A community leader who has provided exceptional service to Causeway, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Pinecrest Queensway Health and Community Services Centre, Barbara MacKinnon was awarded one of nine Women of Distinction Awards by the YMCA-YWCA of Ottawa Carleton. Ms. MacKinnon accepted the award at a gala dinner before 870 people at the Ottawa Congress Centre on May 30.
As director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ms. MacKinnon strove for better services at the community level to ensure that people who were leaving psychiatric hospitals had enough support to keep them well and reintegrate into the community. Since becoming executive director of Pinecrest Queensway HCS, she has worked closely to coordinate services with Carlington Community and Health Services and other sister organizations, and spearheaded the development of First Words, an innovative region-wide service which helps parents whose preschoolers are not developing language skills as they should.
Barbara MacKinnon won the Women of Distinction award in the voluntary sector, for which there were 12 nominations.
Among other nominees was Carlington resident Cathie Mann, the first female minister of the Church of Scientology of Ontario to be granted the right by the Province of Ontario to solemnize marriages. She was one of the main organizers of the ‘Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life' events put on by the Church, encouraging young people to be drug-free. Ms. Mann is the Director of the Citizens' Commission of Human Rights in Ottawa, through which she has worked to provide support to abused women and to sufferers of psychiatric abuse. She is a member of the World Conference on Religion and Peace and the Human Rights Institute of Canada. “Her combination of the practical and the spiritual enables her to reach out and help the broadest possible spectrum of people,” noted the group who nominated her. The Women of Distinction Awards recognize women who are considered role models, who have contributed to the advancement of women and, who have demonstrated initiative and a pioneering spirit. It was established in 1974 by the Winnipeg “Y” and is now celebrated in 17 communities across Canada. Since 1994, almost 400 women in the community have been honoured.