Elizabeth White, Executive Director, St. Leonard’s Society of Canada, Receives the 2016 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award


For Immediate Release 

(OTTAWA, December 6, 2016) – Today, Mr. Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator of Canada, is pleased to announce that Ms. Elizabeth White, Executive Director of the St. Leonard’s Society of Canada, has been presented with the 2016 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award .

In presenting this award, Mr. Sapers acknowledged Elizabeth’s standing as a central figure in the Canadian criminal and social justice scene for more than 35 years. “A lawyer by training, Elizabeth has taken a view of justice and human rights that goes far beyond what happens in the courtroom. In a career that, in addition to the practice of law, has included contributions in the areas of research, policy development, and public education – to name just a few – Elizabeth has shown a dedication to the pursuit of justice, human rights, and more inclusive communities,” said Mr. Sapers.

A corrections professional with an impressive history of public speaking and published articles, Elizabeth has previously served as chair of both the National Associations Active in Criminal Justice and of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association.

Since 1996, Ms. White has served as the Executive Director of the St. Leonard’s Society of Canada, a charitable organization with 7 direct service agencies across Canada providing residential and day programs to more than 5,000 previously incarcerated youth and adults each year. Ms. White recognizes that communities are fundamental to the practice of safe, humane and effective corrections, and she has long championed community-based initiatives and the necessary and important role of ‘halfway houses’ with integrity and determination.

Under her talented leadership, the St. Leonard’s Society has been able to re-establish and staff its national office, as well as produce and share useful research and public education resources on good practices in residential services, avoiding criminalizing of people with mental health issues, accessing mental health services on conditional release.

The Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award was established in honour of Mr. Ed McIsaac, who served as Executive Director of the Office of the Correctional Investigator for 18 years.  Each recipient of the award receives a reproduction of a sculpture by Ms. Audrey Greyeyes, a Cree artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, entitled Medicine Man.  The sculpture symbolizes wisdom, clarity of thought, and leadership - traits reflecting Mr. McIsaac’s character and career.

The ceremony will take place this afternoon in Ottawa, Ontario. Presented on a yearly basis since 2009, Ms. White is the eighth recipient of this award. Past recipients include: Michael Jackson, Mary Campbell, Kim Pate, Jean-Claude Bernheim, Graham Stewart, Elizabeth Parkinson, and John Conroy.

Details concerning the nomination process for the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award are available on the Office’s website at www.oci-bec.gc.ca .

For more information contact:  
Ivan Zinger, J.D., Ph.D.  
Executive Director and General Counsel  
Office of the Correctional Investigator  
Tel: (613) 990-2690  

Date modified  


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