The Margaret Griffiths Award

Margaret Griffiths taught for 25 years at the McGill School of Social Work. In a second career, after her retirement, Ms Griffiths became actively involved in many organizations concerned with the health and welfare of seniors in Ottawa. These included the Good Companions Seniors Centre, the Glebe Centre, the District Health Council, and the Council on Aging of Ottawa.

It was in recognition of her outstanding contribution in the volunteer field that the Margaret Griffiths Award was established. The award is presented annually to a senior volunteer who, like Ms. Griffiths, has contributed substantially to the betterment of the quality of life of seniors in Ottawa.

The Service to Seniors Award

As part of the Council on Aging of Ottawa’s 40th Anniversary in 2015, we marked the year with a new award, the Service to Seniors Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize individuals who share the Council’s values of making a difference in the lives of seniors in Ottawa in a variety of ways. We are very proud of this new award and look forward to receiving many nominations from the community in years to come.


2018 Recipient Dr. Terri White Lobsinger

If you read Terri’s biography on the COA website, you will note that she has earned a doctorate in public policy and has many years of work experience internationally, which helped her to develop a variety of methodological design and leadership skills. The biography does not tell you how much of a difference Terri White Lobsinger has made in the lives of seniors.

Terri and her husband, John, spent many years working overseas. Her family, including their three children, benefited from the exposure to various cultures and local traditions in Kenya, Tanzania, and Bangladesh. Once back in Ottawa, and after the children “flew the nest”, Terri joined the COA as a volunteer. Driven by her desire to help seniors in the community, Terri joined the COA Board of Directors and accepted the challenge of chairing the Health Issues Committee (HIC). The committee consists of representatives from municipal and provincial health care and social service agencies as well as private enterprises.  More


2017 Recipient – Kathy Yach

“Let me tell you a little story” about a senior volunteer who, like Ms. Griffiths, has contributed substantially to the improving the quality of life of seniors in Ottawa. Her professional career was dedicated to early life. She was Director of the City View Centre for Child and Family Services, Chair of the Members Council of the Canadian Child Care Federation, Trustee of the Ottawa Board of Education for thirteen years and Chair of the Board of Education for two years. We are thankful her retirement from City View Centre for Child and Family Services in 2005 allowed her more time to volunteer.

Kathy has a long list of community organizations and committees where she has been actively engaged as a volunteer. Since she retired they include:

2017 Recipient – Tara Upreti

Tara Upreti has been volunteering with isolated ethno-cultural seniors since 2006, when she was instrumental in forming the “Canada-Nepal Solidarity for Peace (CNSP)”. The seniors that Tara helps are immigrants from Nepal and refugees from Bhutan. Many have PTSD and other serious mental health issues as a result of over 20 years of hardship in refugee camps. They have no experience with the modern world, many are illiterate in their own language and none speak English or French. Tara has supported over 90 of these refugee seniors, assisting with settlement, coordinating legal and health care, driving them to appointments and providing translation. She set up inter-generational social activities, a bi-monthly support group and bus training so they can travel the city independently.

2016 Recipient – Claire Caron

clairephotoIf you have attended and enjoyed any COA event in the last few years you can thank Claire Caron, the calm powerhouse at the centre of the volunteer contingent that does everything from registering attendees, arranging seating, preparing and setting out refreshments, as well as cleaning up and collecting evaluation forms.
Attentive to every last detail, considerate of others, quick to break into an infectious laugh, Claire found her perfect fit first as member, then Chair of the COA Education & Events Committee. During her two years
as Chair, Claire expanded her duties enormously, taking on the responsibility of providing volunteers not just for the Anglophone events, but for the Francophone events as well. She was also able to triple the number of COA volunteers.


2016 Recipient – Bill Dawson

2016_Bill_Dawson_service_toBill Dawson is a man on a mission, totally focused on making the world a better place for the most vulnerable in our society, people with chronic and or complex illness, making sure their voices are heard.  He has faced enough daunting challenges throughout his rich and varied 93 years to fill many lifetimes. In each seemingly insurmountable challenge he sees the possibility of solutions. Now he is seeking solutions for breaking down the loneliness and isolation of the very frail and ill. “Loneliness is a very terrible thing, “he says, and “the most spectacular thing we can do is to provide communication for everyone on earth.”


2015 Recipient – Dianne Breton

Dianne Breton is an active and exceptional volunteer, committed to improving the quality of life for seniors in our community. She is a remarkable team leader, and a dedicated and responsible person.

Her unfailing attention to detail and commitment to finishing a task have benefitted and inspired everyone who has come in contact with her over the years.

Since joining the COA Board in 2002 Dianne has held numerous positions including Vice-President, Secretary, and Chair of the Committee (now the Education and Events Committee). She has also been involved on the hiring and nominating committees for staff and Board.



2015 Recipient – Eleanor Ryan

Eleanor Ryan

Eleanor is a most worthy recipient of this First Annual Service to Seniors Award, based on both the devoted personal care she has provided to many individual seniors as well as the significant work that she has carried out on behalf of seniors throughout Ottawa, through her work with the Champlain Region Family Councils Network, the Family Councils of the Glebe Centre and the Garry J Armstrong Home as well as leadership or membership on various committees and organizations addressing seniors’ issues.


Past Recipients

2021   Nancy Garrard, Diane Hupé, Robert Greenslade, Grace Welch,
2021   Trudy Medcalf
2020   Louise Brunelle
2019   John Johnson
2018   Dr. Terri White Lobsinger
2017   Kathy Yach
2016   Claire Caron
2015   Dianne Breton
2014   Senior Citizen’s Council
2013   Jean-Louis Schryburt
2012   Dr. Louise Plouffe
2011   Dr. Roland Lecomte
2010   Dr. Hugh Armstrong
2009   Nicole Robert
2008   Carol Burrows
2007   Joan A. Skene
2006   Susan Van Iterson
2005   Hubert Frenken
2004   Barbara Burns
2003   Marian Chapman
2002   Dr. Beatrice Wickett-Nesbitt
2001   Jacqueline Neatby
2000   Marion Routledge
1999   Charlie Hurst
1998   Germain Aubut
1997   Jessie Whtye
1996   Sylvia Goldblatt
1995   Margaret Wade Labarge
1994   Bert Hanmer

Past Recipients

2016 Bill Dawson
2015 Eleanor Ryan