliffe Park Autism Support Network
  • Centre of Learning and Development – Constance E. Hamilton Award for Women’s Equality: an organization building capacity, community engagement, confidence and employability of women-identifying participants
  • Safia Parveen – Constance E. Hamilton Award for Women’s Equality: lead, Thorncliffe Wellness Cafe Group, a community organization aimed at bringing mental health awareness to women of South Asian backgrounds
  • Moe Akel – Pride Award: 2SLGBTQ+ rights activist and equity, diversity and inclusion educator
    Francis Jeffers – William P. Hubbard Race Relations Award: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics advocate for youth, African-Canadian and low-income communities

Returning in-person for the first time since 2019, this year’s awards ceremony was hosted by Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre) and was broadcast on the City’s YouTube Channel. Deputy Mayor Ausma Malik (Spadina-Fort York) delivered remarks on behalf of Mayor Olivia Chow. The ceremony featured an opening invocation and thanksgiving by Bob Goulais of the Eagle Clan, Nipissing First Nation, as well as musical performances by Toronto artists Divine Lightbody and Bitter & Broke.

The 2023 awards ceremony precedes International Human Rights Day on December 10 and the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on the same date in 1948.

The City’s Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards are community-driven, with nominations submitted by the public. Recipients are selected by an independent panel of community members with relevant expertise, lived experience and knowledge of the subject for each award category. The Constance E. Hamilton Award is selected by the female members of City Council.

More information about the awards, including recipients’ biographies, is available on the City’s Access, Equity & Human Rights Awards webpage.


“I am so inspired by each of this year’s Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards recipients and offer my heartfelt congratulations! These awards are special because they amplify the voices and experiences of the people and organizations who exemplify the values behind the City’s motto ‘Diversity Our Strength.’ It’s clear that Toronto is filled with passionate and hard-working community-builders and advocates.”
– Mayor Olivia Chow

“It has been an immense privilege to be part of this year’s Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards ceremony. The extraordinarily high calibre of this year’s nominees is a testament to the profound and vital work happening in every corner of Toronto. These remarkable community leaders work tirelessly to build a city that embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity and equity. My heartfelt appreciation and congratulations go out to each of the award recipients. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed; continue to make us proud!”
– Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre)

Toronto is home to more than three million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation and climate action, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations