Two people from northern Ontario are among the 20 seniors recognized for their contributions to their communities and to the province for 2023 – Isadore Laba of the Temagami community and Chapleau’s Pierrette Ouellette.

2023 Ontario Senior Achievement Award RecipientsThe announcement was made by Edith Dumont, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on Feb. 29.

The Ontario Senior Achievement Awards recognize people who have made outstanding contributions to their communities through voluntary or professional activities after the age of 65.

"I am delighted to help present the Ontario Senior Achievement Awards to a remarkable group of recipients,” said Dumont, in a news release.

“It is important that we continue to recognize the contributions of seniors in our society.”

Isadore Laba

Isadore John (Ike) Laba is an active member of the Temagami community.

Officials with the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility said Laba has been involved with municipal council and volunteer groups for more than 50 years in an email to CTV News.

“He has initiated community projects such as the Diabetes Association Clothesline Program and the planting of more than 1,500 trees for reforestation,” said the ministry.

According to the new release, Laba is a husband, father and grandfather and a long-time volunteer with the Temagami Lions Club. In addition to his work with the diabetes association and reforestation efforts, Laba has also been heavily involved in other community projects including the addition of a new blood pressure kiosk in the Temagami Medical Centre.

Isadore John (Ike) Laba“Ike knows how to bring people into the spirit of Temagami and his smiling face makes Temagami a better place,” reads the release.

Pierrette Ouellette

The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility described Pierrette Ouellette as “passionate about taking care of Ontario’s Francophone seniors” in a separate email to CTV News.

“She finds innovative ways to keep Francophone seniors engaged, advocates for affordable housing and helps patients or long-term care residents with their needs,” said the ministry.

Ouellette has sat on the Board of Directors of the Fédération des aînés et retraités francophones de l'Ontario for 11 years.

“Through her tenure, Pierrette has demonstrated her commitment to seniors and played an active role in ensuring the restructuring and sustainability of the organization for the well-being and development of Ontario's Francophone seniors and retirees,” reads the news release.

Ouellette has also served as board chair of the community service organization Carrefour santé Chapeau-Follyet-Sultan for 11 years. She has been involved with Club Maria Chapdelaine, a Chapleau area Francophone seniors' club in Chapleau for many years – including serving as its president.

Ouellette has also campaigned for the creation of affordable housing for semi-independent seniors during her term as the president of Maison Boreal Home.

Pierrette Ouellette“(Ouellette) is committed to her community and her passion for fighting for rights and solutions to meet the needs of her fellow Francophones has made a huge impact in Ontario’s north,” said the ministry.

Ontario Senior Achievement Awards

The awards recognize people who have made outstanding contributions to their communities through voluntary or professional activities after the age of 65.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the Senior Achievement Award recipients,” said Raymond Cho, the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility.

“I am inspired by your dedication in helping seniors across our province. On behalf of all Ontarians, thank you for your commitment and exceptional service.”

The Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism Michael Ford said seniors have played a critical role in building our communities and the province into the place it is today.

“Congratulations to all those being recognized with this year’s Ontario Senior Achievement Award for their many years of dedicated service to their communities,” he said.

“Thank you for all that you have done to build a stronger and better Ontario for all who call our province home.”

“I am so glad to have this opportunity to shine a light on the work of 20 impressive Ontarians, who have done so much to uplift and support their communities,” added Dumont.

A complete list of 2023 Ontario Senior Achievement Award recipients can be found here.

Nominations

Seniors who qualify for the Ontario Senior Achievement Award may have contributed to many different fields such as the arts, literature, community service, volunteering, education, environment, fitness and/or humanitarian activities after age 65 and must reside within the province. People who have passed away, who currently hold political office or who are elected federal, provincial, municipal representatives, or political appointees are not eligible.

An independent selection committee reviews all nominations for the Ontario Senior Achievement Awards and recommends the candidates.

The 2024 deadline for nominations to the Ontario Senior Achievement Awards is July 15, nominations received after the deadline will be considered for the following year.

Nominations can be made online through the Ontario Honours and Awards Portal or by submitting an approved form by mail to the Ontario Honours and Awards Secretariat in Toronto.