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Inaugural Presentation Ceremony - Innovation Awards

May 17, 2016

Inaugural Presentation Ceremony of the
Governor General’s Innovation Awards

OTTAWA—His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will preside over the inaugural presentation ceremony of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards on Thursday, May 19, 2016, at 10:30 a.m., at Rideau Hall.

These new awards will be presented to the following six winners to recognize outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations whose exceptional and transformative work help shape our future and positively impact our quality of life. The citations of the recipients are attached.

  • Christi Belcourt - Espanola, Ontario
  • Robert E. Burrell - Edmonton, Alberta
  • Jeff Dahn - Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • J. Breanne Everett - Calgary, Alberta
  • Kinova - Boisbriand, Quebec
  • Mark G. Torchia and Richard Tyc - Winnipeg, Manitoba 

Panel Discussion on Innovation
Later in the afternoon, at 1 p.m., the Governor General will host a panel discussion on innovation.  Moderated by Tim Brodhead, Former President of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Co-Chair of Canadians for a New Partnership, the discussion will focus on the challenges faced by innovators and how to unlock the entrepreneurial potential of Canadians across Canada. 

The panelists on this occasion include Dr. Ted Hewitt, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; Victoria Lennox, Co-Founder and CEO of Startup Canada; Sean Silcoff, business reporter with The Globe and Mail; Tonya Surman, Founding CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation; and Dr. Neil Turok, Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

For more information about the awards, visit


Media wishing to cover the event are asked to confirm their attendance with the
Rideau Hall Press Office, and must arrive at the Princess Anne Entrance no later than 10:15 a.m. for the ceremony and 12:45 p.m. for the panel discussion.

Media information:

Julie Rocheleau
Rideau Hall Press Office

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter



Christi Belcourt
Espanola, Ontario

Christi Belcourt uses cutting-edge applied arts and design and new technologies in an effort to raise awareness and to create momentum toward innovative societal change while respecting traditional protocols and ancestral cultural traditions. Her initiatives relate to a wide range of social issues and she champions forward-looking collaborations that are models of respectful partnerships and principled adaptation of Indigenous cultural influence.

Nominated by the Canada Council for the Arts

Robert E. Burrell
Edmonton, Alberta 

Robert Burrell’s Acticoat is the first burn dressing to simultaneously kill bacteria and decrease inflammation. This revolutionized approach to wound care increases healing rates, reduces the need for skin grafts and cuts down on long-term scar management issues. With his innovation, he has saved thousands of lives and limbs around the world.

Nominated by Universities Canada

Jeff Dahn
Halifax, Nova Scotia 

Jeff Dahn and his dedicated team of researchers have pioneered the method of high-precision coulometry to rank the life span of Li-ion cells in a few weeks of testing. Not only has this development allowed researchers worldwide to speed up the R&D process and create a better and longer-lasting Li-ion cell, but it will also contribute to the switch of our energy sources from fossil fuels to renewable resources.

Nominated by Universities Canada

J. Breanne Everett
Calgary, Alberta 

Breanne Everett co-founded Orpyx Medical Technologies to develop her idea for shoe insoles that prompt patients with diabetic foot conditions to move their feet to improve blood flow. This unique, wearable technology has improved users’ quality of life and reduced health care costs by decreasing the risks of sores, infection and amputation caused by diabetes-related nerve damage and poor circulation.

Nominated by Mitacs 

Boisbriand, Quebec

Co-founded by Charles Deguire, Kinova helps people push beyond their physical limitations and offers a more efficient and safer work environment in industrial settings. Kinova’s sleek, energy-efficient robotic arms are lightweight, quiet, unobtrusive and weather-resistant. Since its launch in 2010, the JACO arm has offered more autonomy, control and range of motion—as well as improved mental well-being—to Canadians with upper-body mobility restrictions.

Nominated by the National Research Council Canada


Mark G. Torchia and Richard Tyc
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Mark Torchia and Richard Tyc are the creators of the NeuroBlate System, a medical device that combines a novel laser probe system with real-time image guidance. Using magnetic resonance imaging and sophisticated software, the tool allows neurosurgeons in Canada and abroad to treat brain tumours and other intracranial targets in a minimally invasive way that also reduces post-operative care and health costs.

Nominated by the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation