2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 62

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Ms. Lucya Spencer, Executive Director, Immigrant Women Services (Ottawa), Ms. Nancy Worsfold, Executive Director of Crime Prevention (Ottawa) and Mengistab Tsegaye who is the Executive Director of World Skills Employment Centre. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Jaffer.

On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Ms. Lucya Spencer

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize a Canadian who has been doing exceptional work in Canada. Lucya Spencer has been a strong voice for the most vulnerable women. Following her arrival from Antigua to Ottawa, she quickly became involved with Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization. When the OCISO restructured, Lucya was hired as a coordinator of a centre where women could acquire information, engage in workshops on different themes and learn more about the integration process.

In 1988, Lucya co-founded Immigrant Women Services Ottawa. The mandate of the agency is to provide culturally appropriate services to immigrant women and their children who are victims/survivors of violence and other services and/or programs that assist immigrant women in their journey to attain their full potential.

In 1993, Lucya accepted the position of Executive Director of Immigrant Women Services Ottawa, a position which she still holds today. She has been actively involved in many advocacy groups at the national and provincial levels.

On top of this, she has served as president of several organizations including the Immigrant and Visible Minority Women’s organization, both in Ontario and nationally, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, and she was the first woman of colour to hold the position of President of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa.

Lucya has received many awards for her contribution to the community. Notable among them are: the Governor General Canadian Study Conference Appreciation Award (1995); the United Way Community Builder Award (2008); the OCASI Award of Excellence for outstanding leadership (2008); the Black Women’s Civic Engagement Award for professional and social activism that helped build stronger communities across Canada (2011); and, most recently, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada recognition award for long-standing service to the Settlement and Integration Community (2013).

Honourable senators, Lucya Spencer truly understands the challenges of the most vulnerable. She has been a bridge for immigrant women, allowing them to reach their full potential. I have no doubt that many women in Canada would not be where there are today if it wasn’t for the great work of Lucya Spencer. It has been my absolute pleasure to work with Lucya for the past 30 years. Let me share what one woman said about Lucya’s work. She said:

I was badly beaten and thrown out of my house with my three children, aged 4, 3 and 1 year old, on a very cold night in Ottawa. The police helped me to connect with Lucya and her organization. That night, Lucya hugged me and enveloped me with kindness. She arranged to have me attend school and then work, and then she helped me find a transition home and then a permanent home. Lucya gave my life meaning and dignity. Now I volunteer at Immigrant Women’s Services.

This is just one of many women who Lucya has worked for tirelessly.

Thank you for your work, Lucya Spencer.