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These impressive 17 British Columbians have been appointed to the Order of Canada

The Order recognizes Canadians from all sectors of society for their outstanding achievements, dedication to their communities and service to the nation.
Order of Canada medal
The Order of Canada insignia is a six-point, white enamel stylized snowflake representing Canada's northern heritage and diversity, "because no two snowflakes are alike." Photo by Sgt. Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall / Courtesy of the office of the Governal General of Canada

Governor General Julie Payette on Friday announced 114 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Among them are 17 exceptional British Columbians who are being heralded for their impressive and wide-ranging contributions to society. 

Established in 1967, the Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours. It recognizes Canadians from all sectors of society for their outstanding achievements, dedication to the community, and service to the nation. The latest round of honourees includes physicians, philanthropists, artists, athletes and academics, to name only a few. 

However, it's not likely that today's appointees will be stopping by Rideau Hall to formally accept the Order's six-point snowflake insignia (intended to symbolize Canada's northern heritage and diversity, since no two snowflakes are the same) anytime soon. According to a release from the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, in-person award ceremonies are on hold for the time being, but will resume when public health measures permit.

The Order of Canada encapsulates three different levels of appointments: Companion, or C.C., which "recognizes national pre-eminence or international service or achievement," officer, or  O.C., which "recognizes national service or achievement; and member–C.M.– which "recognizes outstanding contributions at the local or regional level or in a special field of activity."

The latest British Columbians to be nominated to the Order are: 



  • B. Lynn Beattie (Vancouver): "For her pioneering contributions to the field of geriatric medicine in Canada and abroad." Included among those numerous contributions was  Beattie's role as the founding head of UBC’s Division of Geriatric Medicine, as well as her efforts to help launch the province’s leading Clinic for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders at the university's hospital. 

  • Izak Benbasat  (Vancouver): "For his role in the development of the field of management information systems (MIS), and for his mentorship of generations of MIS scholars." Benbasat is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Sauder Distinguished Professor of Information Systems Emeritus at UBC's Sauder School of Business. 

  • Max Blouw (Victoria): As the former president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, Blouw receives this designation "[f]or his dedicated leadership as an academic administrator and for his advancement of evidence-based research at Canadian universities." In 2019, he was appointed president of the Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia. 

  • Robert Anthony Clark (Vancouver): "For establishing a world-renowned program to help businesses and customers identify and purchase sustainable seafood." The chef, author and co-owner of the Fish Counter is a founding partner of the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise program. 

  • Joseph Michael Connors (Victoria): "For his contributions to the study and treatment of lymphoid cancers, and for his role in the advancement of lymphoma care in Canada." The award-winning lymphoid cancer clinician scientist retired from clinical practice in 2018, after 37 years at BC Cancer. 

  • Sandra Djwa (Vancouver): "For her promotion of Canadian and Québécois literature, and for her cultural contributions as a teacher, mentor, biographer and critic."

  • Timothy Frick (Pender Island): "For his expertise in coaching and for his contributions to the advancement of parasports in Canada." The UBC alumnus, who once coached Rick Hansen and Terry Fox, is a member of the Basketball B.C. Hall of Fame, Wheelchair Basketball Canada's Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and The Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame. 

  •  Priscilla Edson Greenwood (Vancouver): "For her contributions to the fields of statistics and mathematics, and for her pioneering work in probability theory." Greenwood is a professor emeritus at UBC's Department of Mathematics. 

  • Stanley Hamilton (Vancouver): "For his contributions to business education in Canada and abroad, and for generously supporting Vancouver’s arts scene." Hamilton is a professor emeritus at Sauder School of Business, and was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2017. 

  • Carol Pearl Herbert (Vancouver): "For her contributions to the fields of clinical and academic medicine, as a family physician, medical educator, researcher and administrator." 

  • John H. McNeill (Vancouver): "For his contributions to cardiovascular pharmacology and for his pioneering research that linked cardiac disease and diabetes."

  • Crystal Pite (Vancouver): "For her contributions to contemporary dance, as an innovative choreographer, dancer and director." The award-winning choreographer and director is a former company member of Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. She formed her own company, Kidd Pivot, in Vancouver in 2002. 

  • Stefan Glenn Sigurdson (West Vancouver): "For his dexterous relationship-building skills and for his contributions to alternative dispute resolution across Canada and beyond."

  • David P. Wilkinson (North Vancouver): "For his contributions to electrochemical science and engineering, particularly the ongoing development of fuel cell technology."

  •  Roger Wong (Vancouver): "For his contributions to the field of geriatric medicine, including the advancement of policies, education, and specialized, culturally sensitive health care." Wong is currently the vice dean of education at UBC's Faculty of Medicine. He is a clinical professor of geriatric medicine, having previously served as president of the Canadian Geriatrics Society and is credited with founding Vancouver's Acute Care for Elders Units. (ACE)

Among the list of new members to the Order are two particularly recognizable names, and not only to British Columbians: Olympic ice dancing champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are being honoured for their "unparalleled excellence in ice dancing and for inspiring the next generation of Canadian figure skaters."

The duo initially gained Canadian icon status when they won their first gold medal during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. 

But you don't need to be a gold-medal winner to be appointed to the Order: All Canadians are eligible for the Order of Canada, with the exception of federal and provincial politicians and judges who currently hold office. Any individual or group is able to nominate a deserving Canadian as a candidate for appointment. Appointments are subsequently made by the Governor General, on the recommendation of the independent Advisory Council for the Order of Canada.

- With a file from   / North Shore News