The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Presentation of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards

Rideau Hall, Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I acknowledge that we are gathering today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples.

Welcome, all of you, to Rideau Hall, for the second annual presentation of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards.

And congratulations to our laureates, who are so deserving of our recognition.

As a lifelong reader and writer, I have always loved playing with words. So let me begin with a word that rhymes with innovation.

That word is inspiration.



They even rhyme in both official languages!

Not only do they rhyme, the processes they refer to are also closely linked.

Inspiration comes from the Latin inspirare, meaning ‘to breathe into,’ referring to a truth or idea imparted by a divine being. 

Something of that original meaning survives when we speak of the spark of creativity at the heart of innovation—a word which comes from the Latin innovare, ‘to renew or alter’.

Truly, we are inspired by the remarkable innovations that we celebrate today.

They have breathed new life and ideas into our communities, our country and our world.

Tonight, we celebrate significant innovations related to biotechnology;

Indigenous languages;

Medical manufacturing;



Your work is exceptional;



That’s why we recognize you with these prestigious awards.

The range of your innovations is broad, which is appropriate because our definition of innovation is likewise broad and inclusive.

But your efforts have something important in common: the desire to help others and to improve the way we do things.

Your innovations are both inspired and inspiring, and I’m delighted to celebrate them.

I’m also very pleased to see how these awards are strengthening Canada’s innovation culture. In just two years, we have accumulated close to 50 nominating partners from across the country!

I thank all of them for their support and for nominating many great Canadian innovations leading to the selection of such a deserving group of recipients.

I also thank the Canada Foundation for Innovation for managing a thorough adjudication process, as well as the Rideau Hall Foundation, which is helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of these awards.

And let me thank all those involved in educating Canadians on the impact of innovation on our lives.

Together, you form a broad network that’s dedicated to fostering an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit in Canada.

So often, innovation results from teamwork and collaboration. That’s why we want to create a culture that celebrates creativity and problem-solving.

As some of Canada’s top innovators, this year’s laureates also have an important role to play in building our innovation ecosystem.

You can help us to communicate the power of innovation. You can help us to define it and to describe the alchemy by which it happens.

And, importantly, you can tell the story of innovation’s power to improve our lives and communities, our country and world.

It’s the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and you have all given very apt gifts to Canada.

After all, what is this country if not an evolving social innovation, one that is constantly being tested and refined against reality?

We need our innovators to apply their creativity to the challenges we face as a country. In this time of complex, rapid change, we need you to help us seize opportunities.

I offer my congratulations to each of our recipients on this well-deserved honour.

And I thank you all for answering the call.