Former Trent University Board of Governors Chair Armand La Barge Named to the Order of Ontario
The Retired Chief of York Regional Police is being honoured for his leadership in policing, post-secondary education, and work within the volunteer sector
Armand La Barge ’95 has been appointed to the Order of Ontario, as announced recently by The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
The former Trent University Board of Governors chair is being recognized as “a champion of diversity and inclusion, an ardent defender of social justice and human rights, and a life-long community activist and volunteer.”
Mr. La Barge served with York Regional Police for 37 years and was chief from 2002 to his retirement in 2010. He was chair of Trent University's Board of Governors from 2019 to 2021. He has also served as chair of the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada Advisory Board, chair of Special Olympics Ontario, and chair of St. John Ambulance Ontario, among many other volunteer leadership positions.
A continued commitment to community
“I’m humbled to have been included in this list of recipients, especially considering the other recipients that are going to be invested at the same time,” says Mr. La Barge. “I look through their body of work, whether it be in the community, in the education sector, on Indigenous issues, or society in general, and it is an honour.”
Known for his deep commitment to community, Mr. La Barge is quick to recognize his alma mater as a continuing influence.
“The Order of Ontario has reminded me of the incredible sense of community that exists at Trent University,” he notes. “I have received dozens of emails and congratulations messages from former Trent Board members, current Trent Board members, the Trent leadership team, faculty, and staff. It really reinforces that Trent is a unique place because it has such a strong sense of community.”
Mr. La Barge held the positions of president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ontario director of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and was an associate member of the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association. He has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2012 Black Business Professional Association Harry Jerome Award for Diversity, the Wilf Wilkinson Rotary Peace Award, the YMCA Peace Medallion, the National Ethnic Press & Media Council of Canada Distinguished Service Award, the Ontario Volunteer Service Award, the Police Exemplary Services Medal and First Bar, and the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals. Mr. La Barge is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and was invested as an Officer of the Order of Police Merit and a Commander in the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
Considering himself to be a lifelong learner, he holds a Master of Arts degree in Canadian and Indigenous Studies from Trent University in addition to a number of other degrees and certificates from York University, Seneca College and Walden University. In 2012, Mr. La Barge was presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Guelph.
Honorary Trent alumna also invested in the Order
Also being invested in the Order is honorary alumna Sandra Laronde, an accomplished arts leader, innovator and speaker, who has created and produced Indigenous arts and events for over 30 years. Ms. Laronde is from the Teme-Augama-Anishinaabe and is the founding artistic director of Red Sky Performance and was director of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. For her artistic leadership, Ms. Laronde has received many awards, including the Meritorious Service Decoration on behalf of the Governor-General of Canada.
The honours will be bestowed by Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of The Order of Ontario.