Callwood launched many charities wishing only that she “had been more generous.”
She was arrested at a anti-American draft demonstration formed by Dr. Benjamin Spock which energized her to become even more devoted to social activism. She was such a strong and dynamic social activist that she was dubbed “Canada’s Conscience as she devoted her energies to many causes: child poverty, indigenous rights, homelessness, HIV/Aids, racism, homophobia, censorship and women and children in crises.
She walked the talk founding organizations to combat problems: Digger House, for homeless youth; Nellie’s, for women in crisis; Casey House (named after her son who was killed in a highway accident), for people with HIV/AIDS.
She also co-founded the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and was a founding member of The Writers’ Union of Canada. She was a patron, chair, or member of more than eighty different organizations. For this extraordinarily high level of community service, she received all three ranks of the Order of Canada, and, when she was eighty, the June Callwood Professorship in Social Justice was created in her honour at the University of Toronto.