Pamela Appelt served for 11 years as Judge of the Court of Canadian Citizenship, the first African-Canadian woman to hold this position. She is a generous volunteer and an active community member who is committed to helping children and families live a better life.
Born in St. Mary’s, Jamaica, Ms. Appelt attended West Indies College and studied microbiology and biochemistry in London. She came to Canada in 1966, and worked for several years as a researcher in medical biochemistry at McGill University. In 1979, she moved with her husband and two children to Oakville, Ont., where she still resides.
Over the years, she has donated her time and energy to many community organizations. She has worked with the Ontario Black History Society, the former Clarke Institute of Psychiatry and the Canadian Multiculturalism Council, among many others.
Ms. Appelt has been a board member of many organizations, including the United Way of Greater Toronto; the Community Foundation of Oakville; the Healthy Community Funders of Halton; and the Yee Hong Geriatric Centre in Scarborough. She has been an advisor to the president of Northern Caribbean University; a patron of PACE Canada in Jamaica and Canada; and a founding member of the Black-Jewish dialogue of B’Nai Brith.
Ms. Appelt holds a master’s degree in public policy. In 2002, she received an honourary doctorate of laws from Northern Caribbean University, and that same year she was recognized for her outstanding achievements by Athena Oakville. In 2005, she was one of four outstanding Canadians whose photograph graced the official Black History Month poster.
In 2008, Ms. Appelt was honoured by the Government of Jamaica with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer for dedicated service to Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora in Canada. Ms. Appelt is also an accomplished artist, whose works have been exhibited in New York, Chicago, Jamaica and Canada. Now retired, Ms. Appelt is a member of the Speakers Bureau of Ontario. She frequently addresses audiences at schools and organizations about religious human rights, violence against women and children and issues that affect immigrants and visible-minority women.