Governor General to Honour Remarkable Canadians at Rideau Hall

September 10, 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 Thursday, September 12, 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 Decoration for Bravery, a Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division), a Polar Medal or a 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:

Charles Anido
Rideau Hall Press Office
343-548-1784 (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



Constable Ryan Barnett, S.C.
Newmarket, Ontario
Constable Josh McSweeney, S.C.
Toronto, Ontario

On August 7, 2018, constables Ryan Barnett and Josh McSweeney of the Toronto Police Service rescued two victims from a flooded elevator during a torrential rain storm in Toronto, Ontario. Rising floodwaters had trapped two people in the basement of an apartment building. Arriving on the scene, constables Barnett and McSweeney realized that the only other entry point into the basement was through a half-submerged, locked door. Constable McSweeney retrieved the key from the superintendent and both constables dove into the murky water. Constable Barnett inserted the key in the lock and struggled to force the door open. The constables then swam past debris and electrical wiring, following the victims’ cries to the elevator. Realizing he could not open the doors, Constable McSweeney went back upstairs to retrieve a pry bar from the superintendent. With only minutes to spare before the elevator cabin was completely filled with water, the constables pried open the doors and guided the victims to safety.

Constable Nicholas Crowther, S.C.
Barrhead, Alberta
Corporal David Brosinsky, M.B.
Edmonton, Alberta
Sergeant Jérémie Landry, M.B.
Cold Lake, Alberta
Constable Adam Rayner, M.B.
Edmonton, Alberta

On January 16, 2014, RCMP Corporal David Brosinsky, constables Nicholas Crowther and Adam Rayner, and Sergeant Jérémie Landry rescued a wounded colleague from an armed assailant during a standoff in Vegreville, Alberta. Following a seven-hour manhunt, Sergeant Landry and Constable Rayner arrived on the scene in time to see the suspect flee to his truck to grab his firearm. As they attempted to arrest the man, he ran over another officer before stalling the truck in a snowbank. Just as Corporal Brosinsky and Constable Crowther arrived, the suspect opened fire on the officers. While Corporal Brosinsky and Constable Rayner engaged the shooter, Constable Crowther and Sergeant Landry left their cover and ran to extract the victim from the line of fire. As the barrage intensified, Constable Crowther ran out a second time amid a hail of bullets to grab a backboard for the victim. With the help of the other officers, he dragged the victim away from the dangerous situation, using abandoned vehicles for cover.

The decorations awarded to Sergeant Landry and Constable Rayner will be presented at a later date.


Constable Shaun Nicholas De Grandpré, M.B.
Roblin, Ontario
Constable Ryan Jeffrey Gillis, M.B.
Long Sault, 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 search efforts on the lower-level floors.

The decorations awarded to Constable Gillis and Constable Martell were presented to them at a previous ceremony.


Constable Rafael Beaulieu, M.B.
Saint-Hubert, Quebec

On July 8, 2017, Constable Rafael Beaulieu, of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, rescued a woman from drowning during a flash flood in Montréal, Quebec. The victim’s vehicle had stalled suddenly in the rapidly rising waters, trapping her inside. Constable Beaulieu jumped into the water and smashed out the back window of the car. He managed to pull the panicked victim out as the vehicle became completely submerged. With the assistance of a fellow officer, Constable Beaulieu then brought the victim to safety.

Erik Richard Brown, M.B.
Koh Tao, Surat Thani, Thailand

In July 2018, over the course of three days, Erik Brown repeatedly put his life at risk during a rescue operation involving several international divers in Tham Luang Nang Non cave, in Thailand. Monsoon rains had flooded the cave, trapping a group of children and their soccer coach inside. As part of the rescue team, Mr. Brown laid guide ropes and carried equipment through a long, winding passage studded with jagged rocks and debris. He blindly navigated the three-kilometre route, fighting against rushing currents and low-hanging obstructions, and squeezing through dangerously narrow passages in order to establish and maintain a vital link in a chain of divers that miraculously guided each child to safety.

Marie-Soleil Côté-Lepage, M.B.
Québec, Quebec

On July 11, 2018, Marie-Soleil Côté-Lepage rescued two men from drowning in the Saint-Anne River, in Saint-Raymond, Quebec. While swimming in a deeper part of the river, one of Ms. Côté-Lepage’s friends suddenly began to struggle and sink under the surface. Another man attempted to rescue the victim, but he, too, became overwhelmed. Without hesitation, Ms. Côté-Lepage jumped into the water, grabbed the man and pulled him to shore. She returned to help the first swimmer, who frantically grabbed onto her hair, pulling them both underwater. Ms. Côté-Lepage firmly pulled his hands away and guided him to safety.            

Stayton Danylowich, M.B.
Wynden Danylowich, M.B.

Kelowna, British Columbia

On June 29, 2013, Stayton Danylowich and Wynden Danylowich rescued several individuals who were drowning in the stormy waters of Wood Lake near Kelowna, British Columbia. Hearing shouts from the lake, the two teenagers swam through heavy crests to reach the struggling victims. Working together, they helped a man and two children grab hold of the back of a paddleboat and pulled the sinking vessel to shore. They returned to the water to assist other victims, searching for several hours, until they were ordered out by emergency services. Sadly, one of the victims did not survive.

Constable Kyle Josey, M.B.
Waverly, Nova Scotia

On August 10, 2016, RCMP Constable Kyle Josey was instrumental in putting an end to a terrorist threat in Strathroy, Ontario. Constable Josey and his team were responding to a tip from the FBI concerning a potential terrorist attack. They arrived on the scene and heard the suspect yelling threats from the back of a taxi. Constable Josey ordered his fellow agents back just as the suspect partially detonated a bomb. As the suspect attempted to flee, Constable Josey approached the vehicle and, fearing that the man would detonate a second explosive, he took appropriate action to neutralize the threat.

Rodney Wayne McAlpine, M.B.
Barrie, Ontario

On May 14, 2015, commissionaire Rodney McAlpine intervened during a violent incident at the Keele Community Correctional Centre in Toronto, Ontario. In a sudden, unprovoked attack, an inmate turned on another man, stabbing him over 20 times. Though unarmed, Mr. McAlpine ordered the man to stop and move to the other side of the room. When the assailant obeyed his orders, Mr. McAlpine tended to the victim, while maintaining control of the situation until emergency personnel arrived. 

Michael Tompkins, M.B.
Vancouver, British Columbia

On May 22, 2016, Michael Tompkins rescued a young, intoxicated woman from drowning at Sunset Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia. As he and his friends sat on the beach, he saw the victim struggling to keep her head above the water, 12 metres from shore. Without hesitating, he stripped down, jumped into the water and swam out to her. As the woman lost consciousness, he grabbed her by the waist and pulled her back to shore, where they waited for the paramedics.


Jeremy Bryant, M.S.C.
Edmonton, Alberta
Andrew James Allan Hall, M.S.C.
Vancouver, British Columbia

Cousins Jeremy Bryant and Andrew Hall are the founders of Mealshare, a non-profit organization with an innovative approach to ending youth hunger. Partner restaurants donate one dollar to buy a meal for someone in need each time a customer orders a specially marked menu item. Thanks to the funds raised, young people have been served over three million square meals in schools, soup kitchens and shelters across the country.

Aileen Gleason, M.S.C. (deceased)
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Known to Winnipeggers as “the patron saint of refugees,” Sister Aileen Gleason was the driving force behind the creation of Hospitality House Refugee Ministry. Under her resourceful leadership, the organization grew into one of the country’s leading sponsors of displaced persons, offering a warm welcome and support that have changed the lives of thousands of newcomers to Canada.

The decoration awarded to the late Sister Gleason will be received by her representative, Sister Denise Kuyp.

Sean McCormick, M.S.C.
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Drawing from a childhood steeped in Métis tradition, Sean McCormick founded Manitobah Mukluks to produce and sell traditional crafts made by artisans in his community. Over the past two decades, he has built the proudly Indigenous-owned and operated enterprise into a successful global footwear brand, where a portion of proceeds are directed to organizations dedicated to preserving traditional culture and heritage.


Arlene Lois Kalchman, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario
Virginia Elizabeth Edmonds, M.S.M.
Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia
Bev Woods-Percival, M.S.M. (deceased)
Tiny, Ontario

In 1990, Lois Kalchman, Virginia Edmonds and Bev Woods-Percival helped found the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Fund to promote the prevention of eye, spinal cord and other debilitating injuries in sports and recreational activities. Through the provision of grants, the fund has awarded close to $2 million to worthy projects at both the national and local levels, contributing substantially to sport safety research and public education of sports injuries in Canada.

The decoration awarded to the late Mrs. Woods-Percival will be received by her husband, Mr. Bill Percival.

Margaret Louise Hewlett, M.S.M.
Richmond, British Columbia

Margaret Hewlett is the driving force behind the success of the Richmond Food Bank. Over the course of three decades, she expanded the food bank from a single location to multiple dispensaries across the region to meet the needs of the community. By joining forces with other social assistance organizations, she has strengthened the network of support for vulnerable citizens.

Ronald Oscar Linden, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Ronald Oscar Linden is a pioneer in the treatment of diabetes in Canadians, particularly in the areas of research and hyperbaric medicine. Thanks to his work at the Judy Dan Research and Treatment Centre, the first centre of its kind in Canada, more than 600 people with complications from diabetes have been spared from having to undergo amputation.

Sydney Adam Goldenberg, M.S.M.
Kyle Hill, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario
Mark W. Podlasly, M.S.M.
Vancouver, British Columbia

Sydney Adam Goldenberg, Kyle Hill and Mark Podlasly founded Teach For Canada to recruit teachers for northern First Nations communities and to develop culturally appropriate training programs. In addition, they have coordinated visits to a large number of Ontario’s isolated Indigenous communities for prospective teachers. Careful matching of teachers to vacant positions has resulted in long-term contracts and increased student attendance, engagement and achievement.

The decorations awarded to Mr. Goldenberg and Mr. Hill were presented to them at a previous ceremony.

John Gordon Stewart, M.S.M.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

John Stewart was instrumental in the development of the Northern Studies 10 course. This mandated graduation requirement for students in the Northwest Territories is the first curriculum of its kind to include the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada. To develop the course content, he formed the Northwest Territories Wise People’s Committee, comprised of Elders, residential school survivors, parents, politicians and curriculum writers. Through the program itself, students connect with Elders and community experts to learn about their unique northern identity.

Nathan T. Tidridge, M.S.M.
Waterdown, Ontario

Nathan Tidridge has dedicated himself to promoting the role of the Crown in our country’s history. Through his work, he has taught a new generation of students about Canadian politics, our constitutional monarchy and civics. He has also deepened our understanding of the complex relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Crown, thereby bringing attention to the important issue of reconciliation.

Jennifer Nicole van Wyck, M.S.M.
Vancouver, British Columbia

In response to the Ebola outbreak, Jennifer van Wyck was deployed to Sierra Leone in 2015 to provide psychosocial support and to coordinate logistics for medical relief teams. Helping to rebuild the social infrastructure that was destroyed by the virus, she worked with relief organizations and local leaders to develop funding programs for university students, as well as skills training and business grants for communities. Her unwavering dedication, enthusiasm and compassion were critical to the country’s recovery efforts.

Erik Nelson Vu, M.S.M.
North Vancouver, British Columbia

Dr. Erik Vu was a driving force in establishing the Tactical Emergency Medical Service (TEMS) program for the Vancouver Police Department, the Abbotsford Police Department and the RCMP National Emergency Medical Response Team. Designed to train operators to use life-saving medical care in situations too dangerous for paramedics to attend, the program has increased the safety and survivability of TEMS operators, leading to increased public safety within the community.

Helen Zukerman, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

In 1993, Helen Zukerman created the Toronto Jewish Film Festival to give Toronto moviegoers a variety of films featuring Jewish culture and religion. Now the largest Jewish cultural event in Canada, the festival highlights emerging Jewish actors and filmmakers from around the world and gives them a forum to share their latest artistic creations.


Curtis L. Brown
Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

Curtis Brown has worked in education in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories for more than 30 years. Currently serving as superintendent of the South Slave Divisional Education Council (SSDEC), he strives to improve the state of education in Canada’s northern communities. As an advocate for alternative programming and expanded opportunities for students, he has contributed to above-average student outcomes, notably through the SSDEC’s award-winning Leadership 4 Literacy initiative. Dr. Brown’s efforts have stimulated the revitalization of local Indigenous languages and their use in schools and in the broader community.

Susan Jennifer Chatwood
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Susan Chatwood has devoted her career to improving health services in remote northern communities. She is currently the scientific director of the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research, as well as an associate professor at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health. Through her leadership and research initiatives, she has advanced public health policy to meet the specialized needs of people living in Canada’s North, while ensuring that Indigenous perspectives and traditional approaches are integrated into innovative health care practices.

John P. Smol, O.C.
Kingston, Ontario

Paleolimnologist John Smol is one of the world’s foremost experts on environmental change. A Canada Research Chair and professor of biology and environmental studies at Queen’s University, Dr. Smol has been at the vanguard of scientific discovery related to lake ecosystems for over 30 years. By studying ancient lake deposits, he ascertains how they have historically responded to patterns of global change and human impact. His research, which measures the effect of climatic change in the Canadian North, has led to tangible policy changes and heightened public awareness.


Pauline Banville Pérusse
Saint-Basile, New Brunswick

Pauline Banville Pérusse is well known for her leadership and fundraising skills. She is passionate about the arts, both musical and theatrical, and has been involved in the Société culturelle Saint-Basile for more than 35 years.

Sylvain Bissonnette
Saint-Lambert, Quebec

Sylvain Bissonnette has been volunteering with the Musée de la police de Montréal since 1992, helping to collect, restore, interpret and exhibit the cultural and organizational artifacts that illustrate the history of police services on the Island of Montréal. As a police officer, he has demonstrated leadership and commitment to protecting his fellow citizens, leading him to volunteer with public safety committees for the cities of Côte-Saint-Luc, Hampstead, West Montréal, Lachine and Saint-Lambert.

Niels Bjelbo
Toronto, Ontario

Niels Bjelbo has spent more than 25 years volunteering in federal and provincial prisons and detention centres to help inmates successfully reintegrate into society. As chair of the Citizen Advisory Committee of the Keele Community Correctional Centre in Toronto, he has hosted public information forums to build bridges between the Centre and the greater community.

Elizabeth Gagné
Regina, Saskatchewan

Elizabeth Gagné is committed to honouring the survivors of residential schools and remembering those who lost their lives. She has organized Orange Shirt Day activities at Harvest City Christian Academy and invited residential school survivors to come and speak about their experiences. She also rallied her peers to join her on biannual maintenance and education trips to the Regina Indian Industrial School Cemetery.

Robert Rusen Hall
Toronto, Ontario

Robert Rusen Hall has spent more than 50 years volunteering for numerous charities whose impact has been felt by several generations of Canadians. He was instrumental in founding and supporting the Variety Club in Toronto, and has worked tirelessly on its behalf for nearly four decades. He has also devoted himself to religious and health-related charities, aiming to make the world a healthier and more tolerant place.

Mim Harder
Uxbridge, Ontario

For the past decade, Mim Harder has educated others in her community on the history of Indigenous peoples by facilitating numerous blanket exercises, water walks and engagement sessions. She works with Indigenous partners to address the legacy of residential schools and reconcile relationships, to close gaps and remove barriers, and to support Indigenous culture.

Mohamed Jelassi
Montréal, Quebec

Martial arts athlete and instructor Mohamed Jelassi created the Association de développement des arts martiaux adaptés in 2012 to encourage greater self-confidence among students with special needs. He also trains martial arts instructors on how to adapt their classes to accommodate students on the autism spectrum or people with physical disabilities.

Anne Xuan-Lan Nguyen
Montréal, Quebec

Anne Xuan-Lan Nguyen is an engaged volunteer in her community, notably as an ambassador for #Youth375Mtl and as head of the Communic-Action Committee of the Conseil jeunesse de Montréal. Since 2014, she has been a volunteer camp instructor at Plein Air à Plein Cœur, where she makes underprivileged children feel unique and appreciated.

Mark Simms
Toronto, Ontario and Regina, Saskatchewan

As a volunteer with since 2004, Mark Simms harnesses the power of the internet and video to give voice to marginalized residents. A media spokesperson and community advocate, he has used his skills in public speaking and videography to raise public awareness of the challenges faced by at-risk and marginalized youth.


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 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 Polar Medal
The Polar Medal recognizes those who have contributed to or endeavoured to promote a greater understanding of Canada’s northern communities and their people. It also honours those individuals who have withstood the rigours of the polar climate to make significant contributions to polar exploration and knowledge, scientific research, and the securement of Canada’s northern sovereignty. 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