JA Snow Funeral Home


Paul Marshall Kells

14 December, 19464 October, 2021
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PAUL MARSHALL KELLS (December 14, 1946 to October 4, 2021) Paul passed away peacefully in Halifax surrounded by love following a two-year struggle with cancer. Paul is greatly missed by his wife Blanche Diamond, daughter Robin Kells (Matt LeBrun), stepsons Todd, Jeffrey (Danielle Bishop) and Alexander (Carly Nichols) Bishop, step-grandchildren Hunter, Daniel and Katherine, sister Ruth Collison, and loving friends and relatives. Paul was predeceased by his son Sean and sister Janet.

Paul was a passionate creator who lit up when connecting people with ideas to produce something greater than anyone thought possible. He developed a love for news and storytelling early in his career at CBC, as an on-air radio host, investigative journalist and television producer in the Maritimes, and as a news executive in Toronto.

His entrepreneurial spirit led him to leave broadcasting for corporate communications, where he counselled executives from Canada’s largest companies for the next 15 years.

However, it was the sudden workplace death of his 19-year-old son Sean in 1994 that inspired his true calling. Paul upended his professional life and became a tireless advocate to keep young people safe at work, at home and at play.

Paul founded Safe Communities Canada, a national charity devoted to reducing injuries and promoting cultures of safety. Over 80 communities were designated Safe Communities, representing more than a quarter of Canada’s population. This model led to the creation of similar foundations internationally, and Safe Communities Canada was accredited as an International Safe Community Certifying Centre by the World Health Organization. Paul also developed Passport to Safety, an online workplace standard that tracks hundreds of health and safety training modules through portable e-transcripts. Internationally, one million people have completed a Passport to Safety program.

For his safety leadership, Paul was presented with Ontario’s Outstanding Achievement in Volunteerism Award and was inducted in Ontario’s Volunteer Hall of Fame. He is a Member of the Order of Ontario, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (Civilian) by the Governor General of Canada. Paul also holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws degree from Acadia University.

A big kid at heart, Paul’s diverse passions were often pursued simultaneously. After playing a round of golf, Paul might watch more golf on TV, grow his empire on his favourite video game, give business advice to his kids, all while cooking an amazing biryani. He was a multitasking master with boundless energy.

Paul will be remembered by many for inspiring them to aim higher, do better, and care openly and wholeheartedly for the people around them. To Blanche, Paul was a loving husband who brought fun, adventure, travel and much laughter. To his children, he was a dedicated coach, a constant presence - silly, warm and fun - and later, a trusted mentor for their careers and business endeavours. One of his best qualities was his ability to listen and then lead. Most of all, Paul was always there when you needed him; his deep relationships and admiration from his peers are a testament to his character. Paul and his family thank his dedicated health care and hospice teams for their excellent care. He was shocked to learn that Halifax’s Victoria General Hospital lacks safe water for drinking, and that patients must sponge-bathe using bottled water. If Paul had the energy, his last battle for improved safety would have been for temporary portable showers and accelerated construction for a desperately needed new facility. It is a testament to the skill and patience of VG medical, health and maintenance professionals that patients receive the care they do.

There are so many ways to pay tribute to Paul, but we kindly ask you to consider the following: 1. Do something kind or meaningful for someone who needs it, and remember Paul when you do. 2. Donations in Paul’s name will be gratefully received by Hospice Halifax. 3. If you’re an advocate, be like Paul and use your talents, energy, story and voices to bring clean water to the VG.

A gathering to celebrate Paul will be held on Friday, October 8 at 10:00 a.m. at JA Snow Funeral Home, 339 Lacewood Dr, Halifax, NS. To watch the service via livestream or to send online condolences, please visit



Paul Marshall Kells

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18 October 2021

I am deeply saddened by Paul's passing and hope that you find comfort in his legacy as an advocate for young worker safety. It is your family's story that was a part of my beginning as a tireless advocate for young worker safety also, back in the early 2000's.

I will never forget hearing Paul tell of Sean's young worker experience. I hear Paul's voice every time I am conducting Young Worker/Health and Safety Awareness sessions in high schools. The difference Paul made in safety for young workers, Safe Communities and to workplace safety as a whole will keep his and Sean's memories alive.

Please know how much your story has shaped mine. I continue to fight for young workers, to give them a voice and the knowledge that they have one, and to USE it OFTEN. For them to ask questions, challenge with curiosity and work and be safe. Thank you for your strength.
Mika Lees (she/her)
H&S Consultant Northern Ontario, WSPS

Matthew Thornton

10 October 2021

Love and warmest thoughts to Robin and the family. Wonderful photo memories here, thanks for sharing, Sean's friends will always have Paul in our hearts.

Donna Bernard

9 October 2021

Blanche my Friend I am so sorry to hear of this Beautiful Man's passing.
Paul was, in a way, a member of our Reiki Team. Rae and I would go to Blanche's for our regular sessions and Paul would greet us with that beautiful welcoming smile. Then always a short uplifting chat and off he would go to give us our space. We would later discover that Paul prepared our lunch, which was always a delicious delight from the night before. Honestly he had the gift of making someone feel very Special. That is a feeling I get whenever I think of him.
How lucky are we to have known this wonderful man Paul Kells. Donna

Bruce Dodge

8 October 2021

Thank you Paul for everything you did to advance workplace safety. Your work mattered and made a difference.

Alan Clayton

8 October 2021

Dear Blanche and family,
I am profoundly saddened to hear of Paul's passing. He was the very embodiment of the zest for living. He was able to take Sean's death in a preventable workplace accident and turn it into a major movement - the Safe Communities movement - across Canada and the world, where communities committed to make themselves the safest place in the world to live, learn work and play.
I had the privilege to spend time with Paul both in Australia and Canada and be energised and inspired by his vision and the practical steps by which that vision could be made concrete in practice.
Vale dear friend.
Alan Clayton, Melbourne, Australia

Tania Peters

8 October 2021

Many condolences on the loss of an inspiring leader from all of the board and members of the Safe Communities movement in Aotearoa New Zealand. We have fond memories of Paul and his passion and experience in his visits to New Zealand. We had some fun times! He would be amused (and pleased) to see how things turned out in the end. Our love goes out to Blanche, Robyn and family. Tania Peters on behalf of Safe Communities NZ

David Sleet

8 October 2021

Paul was a special person. The memorial for him today illustrated that in many ways. We worked closely with him at CDC as we tried to model Passport to Safety for occupational safety and health in the U.S. His work on behalf of injury prevention has prevented many young people from early preventable death. While we cannot count the many people Paul saved, we can count the many ways he educated us to help others prevent injuries. Safe Communities Canada lives on, as does Paul's memory.

Sonya Corkum

8 October 2021

I crossed paths with Paul in the injury prevention field, on numerous Halifax to Toronto and back flights and socially in both cities. His enthusiasm and energy were so remarkable. He lit up every room he was in and now the skies above. I will look for the brightest star off the South Shore of Nova Scotia and know that is you shining down on Robin, Blanche and family and all of us who were fortunate to know you.

Kelli Dahl

8 October 2021

Dear Blanche and Family,

I remember Paul as always having a big smile, infectious laugh, and being a teller of amazing stories. He had such an impact throughout his life and I am truly a better person for having the chance to meet him. He was quickly embraced by our NSLC team and will be dearly missed.

Dave Kerr

8 October 2021

Dear Blanche and family; Reta and I and our families sincerely wish to express our deepest condolences to you on the passing of Paul. With his sharing of his journey with us throughout his fight with this terrible disease, it was an extraordinarily honest, brave and inspiring experience. We will miss Paul, his smile and his important work on so many fronts. A life well lived and a man well loved. Our thoughts are with you and your entire family Blanche.

Love; Dave, Reta and Family

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