John Howard Society of Ottawa

About Us

Mission Statement

“Effective, just and humane responses to crime and its causes”

The goal of the John Howard Society of Ottawa is to provide services that prevent crime, reduce poverty and build self-sufficiency.


In the beginning was a concerned businessman, Tom Lamothe, who organized a group of Ottawa citizens to take responsibility for the problems of crime and the prison system. This resulted in the inception of the John Howard Society of Ottawa in 1951 with Mr. Lamothe as the first President of the volunteer Board of Directors. The Society took its name from John Howard, a British social reformer who advocated for the improvement of prison conditions.

Most of the early history of the organization has been gleaned from news clippings in the Ottawa Citizen. A few highlights follow to illustrate organizational development, community education activities, and community development initiatives.

Organizational Development

  • 1952 – Ottawa Red Feather provides modest financial support; this is a precursor to the Community Chest and then United Way/Centraide
  • 1955 – Accepted as a United Way agency
  • 1957 – Louis Zeitoun (MSW, University of Ottawa School of Social Work) announced as first Executive Secretary (combination of counsellor and board liaison)
  • 1958 – Budget announced to be “in excess” of $16,000 to provide material assistance and support for “persons paying or who have paid their debt to society”

Community Education

  • 1958 – Annual Dinner guest speaker is A.J. MacLeod (Q. C., Director of Remission Service and Criminal Law Section of Department of Justice) who noted, “I think that we, as citizens, should be alert not to impede, by our attitude, the conscientious effort toward reform and rehabilitation of the offender.”
  • 1959 – Annual Dinner guest speaker is Arthur Maloney (Conservative Member of Parliament) who made a plea for the abolition of present laws concerning habitual offenders and minimum sentences so judges could decide “after acquainting themselves with all the facts”

Community Development

  • 1960 – JHS collaborates with St. Patrick’s College (later part of Carleton University) to institute a course of evening lectures on Criminology and Correction
  • 1961 – JHS Executive Secretary, Louis Zeitoun, participates on organizing committee to found the Youth Services Bureau

One of the most significant, yet tragic events to occur within JHS Ottawa was the murder of Celia Ruygrok at Kirkpatrick House in July 1985. Celia was a Carleton University student working alone on an overnight shift when she was murdered by a Kirkpatrick House resident. This tragedy resulted in changes to the operation of community residential facilities across Canada (including the development of detailed Operating Standards) and recognition at JHS Ottawa that comprehensive staff and client safety practices must be a fundamental component of all of our services.

Board of Directors

  • Tim Farr, President – Public Safety Canada (ret’d)
  • Dennis Gauthier, Treasurer – Benefit Advisor
  • Richard Lamothe, Vice President – Communications Consultant
  • Bruce Simpson, Past President – Defence Counsel
  • Sheila Arthurs, Director – Department of Justice Canada (ret’d)
  • Jody Brian, Director – Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Allan Clarke, Director – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
  • Robert d’Arras, Director – Secondary School Teacher
  • Jane Fjeld, Director – Youth Services Bureau
  • Vicki Grisim, Director – Child and Youth Worker Program, Algonquin College
  • Mitch Houle, Director – Ottawa Police Service
  • Michael Purcell, Director – Defence Counsel
  • Emile Therien, Director – Canada Safety Council (ret’d)

Strategic Plan 2014-2019

Effective Client Services

  • Create a framework to guide program design, development and delivery in each service area
  • Implement services that reduce clients’ risk for future problem behaviour, and develop enduring protection against crime, poverty and dependency
  • Implement programs informed by current knowledge and evidence from relevant fields of study and research
  • Evaluate the programs provided and apply the outcomes to continuously improve the impacts for clients and the community

Employee Excellence

  • Identify, recruit, train and retain qualified and dedicated employees
  • Foster an organizational culture that is motivating, empowering and respectful, and reflects the mission, vision and values of JHS
  • Promote inter- and cross-departmental staff engagement through orientation, training and team building
  • Ensure competitive salary and compensation strategies
  • Enhance professional development for all staff

Community Engagement

  • Improve community awareness to encourage greater public understanding and support
  • Nurture existing partnerships while building new strategic alliances which support our mission

Financial Stability

  • Retire debt
  • Maximize funding opportunities
  • Identify and maintain reserves for the financial well-being of JHS Ottawa
  • Implement independently-funded initiatives that supplement programs and services
  • Enhance diversified funding sources to protect agency from financial fluctuations
  • Standardize and enforce prudent financial management systems

Organizational Strength

  • Standardize human resource, administrative, financial and operational policies and procedures to improve the agency’s cohesion and enhance efficiency
  • Protect resources, programs and agency reputation through proactive risk management strategies

Financial Statements

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Annual Reports

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CRA/ T3010

View our CRA/ T3010 Charitable Organization Designation