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Home News Law Society presents honorary LLD to Cathy Crowe

Law Society presents honorary LLD to Cathy Crowe

February 17, 2021

At the February 25, 2021 Convocation meeting the Law Society presented a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) to nurse, educator, homelessness activist, filmmaker and author Cathy Crowe.

You can view the webcast on-demand. The presentation to Ms. Crowe begins at the 2:18 mark.

The Law Society awards honorary doctorates each year to distinguished individuals in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice.

“It is my privilege to be able to confirm the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa upon Cathy Crowe, in recognition of her remarkable courage and selflessness as an advocate for the country’s most vulnerable populations,” said Teresa Donnelly, Treasurer, Law Society of Ontario. “As one of Canada’s first street nurses, Ms. Crowe has devoted her career to using health care for social justice and is well-deserving of this honour.”

Cathy Crowe is a street nurse in Toronto – a term coined about 30 years ago by a homeless man in downtown Toronto. She has focused on serving those experiencing homelessness since 1988. She was one of the first nurses in Canada to do so.

Over the last three decades, Ms. Crowe has had an immense impact on homelessness and social justice in Canada. She has given a voice to the marginalized and vulnerable through the documentaries she has produced and the books she has authored. She has been a transformative force, through her tenacious efforts as a social activist – she has bridged the social justice issues of health and homelessness with a goal of making housing available for all.

In 1998, she co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, an organization that pioneered new approaches to homelessness and declared homelessness a National Disaster. The three-level campaign targeted federal, provincial and municipal solutions to the homeless disaster and housing crisis. 

Ms. Crowe continues to follow the pulse of health issues affecting homeless people including shelter conditions and inadequate housing, the return of tuberculosis and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.  Along with remarkable colleagues, homeless activists and friends she has fostered numerous coalitions and advocacy initiatives.

Her advocacy has been widely recognized. She is the recipient of numerous honours and awards for her leadership and activism and was inducted a Member of the Order of Canada in 2018.

More information about her ongoing advocacy work and past achievements can be found on her website:

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