Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame

Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame

July 14, 2011 11:00 ET

Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame Announces 2011 Telecom Laureates

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 14, 2011) - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Canada's 28th Governor General, heads the 2011 list of Canadian achievers in the field of telecommunications selected for induction this year into Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame. His Excellency, whose distinguished career included significant success in advancing Canada's digital communications and broadband policies, will be inducted into the Advocates and Academics category of the Hall of Fame on November 2, 2011 in Ottawa.

Our Governor General will be joined as a member of the Class of 2011 Telecom Laureates by the late Edwin R. Jarmain in the Icons of Business category; by the late Dr. George Sinclair in the Inventors & Innovator category; and by Dr. Michael Binder in the Servants of the Public category. The announcements were made today by the Selections Panel of Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame (, a national not-for-profit organization with a mission to safeguard and promote the past, present and future excellence of Canadian telecommunications.

In addition, this year's coveted Special Recognition Award will go to the Canadian Business Telecommunications Alliance (CBTA), a national industry association of business telecom equipment and service users that was a driving force behind changes in the telecom industry in Canada for three decades, principally by advocating a competitive supply structure within the sector. Between 1961 and 1997, the CBTA served as a training ground for many of Canada's most respected business leaders of today, whether in the telecommunications, technology, finance, or government sectors.

Biographical and historical information on each of the 2011 Telecom Laureates is appended to this news release.

"The Hall of Fame induction of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston may come as a surprise to some, but not to those in the telecommunications field in this country who have followed his accomplishments and success over the past several decades in blazing the trail for the development of a digital communications and broadband policy framework for Canada in the field of telecommunications," said Lorne Abugov, Founder and Director of Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame. "This year's Class of Telecom Laureates, including our Governor General, have all had remarkable careers in Canadian telecommunications and they bridge the conventional categories of our Hall of Fame by shining brightly as inventors, academics, businessmen and, in some cases, all three. Our posthumous awards this year go to Canadian pioneers in the cable television and radio antenna industries whose stories should have been told decades ago, though it is not too late to learn from them, and to emulate their achievements so that we might enjoy future decades of global communications success."

The four new Telecom Laureates and the Special Recognition Award recipient will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on November 2nd, 2011 at the 7th annual Telecom Laureate Awards Gala dinner and induction ceremonies to be held at the new Ottawa Convention Centre, Ottawa, Canada. The Awards Gala is an important celebratory night for the telecommunications industry and typically includes over 400 telecom executives and government officials from across the country.

In addition to inducting the Class of 2011 Telecom Laureates into Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame at the Awards Gala, the organization will also confer Career Service Awards upon two individuals who have demonstrated exemplary work efforts and dedication throughout their careers in Canadian telecommunications, one in the domestic market and one in the international sphere. The Hall of Fame will announce the names of the 2011 Career Service Award winners shortly.

Also in attendance will be the recipients of the Telecom Hall of Fame Student Scholarships, and the inaugural winner of the Mini MBA in Telecommunications Scholarship and Internship program, a joint industry award sponsored and supported by Neotelis, Execulink Telecom, the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame.

For information on tickets, corporate tables, and sponsorship opportunities for the 2011 Telecom Laureate Awards, please email or call (613) 878-1532.

Addendum Attached:

Biographical and historical information on each of the 2011 Telecom Laureates

The Class of 2011 Telecom Laureate Award Winners

1. His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander In-Chief of Canada

(Advocates and Academics - Class of 2011)

David Lloyd Johnston CC CMM COM CD FRSC (hon) is an Ontario-born academic, author and statesman who is the 28th Governor General of Canada since Confederation.

"David Johnston represents the best of Canada," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Governor General's appointment ceremony. "He represents hard work, dedication, public service and humility".

His Excellency began his professional career as assistant professor in the faculty of law at Queen's University (1966), moving to the law faculty at the University of Toronto in 1968. He became dean of the faculty of law at the University of Western Ontario in 1974. In 1979, he was named the 14th principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University. In July, 1994 he returned to McGill's faculty of law as a full-time professor. In June 1999 he became the fifth president of the University of Waterloo.

His Excellency holds an LLB from Queen's University (1966), an LLB from the University of Cambridge (1965), and an AB from Harvard University (1963). His academic specializations include securities regulation, information technology and corporate law. He completed his university studies with honours in three countries: the United States (Harvard A.B. 1963), England (Cambridge LL.B. 1965) and Canada (Queen's LL.B. 1966). While at Harvard he was twice named to the all-American hockey team and is a member of the Harvard Athletic Hall of Fame.

David Johnston has served on many provincial and federal task forces and committees and has also served on the boards of a number of companies and foundations. He was the first non-U.S. citizen to chair the board of overseers of Harvard University (1997-98). He has chaired the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Neuroscience Network Centre of Excellence, the federal government's Information Highway Advisory Council and its blue ribbon panel on smart communities. More recently, he has chaired the advisory committee on online learning, the committee on information system for the environment, the national task force on high speed broadband access, and the broadband national selection committee. He has spoken extensively on the development of both a digital communications policy and a broadband strategy for Canada, and has raised awareness on the issues associated with convergence and communications in the 21st century. In both his academic and his national committee advocacy work, His Excellency has significantly enhanced Canadian progress in digital communications and broadband deployment and contributed to nation-building through advanced telecommunications policy and planning.

Among many honours accorded His Excellency are honorary doctorates from 12 universities and the appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada in 1997. He is the author/co-author of over two dozen books including Computers and Law (1968), Getting Canada On-line: Understanding the Information Highway (1995), Cyberlaw (1997), and Communications Law in Canada (2000).

2. The late Edwin Roper Jarmain C.M., M.B.A., LL.D., P.Eng. (1907 - 2007)

(Icons of Business - Class of 2011)

It was circa 1950 when the first Canadian cable TV pioneers began experimenting with the reception and distribution of television signals. While at that time there was no Canadian television, some U.S. broadcast TV stations were on-air, and in some areas of Canada it was possible to receive marginal signals from them, although very few homes had TV sets.

In 1952, engineer and radio hobbyist, Edwin R. (Ed) Jarmain, set up a large rhombic - diamond-shaped - antenna in his and his neighbour's backyards in London, Ontario to receive television signals from Cleveland and experimented with distributing them to his neighbours. He wired a test area of 15 homes with cable and, because 14 of them had no television, loaned TV sets to them for the three-month test. The test was successful - 13 of the initial homes became customers – and the business of cable television in Canada was born.

It was during the infancy of television in Canada, before the first Broadcasting Act, and long before the Canadian Radio-Television Commission that visionary Canadian hobbyist-entrepreneurs like Ed Jarmain began experimenting with capturing distant television signals and distributing the signals through a network of amplifiers and coaxial cables to home TV sets to improve, and sometimes enable, reception.

Ed Jarmain is the acknowledged father and pioneer of cable television in Canada. He foresaw the promising future of cable television before others, pioneered in many technical developments and contributed notably to the technical and operational advancement of the industry. While his business foresight and risk-taking have been widely recognized, he always placed equal or greater importance on making the technical breakthroughs that were necessary for the young industry to move forward. He is an acknowledged leader and innovator in the early technical development of cable television, including the application of fibre optics to cable TV transmission.

Mr. Jarmain's company, London Cable TV, became the nucleus of a group of cable TV systems in Southern Ontario. In 1980, he became a member of the Order of Canada. Mr. Jarmain passed away in 2007 at the age of 100.

3. Dr. Michael Binder Ph.D. Physics

(Servants of the Public - Class of 2011)

"In 1989 and 1990, I used to go around to all the other government departments and sell them on a brand new technology. Do you know what that technology was? E-mail." - Michael Binder

Michael Binder is known as a pacesetter and a man with a solid vision of the future. Throughout his extensive and exemplary career in the federal public service, Dr. Binder has held many senior positions in several departments and agencies, including Assistant Deputy Minister positions within Industry Canada and its predecessor over the past several decades. He was appointed in January 2008 as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) where he is currently responsible for overseeing the use of nuclear energy and materials in Canada.

During his lengthy tenure as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications in Industry Canada, Michael Binder was the driving force within the federal government behind the development of a world-class communications and information infrastructure in Canada. He oversaw Canada's transition to a network economy, and was responsible for the policy development of the telecommunication industries, the regulation of the wireless frequency spectrum and the introduction of spectrum auctions in Canada, the promotion of electronic commerce, and the development and use of world class information and communications technologies for the economic, social and cultural benefit of all Canadians. He was also responsible for the Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC) as well as for the delivery of programs such as SchoolNet, Computers for Schools, Community Access Program, CANARIE and the CA*Net4.

Dr. Binder also dealt with policy and regulatory issues associated with electronic commerce, SPAM, privacy and cyber security. Dr. Binder has also served on a number of related government and industry boards and committees in such key areas as communications research and development, photonics, and e-commerce.

4. The late Dr. George Sinclair Ph.D. Electrical Engineering (1912 – 1993)

(Inventors & Innovators - Class of 2011)

Dr. George Sinclair, a Canadian pioneer in the development of radio antennas and filters for military and civilian applications, first rose to prominence while still a graduate student at Ohio State University during World War II, where he assumed responsibility for leading the rapidly growing Antenna Laboratory research group. His work focused on the design of communication antennas mounted on aircraft and the measurement of radar cross-sections. On the theoretical side, he wrote a definitive paper on the principles of scale modeling. His experimental and theoretical achievements were matched by his effectiveness in persuading commercial and military authorities of the significance of the work and its potential for enormous cost-saving in the development of antennas and radar systems. In recognition of this work, Dr. Sinclair was awarded the U.S. Army-Navy Certificate of Appreciation in 1948.

After receiving his Ph.D. degree in 1946, Dr. Sinclair accepted a position on the faculty of the University of Toronto, in the Department of Electrical Engineering. There, he pursued a very active research career, with classic early publications on slotted cylinder antennas and antennas mounted on or near elliptical cylinders. He originated the concept of complex vector effective length of an antenna. In addition, he was one of the first to recognize the potential importance of integral equation formulations for the numerical solution of problems in antennas and wave scattering. Always ready to encourage others and to explore new areas of activity, he sparked a major research thrust at the University of Toronto in what was then the very new field of radio astronomy.

Professor Sinclair formed his own company, Sinclair Radio Laboratories Ltd., in 1951. The company established quickly and maintains to this day a strong international reputation for pioneering designs and high quality products, especially multi couplers and antennas. Its products are used for mobile radio, public safety, and military, cellular, and transportation applications. Over the years Sinclair has seen its antennas show up in some very recognizable places such as the Avro Arrow and the Toronto CN Tower. More recently, its products were sold to assist in the BP Gulf oil spill, and the G8 and G20 Meetings. Following his retirement, the company, renamed Sinclair Technologies, was run for many years by Dr. Sinclair's three daughters. Norsat purchased Sinclair Technologies in 2011.

Dr. Sinclair received the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1958 and the McNaughton Medal in 1975 for "leadership in the advancement of knowledge of electromagnetic theory and wave propagation and its practical and industrial application", and was also a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation. He passed away in 1993 at the age of 82.

5. Canadian Business Telecommunications Alliance (CBTA)

(Special Recognition Award – 2011)

The Canadian Business Telecommunications Alliance (CBTA) was a major, national industry association representing telecommunications users from all sectors of the Canadian economy, and was an instrumental industry player in opening the telecom sector to full competition. The CBTA strove to facilitate a competitive advantage in Canadian business through the strategic application of telecommunications by advocating the common interests of its members and by promoting information exchange and professional development. The main goals of the CBTA were to encourage innovation, quality, and choice in the telecommunications marketplace. Its key objectives were to:

  • Educate, develop and inform the membership

  • Promote and encourage the availability of choice in supplier, product, service quality and price

  • Inform and influence the policy-making and regulatory bodies, and

  • Encourage innovation in the field of telecommunications

The CBTA's forerunner, the Canadian Industrial Communications Assembly ('CICA') was conceived of on September 12, 1961 by representatives of large corporate and public sector users of telecommunications services. Growing from an initial 19 members to about 400 at its peak three decades later, the CBTA members collectively spent $4 billion in annual telecom expenditures, or about 20% of all industry revenues, and were comprised of corporate organizations representing all sectors of the Canadian economy including industry, commerce, mining, forestry, transportation, retail, education, health care and all levels of government.

It was a truly national association, with active membership in all of Canada's Provinces and Territories and 12 regional Chapters from St. John's to Victoria that held local meetings and educational seminars. The Association's annual CBTA TeleCon trade show and conference was also a national (and even international) event as it alternated between Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto (with Edmonton playing host one year). Typically 10,000 telecom professionals would attend the Trade Show featuring over 160 exhibits and the conference averaged attendance of 500-750 telecom professionals from all parts of Canada, the US and around the globe.

CBTA offered its members extensive professional development and regional networking activities across Canada. Its Education Committee crafted an annual development program tailored to the needs of members in each region and typically held 30 annual activities across the nation with over 1,000 participants. The Association was also very active in the promotion of vendor choice through competition and participated in major regulatory, legislative and legal proceedings to foster competition.

CBTA was a frequent participant and intervener in major CRTC telecom regulatory proceedings that paved the way for Canadians to have multiple telecom carriers, suppliers and innovation in technology solutions that Canadians now use and depend upon. It also met with the Commission's senior staff and Commissioners on a regular basis to communicate the membership's position on general industry issues and the need to foster a competitive environment. It was routinely consulted by the Department of Communications as well as Ministers of Finance and Communications.

The CBTA ceased operations in 1997, in many respects the victim of its own success. By that point in time, Canada was significantly advanced down the path to full industry competition. Many of Canada's well-respected leaders of today, whether in the telecommunications, technology, finance, business or government sectors 'grew up' in the CBTA, and recall fondly their role in influencing how Canada's telecommunications industry delivered its future products and services within a competitive industry landscape.

About Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame

Established May 30, 2005, Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit charitable corporation with a mission to safeguard and promote the past, present and future excellence of Canadian telecommunications. The Hall of Fame fulfills its mission through three principal programs: The Telecom Laureate Program, the Outreach Program and the Education Program, which all serve to celebrate the historical legacy of success of Canadian telecommunications, promote current innovation leaders within the industry and encourage Canadian youth to consider the industry as a fulfilling career choice for their future.

In Fall 2011, the Hall of Fame will launch "Answer the Call" - the first national telecom-industry charitable fund-raising campaign – with a goal to provide 40 education awards annually across Canada to deserving and needy students with an interest and aptitude in telecommunications through the National Telecom Student Education Fund. For more information, visit

Contact Information