World renowned and Bollywood’s iconic film director, Deepa Mehta, lung transplant innovator, Dr. Shafique Keshavjee, and celebrated actor and tenor, Michael Burgess, are among 25 extraordinary Ontarians appointed to the Order of Ontario.
Created in 1986, the Order of Ontario is the highest official honour in Ontario, which recognizes the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field.
The appointees to Ontario’s highest honour were chosen for their contributions to the arts, law, science, medicine, history, politics, philanthropy and the environment.
David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will invest the appointees at a ceremony next Wednesday (Feb 6) at Queen’s Park.
Named to the Order of Ontario are:
• Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian physician and internationally recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East, through his own research and by founding the charitable organization, The Daughters of Life Foundation in Toronto.
• Michael Burgess, one of Canada’s most distinguished actors and singers with award-winning performances in theatre, film and television. Burgess gives back to his community with a passionate commitment to charitable organizations that matches his stellar performance career.
• Mark Cohon of Toronto, commissioner of the Canadian Football League and chair of the Ontario Science Centre’s board of trustees, whose exemplary leadership has brought both Canadian institutions to prominence.
• Glen Cook of Windsor, a businessman descended from slaves, has restored and preserved the historic Puce River Black Community Cemetery — the burial site of some of this country’s earliest black settlers, many of whom travelled the Underground Railroad to find freedom in Canada.
• Stephen Cook is one of the world’s most recognized and influential computer scientists. The Torontonian is a pioneer in the field of computational complexity. Cook’s work identifies what computers can and cannot solve efficiently and his concept of ‘NP-complete’ is considered one of the two most essential principles in computer science.
• Phyllis Creighton of Toronto, a passionate advocate for mental and reproductive health care, social justice, peace and the environment. Creighton chaired the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and the Addiction Research Foundation’s clinical institute, and held leadership positions in numerous organizations that benefit both current and future Ontarians.
• Michael Davies, a leading businessman and philanthropist in Kingston whose contributions have supported Queen’s University, the Art Gallery of Ontario and countless other Ontario educational, cultural and health-care institutions.
• Ronald Deibert, widely recognized to be among the world’s leading experts on digital technology, security and human rights. Deibert is the director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, and among the first to recognize and take measures to mitigate growing threats to communications rights, openness and security worldwide.
• Dr. Rory Fisher is a pioneer in the field of geriatric care, who has made monumental contributions to the fields of end-of-life care, ethics in geriatric care and prevention of elder abuse. He headed the Department of Extended Care at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto for almost 20 years.
• Anne Golden has made enormous contributions to public policy and civil society over a 40-year career. She is recently retired President of the Conference Board of Canada, served as President of the United Way of Greater Toronto and chaired several high-profile public policy task forces. She is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Special Advisor at Ryerson University.
• Joan Green, the Toronto Board of Education’s first female CEO and the Founding CEO of Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), has improved the learning experiences of Ontario’s children and has served the community in a wide range of volunteer roles.
• Dr. Vladimir Hachinski of London, a world-renowned neurologist and one of the foremost authorities in the fields of stroke, dementia and Alzheimer research. His discoveries have changed thinking, approaches and treatments, to the benefit of millions. Dr. Hachinski is also a professor of neurology at the University of Western Ontario and is currently president of the World Federation of Neurology.
• John D. Honsberger, a widely respected Thornhill lawyer specializing in bankruptcy and insolvency law, for seminal contributions to legal education, history and community service. Honsberger was founding editor of the Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette.
• Dr. Shafique Keshavjee, a thoracic surgeon and world leader in lung transplantation. Based in Toronto, Dr. Keshavjee’s advances in organ preservation and repair have significantly increased the number of donor lungs used to save lives with lung transplantation.
• Fr. Joseph MacDonald of Toronto, who has devoted years to providing compassionate assistance to Ontario’s homeless, particularly those struggling with schizophrenia. Fr. MacDonald founded Poverello Charities Ontario, an organization that provides shelter and support to people in need.
• Don MacKinnon of Chatsworth, a lifelong advocate of Ontario’s energy industry and authority on its electricity system who has devoted his career to creating safe, quality jobs for Ontarians. His innovative approach to trade unionism and labour relations has become a model for effective labour management in Ontario.
• Deepa Mehta, an international icon in the film industry uses the medium to defend human rights and fight social injustice. Mehta is on the Board of Directors of the Toronto International Film Festival and a lifetime advocate for women’s rights. In 2012, she received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
• Vincent Pawis of Nobel, a spiritual and cultural leader who guides Aboriginal people in the corrections system and supports youth at risk. As Native Inmate Liaison Officer at the Sudbury Jail, Pawis was instrumental in implementing Elder Assisted Aboriginal Circle parole hearings, which allow offenders to be heard in a setting that reflects their values and traditions.
• Sr. Helen Petrimoulx guides refugee claimants to Canada through one of the most traumatic transitions of their lives. Petrimoulx opened a transitional home for refugee women and children in Windsor, and is a vocal advocate against human trafficking in Canada.
• The Honourable Sydney Robins of Toronto has been a prominent figure in Ontario’s legal profession for more than 50 years. As a Supreme Court of Ontario judge, and a judge of the province’s Court of Appeal, Robins authored many decisions cited frequently in courts across the country.
• Dr. Gail Robinson of Toronto is internationally respected as a crusader in the fight against violence toward women. A psychiatrist, professor and advocate, she co-founded Canada’s first rape crisis centre, and helped establish the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s task force on physician-patient sexual abuse.
• Mamdouh Shoukri, whose visionary leadership has brought both McMaster University and York University to international prominence. As current president and vice-chancellor of York University, Shoukri has ushered the university into an era of international expansion, environmental sustainability, and increased engineering and life sciences research and education.
• Barry Smit is one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change impacts and human adaptation. He is a professor of geography and Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change at the University of Guelph.
• Brian Stewart of Toronto, a reporter and foreign correspondent who has covered international wars, famine, child slavery, genocide and many other topics over his 48-year career. His quality and depth of reporting have earned him numerous awards, including three Geminis.
• Frank Tierney of Ottawa, a passionate promoter of Canadian literature who co-founded Borealis Press and Tecumseh Press to bring Canadian writing to Canadians. Tierney taught Canadian literature at the University of Ottawa for more than 30 years, and co-founded the Journal of Canadian Poetry in 1976.
• Marlene Streit of Unionville, the most successful Canadian amateur female golfer winning her first national title at the age of 17. She remains the only woman golfer in history to capture the Canadian, British, Australian and United States Women’s Amateur championships, a distinction that earned her a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame. She was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and will be invested with her medal at this year’s ceremony.
• Huguette Labelle of Ottawa, an outstanding civil servant who was the first francophone woman to become a federal deputy minister, and the first woman to lead the Red Cross in Canada. She is known as an expert in transportation, health care, development and governance. An appointee from 2010, she will also be invested with her medal at this year’s ceremony.