The OVC consists of a part-time chair, a part-time vice-chair and three part-time members appointed by the government. All of the OVC members have special expertise in the area of victimization.
Heather Imming was a subcontracts manager in the aerospace industry before a series of brutal attacks by her estranged husband changed her life forever. Following a final beating that left her for dead, Ms. Imming worked courageously to assist the courts in a successful bid to have her abuser declared a Dangerous Offender, the first case in Canada where the Dangerous Offender legislation was applied strictly on the basis of Violence against Women.
Since 1997, Ms. Imming has been an outspoken advocate and educator on issues of Violence against Women, and continues to ensure that the victims with whom she meets are connected to appropriate and safe resources that can meet their needs. She is the founder of the consumer group “Share Our Strength”, and she has also served in the community with the Lanark Coalition Against Violence, the Lanark County Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee, the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Protocol Committee, the Lanark County Interval House and the Domestic Violence Grant Management Team. She also is a member of the Connecting on Disability and Abuse committee (CODA) in Ottawa.
Ms. Imming was part of the initial advisory committee that developed the Victimology Graduate Certificate Program at Algonquin College, and given her expertise, she continues to serve as the Chair of the Advisory Committee for this academic program.
Audette Shephard’s only child Justin Garth Shephard was born on February 21, 1982 and was murdered on June 23, 2001, at the age of 19. Justin had been one of Canada’s most promising upcoming basketball players and he dreamed of joining his half-brother Jamaal Magloire in the NBA.
Out of much sorrow came much resolve for Ms. Shephard, as she developed a strong passion towards helping youth and finding solutions to end youth violence. Ms. Shephard co-founded UMOVE (United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere) shortly after Justin’s murder. UMOVE is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization comprised of a group of mothers who have lost children to senseless acts of violence and other supportive members from the community
Ms. Shephard has received numerous awards, most notably the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding Canadians who make a difference in our city and country (2012), the Scotiabank Global Transaction Banking’s “Woman of Distinction” award (2008), the “Global Citizen Award” (2008), the African Canadian Achievement Award (2008), the Maja Award for “Woman of Courage” (2006), and the Bob Marley Award for promoting peace in communities (2002). Ms. Shephard was also a member of former Toronto Mayor David Miller’s Advisory Committee for Community Safety.
She is currently a Manager, Trade Finance, Global Transaction Banking at Scotiabank. Ms. Shephard continues to be a strong advocate for justice, for support for victims of crime, and for community safety. She also volunteers with the Seventh Day Adventist Church Prison Ministry.
Born and raised on Walpole Island First Nation, Steve Tooshkenig has been an inspiration to leaders North American wide. His words are heartfelt and his personal journey delivers a message of courage and hope.
Mr. Tooshkenig has golfed across North America as a touring golf professional and youth mentor. His strength on and off the golf course have kept him focused on challenges which are felt today by First Nations people. His true passion in life is to find Solutions!! He encourages through words, he challenges by experience but most of all he understands that he’s not alone.
Mr. Tooshkenig has travelled the red road of recovery sharing his testimony with others who have experienced addiction and despair. As a young child he had to endure difficult situations as he was sexually abused as a little boy. Mr. Tooshkenig shares his story of defeat, healing and courage. His story is impactful but offers a glimmer of hope for those still living in darkness. Mr. Tooshkenig understands that we are never truly alone and that our words offer healing and inspiration for others if we are willing to share in the goodness.
Today, Mr. Tooshkenig is married with 6 children. Has been a foster parent for two years and was recently honored with the Victim Service Award for Courage and Bravery. He travels across the globe offering his healing message to organizations who believe in the same message. That message is forgiveness, healing and strength.
Together we can make a difference but healing is a choice and a choice we must act upon.