Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) – December 07, 2023

Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division)

Ian M. F. Arnold, M.S.C.
Ottawa, Ontario

Ian Arnold, an occupational medicine physician, led the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Workforce Advisory Committee in establishing a National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The first standard of its kind in the world, it underscores the importance of mental health on the job and provides direction to help realize the tangible benefits of a psychologically healthy and safe work environment for both employers and employees.

Kathryn Marie Blain, M.S.C.
Waterloo, Ontario

Kathryn Blain founded the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada to provide information and support to patients and families affected by this disease. The grassroots group has since grown into a national organization that funds research, advocates for preventative vaccination programs, and serves as a focus for donations. Under her leadership, the foundation has been a key player in promoting awareness and prevention of meningitis both in Canada and worldwide.

Sandy Boutin, M.S.C.
Montréal, Quebec

Founder of the Festival de musique émergente en l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Sandy Boutin has made this annual event a showcase for artists and a gold standard for the distribution of emerging music in Quebec. A major economic driver for the Rouyn-Noranda area for more than 15 years, the Festival has launched the careers of several well-known artists while helping to promote French-language culture throughout the Francophonie.

Franca Damiani Carella, M.S.C. (posthumous)
Woodbridge, Ontario

Franca Damiani Carella founded The Vitanova Foundation, a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation of those struggling with substance abuse. As its executive director, she developed a unique treatment program, expanded the range of services offered and organized annual fundraising events in the community. Vitanova has since treated more than 17 000 clients and family members at no charge, and it remains the only in-patient program in the York region for men with addictions.

David Carl Hein, M.S.C.
Irene Sankoff, M.S.C.

New York, New York, United States of America
Michael Rubinoff, M.S.C.
Toronto, Ontario

David Hein and Irene Sankoff are the creators of Come From Away, the wildly successful Broadway musical based on the story of airline passengers who were stranded in Gander following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Michael Rubinoff, artistic director and founder of the Canadian Music Theatre Project at Sheridan College, is one of the producers. He proposed the concept of a musical based on those events, which was then brilliantly written by Mr. Hein and Ms. Sankoff. The production has shone a light on the Newfoundlanders’ hospitality, and has shared with the world a little-known tale of kindness and generosity in the face of overwhelming tragedy.

Harry Ing, M.S.C.
Deep River, Ontario

Physicist Harry Ing, an internationally renowned pioneer in the field of nuclear radiation detection, founded Bubble Technology Industries in 1988, to market his “bubble detector,” an instrument used in space to measure astronauts’ exposure to radiation. Rooted in a close-knit rural community, his company conducts world-class research, produces innovative technology to identify radiation hazards in counterterrorism operations, and has helped garner Canada a reputation as a global leader in neutron detection in space.

Losang Chodon Rabgey, M.S.C.
Tashi Yangzom Rabgey, M.S.C.
Washington, D.C., United States of America
Pencho Rabgey, M.S.C.
Tsering Dolker Rabgey, M.S.C.

Lindsay, Ontario

Pencho and Tsering Rabgey, and their daughters Losang and Tashi, created Machik, a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities, health care, safe drinking water and an adequate food supply to the people of Chungba, Tibet. Starting with seed money from the couple’s retirement fund, this dedicated family inspired an outpouring of generosity from their home community of Lindsay and the Tibetan diaspora in North America. Their efforts have raised the standard of living and a community’s hopes halfway around the world.

Sam J. Tsemberis, M.S.C.
Montclair, New Jersey, United States of America

Canadian Sam Tsemberis founded Pathways to Housing in New York in 1992, and pioneered its Housing First strategy for tackling chronic homelessness. Based on the notion that people cope better with mental health challenges, substance use disorders and other problems if they are first given permanent housing, his approach has been implemented in over 300 cities worldwide and given thousands the dignity of a place to call home.

Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division)

Mustafa Alio, M.S.M.
Bassel Ramli, M.S.M.
Omar Salaymeh, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Mustafa Alio, Bassel Ramli and Omar Salaymeh started Jumpstart Refugee Talent, a refugee-led non-profit organization that connects refugees in the Greater Toronto Area with meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. By establishing early, culturally competent relationships with refugees, and by serving as a liaison with potential employers and investors, the group has grown to support many newcomers across Canada as they become contributing citizens and rebuild their lives.

The Meritorious Service Medal awarded to Bassel Ramli and Omar Salaymeh will be presented to them at a later date.

Pierre Allard, M.S.M. (posthumous)
Annie Roy, M.S.M.

Montréal, Quebec

Annie Roy and Pierre Allard were the driving forces behind the creation of the cultural organization ATSA, Quand l’art passe à l’action. Using art as a tool for interaction and popular education, they have created a space for connection and discussion. Through ATSA, they have initiated thought-provoking exchanges on such themes as exclusion and social inequalities, as well as on important environmental and heritage issues. Since the death of her spouse, Pierre Allard, Annie Roy has continued with ATSA’s work.

Chief Roger J. Augustine, M.S.M.
Eel Ground First Nation, New Brunswick

Former chief Roger Augustine showed strong visionary leadership in working to reduce drug and alcohol addiction in his community. He was the driving force in the founding of the Rising Sun Treatment Centre, and is known as a leader who has made enormous strides in dealing with addiction by introducing a new curriculum for the Eel Ground Federal School and by his tenure as past chair of the National Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board.

Yahya Badran, M.S.M.
Terrebonne, Quebec

Mohamed Hage, M.S.M.
Lauren Elizabeth Rathmell, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

Kurt D. Lynn, M.S.M. (posthumous)
Gores Landing, Ontario

Yahya Badran, Mohamed Hage, Kurt Lynn and Lauren Rathmell created the innovative agriculture business Lufa Farms. Since launching the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse, the enterprise has expanded to include four greenhouses serving more than 20 000 clients a week. Customizable produce baskets can be ordered, assembled and delivered through the Farms’ unique online ordering platform and logistics software. Lufa Farms benefits the local economy, helps to reduce the city’s urban heat island effect, and improves food security for Montréal residents by enhancing their access to fresh, local food.

The Meritorious Service Medals awarded to Mohamed Hage and Lauren Elizabeth Rathmell were presented to them at a previous ceremony. The Meritorious Service Medal awarded to the late Kurt D. Lynn will be presented to his family at a later date.

Carolyn Elsie Louise Bateman, O.P.E.I., M.S.M.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Joan Elaine Hoffman te Raa, M.S.M. (posthumous)
York, Prince Edward Island

Carolyn Bateman and the late Joan Hoffman te Raa were trailblazers in supporting and advocating for individuals with autism in P.E.I. The two women established the Autism Society of Prince Edward Island for school-age children and their families; a few years later, they launched the Stars for Life Foundation for Autism to aid in the transition to adulthood and independent living. The network of support they created continues to enhance local services for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Betty Begg-Brooks, M.S.M.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Betty Begg-Brooks is the founder of Gifts from the Heart, a P.E.I. charity that collects food, clothing and household items to re-distribute to people in need. From its beginnings in her own home, the organization has expanded to a commercial location with a free delivery service. Her non-judgmental approach to giving people a leg up in tough times has made her ever-growing endeavour a cherished and indispensable part of her community.

Élise Benoît, M.S.M.
Maryse Bouvette, M.S.M.

Isabelle Delisle, M.S.M. (posthumous)
Suzanne Fitzback, M.S.M.
Robert Gendron, M.S.M.
Gatineau, Quebec

Élise Benoît, Maryse Bouvette, Isabelle Delisle, Suzanne Fitzback and Robert Gendron were instrumental in the creation of La maison Mathieu-Froment-Savoie, a vital link in palliative care in the Outaouais. The first of its kind in the region, this institution supports people at the end of life and their families so that they can live their final moments as peacefully as possible with respect, dignity and compassion.

The Meritorious Service Medal awarded to the late Isabelle Delisle will be presented to her family at a later date. The Meritorious Service Medal awarded to Robert Gendron was presented to him at a previous ceremony.

Yves Ernest Berthiaume, M.S.M.
Hawkesbury, Ontario

With a strong commitment to growing Optimist International in Canada and abroad, Yves Berthiaume[BH2]  has demonstrated outstanding leadership as the organization’s governor and international president. Hoping to give young people a bright future, he has been instrumental in the education and development of thousands of youths while encouraging them to challenge themselves and be the best they can be.

Dana Bookman, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Canadian Girls Baseball founder Dana Bookman started the league when her young daughter wanted to play baseball, instead of softball, with other girls. After exponential growth, the program has hundreds of participants each year, and provides many coaching and umpire opportunities for women. A source of encouragement and advice for female leagues in other regions, she has been a driving force in the expansion of women’s and girls’ baseball in Canada.

Clarence Bourgoin, M.S.M.
Saint-Léonard, New Brunswick

Creator of the Rendez-vous des artistes symposium, painter Clarence Bourgoin has played a leading role in supporting the painting and sculpting arts in Canada’s Atlantic provinces. A major economic driver for the small community of Saint-Léonard, New Brunswick, this symposium raises the profile of local artists while introducing art and culture to young people in the area.

Deborrah Sharon Bradwell, M.S.M.       
Kenneth Bradwell, M.S.M. (posthumous)

Burlington, Ontario

Ken and Sharon Bradwell established the Sîan Bradwell Foundation after losing their 17-month-old daughter to a rare form of cancer. Through several annual sports tournaments, the foundation has raised more than $1.8 million towards an endowment fund at three hospitals and the purchase of medical equipment essential for diagnosing, treating and studying pediatric cancer.

Gregory Robert Medlock Brown, M.S.M.
Mitchell Ryan Moffit, M.S.M.

Toronto, Ontario

Biologists and ambassadors for learning, Gregory Brown and Mitchell Moffit are the creators of AsapSCIENCE, a YouTube channel that harnesses the power of social media to educate the Internet generation about science topics. They use clear explanations, solid facts and humour to elucidate questions generated by a viewership from around the world, informing and entertaining through short videos that have been viewed almost a billion times.

Michael Andrew Burns, M.S.C., M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

As the chief executive officer of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, Michael Burns spearheaded a team that delivered a world-class adaptive sporting competition for ill, injured and wounded service members and veterans. The Games were a great success and helped to increase Canadians’ awareness of and appreciation for the sacrifices made by our military personnel. For the athletes and their families, the experience lent meaningful support on their road to recovery.

Didier Calvet, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

Didier Calvet founded the Association pour la création littéraire chez les jeunes with a mission to disseminate children’s and young adult literature across the international Francophonie. Through an Internet platform offering opportunities for intercultural and intergenerational exchanges, he has highlighted the literary creations of thousands of youths. In so doing, he has helped to reduce school dropout rates, combat illiteracy and celebrate the richness of the French language.

Claude Caron, M.S.M.
Longueuil, Quebec

Claude Caron founded L’Antre-temps Longueuil, a medium-term and emergency shelter offering room and board to homeless youth, and helped to create a provincial shelter network. His efforts to combat exclusion among youth have made him an agent of change and a model of solidarity and generosity toward the most vulnerable members of society.

Roland Case, M.S.M.
Vancouver, British Columbia

Roland Case, one of the founders of The Critical Thinking Consortium, has been instrumental in promoting critical thinking as an essential part of education. Under his leadership, the non-profit organization published award-winning resources, developed methodologies, and worked with educators across Canada and around the world to inspire and engage learners of all ages. His advancement of an increasingly important skill is encouraging young Canadians to grow into thoughtful, socially responsible citizens.

Stephanie Case, M.S.M.
Chamonix, France

Stephanie Case founded Free to Run, a non-profit organization that provides women and girls in areas of conflict with access to outdoor adventure sports and life skills training. The programs foster their development as community leaders who reach across cultural, religious and ethnic divides in order to change attitudes about their roles in society. Currently operating in Afghanistan and Iraq, the program encourages female participants to safely and boldly reclaim public space.

April Billard, M.S.M.
Joan Bell Chaisson, M.S.M.
Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador

April Billard and Joan Chaisson started Autism Involves Me (AIM), a local support group and resource centre for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). By engaging local businesses and service providers, the pair has helped members of this marginalized population integrate more fully into the community. AIM also offers education and practical assistance, which have changed public misconceptions and attitudes towards ASD.

The Meritorious Service Medal awarded to April Billard was presented to her at a previous ceremony.

Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, O.N.B., M.S.M.
Igor Dobrovolskiy, M.S.M.

Moncton, New Brunswick

Founders of Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada, Susan Chalmers-Gauvin and Igor Dobrovolskiy have helped to foster the development and innovation of ballet in Atlantic Canada, in addition to supporting emerging talent. The company has raised the profile of Canadian ballet abroad, while here at home, its stage performances have been created to initiate broad community dialogue on such issues as violence against women, diversity and social inclusion.

Jocelyn Dianne Cousineau, M.S.M.
Captain Médric Léo Robert Cousineau, S.C., M.S.M., C.D. (Ret’d)

Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

Jocelyn and Médric Cousineau founded Paws Fur Thought to pair service dogs with veterans and first responders affected by operational stress injuries. After a wonderful dog named Thai came into Médric’s life to help him cope with PTSD symptoms, the couple wanted to give the same opportunity to others. Their organization has raised funds to train and deploy 100 dogs so far, and continues to advocate for service dog standards and for people dealing with operational stress injuries.

Marilyn L. Dyck, M.S.M.
Calgary, Alberta

Marilyn Dyck co-founded The Doorway, a centre that, for more than 30 years, has helped Calgary street youth rejoin society and make lasting, positive changes in their lives. Using the My Plan method, youth control their level of engagement and define their own benchmarks for success by employing the key principles of self-determination, legal income, self-accountability and community involvement, making The Doorway unique from other social assistance programs.

Corey Fleischer, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

Corey Fleischer is the driving force behind the #Erasinghate initiative, a citizen movement that has led to the removal of thousands of hate graffiti tags worldwide. He is an inspiration to his thousands of social media followers, many of whom volunteer to remove such graffiti. He shares with them his vision for a better society, free of discrimination, where accepting others is essential.

Alexis Kearney Hillyard, M.S.M.
Edmonton, Alberta

Alexis Hillyard is a champion for body diversity and the inclusion of people with limb differences. She created Stump Kitchen, a YouTube series that celebrates healthy cooking, positive body image and the many ways in which a stump serves as a useful culinary tool. Her work has increased the media representation of non-normative bodies and is helping to change the popular narrative surrounding people with physical disabilities.

Mike David Hirschbach, M.S.M.
Halifax, Nova Scotia

In 2005, Mike Hirschbach started the Circus Circle outreach program, a safe space for youth affected by homelessness, street life, addiction and mental illness. Unique to Atlantic Canada, it allows participants to experience positive and creative recreation, learn new skills and build self-confidence, all while establishing meaningful connections and increasing resilience.

Gerard Barry Losier, O.N.B., M.S.M.
Miramichi, New Brunswick

Physician and philanthropist Gerard Losier is a champion of health care in his community. With the number of seniors in the region on the rise, he has highlighted the need for better services for the elderly and those with life-ending illnesses. His advocacy and generous financial donations have laid the groundwork for much-needed local resources, including a geriatric clinic, a nursing home and a hospice centre.

Taylor MacGillivary, M.S.M.
Jeremie Saunders, M.S.M.
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Brian Matthew Stever, M.S.M.
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Taylor MacGillivary, Jeremie Saunders and Brian Stever are the creators of the podcast Sickboy. Originating with a no-holds-barred conversation about Jeremie’s life with cystic fibrosis, it evolved into a frank discussion on living with any chronic or life-ending illness. Sometimes humorous, sometimes irreverent, always open and honest, the trio has helped to destigmatize being sick while creating an online community of mutual support among its international followers.

Robin Mednick, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Robin Mednick founded Pencils for Kids (P4K) to provide basic supplies for students in rural Niger, where an entire class might share a single pencil. Over the past decade, P4K has gone on to build three schools, fund scholarships for girls, develop sustainable farming programs and offer micro-loans for starting small businesses. Garnering attention from governments and world bodies, the organization has brought the region’s desperate needs to centre stage.

Glori Meldrum, M.S.M.
Edmonton, Alberta

A survivor herself, Glori Meldrum founded Little Warriors, a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness, preventing and treating the effects of child sexual abuse. Through resources, seminars and the Be Brave Ranch, she has helped reduce the stigma surrounding victims of sexual abuse, and has supported them and their families on their paths to healing.

Timea Eva Nagy-Payne, M.S.M.
Cambridge, Ontario

Timea Nagy has worked diligently to sound the alarm over the shockingly high rates of human trafficking in Canada. By helping individual survivors, offering insight to enforcement professionals and lobbying Parliament for criminal code changes, she has helped to expose some of the shadowy organizations that perpetrate this crime and has given a voice to its victims.

Morgane Louise-Marie Oger, M.S.M.
Vancouver, British Columbia

Morgane Oger is a champion of diversity who has changed perceptions around 2SLGBTQI+ rights and has worked tirelessly to see those rights enshrined in law. She forged alliances across party lines that propelled changes to provincial and federal legislation protecting individuals against discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Her courage, vision and perseverance have helped redefine the fundamental issue of equality and have advanced inclusiveness for gender-diverse Canadians.

Dean Otto, M.S.M.
Jeanine Otto, M.S.M.

Nepean, Ontario

Dean and Jeanine Otto founded Maddy’s Gala after losing their five-year-old daughter to an inoperable brain tumour. Benefiting Roger Neilson House, a pediatric residential hospice on the grounds of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Maddy’s Gala has raised just under $1 million[BH3]  since its creation, and serves as an inspiration to and source of support for families suffering loss.

Catherine Ross, M.S.M.
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Cat Ross founded KIDS Initiative, a charity that provides humanitarian assistance and facilitates sustainable endeavours to enrich the lives of children in developing communities. Through income-generating businesses, food security projects, HIV/AIDS resource centres and clean water access, KIDS Initiative has motivated Canadians to become more aware of global poverty.

Jane Adele Roy, M.S.M.
Bedford, Nova Scotia

Jane Roy founded Catapult Leadership Society for Nova Scotian teens with natural abilities but limited opportunities. Each year, 50 students embark on a transformational journey of self-discovery and confidence-building at a camp that helps them improve their teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. Over the last decade, the program, coupled with school-year support for alumni, has shown high schoolers their great potential and inspired an enthusiastic group of future leaders.

Ariel Shlien, M.S.M.
Ron Shlien, M.S.M.

Montréal, Quebec

Brothers Ariel and Ron Shlien, founders of Mad Science, have introduced millions of children to the wonders of science through fun, interactive learning experiences. Pioneers in the “edu-tainment” industry, they now have 150 franchised locations in two dozen countries that provide career-oriented employment for young adults. Their workshops, camps, after-school programs and events have sparked curiosity in young minds and have been inspiring budding scientists for more than three decades.

Harnarayan Singh, M.S.M.
Calgary, Alberta

In 2008, Harnarayan Singh made Canadian history by becoming the first Punjabi-speaking commentator to call the play-by-play on Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition. He has since appeared on six English-language NHL broadcasts, working as a host in English and doing play-by-play in Punjabi. Through his work, he has connected Canada’s South Asian community with our quintessential Canadian hockey experience.

Peter Smyth, M.S.M.
Edmonton, Alberta

Social worker and author Peter Smyth has changed the conversation about how at-risk youth interact with care and service providers in Edmonton and other parts of Alberta. His ideas, first viewed as revolutionary and increasingly seen as best practices, are based on harm reduction, relationship building and involving youth in making decisions. An inspiration for new methods and understanding, his work helps empower street-entrenched youth to take charge of their lives.

Iyabode Lanre Tunji-Ajayi, M.S.M.
Barrie, Ontario

Founder of the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario, Lanre Tunji-Ajayi has played a key role in demystifying sickle cell anemia in Canada. Actively involved in the cause, she co-founded and served as the first president of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada, where she ensured newborn screening in many provinces and, together with federal parliamentarians, helped to create National Sickle Cell Awareness Day, held each year on June 19, since 2018.