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About Us

Serving the Halton Region community (Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills & Oakville) in Ontario, Canada.

Serving the Halton Region community (Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills & Oakville) in Ontario, Canada.

Halton Women’s Place is an organization providing shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children and is dedicated to ending violence against women and their children.

Vision

To be a gateway to safety, support and a future without abuse for her and her children.

Mission

Halton Women’s Place will provide a safe haven, information, and education to support a future without abuse for women and their children.

Values

Halton Women’s Place will:

  • Make emergency shelter and/or crisis services accessible to all abused women and their dependent children.
  • Provide crisis services and information to women and children living in the shelter and in the community at large.
  • Provide non-judgemental, empathetic crisis counselling for all abused women and their dependent children.
  • Design and implement strategies to inform and empower abused women and their dependent children to make decisions about their safety, rights and options.
  • Design and implement strategies to promote and provide public education to end violence against women and children.

Halton Women’s Place is an organization providing shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children and is dedicated to ending violence against women and their children.

Vision

To be a gateway to safety, support and a future without abuse for her and her children.

Mission

Halton Women’s Place will provide a safe haven, information, and education to support a future without abuse for women and their children.

Values

Halton Women’s Place will:

  • Make emergency shelter and/or crisis services accessible to all abused women and their dependent children.
  • Provide crisis services and information to women and children living in the shelter and in the community at large.
  • Provide non-judgemental, empathetic crisis counselling for all abused women and their dependent children.
  • Design and implement strategies to inform and empower abused women and their dependent children to make decisions about their safety, rights and options.
  • Design and implement strategies to promote and provide public education to end violence against women and children.

Our History

Our History

In 1977, after the completion of a feasibility study it was  indicated there was a need for a shelter in the Region. In November 1978, HWP became incorporated as a voluntary charitable organization.

Halton Women’s Place opened its doors in Milton in October 1980. In the first two years of operation more than 500 women and children were accommodated and more than 700 crisis calls were received.

In 1989, as a result of a bequest from the estate of Margery Ilene MacDowell, a committee was formed to take a look at the shelter needs in Halton. Another feasibility study was done and the result was to build a second shelter in the Southern part of the Region. In January 1994, a second shelter – located in Burlington – was opened.

From the day it opened it has been running at near capacity and now responding to more than 2500 crisis calls a year.

The need to replace the original shelter in Milton and expand the new shelter in Burlington became evident.

On February 20, 2002, government officials, members of the business community and the public gathered for the announcement of the groundbreaking at Halton Women’s Place in Milton.

This new facility will service North Halton and is the sister facility to the one in Burlington serving South Halton.

In April 2002 the capital projects of the new Milton shelter and the expansion of the Burlington shelter began. Construction was completed and the new 20-bed Milton shelter was opened to serve abused women and their dependent children in January 2003. The expansion on the Burlington shelter was also completed and opened in December 2002.

Major funding came from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation and our community partners, Mattamy Homes Ltd., The Aggregate Group of Halton, Rotary Clubs of Halton and The Ontario Trillium Foundation.

In 1977, after the completion of a feasibility study it was  indicated there was a need for a shelter in the Region. In November 1978, HWP became incorporated as a voluntary charitable organization.

Halton Women’s Place opened its doors in Milton in October 1980. In the first two years of operation more than 500 women and children were accommodated and more than 700 crisis calls were received.

In 1989, as a result of a bequest from the estate of Margery Ilene MacDowell, a committee was formed to take a look at the shelter needs in Halton. Another feasibility study was done and the result was to build a second shelter in the Southern part of the Region. In January 1994, a second shelter – located in Burlington – was opened.

From the day it opened it has been running at near capacity and now responding to more than 2500 crisis calls a year.

The need to replace the original shelter in Milton and expand the new shelter in Burlington became evident.

On February 20, 2002, government officials, members of the business community and the public gathered for the announcement of the groundbreaking at Halton Women’s Place in Milton.

This new facility will service North Halton and is the sister facility to the one in Burlington serving South Halton.

In April 2002 the capital projects of the new Milton shelter and the expansion of the Burlington shelter began. Construction was completed and the new 20-bed Milton shelter was opened to serve abused women and their dependent children in January 2003. The expansion on the Burlington shelter was also completed and opened in December 2002.

Major funding came from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation and our community partners, Mattamy Homes Ltd., The Aggregate Group of Halton, Rotary Clubs of Halton and The Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Land Acknowledgement

Land Acknowledgement

Responsibility of Halton Women’s Place Truth and Reconciliation

Halton Region stands on the traditional territory of the Anishinabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat; now home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

As settlers, we are grateful for the opportunity to meet here and we thank all the generations of people who have taken care of the land and for those who continue today.

As the only women’s shelter in the Region, our Board, our staff and our volunteers are dedicated to our mission to provide a safe haven, information, and education to support a future without abuse for women and their children. We recognize the disproportionate rates and victimization of Indigenous families and communities in regard to intimate partner violence.

It is our responsibility as a leading agency in our community to take action steps in understanding the systemic effects of colonization and how this has effected and increased intimate partner violence. We will continue to consult and work with the Indigenous community as we implement more service and support to our Indigenous peoples.

Responsibility of Halton Women’s Place Truth and Reconciliation

Halton Region stands on the traditional territory of the Anishinabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat; now home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

As settlers, we are grateful for the opportunity to meet here and we thank all the generations of people who have taken care of the land and for those who continue today.

As the only women’s shelter in the Region, our Board, our staff and our volunteers are dedicated to our mission to provide a safe haven, information, and education to support a future without abuse for women and their children. We recognize the disproportionate rates and victimization of Indigenous families and communities in regard to intimate partner violence.

It is our responsibility as a leading agency in our community to take action steps in understanding the systemic effects of colonization and how this has effected and increased intimate partner violence. We will continue to consult and work with the Indigenous community as we implement more service and support to our Indigenous peoples.

Shelter and Information Tour

Shelter and Information Tour

Executive Leadership Team

Executive Leadership Team

Laurie Hepburn, Executive Director
905-332-1814
Janice Hamilton, Director Finance & Operations
905-332-1632
Carm Bozzo, Director Philanthropy & Community Engagement
905-332-1585
Jerusha Mack, Manager Community Engagement and Education
905-878-5003
Yvette Drake, Manager, HR Strategy & Culture
905-332-1405
Andrea Cormier, Manager, Community Outreach Services
905-878-8928

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Leslie Starr-Hemburrow

Board Chair

Leslie Starr-Hemburrow is a purpose-driven executive and values-based leader who has been committed to a lifetime of making a difference through improving our health and social systems of care.

Leslie is currently leading the national social services transformation together with the senior leadership team at The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda.

Leslie recently retired from healthcare in 2023 after a long and impactful career in service. She held numerous hospital leadership roles, most recently as Senior Vice President, Patient Care at Trillium Health Partners and concurrently, Regional Vice President, Cancer Care Ontario (Ontario Health). Leslie successfully led large complex hospital operations with many clinical and service portfolios as well as held executive lead roles for several key strategic and operational priorities, including regional cancer care. She is a proven leader of operations excellence, complex transformational change including large-scale implementations, strategy development and execution, and developing partnerships. Leslie is recognized as a strong leader in strategy, quality and performance improvement, person-centred care, change management, systems thinking and developing other leaders.

She holds her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Social Work and is a Certified Health Executive (CHE). Leslie is honoured to serve on Halton Women’s Place Board supporting the critically important, essential role of the organization in our community. Leslie has been a resident of Burlington for over 30 years.

Irene Santos

Vice Chair

Irene is a dynamic, strategic, and passionate HR leader, known for her strong transformation capabilities, progressive thinking, and ability to create impactful people solutions. She joined TD over 20 years ago and in this timeframe has held various senior leadership roles across the organization.

As Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition, she provides strategic direction to a team of professionals committed to unlocking individual and organizational potential by connecting the best talent to the right opportunities.

Irene holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto and is accredited with the Certified Human Resources Professional designation.

An advocate for women and children causes and passionate about empowering women, Irene has been mentoring women in her community for over 15 years. As a mentor, Irene is devoted to helping women realize their full potential and become leaders in all aspects of their lives.

A Halton resident since 2005, currently living in Oakville with her family, Irene is honoured to contribute to the vital efforts made by the Halton Women’s Place as a Board Director.

Ayesha Shah

Corporate Secretary

Ayesha studied Public Policy & Management and Philosophy at York University and Queen’s University. She brings more than 15 years of professional experience in People & Culture leading the HR function, working with world-class organizations.

Ayesha is a keynote speaker, and author of The Mindset Prism. As a certified HR professional and trained coach, she is proud to serve as an educator, mentor, and board member.

Having witnessed a culture of violence against women in her community as a child, Ayesha feels deeply aligned with the mission of HWP, and is grateful to serve the organization as a board member. 

Derek Payne

Treasurer

Derek is Vice President of Commercial Credit with FirstOntario Credit Union. Derek joined FirstOntario in 2022 and has been in the financial services industry since 2000, having worked previously for TD Bank in a variety of roles in Business Banking.

He has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Queen’s University and has earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Derek has been a participant in the Hope in High Heels Walk and the HWP Gala each year since 2015. Through participation in these events, he developed an appreciation of the critical role Halton Women’s Place plays in our community and is honoured to now be able to support the organization as a member of the board.

Derek has been a Halton resident since 2002 and has lived in Oakville since 2008 with his wife and two daughters.

Julie Cowan

Director

Julie is a Managing Director with Scotia Wealth Management (Scotiabank), where she leads the Total Wealth Planning and Insurance team.  Raised in Milton, Julie values the opportunity to contribute directly to the Halton community.

Committed to helping women and girls realize their potential, Julie believes that women deserve a life free from all forms of abuse and violence. Julie has held volunteer leadership roles with Women in Capital Markets, 100 Women in Finance and True Patriot Love, most recently Co-Chairing True Patriot Love’s all-female 100 km snow-shoe expedition to Baffin Island.

Barbara Love

Director

Barbara retired in 2017 after a career spanning over 30 years in the Investment Industry. Her most recent position was Senior Vice President of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CA), a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds an MBA Degree.

Barbara is the President of the Burlington Golf and Country Club (BGCC) and is an avid supporter of both the Halton Women’s Place Annual Golf Tournament and the Gala.

Barbara was raised in Burlington and has since been a long-time resident. She is honoured to be able to contribute as a Director to the important work done by Halton Women’s Place.

Rufaida Mohammed

Director

Rufaida is the Community Co-Chair of the Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Task Force. She manages a therapy program at a non-profit mental health organization and has been volunteering with a number of community organizations over the years. She is also an Alumni mentor at the University of Toronto. She holds a Masters of Social Work from McMaster University in Critical Leadership and is passionate about empowering people to use their agency to achieve their goals. She and her family have been residents of Milton for the past 10 years.

David Vandenberg

Director

David Vandenberg is a community builder and social impact specialist focused on strategic partnership development that drives actionable results for stakeholders. David is currently managing corporate citizenship initiatives at Volunteer Canada. David has held roles at Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, Burlington’s Emergency Meal Program, and Crestview Strategy. Through this work, he has been able to support and execute national inclusive play infrastructure projects, reach 1200 vulnerable residents with emergency weekly food support, and manage 100+ person, volunteer teams. David is experienced in not-for-profit management, government relations, strategic planning, DEI best practices, and working directly with vulnerable populations.

He has advised and consulted elected officials, various levels of government, and organizations on a wide variety of community engagement strategies, major projects, policy design, and fundraising campaigns that have raised over $500,000 for local agencies and engaged thousands of constituents. David is presently a Director of the Halton Women’s Place, an Advisory Board member of the Compassion Society of Halton and advising the City of Burlington on their Housing Task Force.

David holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from McMaster University, a Not for Profit Leadership and Management Certificate from Mohawk College, was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International in 2021, and was awarded the Platinum Jubilee Medal of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by the Government of Canada in 2022 for community service.

Michelle Small

Director

Michelle is a lawyer and HR executive, and over the course of her career has built an expertise in employment law, human rights, employee relations, culture and leadership.

She is currently the Vice President of Human Resources for TD Insurance. She has held HR roles in Employee Relations, HR policy and regulatory compliance, and  labour relations. Prior to her time in HR, she practiced employment law for 15 years at both Gowling WLG and then in TD Bank’s legal department. Michelle is known for her practical advice, broad thinking, authentic leadership, and relentless focus on doing the right thing.

Michelle has a deep passion for social justice, non-violence, and the rights of women and children. She is honoured to be contributing to the work of Halton Women’s Place. Michelle and her family have lived in Halton for nearly 20 years.

Paul MacDiarmid

Director

Paul MacDiarmid has been with RBC for over 30 years, beginning his career in the retail branch network in Hamilton. Over his career at RBC, he has held roles in branch management, sales and service leadership, training, operations, and, for the past twenty-plus years, finance. Since 2009 Paul has held a variety of Senior Director roles in Finance and is currently Senior Director, CFO Group – HSBC Integration. Paul and his family have made Burlington their home since 1998, and he has been involved in the community in a variety of ways, including serving on the Board of the Art Gallery of Burlington as Treasurer, and as Chair.

NEED HELP NOW?
CALL OUR 24-HOUR CRISIS LINES

BURLINGTON & OAKVILLE: 905-332-7892

MILTON & HALTON HILLS: 905-878-8555

©2023 Halton Women’s Place. All Right’s Reserved | Registered Charity Number-10746 2558 RR0001

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