Fri | Mar 31, 2023

Jamaican appointed to the Order of Canada

Published:Saturday | December 31, 2022 | 12:24 AMNeil Armstrong/Gleaner Writer
Hamlin Grange
Hamlin Grange


A Jamaican-Canadian diversity and inclusion strategist is among the 99 new appointments to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest honours, which recognises people across all sectors of society who have made extraordinary and sustained contributions to the nation.

Hamlin Grange is the president, co-founder and principal consultant of DiversiPro, a workplace diversity training, coaching, and consulting company established in 2000. He is the brother of Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Jamaica’s minister of sports, culture and gender affairs.

On Thursday, Mary Simon, governor general of Canada, announced the new appointments to the Order of Canada which include two Companions, 32 Officers and 65 Members. Three appointments are promotions within the Order.

She said, “What a beautiful way to end the year, honouring Order of Canada appointees and learning about the depth and range of their accomplishments. Celebrated trailblazers in their respective fields, they are inspiring, educating and mentoring future generations, creating a foundation of excellence in our country that is respected throughout the world.”

Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada, with appointees invited to an investiture ceremony at a later date to receive their insignia.

Grange, who lives in Courtice, Ontario, was honoured “for his pioneering work in diversity and inclusion, as a passionate change agent for social justice.”

“There was that moment of surrealness and it still took me a while to process,” he says of being being notified of the appointment.

He says the appointment brings a sense of closure given the mission of the persons with whom he has worked with over the years, notably among them human rights activists Dr. Wilson Head and Bromley Armstrong.

“And to see what they went through and what they advocated for and to be part of that, from a historical standpoint, I am really humbled by it and I don’t take this lightly.”“It’s lifting up rocks, looking underneath and finding the nasty bits but also discovering some gems,” says Grange.

In the aftermath of the killings of African Americans George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery there was a racial reckoning resulting in an increase in positions of equity, diversity and inclusion in many organisations.

Asked the impact, Grange said. “When we have these moments of crises, as human beings we’re very quick to rush in and plug holes. Plugging holes is really not going to solve the problem as the dam bursts. So we need to need to build different systems and change things.”

Before launching DiversiPro, Grange had a stellar career as a journalist in Canada and the United States, was managing editor of Contrast, a community newspaper, and later was hired to be the director of a national youth internship programme of a large charitable organisation.

He has served on the boards of the Toronto Police Services Board, the Royal Ontario Museum,the YMCA of Greater Toronto, and the Consent and Capacity Board, among others.

Grange is a former member of the board of Canadian Women in Communications and has also been an external advisor to the Ontario Ministry of Corrections as part of its Human Rights Project. Until recently he was Board Chair of the Responsible Gambling Council which focuses on prevention of problem gambling through research, information and awareness.

Among his many accolades are: the Harry Jerome Award (President’s Award) for community service and career achievements and the Community Builder Award presented by Tropicana Community Service in recognition of his “outstanding leadership and years of service which have contributed to the development of community and opportunities for the people of Ontario and those served by Tropicana Community Services.”

Grange was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Toronto by his mother, Merle Linton.

The journalist has worked with Denver’s Rocky Mountain News in the United States, and in Canada at CBC Television, Global Television, TV Ontario and the Toronto Star.

Grange and wife, Cynthia Reyes, whose name he said “is part of this award as well because there’s no way I would have been able to do all of this over these many years without her”, are parents of two daughters, Nikisha Reyes-Grange and Lauren Reyes-Grange, and grandparents of Vivian.

Since its creation in 1967, the Order of Canada has honoured more than 7600 people.