Nora Farrell – 6th Recipient of ACCUO Distinguished Service Award 2019

Nora Farrell – 6th Recipient of ACCUO Distinguished Service Award 2019

July 5, 2019

“ACCUO recognizes individual members who have made significant contributions in various ways. The highest of these recognitions is the Distinguished Service Award. Since its creation, ACCUO has granted this award 5 times. To be recognized in this way, the person has to have made significant contributions as an ombudsperson at her institution, as a member and leader within ACCUO and/or other ombuds organizations, and in the field of ombudsing. For this reason, the gift is a silver pin embossed with a portrait of Lars Mannerheim, the first independent ombudsman in Sweden. (We are honouring Nora) as a leader within ACCUO and FCO, (and) it is particularly fitting that we are honoring her at this joint conference.” (address by Martine Conway, FCO/ACCUO Conference Toronto 2019).

Nora Farrell found what she calls her “natural habitat in the ‘fairness’ community” when she joined the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman in the 90’s, before she became ombudsperson at Ryerson University in 2000. She has been an active ACCUO member and a leader in the ombuds field ever since. Nora has demonstrated exemplary leadership and built links across Canadian ombuds sectors to foster a community of practice around a common core. Nora has served on committees and on the executives of ombuds associations nationally and internationally. She was secretary on the ACCUO executive in 2002-06. She since served on the board of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman, first as a member-at-large, then as president and now as outgoing president. She has also represented her peers as part of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) as a member-at-large.

Nora participated in the creation of ACCUO’s Toolkit for new ombuds and for institutions creating ombuds offices, and she provided essential input during the development of ACCUO’s Standards of Practice. Nora played a leading role in developing FCO’s Ombuds Essentials certificate, which is the first and only Canadian, week-long, cross-sector, ombuds training. Nora also played a leading role in the drafting and adoption of FCO’s Statement of Principles. Nora Farrell has been a faithful speaker at ombuds conferences and contributed articles on ombudsing. She has presented numerous sessions at ACCUO, FCO, IOA and ENOHE on key topics, such as the concept of neutrality and its critique, the place of mediation and thorny issues such as the challenges facing the field. She has hosted ACCUO midyear meetings and participated in the organization of several ACCUO and FCO conferences. She was part of the program committee on the first joint ENOHE-ACCUO conference in Vienna in 2010.

Recently, Ryerson University recognized Nora’s contributions to ombudsing in Canada, noting her office as “a model for comparable offices throughout the province and country”. Nora is a colleague, a mentor and a friend that we will miss. She is the person we call when we have a difficult question. She is one of the people that Michelle LeBaron, in her 2008 article on Canadian ombuds, called A WISE ONE. (Martine Conway, excerpts honouring Nora Farrell).


Forum of Canadian Ombudsman Forum of Canadian Ombudsman