Vincent Pawis is a spiritual and cultural leader who guides Aboriginal people in the corrections system and supports youth at risk.
As Native Inmate Liaison Officer at the Sudbury Jail, Pawis was instrumental in implementing Elder Assisted Aboriginal Circle parole hearings, which allow offenders to be heard in a setting that reflects their values and traditions, according to a news release from the province.
Pawis is among 25 other individuals appointed to Ontario's highest honour. He can count himself among such notables as world-renowned film director, Deepa Mehta, lung transplant innovator, Dr. Shafique Keshavjee, and celebrated actor and tenor, Michael Burgess.
Others appointees are being recognized for their contributions to the arts, law, science, medicine, history, politics, philanthropy and the environment.
Lt.-Gov. of Ontario David C. Onley will invest the appointees at a ceremony on Feb. 6 at Queen's Park.
Created in 1986, the Order of Ontario, the province's highest official honour, recognizes the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field.
Nominations are made by members of the public.