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Her Excellency to Present Caring Canadian Award

September 19, 2014

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston to Present Caring Canadian Award to 10 Volunteers

OTTAWA—Her Excellency Sharon Johnston will present the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award to 10 local volunteers today at 6:30 p.m., during a special presentation on the occasion of the LiveWorkPlay organization’s Annual General Meeting, in Ottawa. Mrs. Johnston will also deliver remarks.

About LiveWorkPlay
LiveWorkPlay is an Ottawa-based charitable organization that helps the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work and play as valued citizens. For more information, visit

About the Caring Canadian Award
Created in 1995, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Often working behind the scenes, these individuals volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens. The award also brings to light the example set by volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are a part of our Canadian character. 

Over the last two years, the contributions of more than 485 volunteers from across the country have been recognized with the Caring Canadian Award. Discover these recipients and some of their stories at

The list of recipients and their citations, as well as a fact sheet about the Caring Canadian Award, are attached.


The event is not open to media. However, those wishing to obtain photos of the award recipients for feature stories are invited to contact the Rideau Hall Press Office.


Media information:
Julie Rocheleau
Rideau Hall Press Office

Keenan Wellar

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.




Andrew Bearss
Kars, Ontario

Andrew Bearss has volunteered tirelessly on behalf of LiveWorkPlay as an employer champion, encouraging business owners to hire people with intellectual disabilities. From his efforts alone, numerous individuals with limited prospects for employment are now happily working and contributing to the community.


Jim Carter
Ottawa, Ontario 

Through LiveWorkPlay, Jim Carter has been matched with Chris, a man with an intellectual disability, since 2012. Every week they go running together; whenever there is a race in town, they always take part in the 5k event. They are also volunteers with Meals on Wheels, and deliver hot food to clients around Ottawa. Mr. Carter’s dedication and inclusiveness have been vital to the success of LiveWorkPlay’s programs.


Suhail Choudhary
Ottawa, Ontario

Suhail Choudhary has been a volunteer with LiveWorkPlay since the summer of 2011, when he was matched with Carl, a man with an intellectual disability. He also facilitates Friday night workouts at the YMCA for groups of adults with similar disabilities. Mr. Choudhary and Carl have encouraged people to get to know one another and have created a sense of community through these gatherings. Mr. Choudhary has made a significant impact on both the LiveWorkPlay community and on Ottawa as a whole.


Jennifer Harris
Stittsville, Ontario 

In addition to LiveWorkPlay, Jennifer Harris has worked with such organizations as the Furniture Bank of Ottawa, Heartwood House, the OC Transpo Lost and Found, and the Stittsville Library. She has a great attitude and friendly demeanor that makes her a natural in her volunteer roles.


David Hernandez
Ottawa, Ontario

Since 2012, David Hernandez has led and facilitated Friday night group activities at LiveWorkPlay. It’s not always easy to get everyone in a group chatting and having fun, but Mr. Hernandez’s attentive and caring nature has a way of making people feel welcome and at ease. On a Friday night last fall, his group was discussing the Star Wars exhibit being held at the Canadian Aviation and Space museum. In response, he organized an outing to the exhibit, much to the group’s delight.


Emily Menard
Ottawa, Ontario

Emily Menard primarily works with seniors at Leisureworld and at St. Vincent’s Bruyère Continuing Care centres. She knows how important it is for all citizens to get involved and out and about in their community. Her impact and contributions to both organizations have been substantial.


Lucas Rodgers
Ottawa, Ontario

 Lucas Rodgers has spent most of his life helping to create a better community in Ottawa. Three times a week, he delivers hot meals to seniors throughout the city on behalf of Meals on Wheels. He knows everyone by name, and always greets them with a smile and a positive attitude. He has also volunteered at both Heartwood House and the Ottawa Food Bank.


Kenneth Sparks
Ottawa, Ontario

Kenneth Sparks has been a Rotarian for over 20 years, and has contributed to projects benefiting local and international communities. He has organized a golf tournament to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis Canada and other charities, and invites prospective employers to hire people with disabilities through the Rotary at Work program.


Rachel Wexler
Kanata, Ontario

Rachel Wexler has been a regular volunteer on donation nights at the Dress for Success Boutique. She is part of a team that provides professional attire and career development tools to economically disadvantaged women seeking to re-enter or join the workforce. She strives for success in all that she does, and has developed close bonds with many of the boutique’s other volunteers.


Ellyce Wright
Ottawa, Ontario

Ellyce Wright began volunteering with LiveWorkPlay in 2012, helping out with the Friday night group activities. She served as a gym companion to one of the program’s clients, and developed such a deep friendship with her that she was asked to be a bridesmaid in the woman’s wedding! Ms. Wright brings amazing energy to everything she does and works hard to make those around her smile. She is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all, and has gone well above and beyond anyone’s expectations.


When the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc became governor general of Canada, he was determined to thank the thousands of caring people who give so much to their fellow citizens—the unsung heroes who volunteer their time, their efforts and a great deal of their lives to helping others, and who ask for nothing in return. In 1995, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award was created.

The award recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation. The award also highlights the fine example set by these volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are so much a part of our Canadian character.

Eligibility criteria
The award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. 

Nomination process
Nominations can be made directly through the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. They will be received by the Chancellery of Honours and reviewed by the advisory committee which will make recommendations to the governor general. There is no deadline for submissions. Nominations are accepted throughout the year. 

If you know a friend, neighbour or member of your community who deserves this unique award, please share their stories by completing a nomination form at


Description of the award
The award’s emblem represents Canadians who selflessly give of their time and energy to others. The maple leaf symbolizes the people of Canada and their spirit; the heart depicts the open-heartedness of volunteers; and the outstretched hand portrays boundless generosity. The blue and gold colours, which appear on the viceregal flag, indicate the award’s connection with the governor general.

The Caring Canadian Award consists of a certificate and a lapel pin presented to recipients by the governor general or by lieutenant governors, territorial commissioners, mayors or partner organizations. Where this is impossible or if a recipient requests an early presentation for personal reasons, the award will be sent by mail.