Margaret JOAN (Weber) BURTON

Joan passed away peacefully on March 1st, 2014 at the Southlake Regional Health Centre (Newmarket, ON) following a one year struggle with cancer. She was 69. Beloved mother to Scott of Toronto and Jamie (Heidi) of Calgary. Grandma to Kyra, Emmitt, Halia. Sister to Kathryn (Rob) Hettler of B.C. Also will be greatly missed by special friends Russ, Pat,Carla and many others. Joan worked in the healthcare profession in Kitchener (infection control) and the Toronto area (COSHA, IAPA). Because of her long term commitment to healthy workplaces, she was awarded the prestigious Canadian Workplace Wellness Pioneer Award in 2003. Over the past decade Joan enjoyed hiking holidays to places as diverse as Italy, Iceland, Tanzania (climbed Mt. Kilamanjaro), and New Zealand. She made many new friends through local hiking groups and was always thankful for the wonderful life she had. A celebration of life will be held at Roadhouse and Rose,157 Main St, Newmarket on Monday, March 10th at 2 p.m. As per Joan's request, donations to Oak Ridges Trail Association and to the Ontario Workplace Health Coalition would be welcomed.

Contribute to Joan's 'Book of Memories' by clicking here.


For more memories, visit the memorial website.


Testimonial about Joan from the Ontario Workplace Health Coalition

Joan was on the Acting Steering Committee for the OWHC [formerly Ontario Healthy Workplace Coalition] for a couple of years prior to the election of the first Board of Directors in summer 2007. She was an enthusiastic member of the Coalition and attended The Health Communication Unit (THCU)/OWHC annual symposium for a number of years.

Joan was elected to the Board of Directors in fall 2010 and took on the role of Co-Chair from Oct. 2010 to Oct. 2012. She co-chaired with Kendal Bradley for the first year of her two-year term and with Andrew Harkness in the second year.

THCU and the Canadian Mental Health Association (Ontario Division) had provided critical secretariat support to the OWHC for a number of years, but had completed their commitments to the OWHC at the time that Joan took over as Co-Chair. She was instrumental in securing commitment from both Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) to act as co-secretariats which ensured that the OWHC remained on a strong foundation to move forward.

After Joan finished her two-year term as Co-Chair in Oct. 2012, she agreed to stay on the Board as Past Chair until May 2013 when she resigned the position for health reasons.

Joan's death leaves a big hole in the workplace health community and she will be greatly missed.


Testimonial about Joan from Maureen Shaw, Retired CEO of the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA)

Joan was a leader, visionary, loving, kind, determined, focused solid friend as well as a great colleague. Today many around the world mourn her passing and will continue to be beneficiaries’ of her incredible work. Today I heard from colleagues at the World Health Organization (WHO), who said it was a very dark day. Joan had been instrumental while at IAPA and after her retirement in 2009 in the development and was lead author that developed the WHO Healthy Workplace Framework. Marilyn Fingernut of CDC/NIOSH and WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centres said “… Joan was a light in the darkness and helped so many people”. The WHO Framework for Healthy Workplaces is still being used around the world today.

As recognition for her vision and leadership Joan was presented with the Canadian Workplace Wellness Pioneer Award in recognition of “outstanding contribution to the field of Canadian Workplace Wellness” and to the “understanding and practice of organization health.”

She made us all look to the future and was ahead of the curve in her thinking and ability to action the thinking, making IAPA and Ontario a global leader in workplace mental health. She will be missed for all of that, but her legacy will continue.


Testimonial about Joan from Elizabeth Mills President and CEO of WSPS and Co-Secretariat of the OWHC

Joan's spirit has always stayed with each person she touched and while it will be difficult for us to imagine not seeing her radiant smile at each event. I am also comforted that her passing was as peaceful and graceful as it was, surrounded by love and compassion that she herself gave so generously to us.

You will also be feeling a great personal loss I know too - and as you grieve know that we all support you.

There will be many people who will look for a time and place to celebrate Joan Burton, the professional person and the gifted contributor to international healthy workplace standards. In a relatively short time, her legacy has already grown in her lifetime; it will only continue to grow in your work and the efforts of others she inspired.


Joan’s presentation: What in the World is a Healthy Workplace? The Global Model

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OWHC is supported by    Workplace Safety & Prevention Services - A Health & Safety Ontario Partner    and    CCOHS - Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety