Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) – March 21, 2024

Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division)

Wanda Bedard, M.S.C.
Montréal, Quebec

Wanda Bedard is the founder of 60 million girls, an organization dedicated to girls’ education in developing countries. Each year, the foundation supports two or more major projects, with girls making up at least half of the students impacted. Recently, its solar-powered, remote learning labs, developed for use in communities without electricity or Internet access, have allowed children to continue studying without gathering in groups during Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks.

Paul Grinvalds, M.S.C.
Sophia Grinvalds, M.S.C.

Beamsville, Ontario

Paul and Sophia Grinvalds founded AFRIpads in Uganda in 2010. Their innovative, for-profit social enterprise manufactures reusable sanitary pads as a cost-effective menstrual product solution. Begun in a region where the topic of menstrual health was seldom broached, AFRIpads has led the way in removing the stigma, creating much-needed jobs for women, and disrupting a cycle of poverty, lack of education, and poor health and hygiene among millions of women and girls.

Susan McPeak, M.S.C.
Charles Sirois, M.S.C.

Montréal, Quebec

Susan McPeak and Charles Sirois play an important role in the fight against breast cancer by facilitating patient access to and participation in clinical research trials in the various regions of Quebec. Through their initiative, the most advanced and innovative treatments are now available to hundreds of patients, particularly those living outside the major centres of Montréal and Québec, for whom such care may have seemed out of reach prior to the creation of the McPeak-Sirois Group. The McPeak-Sirois Group is recognized as one of the largest breast cancer clinical research consortiums in Canada.

Matthew Pearce, M.S.C.
Montréal, Quebec

President and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission, Matthew Pearce has led the organization through a major transformation that focuses on long-term housing solutions for Montrealers living on the streets. New partnerships with health care, community and other social service agencies have created a more integrated and robust network of support. Under his leadership, the Mission has transformed from providing emergency shelter to delivering sustainable solutions aimed at ending chronic homelessness.

Peter Warrack, M.S.C.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Peter Warrack led the creation of Project Protect, a partnership that targets human trafficking by focusing on money laundering. Financial institutions, regulators and law enforcers collaborate their efforts to identify financial patterns that indicate criminal activity linked to human trafficking. Unique to Canada and a model for international agencies, the project has furnished information used to identify trafficking rings and to rescue victims trapped in desperate circumstances.

Robin Wettlaufer, M.S.C.
Ottawa, Ontario

Diplomat Robin Wettlaufer played a central role in the evacuation of White Helmets civil defence volunteers and their families from a dangerous war zone. Her initiative precipitated a rescue plan that helped 422 of these rescue workers escape from Syria through the Golan Heights to Jordan, then on to Canada and other safe countries. The event demonstrated our nation’s humanitarianism to the world and its commitment to protecting partner organizations in conflict areas.

Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division)

Chris J. Adam, M.S.M.
Carignan, Quebec

Chris Adam introduced the Living Campus concept that has made Dawson College a model of sustainability and well-being. A persuasive leader and educator, he has inspired staff and students to integrate social and ecological responsibility into all aspects of the school’s teaching and operations. As a result, the connection between people, community and nature has become central to Dawson’s culture, and motivated its aspiration to being carbon-neutral forever.

Angela Arnone, M.S.M.
Ortona, Italy

Since the late 1990s, Angela Arnone has helped commemorate Canadian military participation in the 1943 Battle of Ortona. Her many activities have included assisting with the organization of the 1998 Reconciliation Dinner attended by Canadian and German veterans; acting as liaison on the placement of the Price of Peace and Athena monuments; and heading the Battle of Ortona Museum founding committee. She is a point of contact for Canadian guests visiting the area, and is committed to ensuring both locals and visitors learn more about the history of the battle.

Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Kehkashan Basu is the founder of Green Hope Foundation, a youth-led organization that promotes sustainable development, children’s rights and environmental protection. She started Green Hope when she was just 12 years old, and has shaped it into a network that engages youth through educational academies and community actions in 26 countries. An inspiring change-maker, she empowers others to take charge of their destiny and create a sustainable world for future generations.

Catherine A. Bergeron, M.S.M.
Romain Gayet, M.S.M.
Michel Petit, M.S.M.

Montréal, Quebec

Jacques Duchesneau, C.M., C.O.M, C.Q., M.S.M., C.D.
Piedmont, Quebec

Annie-Clara Gravel, M.S.M.
Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, Quebec

Florence Scanvic, M.S.M.
Prévost, Quebec

Catherine Bergeron, Jacques Duchesneau, Romain Gayet, Annie-Clara Gravel, Michel Petit and Florence Scanvic have distinguished themselves by their outstanding involvement with the Comité Mémoire, formed in the wake of the École Polytechnique de Montréal tragedy. They have worked tirelessly to pay tribute to the 14 victims of December 6, 1989. They played a decisive role in organizing the 30th anniversary commemoration, notable for the participation of 13 Canadian universities, elevating the ceremony to the status of a major national movement and amplifying the message condemning violence against women.

Olivier Bernard, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

A science communicator pursuing a career in the media industry, Olivier Bernard, better known as The Pharmafist, is on a mission to demystify pharmacology for as many people as possible. With a creative and playful approach, he encourages the public to develop critical thinking skills when confronting popular health beliefs. By tackling trendy pseudo-scientific myths, he is fostering a better understanding of the medical and pharmaceutical spheres, enabling Canadians to make better health choices.

Chief Superintendent Ghalib Bhayani, M.O.M., M.S.M.
Vancouver, British Columbia

RCMP Chief Superintendent Ghalib Bhayani, then inspector, played a crucial role in a multinational coalition with the goal of rebuilding Iraq’s policing structure. He advised Iraqi police forces and worked in conjunction with government agencies to develop a new training program focused on effective policing methods. With skilful diplomacy and coordination of diverse partners, he took the lead in creating a plan to restore security and safety to the citizens of five northern provinces.

Jean Boileau, M.S.M.
Gatineau, Quebec

Jean Boileau is the visionary behind the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival, which has been a major economic driver in the Outaouais region for over 30 years. From the very start, he was able to mobilize numerous volunteers, balloonists and artists to make this a not-to-be-missed family and tourist event that has earned an enviable reputation around the globe.

Doug Chisholm, M.S.M.
Melfort, Saskatchewan

Heritage researcher and bush pilot Doug Chisholm has photographed and documented many of Saskatchewan’s 3 800 remote lakes, islands and rivers named in honour of military personnel who died in the Second World War. For the families of those war dead, his carefully crafted tributes allow them to view many inaccessible sites, and to connect their loved ones’ legacies with the region’s magnificent natural beauty.

René Dallaire, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

Deeply committed to improving the lives of persons with disabilities in Quebec, René Dallaire founded the Association québécoise de voile adaptée. By enabling persons with disabilities to independently and safely operate boats specially designed for them, he is giving them the opportunity to engage in a relaxing and stimulating nautical activity that helps them gain a sense of freedom and build their self-esteem.

Adrianne G. Dartnall, M.S.M.
Richard F. Lennert, M.S.M.

Nanaimo, British Columbia

After losing their only child and daughter, Adrianne Dartnall and Rick Lennert founded Kids International Development Society in 2004, to improve the lives of children living in dire circumstances in Southeast Asia. Using funds raised by their Canadian partners and home community, they have implemented education, health care, family support and clean water programs primarily in Cambodia. They are committed to engaging the local community, ensuring the help provided is of value, and working towards sustainable solutions.

Holly Denine, M.S.M.
Nevaeh Joey Denine, M.S.M. (deceased)

Goulds, Newfoundland and Labrador

As a four-year-old, Nevaeh Denine wanted to help the families of other pediatric cancer patients like her. With the help of her mother, Holly, the first Nevaeh’s Lemonade Stand was organized in 2014. This annual, family-friendly event and successful fundraiser helps alleviate the financial stress that cancer treatments can bring. Along with the registered charity Nevaeh’s Angel Foundation, its mission continues to inspire others in the community and beyond, and keeps Nevaeh’s legacy alive.

Jean-Martin Fortier, M.S.M.
Hemmingford, Quebec

An international pioneer of organic farming and micro farming, Jean-Martin Fortier has developed techniques to make small-scale farms profitable. He has demonstrated the viability of an unconventional model of farming to produce high-quality foods and is considered a leading authority by market farmers worldwide.

Serge Fournier, M.S.M.
Robert Lessard, M.S.M.
Jonathan Michaud, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

Jonathan Michaud, Serge Fournier and Robert Lessard were the backbone of efforts to fund and rebuild the school pavilions of École Mark Bourque, in Debussy, Haiti. Devastated by the 2010 earthquake, this elementary school was rebuilt to give local students larger school infrastructures that are better adapted to their needs.

The Meritorious Service Medal awarded to Robert Lessard was previously presented to him.

Nadine Francillon, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

Committed to providing a quality primary education, balanced diets and appropriate health care for youth living in vulnerable conditions, Nadine Francillon created the Fondation Voix Angélique. Since 2006, this organization has played a key role in educating thousands of children in Canada and abroad, and in training teachers in developing countries.

Pierre Gagné, M.S.M. (deceased)
Alain Rioux, M.S.M.
Québec, Quebec

Seeking ways to improve outcomes for young people through philanthropy, Alain Rioux and the late Pierre Gagné established the annual Pro Am Gagné Bergeron hockey game. Over the years, this fundraising activity has raised more than $2 million, which has been distributed among various organizations that help children in Québec. The initiative has also given hundreds of amateur players the opportunity to live out their dreams of competing with their National Hockey League idols.

Bryan G. Garber, M.S.M., C.D.
Vanier, Ontario

Physician Bryan Garber was instrumental in shaping the Canadian Armed Forces’ approach to treating patients with blast injuries caused by improvised explosive devices. As a researcher and an international panel leader, he honed the guidelines for treating mild traumatic brain injuries in military operational settings and during the recovery period. The results have yielded increased confidence among front-line medical staff encountering injuries not seen for a generation, as well as improved care for wounded military personnel.

James Adrian Gehrels, M.S.M. (deceased)
Thunder Bay, Ontario

Glenn C. Stronks, M.S.M.
Orillia, Ontario

Glenn Stronks and the late Jim Gehrels founded Lifewater Canada to bring clean water and adequate sanitation to communities in sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti. The organization empowers locals to construct wells and latrines that save lives and improve health, in addition to advancing girls’ education by freeing them from the arduous task of fetching water. Training in hygiene and equipment maintenance has brought sustainable change that interrupts a cycle of sickness and poverty for millions of people.

Andre Gendreau, M.S.M., C.D.
Ottawa, Ontario

A civilian member of the Canadian Forces Network Operations Centre, Andre Gendreau has shown exemplary leadership in improving Canada’s cyber defence infrastructure. Leading several large-scale missions, he has contributed greatly to improving knowledge in this field. His unwavering dedication to protecting Canadian interests has made it possible for Canada to acquire the best tools to counter cyberattacks.

Isabelle Genest, M.S.M.
Catherine Morissette, M.S.M.
Mathieu Ouellet, M.S.M.
Québec, Quebec

Mathieu Ouellet, Isabelle Genest and Catherine Morissette, creators of La grande journée des petits entrepreneurs, have kindled interest in entrepreneurship among thousands of youth. With this fun and educational initiative, young people from across the province have developed their creativity, sense of responsibility and independence through activities designed to boost entrepreneurial culture and vitality in Quebec.

The Meritorious Service Medal awarded to Catherine Morissette will be presented to her at a later date.

Robert Hughes, M.S.M.
Kamloops, British Columbia

Bob Hughes, CEO of ASK Wellness Society, has guided the non-profit agency through a major transformation during the last decade. He has built effective partnerships with government agencies, business stakeholders and those with lived experience to increase support for people who are marginalized or homeless. His compassion has led ASK to focus on housing and harm reduction first, to help its clientele secure homes, jobs and better health.

Marc Hull-Jacquin, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Marc Hull-Jacquin founded the Toronto-based organization Shelter Movers, an innovative initiative supporting vulnerable and abused women and children. By providing them with moving and storage services at no cost, the organization enables them to leave toxic environments where they are in danger. The rapid expansion across Canada of this model of people helping people demonstrates just how relevant such an initiative is, particularly during a pandemic.

Narmin Ismail, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Narmin Ismail established the Spark of Hope Foundation to provide university-level scholarships to young women from economically disadvantaged areas of the world who demonstrate strong leadership potential. Her efforts have already provided 175 scholarships at the bachelor’s, master’s, professional and Ph.D. levels, giving these young women leaders the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families while accelerating the development of their communities and countries.

Nancy Knowlton, M.S.M.
David Martin, M.S.M.

Calgary, Alberta

Entrepreneurs Nancy Knowlton and David Martin created the world’s first interactive whiteboard, the SMART Board, in 1991. With innovative features like an interactive display controlled by touch on the board itself, and computer functions to edit, share and print content, it quickly became standard equipment in millions of classrooms and meeting rooms across the globe. Together, the duo realized a creative vision that has paved the way for an entire education technology sector.

Father Pierre Labine, M.S.M.
Montréal, Quebec

For over 20 years, Father Pierre Labine has been providing humanitarian optometry services in over a dozen developing countries. He has taken part in some 70 humanitarian missions in which over 500 000 pairs of glasses have been distributed to populations in need. In 2005, he founded the Quebec chapter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity International which, in partnership with universities, gives hundreds of optometry students each year the opportunity to take part in missions and gain skills that will make them globally minded professionals.

Patricia Leigh, O.B.C., M.S.M.
West Vancouver, British Columbia

Patti Leigh led and nurtured The Science Fair Foundation of B.C. from its beginnings in the 1980s until 2016. Her dedication and her ability to create partnerships with educational institutions, governments and technology companies gave hundreds of thousands of elementary and secondary school students the opportunity to showcase their research projects. Each year, participants, as well as hundreds of volunteers and judges, gain inspiration from networking, knowledge-sharing and exploring the wonders of science.

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. (deceased)
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 Medal awarded to Yahya Badran was previously presented to him. The Meritorious Service Medals awarded to Mohamed Hage and Lauren Rathmell will be presented to them at a later date.

Alexander Montgomery McDonald, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Monty McDonald founded Vimy Oaks Legacy to honour the memory of his friend, Lieutenant Leslie Miller, who fought at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France, gathered acorns from the battlefield and planted them on his farm in Scarborough, Ontario. Mr. McDonald partnered with The Vimy Foundation to donate saplings grown from Lieutenant Miller’s acorns to the Centennial Park beside the Vimy memorial. Another 1 000 descendant oak trees have also been planted at commemorative sites across Canada, symbolizing the sacrifice of Canadian troops overseas.  

Todd McDonald, M.S.M.
Ashley Ward, M.S.M.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Todd McDonald and Ashley Ward are the founders of GIVETOLIVE, an organization that inspires people to exercise, be generous and achieve the extraordinary. Their challenges include The Big Ride long-distance bicycle trip, The Big Swim from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, and The Big Chill snowshoeing event. In the last decade, participants have raised several million dollars to support causes that include cancer charities, at-risk youth and a camp for chronically ill children.

David McMahon, M.S.M.
Lise Meloche, M.S.M.

Chelsea, Quebec

An inspiration to athletes nationwide, David McMahon and Lise Meloche founded the Natural Fitness Lab, a centre of excellence that supports the development of athletes of all ages and levels. Promoting healthy lifestyles, they offer a comprehensive program to Canadians, based on their experience competing for Canada in multiple sports. Through their love of sport and their desire to share, they strive to develop high-performance athletes who showcase Canada on the world stage.

Mohammad H. Asadi Lari, M.S.M. (deceased)
Alexandre Sacha Noukhovitch, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

In 2015, Dr. Sacha Noukhovitch and the late Mohammad Asadi Lari co-founded STEM Fellowship, a country-wide student network that empowers youth with skills in data science and scholarly communication. Through various programs, including the STEM Fellowship Journal, National Big Data Challenges and STEMpowerment, the pair has inspired innovative thinking and learning through inquiry among this generation of data natives, and helped remove socio-economic and geographic barriers to youth participation in scientific disciplines.

The Meritorious Services Medal awarded to the late Mohammad Lari was previously presented to his family.

Shafique Pirani, M.S.M.
North Vancouver, British Columbia

Canadian orthopaedic surgeon Shafique Pirani founded sustainable clubfoot care projects in Uganda and Bangladesh to build nationwide Ponseti method clubfoot teaching and treatment capacities in public health care institutions. This previously known but little-used method of foot manipulation, casting and braces has resulted in excellent outcomes for patients without the need for surgery. The train-the-trainer program for medical students and health care staff has become a model of care and has improved thousands of lives in the developing world.

Tony Priftakis, M.S.M.
Gatineau, Quebec

Businessman and philanthropist Tony Priftakis encourages his employees to help improve health care in the Outaouais. Each week, nearly 100 members of his restaurant staff donate up to two dollars of their pay to support programs at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. He also invites the other franchisees to do likewise in their respective regions, thus encouraging mutual aid and philanthropy in Quebec.

Nicole Provost, M.S.M.
Abbotsford, British Columbia

Nicole Provost founded the Mayday Club Youth Choir to promote neurodiversity and to change perceptions about autism. This program brings together nearly 45 young people with autism to perform popular songs to address bullying and promote inclusion of people with neurodiversity. For them, the choir is an opportunity to shine, form friendships and, above all, learn to accept their differences.

Wayne Quinn, M.M.M., M.S.M., C.D.
Miramichi, New Brunswick

Since 2007, Wayne Quinn has been an outstanding operations officer with the Canadian Armed Forces. His strong leadership has helped the organization assist ill and injured serving members, and enabled its ongoing evolution and delivery of services and programs. His contributions to the launch of the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group is considered to have been crucial to its success, where he continues to lead, train and mentor service delivery staff across the country in support of CAF personnel.

Janne Jantje Ritskes, M.S.M.
Kemptville, Ontario

In 1994, Janne Ritskes started the Tabitha Foundation, a registered charity that provides clean water, new housing and schools in Cambodia. She launched several initiatives to address the cycle of poverty, including programs on personal and financial development, which have impacted the lives of several million Cambodians. Through the foundation, she has helped restore dignity, hope and self-sufficiency in a population recovering from the brutal Pol Pot era.

Adrienne Rosen, M.S.M.
Myra White, M.S.M.

Toronto, Ontario

In 2008, Adrienne Rosen and Myra White founded the Access Education – Guatemala Children’s Fund, a charitable organization creating educational opportunities for children in the region of Coatepeque, Guatemala. With a primary aim of building new schools in the surrounding communities, the group also covers operating costs and finances thousands of scholarships. It has brought hope to residents who now see education as a source of pride and a means of breaking the cycle of poverty.

James Scott, M.S.M.
Kingsville, Ontario

Windsor businessman Jim Scott has embedded the values of philanthropy and social commitment into his auto accessories company. A generous donor to many local causes, he is also the founder of Enable Haiti, an organization that has been providing aid to those affected by the devastating 2010 earthquake. Encouraging employees to participate in charitable events, matching their donations and heading up fundraising campaigns, he embodies the true spirit of corporate-social responsibility.

Elaine Ruth Maxine Cormier Semkuley, M.S.M.
Myron Semkuley, M.S.M.

Calgary, Alberta

Elaine and Myron Semkuley founded Medical Mercy Canada, a volunteer organization that supports refugees, internally displaced people and marginalized communities in Myanmar, Nepal and Ukraine. Using their professional backgrounds in pharmacy and medicine, the pair have led teams of volunteers to provide health care, medical training, education and appropriate supplies to people in need, and have launched local initiatives that contribute to communities becoming self-sufficient.

Nancy Stevens, M.S.M.
Kingston, Ontario

In 2008, Nancy Stevens founded Kenya Help, a charity aimed at making positive change for people in Kenya. Through fundraising campaigns, personal donations and partnership building, she finances income-generating businesses and guides organizations towards self-sustainability. Her projects, which focus on infrastructure, clean water, food supply and child sponsorship, continue to empower residents to improve their health and take the first steps towards rising out of poverty.

Marian Walsh, M.S.M.
Toronto, Ontario

Marian Walsh led the transformation of Toronto’s Riverdale Hospital into Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, now a part of Sinai Health. Her redesign of both physical and strategic elements resulted in an award-winning, state-of-the-art health care facility for patients requiring complex medical care and rehabilitation. The new Bridgepoint has dramatically improved patient outcomes and has had a significant impact on health care in the city and in Canada.