Jamaican to Receive Highest Honour from Province of Ontario

ONTARIO, Canada – Jamaican-born Canadian resident, Christopher A. Harris, is among 27 persons to be awarded the Order of Ontario, the highest and most prestigious honour from the province of Ontario in Canada.

The Order of Ontario is presented to residents of the province for ‘Excellence and Achievement in any Field’. The investiture ceremony will take place on January 24, 2008, at Queen’s Park, the seat of the provincial legislature.

David Onley, the province’s Lieutenant Governor, made the announcement recently, describing the recipients as “exemplary in their fields” and that the province “is richer for the breadth and depth of their contributions.”

Mr. Harris, who is the President of the Jamaica (Ottawa) Community Association, which he co-founded, migrated to Canada more than 40 years ago. As an advocate for social justice and the equitable treatment of visible minorities, he was a founding member of several associations, including the Ottawa-Carleton Immigrant Services Organization, the National Capital Alliance on Race Relations, the Community Police Action Committee and the National Council of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations in Canada. During his tenure as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Visible Minorities, he also helped to develop Ottawa’s multicultural policy.

Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada, Evadne Coye extended congratulations to Mr. Harris on behalf of the government of Jamaica.

She noted that he is “a prime example of the fact that Jamaicans continue to excel wherever they serve.”

Speaking to JIS News recently, Mr. Harris, who hails from the parish of St. James, said he was very pleased to have been given this recognition and will accept it on behalf of all those who have worked with him in changing negative stereotypes.

“I feel that the work we have done is appreciated by the powers that be. What makes me feel even better is when I look back at where we are coming from and see improvement and recognition from the community we live in, then I know we’re striving for a better Canada, a better country and a better place to live,” he said.

Mr. Harris is also the recipient of numerous awards and medals, including Canada’s highest national honour, the Order of Canada, which he received about 15 months ago from Governor-General, Her Excellency Michaelle Jean.

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