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Twenty-Six Exceptional Honourees Appointed to the Order of Ontario

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Twenty-Six Exceptional Honourees Appointed to the Order of Ontario

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, today announced 26 new appointments to the Order of Ontario, which is the province's highest honour.

The 26 new members of the Order of Ontario include: 

  • Internationally renowned surgical robotics pioneer Dr. Mehran Anvari, who founded the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation
  • Global track and field icon Donovan Bailey, who is a two-time Olympic and three-time world champion
  • Francophone rights advocate Angèle Brunelle, who has dedicated her life to promoting Francophone rights in northwest Ontario
  • Advocate for persons with disabilities Robert Pio Hajjar, a popular motivational speaker with Down syndrome who founded the IDEAL Way charity
  • Former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario the Honourable Dennis O'Connor, who presided over the Walkerton Commission and Maher Arar inquiries
  • Arts administrator and human rights activist Helga Stephenson, who nurtured the rise of the world-renowned Toronto International Film Festival 

The Order of Ontario recognizes individuals whose exceptional achievement in their field has left a lasting legacy in the province, Canada and beyond. Order members come from all walks of life and from across Ontario. They represent diverse professions and have played an important role in shaping our province.  

In 2017, the Order of Ontario celebrates its 30th anniversary, and Canada and Ontario celebrate 150 years since Confederation. The Lieutenant Governor will bestow the honour on appointees during an investiture ceremony at Queen's Park in June 2017. The ceremony will be followed by a special anniversary celebration.

Quick Facts

  • The Order of Ontario was established in 1986. 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the first investiture of appointees to the order.
  • Appointments to the Order of Ontario are made on the recommendation of an independent advisory council based on public nominations.
  • The nomination deadline is March 31 each year. Nominations are made by members of the public. Any resident or long-term former resident of Ontario can be nominated.

Background Information

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“As Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, I proudly recognize 26 Ontarians who have demonstrated excellence and achievement at the highest level. Having distinguished themselves in the fields of journalism, medicine, human rights advocacy, community building, the arts, and sport, they join a society of merit that has been an inspiration to Ontarians for 30 years. I offer them my warm congratulations on behalf of a grateful province.”

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

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