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4 Black community leaders appointed to Order of Ontario

Click for more details about the winners.

4 Black community leaders appointed to Order of Ontario
Queen's Park, home of the provincial legislature in Toronto. WIKIPEDIA PHOTO

The Province of Ontario has welcomed 25 appointments to the Order of Ontario, including four new Black inductees.

Gervan Fearon, president of George Brown College in Toronto, and Toronto artist, musician and poet Dwayne Morgan were among the four named to the post. They are joined by Florence Ngenzebuhoro, who serves as the executive director and CEO of the Centre francophone du Grand Toronto (CFGT), Ontario’s premiere French-language social services centre, and Hazelle Palmer, CEO at the Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto.

“As chancellor of the Order of Ontario, it is my privilege to congratulate the Order’s appointees for 2023. These Ontarians have demonstrated the highest levels of merit, excellence and dedication in their respective disciplines, and they have made significant impacts here at home and around the world,” said Lieutenant Governor Edith Dumont. “Our province gratefully acknowledges their remarkable contributions, which inspire us all to be leaders and change-makers.”

Here are more details about the winners:

Gervan Fearon


He is a former president and vice-chancellor at Brock University and Brandon University and is currently president of George Brown College. Over the decades, Dr. Fearon has devoted himself to equity, inclusion, and community empowerment in education. A veteran educator, he leads efforts to provide transformative education opportunities that benefit learners, industry and the greater community. His influential contributions to the white paper “Towards a Vision for the Black Community” pioneered ideas for positive change.

Dwayne Morgan

Since 1993, Dwayne Morgan has been a fixture in and an integral part of Canada’s Spoken Word and live arts scene. Morgan is a two-time Canadian National Poetry Slam Champion and received the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Celebration of Cultural Life award in 2022. Furthermore, in 2013, he was inducted into the Scarborough Hall of Fame and affectionately nicknamed ‘The Godfather’ of Canadian Spoken Word poetry; Morgan aims to create platforms and opportunities for those who will come after him.

Florence Ngenzebuhoro

Florence Ngenzebuhoro is the executive director and CEO of the Centre Francophone du Grand Toronto (CFGT), Ontario’s premiere French-language social services centre. The CFGT offers a wide range of social services (primary healthcare services, mental health support, legal aid, an AIDS/HIV program, early-learning development programs for children, integration and resettlement programs, housing support, continued skills and training programs, and employment or preparation programs) to Francophones and underserved communities in the Greater Toronto Area.

Since 2017, under her leadership, the CFGT has opened new offices in Mississauga and Scarborough and launched (in conjunction with Canada’s Ministry of Immigration & Citizenship) Pearson International Airport’s first-ever new arrivals reception service offering new Canadians (not just French speakers) a warm welcome and a range of essential social and resettlement services.

Hazelle Palmer

With more than 30 years of experience, she is currently the CEO and president of Sherbourne Health, formerly the executive director of the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and the executive director of Planned Parenthood of Toronto. Hazelle holds a Master’s Certificate in Health Care Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Carleton University. She is the former managing editor of Health Sharing Magazine, a television producer for WTN and Upfront Entertainment, and the communications coordinator for the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

A published author of two books, Hazelle’s work has appeared in numerous publications, newspapers, and journals, including The Globe and Mail, Fuse, and the Women’s Journal/Cahier des femmes. She is currently the chair of the downtown east Ontario Health Team and a member of the board for the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. In the past, she has been an active and dedicated board member for the Institute of Gender and Health of CIHR, Women’s College Hospital, the Association of Ontario Health Centres, Hassle Free Clinic, the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health and other health organizations.

A release says that 874 people have been appointed to the Order of Ontario since it was established in 1986.

“I am proud of the incredible breadth and depth of talent we have here in Ontario. Each one of these exceptional Ontarians are leaders and trailblazers who exemplify the best of our province,” said Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, in statement. “Their achievements, dedication and leadership have contributed to building a stronger Ontario and a better world for all. On behalf of a grateful province, congratulations to all the appointees being recognized.”