Social worker and Markham African Caribbean Association (MACA) vice-president Pat Howell has been appointed to Ontario’s Consent and Capacity board.
The independent body, which was created by the provincial government, conducts hearings under the Mental Health, Health Care Consent and Substitute Decision Acts.
The board, which comprises psychiatrists, lawyers and public members, has the authority to hold hearings to deal with a range of issues, including reviewing whether a young person (ages 12-15) requires observation, care and treatment in a psychiatric facility.
“I am honoured to be part of this board because it’s keeping in tune with what I have done for most of my life,” said Howell who retired in 2006 from the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) where she spent 32 years as a social worker and therapist. “Initially, I wanted to be a nurse, but I gravitated to social work because I have a passion for working with people.”
Migrating to Canada from Portland, Jamaica in 1969 to join her mother and other family members, Howell attended Woburn Collegiate part-time and completed her Grades 12 and 13 at L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute.
She started off her post-high school studies at Ryerson University before transferring to York University where she graduated with a Sociology degree and a Bachelor of Social Work. She completed her Masters in Social Work and a post-graduate administration course at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University.
Howell joined MACA in 1992 and has served in several executive positions, including secretary, social issues chair, first vice-president and president for five years up until 2004. Three years ago, she was re-elected to serve a second term as VP.
The former Markham Stouffville Hospital board member is vice-chair of the York Regional Police Service’s (YRPS) community advisory council and the council’s representative on the YRPS District #5 (southeast York region) liaison committee council.