City in Focus describes the purpose of the awards in this way:
Beyond the economic, political, and social fabric there is another strand in the city – the spiritual. CIF exists to care for the soul of the city through compassion, conversation and connection; it develops relationships with a variety of community leaders and connects them with ministries serving Vancouver and the province.
The award includes a monetary gift for each recipient, with the instruction that it be donated to a charity of their choice. These awards are a tangible expression of CIF’s long legacy of encouraging and supporting people who make a significant and selfless contribution to our community.
Following are CIF’s brief descriptions of this year’s award winners:
Dr. Bill MacEwan
Bill MacEwan is head of psychiatry at St. Paul’s Hospital. He fights poverty and addiction through his outstanding work in the field of psychiatry by helping hundreds of marginalized individuals access mental health resources.
For the last 14 years, he has worked in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, where he seeks to help patients at risk in the attempt to prevent emergencies that would require hospitalization. At present, he focuses on the needs of those served by the Downtown Community Court.
Dr. David Ley
David Ley is a professor of urban and social geography at UBC, where he has been based since leaving graduate school in the 1970s. His research has examined housing and neighbourhood issues in Canadian cities.
Following earlier work on gentrification, a recent project examined migration by wealthy ethnic Chinese families between East Asia and Canada. His most recent book, Millionaire Migrants tells the story of this migration and its impacts.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, on the board of Regent College, and a member of St John’s Church, Vancouver. His current research is examining housing bubbles, high housing costs with price volatility, in the global cities of Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Vancouver and London.
Brian McConaghy is founding director of Ratanak International. He served as a forensic scientist with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for over two decades. For 19 of those years he performed his duties with the RCMP while setting up and running Ratanak International as a volunteer.
After visiting refugee camps in Thailand in 1989, Brian then travelled into Cambodia where he witnessed conditions even worse than those in the camps. These experiences left a deep impact and him and began his long journey of service to the Cambodia and the Khmer people.
Ratanak continues to provide healthcare infrastructure, emergency food distributions, support to orphanages and schools, and – as has been their main focus in recent years – the rescue and rehabilitation of victims of sex slavery.
Rev. Garry LaBoucane OMI
Garry LaBoucane is a Métis Oblate and current pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Paul’s Parishes in Downtown Eastside Vancouver. He grew up in Kimberly, BC and was ordained in 1984 in Lac Sante-Anne, in his home province of Alberta.
Through his ministry and close involvement with Saint Kateri Tekawitha Centre, LaBoucane has made a tremendous positive impact on the spiritual and social lives of Aboriginal communities in Vancouver.
His work focuses on reconciliation, healing and the inclusion of Aboriginal traditions in Christian faith and community.