Welcome to Bereaved Families of Ontario

At Bereaved Families of Ontario, we dedicate our work to bereavement support through self-help and mutual aid.

In 1977, John McKibbon, part of the chaplaincy department of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, whose own daughter had died of leukemia, initiated a parental bereavement support program endorsed by the hospital’s chaplain, Hugh Gemmell.

Margaret Darte, Marilyn Lee, Diane Oakes Foster and Irene Clarfield, participants in this program then became involved in the development of a bereavement support program now known as Bereaved Families of Ontario (BFO).

For this act and their ongoing efforts in building our organization, in 1998 our four founders received the Ontario Medal of Good Citizenship from The Honourable Hilary Weston, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.

With our ten affiliates located throughout Ontario, our strong community spirit mirrors the commitment made by volunteers and staff. BFO programs are facilitated by trained volunteers who are themselves bereaved.

Volunteer health professionals support facilitators and advise affiliates on their programs. Each year, on behalf of Bereaved Families of Ontario over 1,000 volunteers contribute to helping the healing begin.