Governor General to Honour Remarkable Canadians at Rideau Hall

March 22, 2019 
UPDATED - March 27, 2019

OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, will present honours to 40 recipients during a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 10:30 a.m.     

Recipients will be recognized for their excellence, courage or exceptional dedication to service with one of the following honours: a Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division), a Decoration for Bravery or the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

A schedule of the ceremony, the recipients’ citations and background information on the types of honours being presented are attached.


Media interested in covering the ceremony are asked to confirm their attendance with the 
Rideau Hall Press Office and to arrive at the Princess Anne Entrance no later than
10:15 a.m. on the day of the ceremony.

Media information:

Sara Régnier-McKellar
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-301-2465 (cell)



10 a.m.:                     Media start to arrive at Rideau Hall

10:30 a.m.:                Ceremony begins

                       The Governor General speaks

                       The Governor General presents the honours

11:45 a.m.:                 Interviews with recipients



Alex Harvey, M.S.C.
Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Quebec

In 2017, Alex Harvey made Canadian cross-country ski history by becoming the first North American to win the Nordic World Ski Championships. A role model for young people, he is actively involved in numerous social and community causes, promoting healthy, active living and encouraging teens to stay in school.

Daniel Y. C. Heng, M.S.C.
Calgary, Alberta

Internationally recognized leader in kidney cancer research Dr. Daniel Heng created the world’s largest kidney cancer patient database. Containing data from over 7 000 patients worldwide, this comprehensive analytical tool allows specialists to better diagnose and treat patients with the disease.

Dawn Madahbee Leach, M.S.C.
Little Current, Ontario

Manager of a regional business development corporation for almost 30 years, Dawn Madahbee Leach has overseen millions of dollars of investments in Indigenous businesses and has helped establish community development projects throughout northern Ontario. A member of numerous boards and national think-tanks, she has had a positive impact on the quality of life and economic well-being of Indigenous peoples within her community and across the country.


Caroline Bouchard, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

In memory of her husband, Caroline Bouchard created the Fondation Jacques-Bouchard to support access to in-home palliative care. Today a model for Quebec government authorities, this initiative has considerably improved the care offered each year to more than 3000 families and provided support to care teams and respite to family members caring for a loved one at the end of their life.

J. Gabriel Bran Lopez, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

In 2009, Gabriel Bran Lopez founded Youth Fusion to reverse dropout rates across Quebec and create closer links between schools and businesses through experiential learning programs. Since its creation, the organization has secured $30 million in donations, allowing its model to be expanded to include 20 000 young people in more than 250 public schools, including youth from Indigenous Cree and Inuit communities in James Bay and Nunavik.

Keighobad Esmaeilpour, M.S.M.
Burnaby, British Columbia

Kei Esmaeilpour founded the Civic Association of Iranian Canadians, a non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting interest in public policy and political issues in Canada within the Iranian community. Through seminars, information sessions and candidate debates at all levels of government, he has fostered greater civic engagement and has inspired many in his community to integrate more meaningfully into their new society.

John Morris Fairbrother, M.S.M.
Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
Éric Nadeau, M.S.M.
Otterburn Park, Quebec

Doctors John Fairbrother and Éric Nadeau developed the first vaccine against post-weaning diarrhea in piglets, a disease that decimates pig stocks worldwide. Distributed internationally for over 10 years, the Coliprotec vaccine enables herds to reach maturity and reduces economic losses for hog producers. In addition, by replacing the use of antibiotics, this Canadian innovation is helping to counter the worrisome effects of antibiotic resistance.

Olivier Farmer, M.S.M.
Ville Mont-Royal, Quebec
Lison Gagné, M.S.M.
Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec

Doctors Olivier Farmer and Lison Gagné are the architects of the Programme réaffiliation itinérance et santé mentale. By offering intensive psychosocial care in addition to medical and psychiatric treatments and follow ups, this initiative is helping the homeless to get off the streets. In partnership with several community organizations, this program has changed the lives of nearly 150 homeless people by giving them stable housing and facilitating their social reintegration.

Israel Idonije, O.M., M.S.M.
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Wanting to give back to the cities he has called home, retired football player Israel Idonije founded the Israel Idonije Foundation, now iF Charities, to help disadvantaged youth in Chicago, Winnipeg and West Africa. Through his personal commitment and philanthropic activities, he has helped iF Charities support over 11 000 individuals to develop important social and emotional life skills.

Meika McDonald, M.S.M.
Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

Meika McDonald competed in 10 Arctic Winter Games (AWG), where she won numerous medals and set records in the Alaskan high kick and the triple jump. Now a member of the AWG International Committee, she continues to promote traditional sports in northern Canada and abroad, inspiring a new generation of athletes and helping to reconnect northern youth to their culture, their elders and their community.

Robb Nash, M.S.M.
Winnipeg, Manitoba                    

Musician Robb Nash shares music and a message of hope with millions of Canadian youth, playing concerts in schools, detention centres and other small venues where he speaks candidly of suicide, depression, bullying, self-harm and addiction. The lives he has touched are evidenced in a tattoo on his arm bearing the names of fans who have handed him discarded suicide notes as a gesture of solidarity, strength and perseverance.

Frances Noronha, O.Ont., M.S.M., M.B.E.
Etobicoke, Ontario

After a 30-year career in Ontario’s civil service, Frances Noronha became an advisor in Iraq, working to instill the core values of impartiality and accountability into the country’s government institutions. Operating as a consultant in a dangerous and factionalized environment, she encouraged collaboration and demonstrated quiet courage, thus gaining the trust of the civil service leadership and imparting Canadian principles of good governance.

Amar (Alex) Sangha, M.S.M.
Delta, British Columbia        

Amar (Alex) Sangha founded Sher Vancouver, a cultural and support group for LGBTQ+ South Asians, their friends and their families. With patience and compassion, he has built bridges in his community and changed social attitudes toward all types of lifestyles. His courage to speak out in the face of prejudice and resistance paved the way for countless others to step forward and began a cross-cultural dialogue on understanding diversity.


Michael Douglas Barkhouse, M.B.
Bramber, Nova Scotia

On June 17, 2017, Michael Barkhouse rescued a woman who was being attacked by a dog in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Mr. Barkhouse heard the victim screaming for help and immediately entered the outdoor kennel to aid the severely mauled woman. He physically separated the 75-pound dog from the victim and stood between them as the animal circled them aggressively. Moments later, the dog retreated and Mr. Barkhouse brought the victim to safety.

Constable Trevor Joseph Bragnalo, M.B.
Stonewall, Manitoba
Constable Steven Ashley Thompson, M.B.
Winnipeg, Manitoba

On February 25, 2017, constables Trevor Bragnalo and Ashley Thompson rescued several people from a burning condominium in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Entering the building through the rear fire escape, Constable Thompson guided four people trapped on the second floor to safety by breaking down one of the rear doors. He then ran to the third floor, where he rescued a sleeping man by pulling him to safety through a window. Meanwhile, Constable Bragnalo found two people trapped in a third-floor suite whose window was covered by a locked metal security screen. Kicking the screen open, Constable Bragnalo pulled the two tenants out through the window. As the intensity of the fire grew, both constables did a final sweep of the building, removing one last resident from the second floor. 

Constable in Training Charlène Desrosiers, M.B.
Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Quebec
Constable in Training Gabriel Roy-Lacouture, M.B.
Longueuil, Quebec

On August 9, 2015, constables in training Charlène Desrosiers and Gabriel Roy-Lacouture attempted to rescue two people from drowning near the Dorwin Falls, in Rawdon, Quebec. Arriving on the scene, CIT Roy-Lacouture jumped into the water and swam 15 metres to rescue a distressed child, returning him to shore and handing him off to CIT Desrosiers. Noticing another victim in the water, CIT Roy-Lacouture swam out again to retrieve the boy’s father. Exhausted, he called for help and CIT Desrosiers jumped in to help bring the unconscious man back to shore. Tragically, the father did not survive.

Raymond Doucette, M.B.
Saint-Louis-de-Kent, New Brunswick

On February 5, 2016, Raymond Doucette rescued two people who had fallen from his all-terrain vehicle into the Tracadie River, near Tracadie-Sheila, New Brunswick. The ATV had veered off a path during a snowstorm and fallen through the thin ice. Mr. Doucette, who had jumped off of the ATV, immediately dove into the freezing water to save the two victims. Holding on to the edge of the ice to avoid being swept away, he grasped the female victim’s jacket, pulling her to the surface as the second victim clung to the other side of the hole. Nearly succumbing to the cold, they were then rescued by several bystanders on scene. 

Constable Shaun Nicholas De Grandpré, M.B.
Cornwall, Ontario
Constable Ryan Jeffrey Gillis, M.B.
Greely, Ontario
Constable Bryan David Martell, M.B.
Fall River, Nova Scotia

On June 14, 2015, RCMP constables Shaun De Grandpré, Ryan Gillis and Bryan Martell rescued several people from a burning apartment building in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Constables Gillis and Martell entered the third-floor apartment to look for victims, but had to retreat due to the intense heat and a smoke backdraft. They were met by Constable De Grandpré and proceeded to search and evacuate other units on that floor. Constable Martell had to forcibly evacuate a man who refused to leave his apartment. Constables Gillis and De Grandpré located a woman inside another unit—who also refused to evacuate—and brought her to safety. All three officers then continued their efforts on the lower-level floors.

The decoration awarded to Constable Martell was presented to him at a previous ceremony. The decoration awarded to Constable De Grandpré will be presented at a later date.

Cameron Robert Gouck, M.B.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Keegan Herries, M.B.
Welland, Ontario

On July 2, 2017, Cameron Gouck and 10-year-old Keegan Herries saved the life of a man who was drowning in the Welland River, in Chippawa, Ontario. The pair were standing on a dock when they heard cries for help. Mr. Herries immediately jumped into the fast-moving water and swam out to the man, nine metres from the dock. The panicked victim grabbed hold of Mr. Herries, pulling both of them under. Mr. Gouck quickly jumped into the water and persuaded the victim to release the boy and grab onto him instead. They then worked together to bring the distraught man back towards the dock.

Hayley Hesseln, M.B.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

On February 4, 2018, Hayley Hesseln rescued a woman who had fallen through the frozen South Saskatchewan River, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ms. Hesseln heard screams coming from the river and saw the victim clinging to an ice shelf, six metres from shore. Grabbing two five-foot-long fallen branches, Ms. Hesseln lay flat on her stomach and dragged herself across the ice, using the branches to pull the victim out of the water. Once safely returned to shore, she covered the victim in her winter coat and ran to a nearby road to get assistance from passing drivers.

Rémi Lesage, M.B.
David Pronovost, M.B.
Portneuf, Quebec

On November 26, 2016, Rémi Lesage and David Pronovost saved a friend who had fallen into the freezing waters of Lac William, near Saint-Raymond, Quebec. Despite the frigid temperature, Mr. Lesage went into the waist-deep water to pull the victim carefully to shore, but the weight of their soaked clothes and his friend’s injuries prevented him from getting the victim to dry land until Mr. Pronovost located them a half-hour later. Once they reached the shore, Mr. Lesage left to find help but soon collapsed from the effects of hypothermia. Mr. Pronovost remained with the victim, keeping him warm for two hours until emergency services reached their remote location.

The decoration awarded to Mr. Pronovost will be presented at a later date.

Andrew Cartwright, M.B.
Banff, Alberta
Hussam Mohamed Meshmesha, M.B. (posthumous)
Calgary, Alberta
Mohamed Rashed Shaban, M.B.
Toronto, Ontario

On April 8, 2006, 36-year-old Hussam Meshmesha lost his life while saving his son from drowning in the Bow River, in Alberta. The child had wandered onto the thin ice when it suddenly gave way.
Mr. Meshmesha and his friend, Mohamed Shaban, ran to the boy, but they too fell through the ice. The father reached for his son and handed him over to Mr. Shaban, who had managed to get himself out of the water. Witness to the scene, Mr. Cartwright ran to assist Mr. Meshmesha, but as he lay outstretched on the thin surface, he too fell through. Although both men were quickly pulled out of the water with the help of onlookers, Mr. Meshmesha could not be revived.

The decoration awarded to the late Mr. Meshmesha will be received by his son, Yousef Meshmesha.

The decorations awarded to Mr. Cartwright and Mr. Shaban were presented to them at a previous ceremony.

Barry Parks, M.B. (deceased)
Almonte, Ontario

On October 5, 2013, Barry Parks rescued three individuals from a burning car near Almonte, Ontario.
Mr. Parks approached the car where it was stuck in the ditch and attempted in vain to open the driver’s side door. He then went to the other side and moved the seat to allow the trapped passenger in the back seat to exit. He then pulled the second passenger out of the car. Finally, as the interior of the car became fully engulfed in flames, Mr. Parks leaned over and pulled the driver out, dragging her to safety.

The decoration awarded to the late Mr. Parks will be received by his wife, Patricia Paynter Parks.

Chelsi Sabbe, M.B.
Prince George, British Columbia

On August 15, 2017, Chelsi Sabbe intervened during an attempted kidnapping in Prince George, British Columbia. Ms. Sabbe was at a nearby park with her daycare charges when she noticed a man approaching two of the children in the playground. The suspect snatched one of the children and attempted to flee, whereupon Ms. Sabbe tackled him to the ground. Grabbing the child, she ran back to the park, ordering the other children to climb to the top of the play structure. The suspect returned and Ms. Sabbe wrestled him to the ground and put him in a choke hold, while the children ran to a neighbour’s house for safety. The suspect fled but was later apprehended by police. 


Taras Bahriy
Toronto, Ontario

Taras Bahriy has dedicated more than 18 years to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, where he has been instrumental in organizing and participating in events and activities at the provincial and national levels. He also sits on the board of directors of the International Ivan Franko Fund.

Jasdeep Singh Bajwa
Kanata, Ontario

For more than 15 years, Jasdeep Bajwa has been involved in the Ottawa Sikh Society as a fundraiser, board member and organizer. He has become a role model for youth and is considered an exceptional leader in his community.

Rene James Camsell
Behchoko, Northwest Territories

Rene Camsell is the captain of the search and rescue team often called upon by the RCMP Behchoko Detachment when there is a missing person, stranded traveller or overdue hunter. He is also the volunteer fire chief and has been active in the community for over 30 years.

Heather Culbert
Calgary, Alberta

Heather Culbert has spent more than a decade using her organizational expertise and leadership skills to strengthen her community and her province. The United Way, the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology are just a few of the charitable groups that have benefited from her involvement.

Ginette Francine Dallaire
Hearst, Ontario

Ginette Dallaire has been a volunteer in her community for over 25 years. She has spearheaded various fundraising activities related to health and to arts and culture, notably the Conseil des Arts de Hearst and the Hôpital Notre-Dame Hospital Foundation.

Doreen L. Field
Ramara, Ontario

Doreen Field started volunteering in the 1940s when she picked milkweed pods for use in soldiers’ life preservers during the Second World War. Since then, she has dedicated her time to numerous organizations, including the Mansfield Ski Club, Helping Hands Orillia and the Orillia Ukulele Group.

Amanda Fritz
Montréal, Quebec

Through her work with the McCord Museum and the Montreal Children’s Library, Amanda Fritz has made it possible for kids in underserved areas to access the museum and library programs for free. In addition, as a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, she has encouraged individuals and corporations to practice ethical fundraising.

Joseph Goudie
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

For more than 40 years, Joe Goudie has worked to preserve local heritage and to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, notably as the founder of the Labrador Heritage Society and as the former president of the Labrador Métis Association.

Peter Leslie Marshall Hotston
Squamish, British Columbia

For nearly 15 years, Peter Hotston managed the Squamish Triathlon in support of the Bob Macintosh Memorial Scholarship Foundation. With his steady leadership, the Squamish triathlon was recognized by Tri-BC and the broader triathlon community as one of the best triathlons in British Columbia.

Armel Lanteigne
Bas-Caraquet, New Brunswick

Since his retirement in 2003 from the Canadian Armed Forces, Armel Lanteigne has donated his time to his community through the New Brunswick Crime Stoppers and the Royal Canadian Legion. In addition, he led the construction of six monuments in his region dedicated to men and women who have died in combat, and he sits on a committee overseeing the restoration of the Bas-Caraquet church.

Eleanor Sabourin
Gatineau, Quebec

Eleanor Sabourin is an engaged volunteer in her community and has given of her time to the Ottawa Food Bank, the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement, and the Algonquin College volunteer centre. She learned Spanish and served as a translator in Honduras at a medical and dental clinic, and taught English in the Dominican Republic and in Fiji.


About the Meritorious Service Decorations

The Meritorious Service Decorations celebrate Canadians who have performed an exceptional deed or activity that brings honour to Canada. The decorations are separated into military and civil divisions, with two levels each: a cross and a medal.

The Civil Division recognizes remarkable contributions in many different fields of endeavour, from advocacy initiatives and health care services, to research and humanitarian efforts. The contributions can be innovative, set an example for others to follow, or improve the quality of life of a community. For more information or to nominate a deserving Canadian, visit

About the Decorations for Bravery

Created in 1972, Decorations for Bravery recognize people who risk their lives and choose to defy their own instinct of survival to try to save a loved one or a perfect stranger whose life is in immediate danger. The three levels of the Decorations for Bravery reflect the degree to which the recipients put themselves at risk: the Cross of Valour recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril; the Star of Courage recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril; and the Medal of Bravery recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances. For more information or to nominate a deserving Canadian, visit

About the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the remarkable volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. As an official Canadian honour, the Medal pays tribute to the dedication and exemplary commitment of volunteers. For more information or to nominate a deserving volunteer, visit