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Frances Oldham Kelsey Invested into the Order of Canada

August 6, 2015

Frances Oldham Kelsey Invested into the Order of Canada

OTTAWA—Today, on behalf of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, presented the insignia of Member of the Order of Canada to Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey. The private ceremony took place in London, Ontario. Dr. Kelsey was appointed on May 7, 2015. 

Frances Oldham Kelsey, C.M.
London, Ontario
Member of the Order of Canada

Throughout her career, Frances Kelsey helped to improve pharmaceutical oversight procedures in the United States. As a pharmacologist at the Food and Drug Administration in the 1960s, she was tasked with reviewing the drug thalidomide, which was already in use around the world to alleviate morning sickness in pregnant women. Despite pressure to approve the drug for the American market, she refused, citing safety concerns. As a result, thousands of children were saved from serious birth defects and new standards were created to prevent future tragedies. Over the next four decades, she remained an instrumental figure in shaping and enforcing drug licencing protocols.

For more information about the Order of Canada, visit our website at  


Media information:

Marie-Pierre Bélanger
Rideau Hall Press Office

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