By Cassie MacDonell
Local Journalism Initiative
Eastern Township’s Linda Hoy hasn’t just benefited her community at a local level. She has also made impacts provincially, nationally, and even globally; Hoy has recently been nominated for a second term as the Canada Area President of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW).
The ACWW was founded in 1929, with a mission to address challenges rural women experience across the globe. ACWW’s membership spans 82 countries, with more than 180 policy resolutions having been passed by popular vote. The organization has consultative status with the United Nations, meaning members have a platform to raise humanitarian concerns. “The main thing is to be the voice of rural women across Canada and (discuss) the issues they face,” Hoy explained. Common challenges that country representatives raise often include access to education, safe local transport, healthcare, and social protection systems.
Hoy has worked with the affiliated Women’s Institutes at local, provincial, and national levels for 39 years. She is the second woman from the Eastern Townships in the last decade to take on the Canada Area President of the ACWW role, with Sheila Needham from South Bolton having also worked under the acclaimed title.
Hoy has travelled to faraway countries for ACWW world conferences, visiting Tasmania, India, Arkansas, and the United Kingdom. However, she had to attend the last few conferences virtually due to the pandemic. “The next one will be next year in Malaysia,” she said excitedly. Future conferences may be hosted closer to home, Hoy added. “It’s not officially out there, but Ottawa may be helping us host the 2026 (ACWW World Conference) in Ottawa.”
Country representatives bring issues forward to other ACWW members at these world conferences. Hoy provided an example of some of the work they have recently done. “One we did hop on these past three years was (advocating) for access to the rabies vaccines. Canada has access to the vaccines, but a lot of the countries do not have that. They need our support to pass these resolutions at the world offices.”
In 2019, Hoy received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers of the Governor General of Canada. “I could have gone to Ottawa, but I could only take two people with me. So, I decided to do it here so that I could have those people that have supported me in these different organizations to be there,” Hoy said, “I had a real party.” A party indeed, as 60 people joined Hoy to celebrate her achievement.
Photography is a big passion of Hoy’s, too. She flexes her skills at local events. “(Photography) has been a passion since I was a kid,” Hoy said. She attributes her mother’s Kodak Brownie camera to the beginning of her interest. “I took a couple courses at Champlain (College), learned darkroom developing.” Hoy loves taking pictures of nature, particularly her flower garden.
In addition to her roles with the Women’s Institute, she is involved in her local church, as an exam invigilator at Bishop’s University, and more.
So, where did Hoy’s passion for involvement come from, at community, provincial, national, and international levels? “My mother was always involved with the Women’s Institute,” she laughed, “I guess I learned that from my parents.”