ABOUT our Namesake

Who was Kay Blair?

Kay Blair was a tireless advocate for social justice and committed her life to improving the lives of others - particularly women.

Kay  built  a reputation as a passionate community leader with an unparalleled commitment to diversity and inclusion.


Kay immigrated to Canada in 1976 and began at the Emily Stowe Shelter for Woman.  She was instrumental in establishing the Shirley Samaroo House - the first shelter of its kind focusing on services for immigrant victims of abuse.


In 1988, Kay began work at Community MicroSkills Development Centre (Microskills) as its Executive Director - a position she would hold for 28 years.


Under Kay's leadership, Microskills would grow from a small women's employment organization to a highly successful community agency serving thousands of  immigrants,  women  and  youth. 

From 1997-2008, Kay was President of the National Visible Minority Council on Labour Force Development.


Kay served as President of the Peel Police Race Relations Committee and completed two terms as the President of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI).


In 2008, Kay was a member of the delegation accompanying Governor General Michaëlle Jean on her state visit to Europe.


Kay served as the Chair of the Board of Governors at Centennial College and was Chair of William Osler Health System's Board of Directors. 

Kay was the recipient of numerous awards including:

  • Canada's Most Powerful Women Top 100 - Trailblazer Award

  • Champions Award, YWCA

  • Women of Distinction - Community Leadership

  • The Premier's Award - Community and Social Services

  • Innovation Canada - Entrepreneur of the year Award

  • Frances Lankin Community Services Award, OCASI - Award of Excellence

  • United Way Spirit Award

  • Province of Ontario - Recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal

  • Outstanding Achievement Award - Jamaican Canadian Association

In 2013, Kay was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  On September 26 2016, Kay passed away at the age of 62. She will live forever in the hearts of all those she helped throughout her life. 


She will always be  remembered as a phenomenal  woman.