Home Biographies A biography of the first Afro-Canadian city councillor in London, Canada: Harold Usher
A biography of the first Afro-Canadian city councillor in London, Canada: Harold Usher PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Saturday, 05 March 2011 18:41


Harold Usher, P.Eng., DTM  was born inBelize (in Central America) and arrived in Canada in 1963. Harold has devoted most of his life contributing to the betterment of mankind, the community, and his fellow citizens, starting from his childhood membership in his Primary School (St. Mary’s) Choir and the Boys Brigade inBelize to acting in Dramatic plays for hisMethodistChurch inBelize. He participated also in Drama groups inJamaica and Montreal,CANADA.

Mr. Usher is a City Councillor (Ward 12) inLondon,Ontario,CANADA who, with his election in 2000, and re-elections in 2003, 2006 and 2010, became the first and only person of African/Caribbean ancestry or African Diaspora, to be elected toLondon (Ontario,CANADA) City Council. He is a 1972 Civil Engineering graduate of  Sir George Williams (currently Concordia) University inMontreal and worked forBellCanada, in various Engineering/Management capacities and levels for 24 years. In 1996 he embarked on other work/career adventures such as inspirational speaking and training. Later, he was involved in politics. He is also a Distinguished Toastmaster, an uthor, an inspirational speaker and human resources development trainer, who believes that “Service to humanity is the best work of life,” and “Service is the rent we pay for being on this earth.” He also got involved with various Multi-cultural and non-profit Community organizations, The City of London, The United Church of Canada and others.

Soon Usher began to champion “issues and causes” related to Race Relations; Justice; Equity; Human Rights; jobs for the unemployed; as well as other Opportunities, including Housing for the Homeless, the Poor, People with Disabilities, visible minorities and ethnic groups, and the community in general, particularly the Youths and the Elderly – simply to ensure every citizen can live in harmony and enjoy a good quality of life, with dignity and respect.

As a City Councillor, Usher has three special roles, namely: 1) representing his constituency (people who voted for him) at City Council or on public matters that affect their quality of life, 2) set policies for the smooth running of the City, and the implementation of projects that ensure a good quality of life for the residents, 3) advocate good, honest, transparent Government. In order to accomplish these, Mr. Usher sits on several committees, reads a lot of information and attends a lot of meetings – prepared. Everything else follows from those in a complex environment.  The job is demanding and challenging but deeply rewarding for Harold Usher. It is part time - however, city councillors are on call 24/7. Mr. Usher advocates that visible minorities and women get more involved.

Mr.  Usher is a prostate cancer survivor and wrote a book in collaboration with his renowned Canadian Urologic Surgeon, Dr. Joseph Chin, entitled, PROSTATE! PROSTATE! PROSTATE! A Problem of Men, in which he shares his story, what he learned, and encourages men to get regular prostate examinations, and to take action quickly once diagnosed with prostate cancer.

City Councillor Harold Usher became the recipient of the 2010 African Canadian Achievement Award (ACAA) in the prestigious category of "Excellence in Polices."  The Awards Presentation was on Saturday May 29, 2010 at The St.  LawrenceCentre for the Arts, in Toronto.  Harold was nominated for this Award by the Honourable Jean Augustine. Harold Usher`s contribution to the community has been emphasized in various publications such as Who’s who in Black Canada by Dawn P. Williams. On a personal level, Mr. Usher is married to Melba (née Wright) Usher, also born inBelize and the couple has three daughters, all born inMontreal.


[Additional information posted in 2013:  Harold Usher became the recipient of the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General for providing dedicated service to his peers, his community and to Canada.  Moreover, Mr.  Harold Usher nominated 61 Canadians from all walks of life for the aforementioned medal and 52 of them became laureates.]


 Experiences and Achievements: 


·          Actively serving the Community for more than 25 years

·          Professional Engineer (P. Eng.)

·          Politician (Councillor,City of London,Canada)

·          Distinguished Toastmaster

·          Inspirational Speaker

·          Human Resources Development Trainer

·          Advocate for Human rights, Justice, Equity and Race Relations – a voice spoken and


·          Co-Author of Book entitled:  “PROSTATE! PROSTATE! PROSTATE! A Problem of

           Men” - helping Black Men survive the terrible disease of prostate cancer

·         Cultural Background: Canadian Citizen (African/Caribbean Ancestry or African

           Diaspora – Born inBelize)


Special Award:  Harold Usher received theCanada 125th Commemorative Medal, from the Governor General in 1992

Other Honour

- The Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) Designation from Toastmasters International (three times)
- The Toastmasters International President’s Citation
- The joint Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO)
and The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)
Citizenship Award
- The London (Ontario) Black Community Achievement Award
- The PRIDE African Canadian Achievement Award for “Excellence in Politics




·        LondonCityCouncil (London,Ontario,CANADA) - elected 2000 and each term since then

·         City ofLondon Communityand Neighbourhood Committee (CNC) – Chair 2000 to present

·        LondonTransit Commission (Past Chair) 2000 to present

·        Lake HuronPrimary Water Supply System Joint Board of Management (Past Chair) 2000 to present

·         City ofLondon Council’s Housing Leadership Committee 2007 to present

.        Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Board of Directors 2011

·         FCM Standing Committee on Social-Economic Development 2008 to present 

·         FCM Standing Committee on Municipal Infrastructure and Transportation Policy 2008 to present 

·         FCM Standing Committee on Increasing Women’s Participation in Municipal Government 2003 to    present 

·         Western Fair Association – Board of Governors 2010 to present

·  ElginMiddlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board (EMOWPDB) – Visible Minority Representative 2000 to present

·         Goodwill IndustriesOntarioGreat Lakes- Board of Directors 2006 to present

·        OntarioSociety of Professional Engineers - Member 2001 to present

·         Professional EngineersOntario– Member, 1974 to present

·         Black Community Leadership Congress (BCLC) –LondonBranch, 2001 to present

·        LondonBlack History Committee – Coordinator of “Closing GALA” 2002 to present

·        WhiteOaksUnitedChurchof London 2004 to present

·         The Journeys of the Black People of theUnitedChurchof Canada 2006 to present

·         The United Church of Canada - Gender Justice Advisory Committee of the General Council, 2010 to present

·         Garrison Community Council of London, 2006 to present

·         Telephone Pioneers of Canada/America 1990 to present

·        ThamesValleyToastmasters Club (Past President), 1984 to present

·        LondonCity HallToastmasters Club – Originator, Sponsor and Past President, 2007 to present

·        FanshaweCollegePresident’s Academy (Alumni of the Board of Governors), 2002 to present

·         Consortium for Belizean Development – International Board of Directors, 1985 to present 

·   Fathers Day Walk/Run Fundraiser Event for Prostate Cancer Research –  Honorary Chair (London) 2009 to present 


 Praise for Harold Usher’s contributions:


-Pat Moauro,Owner, Pat Moauro Communication:

 “I am pleased to recommend Harold Usher, whom I have known for more than 15 years, for the Harry Jerome Award. He is a highly positive and helpful individual who has a number of diverse interests, including public and motivational speaking, working as a consultant for several of his own businesses, and serving his constituents in London as a long-time city councillor. He recently added "author" to his long list of accomplishments, with the publication of "PROSTRATE! PROSTRATE! PROSTRATE!: A Problem of Men," a highly authoritative and instructive book which he has co-authored with Dr. Joseph Chin. I have found Harold to be a helpful and co-operative resource. He is a gentleman of action and integrity.”


Jamie Noble, ACB, ALB, Area Governor – District 86 Toastmasters, Toastmasters International:


“Harold Usher is an outstanding Toastmaster. In addition to his regular attendance at meetings of two Toastmasters Clubs weekly, he continuously invites guests to these meetings. He easily brings more guests to Toastmasters than any two or three other people in the entire Division, combined. Every year, for at least the last twelve years, he has earned awards for sponsoring five new members (Pin Award) into Toastmasters, sometimes 10 new members (Pin Award) and occasionally 15 (Toastmasters Necktie or Scarf). Although a very busy man, he always makes time to help people when they are trying to overcome a communication challenge, or whenever they need his assistance. His speech evaluations are very supportive and well balanced between wonderful glow points and intriguing things to consider that would help make the communication/speech even stronger. People's lives often change as a result of the Toastmasters experience, leading to new jobs, careers and other opportunities. Toastmaster Usher helps make those happen for many. In my opinion the Toastmasters Organization is effective because of its tremendous program and outstanding members like Harold Usher who uses the program to make significant differences in people's lives."


Brenda Dottermann, Business Development Manager , Canadian Home Income Plan: 


“Harold worked tirelessly to author his book, "PROSTATE! PROSTATE! PROSTATE! A Problem of Men." He injected his personal story and meticulous research into a book which is very unique, in that it gives you an idea of what your personal journey might be like after diagnosis of prostate cancer and provides up-to-date medical information to assist you in making your surgical decision. This book is written to provide the detailed information that not all urologists have time to share when diagnosing your condition. When I shared the manuscript with my father who had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it allowed him to make informed choices which fit best into his lifestyle. He thankfully has been cancer free for over eight years! This book is a very easy read, not too technical, not too overwhelming!”


Ellen Ashton-Haiste, Writer/Editor/Project Publisher, FreelanceInk:


 “Harold's book -- "Prostate! Prostate! Prostate! A Problem of Men" -- is a road map through the often bewildering territory of prostate cancer, combining his own journey from diagnosis to successful treatment, with a wealth of information about the disease, treatment options, and healthy living in general, offered in reader-friendly, easy-to-understand language. An essential tool for all men who are facing, or may face, this challenge -- and the women who support them through it.”


Ramona Lucan, Student , triOS College London:


“Harold Usher is a sensational person, with a zest for life and a variety of interests, but more specifically he likes to help people succeed. He loves people and likes to inspire them and be of service to them. He is an engineer, a City Councillor, a motivational speaker and an author with considerable writing and speaking skills and a great dedication to improving the quality of life of others. He is also very interested in understanding man prostate, including the various diseases that can strike the prostate and what should be done about them, and sharing that understanding with others, as is reflected in his book “PROSTATE! PROSTATE! PROSTATE! A Problem of Men.” Very well known and liked in the community, he relates to people in many ways and on many levels. His message is always one of inspiration and personal empowerment. Our city of London, Ontario CANADA is fortunate to have such a special person on their City Council, and the visible minority community and the foreign trained professionals are lucky to have his voice at the municipal level of government speaking up for them.”




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