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

Board of Directors

  • Mohamed Sofa, President – Britannia Woods Community House
  • Duncan Shaw, Vice-President – Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Andew Roeske, Treasurer – Certified Financial Planner & Chartered Investment Manager
  • Jody Brian, Secretary – Director of Speechwriting and Policy Content, Bank of Canada
  • Richard Lamothe, Past-President – Communications Consultant
  • Bruce Simpson, Director – Defence Counsel
  • Vicki Grisim, Director – Child and Youth Worker Program, Algonquin College
  • Kenneth Bryden, Director – Ottawa Police Services
  • Hamza Khalid Butt, Director – International Development Research Centre
  • Tania Costanzo, Director – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Christopher Smith, Director – Health Canada
  • Peter Nshimiyimana, Director – City of Ottawa
  • Allan Clarke, Director – Independent Consultant

Strategic Vision 2023 – 2028

Strategic Vision 2023 – 2028

Financial Statements

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Annual Reports

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CRA/ T3010

View our CRA/ T3010 Charitable Organization Designation