Jamaican Canadians given Order of Ontario

Mary Anne Chambers
Mary Anne Chambers

Two outstanding Jamaican Canadians who have served the province of Ontario with distinction have been awarded the Order of Ontario.

Mary Anne Chambers and Joseph Halstead are among 26 appointees to receive the province’s highest award. Their names are well known to members of the Caribbean community, particularly the Jamaican Diaspora.

The Order of Ontario recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field benefiting the people of Ontario or anywhere in the world.

Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell who serves as chancellor of the Order of Ontario invested the 26 appointees in a ceremony at Queen’s Park last week.

Joseph Halstead
Joseph Halstead

“I am proud to formally welcome these 26 remarkable people into the Order of Ontario. Their diverse and significant contributions have had an impact on the lives of millions of Ontarians, improving our quality of life, making our communities stronger and positioning this province as an international centre of excellence in many endeavours,” Dowdeswell said.

Chambers served as a minister under former premier Dalton McGuinty and was the MPP for Scarborough East. She personally funds scholarships in Canada and supports early childhood education in Jamaica. Chambers was out of the country and could not attend the ceremony.

Halstead is a former senior municipal and provincial official and community leader. He is a former chair of Ontario Place Corporation, a board member of Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games and a founding member of the Toronto Raptor’s Foundation. He also revitalized the Caribana Festival.

Appointees are presented with the Order of Ontario insignia and receive a certificate and lapel pin. Created in 1986, Order of Ontario recipients are selected by an advisory council that recommends nominees to the lieutenant-governor.

Nomination deadline is March 16 each year. Nominations are made by members of the public. Any resident or former long-term resident of Ontario can be nominated.