Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

April 04, 2014 12:45 ET

Media Advisory: Governor General to Present Caring Canadian Award to 46 Volunteers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 4, 2014) - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award to 46 volunteers from various sectors, on Monday, April 7, 2014, at 11 a.m., during a ceremony at Rideau Hall. This event is part of His Excellency's program to highlight National Volunteer Week, from April 6 to 12, 2014.

About the Caring Canadian Award

Created in 1995, the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Often working behind the scenes, these individuals volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens. The award also brings to light the example set by volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are a part of our Canadian character.

Over the last two years, the contributions of more than 475 volunteers from across the country have been recognized with the Caring Canadian Award. Discover these recipients and some of their stories at

The ceremony schedule, the list of recipients and their citations, and a fact sheet on the award are attached.

Media wishing to cover this event are requested to confirm their attendance with the Rideau Hall Press Office, and must arrive at the Princess Anne entrance no later than 10:45 a.m. on the day of the ceremony.

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.


11 a.m.: Ceremony begins
Remarks by the Governor General
Governor General presents the Caring Canadian Award
12 p.m.: Ceremony ends
12:10 p.m.: Interviews with recipients


Elisabeth Aldridge Ottawa, Ont.
Sandra Beaudoin Hanna, Alta.
Bethany Bisaillion Ottawa, Ont.
Lachlann Bisaillion Ottawa, Ont.
Dawn Blain Ottawa, Ont.
Devora Caytak Ottawa, Ont.
Jean Dansereau Gatineau, Que.
Robert Derry Ottawa, Ont.
Veronica Donovan Nepean, Ont.
Michael Dougherty Whitehorse, Y.T.
Margaret Duffy Ottawa, Ont.
Stanley Dzuba North Vancouver, B.C.
Wilfred Edmond Donkin, N.S.
Ronald Evans Fredericton, N.B.
Katie Fitzgerald St. Albert, Alta.
Kevin Freedman Winnipeg, Man.
Claude Gagnon Ville-Marie and Témiscamingue, Que.
John Thomas Gibb Pointe-Claire, Que.
Rochelle Greenberg Ottawa, Ont.
Jacques Grégoire Outremont, Que.
Sophie Louise Harrington St. John's, N.L.
Gillian Heginbottom Wakefield, Que.
Gillian Lawrence Amherst, N.S.
Carol Laws Hudson, Que.
Tony Loffreda Westmount, Que.
Ruth Loomer Ottawa, Ont.
Lesia Maruschak Ottawa, Ont.
Bob Putko Flin Flon, Man.
Elizabeth Robinson Kingston, Ont.
Katharine Robinson Ottawa, Ont.
Gale Dennis Rogers Napanee, Ont.
Yvonne Sam LaSalle, Que.
Denise Samson Cornwall, Ont.
Valerie Saunderson Nepean, Ont.
Hugh Saunderson Nepean, Ont.
Edward Sawdon St. John's, N.L.
Landry Signé Montréal, Que.
Christine Steer Cornwall, Ont.
Cindy Stewart Aberdeen, Sask.
Norman Wilson Tape Ottawa, Ont.
Susanne Tarle Cornwall and Long Sault, Ont.
Suzanne Thériault Orléans, Ont.
Michel Thériault Orléans, Ont.
Robert Thibault Moncton, N.B.
Candace Thorne Yellowknife, N.W.T. and Edmonton, Alta.
Robert Waisman Vancouver, B.C.


Elisabeth Aldridge
Ottawa, Ontario
Elisabeth Aldridge is the co-founder of Pancreatic Cancer Canada, a national non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds to support those with pancreatic cancer. She has ensured that families and patients have access to a telephone hotline, a comprehensive and informative website, and care packages to support various health-related situations. The charity has raised over $1 million for research, notably through an annual golf tournament she organized.
Sandra Beaudoin
Hanna, Alberta
Sandra Beaudoin is passionate about preserving history in her community. In 2010, she helped found the Hanna Roundhouse Society, an organization dedicated to preserving and restoring a century-old building and turntable once used by the Canadian Northern Railway to service locomotives. She continues to educate residents about the Roundhouse's historical significance through special exhibitions and through her fundraising efforts with the Society.
Bethany Bisaillion, Lachlann Bisaillion, Robert Derry and Margaret Duffy
Ottawa, Ontario
Bethany Bisaillion, Lachlann Bisaillion, Robert Derry and Margaret Duffy have volunteered countless hours, musical skill and experience to the Sons of Scotland Pipe Band. Through their mutual dedication, they have organized fundraisers and concerts in support of charitable organizations. Ms. Bisaillion also founded the Scottish Society of Ottawa; Mr. Bisaillion encourages others to perform in the solo field; Mr. Derry is known as a mentor to younger performers; and Ms. Duffy also volunteers as a companion at High Horizons, a community social group for adults with physical disabilities.
Dawn Blain
Ottawa, Ontario
Dawn Blain's caring spirit has touched the lives of many over her 26 years of volunteering at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Auxiliary. As the director of the lobby desk volunteers, she has scheduled and trained volunteers to work at this central station that is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. A desk volunteer herself, she has also offered support to families of critical care patients. She is known for her dedication to helping others in their time of need.
Devora Caytak
Ottawa, Ontario
For more than 30 years, Devora Caytak has tirelessly supported Ottawa's Jewish population, as well as the broader community. She runs two successful charities: the Friendship Circle of Ottawa assists families of children with special needs, while the Jewish Youth Library of Ottawa offers books, classes, educational entertainment and lectures to both Jewish and non-Jewish residents. Her commitment to bridge-building between communities has been a key factor in her volunteerism.
Jean Dansereau
Gatineau, Quebec
Jean Dansereau joined L'Arche Canada over 40 years ago and, ever since then, he has been working with people with intellectual disabilities who want to share community living. As the president of the Association des Arches du Québec and then as president of L'Arche Canada, he modernized the organization's structures in harmony with the mission of L'Arche, which is to give people living with or without an intellectual disability the opportunity to live in the community. Today, he continues to volunteer in the L'Arche Agapè community in Gatineau.
Veronica Donovan
Nepean, Ontario
Veronica Donovan is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities. As a special education advisory committee representative on a local school board, she provided information to parents about individualized education programs and advocated for the inclusion of special-needs students in mainstream classes. She has also been a rhythmic gymnastics coach with the Special Olympics for over 20 years, promoting the importance of enjoyment, fun and physical activity.
Michael Dougherty
Whitehorse, Yukon
For many years, writer, educator and outdoor enthusiast Michael Dougherty has been an active leader in the community. He has been involved with numerous organizations, including the Social Justice Committee at the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Whitehorse; the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition; the Yukon Human Rights Board; and the Downtown Urban Gardeners Society. He is also known for his development work in South America.
Stanley Dzuba
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Stanley Dzuba has been an active volunteer in his community and internationally for more than 20 years. At the local level, he assists with building maintenance at the Silver Harbour Senior Centre, serves as a zone chairman with the Army Cadet League, and helps out regularly at the Royal Canadian Legion branch. In addition, he has visited developing countries with CESO International Services, sharing his professional expertise in telecommunications.
Wilfred Edmond
Donkin, Nova Scotia
Wilfred Edmond has been a mainstay in his community for over half a century. He served for 35 years as a volunteer firefighter, as well as a coach of minor hockey and baseball. This decorated veteran has been an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion at all levels. A talented singer, he toured with The Men of the Deeps coal miners choir throughout Canada and the United States. He continues to sing with the Cape Breton Legionnaires Choir on visits to hospitals and seniors' homes.
Ronald Evans
Fredericton, New Brunswick
As a hockey coach, Ronald Evans saw that members of his team were starting to experiment with drugs and alcohol. In response, he launched the Try Hugs-Not Drugs program and created a mascot named Huggy Lion. Over the years, as Huggy, he brought his message to schools throughout Fredericton. He is also one of the founding members of the Portage Atlantic youth addictions rehabilitation centre and has been active with the Nashwaaksis Lions Club since 1968.
Katie Fitzgerald
St. Albert, Alberta
Katie Fitzgerald believes that you are never too young to start volunteering. She has been actively involved in the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, the Clean-up the Sturgeon River Project, and the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society. She has also participated in a number of fundraising events, including the 30-Hour Famine. In 2012, she helped create SOARING, a group that encourages young people to get involved in their community.
Kevin Freedman
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Kevin Freedman has been a volunteer for over 20 years, often working with young people. As a teenager, he taught free swimming lessons to inner-city youth; later on, he was a distress counsellor for teens. His gift for public speaking and engaging audiences has influenced youth groups to take local action on global concerns, from high school students learning about blood types to young people involved with the Manitoba Environmental Youth Network.
Claude Gagnon
Ville-Marie and Témiscamingue, Quebec
For over 40 years, Claude Gagnon has been an important link in the Témiscamingue community. He has chaired the Lake Témiscamingue winter festival and the Témiscamingue development corporation. He has organized numerous fundraising initiatives to improve services for clients in disadvantaged communities. He is involved with the Abitibi-Témiscamingue tourism association, and spearheaded the fundraising campaign for the Fort Témiscamingue National Historic Site, where partnerships between Aboriginal peoples and city residents were first established.
John Thomas Gibb
Pointe-Claire, Quebec
John Gibb is an active volunteer at The Cambridge, a seniors' residence in his hometown. He sets up bingo games three times a week and encourages new residents to join. He also organizes events for Remembrance Day, Canada Day and St. Jean Baptiste Day. In addition, he convinced city officials to place a bus stop and shelter in front of The Cambridge, so that residents could have greater access to the wider community.
Rochelle Greenberg
Ottawa, Ontario
Rochelle Greenberg is the founder of An Evening With Abigail, a series of inspirational and creative fundraising events in support of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre. A cancer survivor herself, she continues to counsel women who need support and guidance as they undergo treatment. She has also raised funds for Ottawa Therapy Dogs and participates in their therapy program with her own dog. The pair are regular visitors to the palliative care department at Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital, where they provide comfort to terminally ill patients and their families.
Jacques Grégoire
Outremont, Quebec
Jacques Grégoire has been active in the community since he was 12 years old. His involvement dates back to 1954, when he founded Outremont's first junior hockey league. Following the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, he volunteered with the Red Cross to answer calls from people looking to make donations to the victims. He is very involved as the president of the Outremont seniors' association and, during elections, he provides transportation to those who need help getting to polling stations.
Sophie Louise Harrington
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
As a student at Memorial University, Sophie Harrington became a volunteer with the non-profit international organization Enactus, which promotes entrepreneurial action to improve the standard of living of those in need. With Enactus, she managed a team of 73 volunteers and participated in 23 projects. She has also served as a volunteer board member for the Mile Zero Ultimate sport club, where she helped to double its membership and assisted in developing a number of initiatives to make ultimate Frisbee safer and more accessible.
Gillian Heginbottom
Wakefield, Quebec
Gillian Heginbottom is a founding member of the Quebec Association for Independent Living. In 1994, she helped found Quail House, a permanent residence for English-speaking or bilingual developmentally challenged adults in the lower Gatineau Valley. She has been the driving force in its fundraising initiatives for the last 15 years, notably through the sale of her renowned jams and chutneys, and her handcrafted quilts.
Gillian Lawrence
Amherst, Nova Scotia
Gillian Lawrence has had a lasting impact on therapeutic horseback riding in Canada. A founding member and past president of the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association, she wrote the Instructor Certification Manual and hosted regional showcases for disabled riders. For 13 years, she was a volunteer with the Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International. In addition to her work with horses, she initiated a Meals on Wheels program in her community, collected items for the food bank and served with St. John Ambulance.
Carol Laws
Hudson, Quebec
Carol Laws has long served others in her community who are going through difficult times. She and her group of volunteers at Le Pont/Bridging Food Bank provide food, basic necessities and school supplies to more than 35 families every month. Mrs. Laws is particularly known for her thoughtful attention to special requests from her clients; whether it's for gluten-free items or baby food, she ensures their needs are met. Her tireless efforts have earned her the love and respect of the community at large.
Tony Loffreda
Westmount, Quebec
Tony Loffreda has served his community since 1997. Several organizations and events have benefitted from his involvement, including the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation's Grand Bal des Vins-Cœurs; the Kidney Foundation gala; the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada; the Montreal Cancer Institute benefit concert; La Voce golf tournament; the Fondation Québec Jeunes; the doctors' ball at the Jewish General Hospital; and the Centaur Theatre gala.
Ruth Loomer
Ottawa, Ontario
For decades, Ruth Loomer has been committed to helping people in her community and abroad. In Ottawa, she teaches English as a second language to newcomers. She was a board member of the Debra Dynes Family House, which helps low-income families, and she works tirelessly to create local outreach initiatives through the Carleton Memorial United Church. Additionally, she has partnered with Bridgehead to support small-scale coffee farmers in Central and South America, Indonesia and Africa by selling fair-trade coffee through churches in the Ottawa area.
Lesia Maruschak
Ottawa, Ontario
Lesia Maruschak is a volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC). She has organized fundraisers and promoted awareness walks, and has spoken on behalf of the LLSC about her personal challenges with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. She convinced retailers to donate a portion of their profits to the LLSC, and inspired international students visiting Canada to continue their engagement once they return home. She also put together an online newsletter that features personal stories, tips on nutrition, recipes and recommendations on how to stay positive during treatment.
Bob Putko
Flin Flon, Manitoba
Bob Putko is dedicated to helping seniors in his community. He volunteers at bingo and games nights at the Northern Lights Manor seniors' centre, and drives residents to appointments throughout the city. He is an active force with Meals on Wheels and the Simonhouse Bible Camp. When he discovered both Simonhouse and the Northern Lights Manor were lacking in a recycling program, he started his own to promote waste reduction.
Elizabeth Robinson
Kingston, Ontario
For nearly 60 years, Elizabeth Robinson has supported various causes, particularly those involving art therapy. She has held volunteer executive positions with the Ontario Art Therapy Association, the Toronto Dance Theatre and the women's auxiliary of the Canadian Hearing Society. She also helped veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome by organizing an exhibition of their art, photography and poetry.
Katharine Robinson
Ottawa, Ontario
As a long-serving member of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, Katharine Robinson has helped plan and fundraise for several events including the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and the Society's fall/winter concert series. She has been involved at every stage of the process, from working as an usher and ticket seller to stuffing envelopes and scheduling volunteers. She also teaches highland dance, and has helped raise funds for Music and Beyond, the Chamber Players of Canada, and Ars Nova.
Gale Dennis Rogers
Napanee, Ontario
For more than 25 years, Gale Rogers has supported The Salvation Army Community Church in Napanee. Active in many fundraising initiatives, he is best known for his 'cut-your-own' Christmas tree farm, from which a share of the proceeds benefits the parish. As well, he was instrumental in the acquisition of the church's current sanctuary and office facilities.
Yvonne Sam
LaSalle, Quebec
Since Yvonne Sam immigrated to Canada in 1975, she has been a mentor and a valuable resource to new Canadians. Through the Guyana Cultural Centre, she tutors children and attends parent-teacher conferences with new families to help them better understand the local school systems. She has also volunteered at a summer school program that helps students improve their academic skills and gives them an opportunity to foster their cultural heritage.
Denise Samson, Christine Steer and Susanne Tarle
Cornwall and Long Sault, Ontario
Denise Samson, Christine Steer and Susanne Tarle have dedicated a significant amount of their time and energy to the Cornwall Handi Social Club, an organization that matches volunteers with adults who have physical disabilities. Mrs. Tarle founded the club to provide people with limited mobility the opportunity to share common interests and struggles. Mrs. Samson served as the club's vice-president, ensuring members could participate in various activities, such as bowling and swimming. Ms. Steer supports her fellow volunteers who work and live with the club's clientele. The trio also volunteers with many other organizations, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Meals on Wheels and the Children's Aid Society.
Valerie Saunderson and Hugh Saunderson
Nepean, Ontario
For over 15 years, Valerie and Hugh Saunderson have supported Operation Christmas Child, a program that distributes gift-filled shoeboxes to children living in desperate circumstances throughout the world. They have transformed their basement into a small warehouse of toys and supplies, where they fill approximately 1 200 boxes per year. Every November, they go to the Kitchener sorting centre and help inspect thousands of shoeboxes before they are packed and shipped to countries around the world.
Edward Sawdon
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Edward Sawdon has been a long-time advocate for people living with mental and physical health issues. He has volunteered with the Independent Living Resource Centre, the St. John's Ostomy Chapter, the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Pottle Centre, a local not-for-profit organization that provides a social and recreational environment for adults requiring mental health services.
Landry Signé
Montréal, Quebec
Landry Signé is a volunteer who is dedicated to improving African society. He is the chairman and co-founder of the Global Network for Africa's Prosperity, a non-profit organization based in Montréal. The Network comprises over 3 000 organizations in over 40 countries, with the objective of improving basic living conditions. The organizations facilitate access to education and technology, while generating economic and social opportunities for disadvantaged persons. He also chaired the Vogt Red Cross Club, and organized first aid training and vaccination campaigns for 2 000 students in Africa.
Cindy Stewart
Aberdeen, Saskatchewan
Cindy Stewart is a committed volunteer with the Saskatoon branch of the Army Cadet League of Canada. In 2008, she chaired a committee to establish an army cadet unit in an indigent neighbourhood of downtown Saskatoon. The unit is now thriving and has a positive impact on local youth. She is also a supporter of the Wounded Warriors organization, which raises funds for individuals with mental health issues following their service in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Norman Wilson Tape
Ottawa, Ontario
A retired scientist, Norman Tape has shared his time, knowledge and leadership talents with various sectors in his community for over 30 years. He has served on the governing boards of two Ottawa hospitals and has volunteered for the YMCA, the Ottawa Grace Manor, the Kidney Foundation, the Big Rideau Lake Association, and the United Way. He also provided advice on regional health care programs and services for the Ottawa-Carleton District Health Council for several years.
Suzanne Thériault and Michel Thériault
Orléans, Ontario
Through their hard work and kindness, Suzanne and Michel Thériault have enriched the lives of many seniors in their community. As president and vice-president of programs at the Roy G. Hobbs Seniors' Club, they volunteer every day, organizing a regular roster of activities, planning special events and ensuring that all members enjoy their experiences at the Club. Membership has more than tripled during their tenure.
Robert Thibault
Moncton, New Brunswick
Robert Thibault has been serving his community for the past 40 years. He volunteers with a variety of organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Moncton; the Heart and Stroke Foundation; the Canadian Cancer Society; the Kiwanis Club; and Nazareth House, a free, short-term homeless shelter. In addition, he has been the bingo caller at the Villa du Repos seniors' residence on Tuesday evenings for the past 20 years.
Candace Thorne
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and Edmonton, Alberta
Candace Thorne is dedicated to supporting military families. She first volunteered with the Military Family Resource Centre in Comox, B.C. In March 2010, she joined the National Military Family Council, where her skills and experience, combined with a passion for family support, meant she could speak on behalf of military families to the senior leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces. She raised awareness of such key issues as child care, mental and physical health, employment, and access to support services.
Robert Waisman
Vancouver, British Columbia
A survivor of the Holocaust, Robert Waisman dedicates his time to educating others on how hate, racism and indifference can harm our society. As a co-founder of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, he has spoken with youth and community groups throughout Canada and the United States to remind us that the lessons of the Holocaust continue to be relevant today. He has also served as a mentor to survivors of the Rwandan genocide and as an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


When the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc became Governor General of Canada, he was determined to thank the thousands of caring people who give so much to their fellow citizens-the unsung heroes who volunteer their time, their efforts and a great deal of their lives to helping others, and who ask for nothing in return. In 1995, the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award was created.

The award recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation. The award also highlights the fine example set by these volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are so much a part of our Canadian character.

Eligibility criteria

The award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad.

Nomination process

Nominations can be made directly through the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. They will be received by the Chancellery of Honours and reviewed by the advisory committee which will make recommendations to the governor general. There is no deadline for submissions. Nominations are accepted throughout the year.

If you know a friend, neighbour or member of your community who deserves this unique award, please share their stories by completing a nomination form at

Description of the award

The award's emblem represents Canadians who selflessly give of their time and energy to others. The maple leaf symbolizes the people of Canada and their spirit; the heart depicts the open-heartedness of volunteers; and the outstretched hand portrays boundless generosity. The blue and gold colours, which appear on the viceregal flag, indicate the award's connection with the governor general.

The Caring Canadian Award consists of a certificate and a lapel pin presented to recipients by the governor general or by lieutenant governors, territorial commissioners, mayors or partner organizations. Where this is impossible or if a recipient requests an early presentation for personal reasons, the award will be sent by mail.

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