City of Thunder Bay Council 1986City Council 1986-1987, Mayor Jack Masters. City of Thunder Bay Archives 2010-25-21

Betty Kennedy

  • Accomplishments related to: Community Development; Cultural Respect and Equality; Municipal Government; Families and youth.
  • Major affiliations: Thunder Bay City Council; Community Arts and Heritage Committee; Financial Assistance Review Group; Thunder Bay Regional Arts Council; Ontario Native Women's Association (Executive Director); Ontario Native Women's Charitable Foundation; The Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario (Executive Director)

Betty Kennedy's career of civil service and community leadership spans more than three decades, during which she has become a leading figure in numerous organizations and sat on multiple committees. Known for her advocacy of civil rights surrounding poverty, children, and Aboriginal issues, her influence has shaped local and provincial organizations and brought important social issues to public awareness. After a formal education in sociology and social work, Kennedy spent her life engaging societal issues within and alongside a variety of organizations. A partial list of her partners includes the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Ontario Non Profit Housing Association, and the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centers. Though diverse in aims and scope, each of these groups shared Kennedy's goal of supporting struggling Canadians.

Concurrent with much of her social work was Betty Kennedy's long position on Thunder Bay's City Council, representing McKellar ward. From 1983 to 2003, she successfully advocated for social and economic development to assist those most in need and her constituents as a whole.

Her most recent efforts include heading Ontario Native Women's Association from spring 2010 to fall 2013, after which she transferred over to lead the affiliated Ontario Native Women's Charitable Foundation. On November 2012, Betty Kennedy was honoured for her efforts to improve Canada and the lives of Canadians with the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award. She continues to act for equality and happiness in Ontario, and serves as role model for activists through the province.

Betty Kennedy with people seated at a banquet table

Civic Beautification Awards Banquet held at the St. Joseph's Heritage. Ald. Sterling Lysnes is the gentleman seated on the left and Ald. Betty Kennedy is the woman seated on the right. City of Thunder Bay Archives 2001-25-5

Prepared by: Richard Mastrangelo, Thunder Bay City Archives, Summer 2015

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