Trailblazing women, rock singer, former chief among new Order of Canada appointments

Source : CBC News




A public health researcher, a disability sports advocate and several trailblazing women who achieved firsts in their fields are among the 61 people being honoured with New Year’s appointments to the Order of Canada.

The order recognizes “people whose service shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations and whose compassion unites our communities,” according to a statement from the Office of the Secretary of the Governor General.

While most of the people on this year’s list aren’t household names they’re all highly accomplished in their fields.

Robert Steadward is a now-retired sports scientist who was instrumental in the creation of the modern Paralympic Games and served for 12 years as the founding president of the International Paralympic Committee. He joins Cameron, Strickland and Harper as a companion of the order. Steadward was promoted to the highest of the order’s three levels after being appointed an officer in 1998. In the early 1980s, he helped develop a proposal to centralize the governance of disability sport at the international level. When the International Paralympic Committee was created, he was elected its first president.

Trailblazing women

Louise Mailhot, a former lawyer and judge who sat on the Superior Court of Quebec and became the first female judge to serve on Quebec’s Court of Appeal in Montreal, is one of several women pioneers being appointed as members of the order — the order’s entry level. In addition to practicing employment and public law and serving as a judge, Mailhot was co-editor of multiple legal reviews, authored a book on the appellate process and helped develop a training program for drafting Canadian judges. She is being honoured for her contributions to the legal profession, her advocacy for gender equality and her promotion of women in the field.

Gina Cody, a Toronto engineer, was named a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her long career as an engineer and business leader. (Concordia University) She was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in building engineering at Concordia University in Montreal and went on to found a successful consulting firm, CCI Group, that was named one of Canada’s most profitable woman-owned companies by Profit magazine in 2010. The faculty of engineering at Concordia now bears her name. The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science is the first in Canada — and one of the first in the world — to be named after a woman.

Growing recognition of Indigenous peoples

Borrows is being recognized for his scholarly work on Indigenous rights and legal traditions. Hailing from the Chippewas of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Borrows is one of several people of Indigenous heritage on this year’s list.

Elder Carolyn King is another new member of the Order of Canada. She is a community builder, educator and former chief of the Mississauga of the Credit First Nation in Ontario. King has spent years working to improve the quality of life in her community through an economic development program for her First Nation and her deep involvement in community planning.


Public health during a pandemic

In a year which saw a pandemic disrupt the social and economic life of the entire planet, Dr. Vivek Goel’s appointment to the order is especially timely. A trained public health physician, Goel spent most of his career as a public health researcher and was the founding president of Public Health Ontario from 2008 to 2014. Goel, now a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, has been involved in a number of research initiatives related to COVID-19 and has been widely quoted in the media. Recently, Goel was the co-principal investigator of an interim study into COVID-19 infection rates among incoming international travellers at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Ray Ivany, a former university administrator who now sits on the Bank of Canada’s Board of Directors, is being honoured for his “steadfast commitment to higher education and public service in Nova Scotia,” Ivany also served as the commissioner of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy.

The billionaire founder of Mattamy Homes, Peter Gilgan, was promoted to officer of the order. Gilgan is known for his philanthropy in the health care and education sectors: he made a $100 million donation to The Hospital for Sick Children last June and donated $3.3 million to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto to increase its COVID-19 testing capacity.

Celebrated singer-songwriter Art Bergmann is being recognized for what the Governor General’s office calls his “indelible contributions to the Canadian punk music scene, and for his thought-provoking discourse on social, gender and racial inequalities.” Bergmann made his mark on Vancouver’s punk scene in the 1970s and 1980s as a member of multiple bands, including the K-Tels, which was subsequently renamed the Young Canadians. He has since written songs and published albums as a solo artist and won a Juno Award for Best Alternative Album in 1996.Bergman, who now lives with his wife in Rocky View County, Alta., is known for his sharply political, anti-establishment lyrics. He said he wants to divert any publicity generated by his appointment toward pressuring the federal government over its failure to provide adequate housing and clean water to First Nations.


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