Ms. Hoyte has contributed to the fabric of Nova Scotia and Canada for over forty years through her work with individuals, families, communities, grassroots organizations and government. The focus of her practice is social justice and access to justice on behalf of the marginalized, disenfranchised, low income and oppressed people of our society. She brings a unique approach to her work as a social worker because she is also a practicing lawyer and utilizes the law to provide a very holistic approach to challenges faced by those she works with and on behalf of. In 2008, she argued the case of L.T.H. at the Supreme Court of Canada which focused on the rights of youth and changed the procedural practices of police authorities in Canada when interviewing youth. As one of nine members of the National Task Force for equality in hiring in the Federal Government Treasury Board of Canada, Ms. Hoyle assisted in the strategic work plan entitled, Embracing Change: Hiring Visible Minorities in the Federal Public Service. Shawna was recently appointed by the Premier's office of Nova Scotia to sit as the African Nova Scotian Community representative on the Council of Parties for the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Restorative Inquiry to investigate the historical abuse of former residents of the Colored Home.
Shawna continues to contribute to social work practice in Canada as an educator. She has taught at the Dalhousie School of Social Work (DSSW) in Cross Cultural Studies. She redesigned the social Work and Law course which she teaches on campus and as a distance course with BSW students from coast to coast. She is often called upon as a guest speaker and lecturer for other courses at the DSSW, as well as, being an Agency Field Advisor to both BSW and MSW students since 2003. Shawna has practiced social work as a clinician at the IWK Health Centre since 2006. She recently assisted with the redesign of the IWK Emergency Department — Emergency Mental Health and Additions Services crisis/psychiatry assessment tool. Shawna has presented on numerous occasions, over many years, at both National and local Social Work Conferences on issues of child protection, youth criminal justice, human rights and family services. She is a published researcher and writer on a number of topics and runs a small private practice in Dartmouth NS. Ms. Hoyte has been a volunteer Board member to many organizations and has held positions of responsibility such as president of the Board of Directors for the Community Justice Society of Halifax.
Additionally, Ms. Hoyte was a member of the Board of Examiners and the Discipline Committee of the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers from 2007—2009. She is currently a member in good standing with the NSASW. Shawna holds the distinguished Queens Counsel designation as a lawyer and is a member in good standing with the Nova Scotia Barrister's Society and is a member of the Canadian Bar Association.