Today, it is a great privilege to announce the recipient of the Community Impact Award, an accolade that celebrates an individual who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to making a difference in the Niagara community through selfless volunteerism and dedication to the non-profit and charitable sector.
This year’s recipient is Judge Rochelle Ivri, is a remarkable and inspirational figure whose contributions have left an indelible mark on the Niagara region and beyond. Appointed as one of only nine Citizenship Judges in Canada in 2018, Judge Ivri serves the Greater Ontario Area from the Niagara and Hamilton offices of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. Just a few months ago, she reached a momentous milestone by swearing in her 100,000th new Canadian. Her role as a Citizenship Judge is pivotal both in conferring citizenship to our newest Canadians and conducting vital community outreach to encourage active citizenship and civic engagement.
Beyond her duties as a Citizenship Judge, Judge Ivri’s educational background is equally impressive. She holds an Honours Degree in Criminology and a post-graduate certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Her commitment to education extends to her roles as a professor in the paralegal program at Mohawk College and as an adjunct professor at Queen’s University Law School. Her expertise in the field is further evident through her co-authorship of “Tribunal Practice and Procedure,” published by Emond Publishing, and her reputation as a sought-after speaker and facilitator.
However, what truly distinguishes Judge Ivri is her unwavering dedication to community engagement and involvement. She has served on numerous boards and committees, both past and present, consistently leveraging her knowledge and expertise to advance the needs of the community. Her eight-year tenure on the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library Board and her eight years as a publicly appointed member of the Council of the College of Midwives of Ontario, including two years on the Executive Committee, are just a glimpse of her extensive contributions.
Judge Ivri’s involvement also extended to the Discipline, Appeal, and Review Committee of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. Currently, she sits on the board of Bravo Niagara!, and in 2020, she became the first and only Black woman to be appointed to the inaugural Niagara Region Women’s Advisory Committee. Her dedication to uplifting and empowering others is evident through her co-founding of a mentorship program for Black youth, leaving a lasting impact on students in both the DSBN and the Niagara Catholic school boards.
In recognition of her remarkable contributions, Judge Ivri has received numerous awards, including the “Woman Who Rocks Award” in 2019 for her work in Hamilton, a nomination in the Education/Mentorship category for the YWCA Hamilton Women of Distinction Awards in 2020, and the “Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Community Award” for her work in Kitchener Centre in the same year. She made history in 2021 by receiving the prestigious Lincoln Alexander Award from the Law Society of Ontario, becoming the first paralegal to receive this recognition in nearly 20 years of the award’s history.
Judge Ivri’s outstanding achievements were further highlighted in 2022 when she was named one of the “100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women” and received the Rev. John C. Holland Award of Merit from the Hamilton Black History Council. In the same year, she was recognized as one of “Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch” by CIBWE.
Judge Ivri’s passion for human rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and active citizenship is evident in her tireless efforts to make communities thrive. She devotes her time to mentorship, offering guidance to students, community members, and aspiring professionals. Her dedication to uplifting others is not limited to mentorship alone; she is a regular keynote speaker, panelist, and facilitator at various events and outreach presentations, using her story, expertise, and leadership to inspire and effect change.
In her role as a Citizenship Judge, Judge Ivri has conferred citizenship on over 110,000 Canadians in more than 1,600 citizenship ceremonies over the last five years. Citizenship, for her, is not just a legal process; it is the foundation for true civic engagement and community transformation.
Judge Rochelle Ivri’s commitment to community, her tireless volunteer work, and her dedication to the advancement of others exemplify the spirit of the Community Impact Award. She embodies the ideals of active citizenship and civic engagement, striving to make our community a better place for all. Her efforts serve as an inspiration to us all, demonstrating that one individual can truly make a profound impact on the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in celebrating and honoring Judge Rochelle Ivri, the recipient of this year’s Community Impact Award. Her contributions have left an indelible mark on our Niagara community, and her legacy will continue to inspire and empower us all. Thank you, Judge Ivri, for your outstanding service and dedication to the betterment of our community.