Congratulations to the 2024 respect. Award recipients! 

The respect. Awards, created by the Respect Initiative Working Group and sponsored by Diversity Thunder Bay, recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations that have demonstrated leadership in enhancing diversity, inclusion, equity and respect for others.

Two respect. Awards were presented this year: one for an individual and one for an organization or business.


The respect. Initiative is a joint initiative of the Anti-Racism & Equity Advisory Committee and Community Safety & Well-Being Thunder Bay. 


Past respect. award winners:

2023 respect. award winners: Carolyn Karle and Roots Community Food Centre 

The 11th Annual respect. Awards recognized Carolyn Karle and Roots Community Food Centre for their leadership and efforts towards making our community a more understanding and inclusive place to live for everyone.


2022 respect. award winners: Barbara Cooper and Elevate NWO

Barbara Cooper, who works in Health Records at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre was nominated for her caring and compassionate approach to her work. She recognizes the importance of human dignity and exemplifies respect in her interactions with co-workers and clients.


Elevate NWO was recognized as it staged an intervention to support individuals who were sleeping unsheltered in local encampments. Finding appropriate housing and supports, the group’s approach prioritized compassion, dignity and respect. Individuals involved in the program are being supported to work as house leaders in the housing units, and as community support workers at Elevate’s warming centre. The program participants are gaining valuable employment skills that will help them secure permanent housing.

2021 respect. award winners: Theresa and Bay Village Coffee

Theresa, a well-respected Elder of Fort William First Nation, has dedicated her life to helping families in her home community. She is a respected leader who supports all walks of the life cycle, young to elderly. She believes that culture will heal her people and as such, she has spearheaded numerous initiatives to teach and share the sacred teachings far and wide. She has hosted workshops and events that empower youth to get involved in their culture, as well as to get active. Theresa organized baseball and hockey games in her community, all the while ensuring everyone receives equipment to play. Through her ongoing work, she continues to find opportunities to improve the health, safety and well-being of children, youth and families in and around the community. 


Bay Village Coffee, owned and operated by Gary Mack and Alan Forbes, provides a safe and inclusive place for everyone to “espresso” themselves. While being a fairly young business in Thunder Bay, Bay Village Coffee recognized early on the importance of giving back, and as such, they’ve lead successful fundraisers for children, cardiovascular health, and equality and human rights. They employ students and youth, providing opportunities for young people to gain valuable skills as they grow in the community.


2020 respect. award winners: Roopa Rakshit and Therapeutic Recreation Department: Pioneer Ridge


2019 respect. award winner: Robin Cooper

As a regular and tireless volunteer with the Shelter House, Robin leads a biweekly group of dinner service volunteers, as well as assists all who come through the doors with an open mind and empathetic heart. She does not discriminate, as she recognizes we are all part of a community, and in order to thrive, we must help each other.


Robin Cooper

2018 respect. award winner: Benjamin Murray

Benjamin Murray uses his own lived experience to inspire positive change in his community. He uses his musical talent to connect with and mentor youth so that they may be empowered to follow the path to the good life, including self-respect and respect for others. He has promoted recovery to people from all walks of life who have been affected by addictions and mental illness.


Benjamin Murray

2017 respect. award winner: Farhan Yousaf

Farhan Yousaf, a Lakehead University international student committed to helping create a place where everyone feels included, started Culture Days at the university. He is an executive member of the University Service of Canada Student Refugee Program. Farhan has worked as a youth mentor, and sits on a committee that builds bridges between Muslims and the Thunder Bay Police Service. He is one of the first members of the Racialized Young Professionals, which helps to reduce racial barriers in Thunder Bay.

Farhan Yousaf

2016 respect. award winner: Dianna Atkinson

Dianna Atkinson, past-president of the Thunder Bay Caribbean African Multicultural Association, played a big role in getting more people to learn about racial and gender equality. Dianna has helped coordinate many local events such as the Black History Month Dinner & Awards Gala and the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association Folklore Festival. She has also been an active member of the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association as a Youth Advisor and as a member of the Newcomers Women's Group: Northern Women United for Change.

Dianna Atkinson

2015 respect. award winner: The Regional Multicultural Youth Council

The Regional Multicultural Youth Council has provided a voice for youth in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario for more than 20 years. The Council's "youth-to-youth" focus supports youth where they live. It runs programs, drop-in centres and study groups for multicultural youth.

The Regional Multicultural Youth Council

2014 respect. award winner: Larry Baxter

As the Cultural Diversity Officer in the Aboriginal Liaison Unit, Thunder Bay Police Service Constable Larry Baxter helped build bridges between people in our City. Serving as the Hate Crime Officer, Constable Baxter listened to victims, offered them help and made sure each report was investigated. He researched issues, and educated the community and police officers about hate crimes. Constable Baxter has been an active member of Diversity Thunder Bay, the Hate Crimes Awareness Committee and the Community Cup Hockey Tournament, which brings Aboriginal youth and police officers together.

Larry Baxter

2013 respect. award winner: Thomas Russell

Thomas Russell, Administrator Wellness and Diversity - Student Union of Confederation College, received the City of Thunder Bay's first respect. Award. Thomas was a key part of the team that started the respect. Initiative at the college in 2006. When looking for a way to improve community relations in Thunder Bay, the City approached Confederation College because of the success of respect. at the college. Thomas worked with the Anti-racism Advisory Committee and the Crime Prevention Council to build a City-wide campaign.

Thomas Russell

Commit to respect.

Creating a respectful community is everyone's responsibility. It begins with you & me. Join organizations across the city and commit to the respect. Initiative today!

respect. videos

Watch how we are spreading the message of respect. and sharing what respect. means.

What does respect. mean?

  • respect. challenges attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that fail to recognize the importance of human dignity
  • respect. teaches appropriate and constructive ways to interact in society
  • respect. is a human right. This is a critical belief in a modern-day community comprised of people from all backgrounds and religions, of all shapes, sizes, genders, sexual orientations, ages, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds

respect. reminds each one of us to treat each other with dignity. We hope this initiative encourages residents and businesses to create a more positive community that celebrates our differences and builds respect. in all aspects of city life.

Stay connected​

Stay up to date with respect. Like us on Facebook

Respect award

The respect. Award celebrates people, businesses or organizations that embrace human dignity and are respect. leaders. Available upon request.

THINK Campaign

To recognize Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week and stop cyber-bullying, the Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council, Thunder Bay Police Service and Thunder Bay District Crime Stoppers came up with the THINK Campaign in 2014. THINK promotes respectful, responsible and positive use of social media. Before posting online, everyone is encouraged to ask themselves: Is what I am sending:

  • True?
  • Helpful?
  • Inspiring?
  • Necessary?
  • Kind?

Teaching kids about respect.

It's important for children and youth to learn about respect. early. The Thunder Bay Public Library embraces respect. and has books to educate kids about respect.

If you require a PDF in an accessible format, email our Municipal Accessibility Specialist.

Contact Us