Meet the award winners: Gérard Lévesque, Alex Munter, and Danielle Blais.
2012 Ontario Francophonie Awards
Biographies of recipients
GÉRARD LÉVESQUE - Francophone
A lawyer and Notary Public since 1988, Gérard Lévesque also served as Executive Director of AJEFO, the network of the bilingual judges and lawyers of Ontario, for a decade (1991-2001).
Mr. Lévesque has been greatly involved in the field of language and school rights. He played a major role in helping the Franco-Ontarian community earn recognition of the right to manage its educational facilities. He was also a member of the Board of the Centre médico-social communautaire de Toronto and member of the French Committee of the City of Toronto.
Mr. Lévesque has received the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal (1992); l'Ordre de la Pléiade et du dialogue des cultures, given by the Ontario Section of the Assembly of French Language Parliamentarians (1997); and the Merit Award of the Association of French Speaking Jurists of Ontario (2004).
Mr. Lévesque holds a Bachelor degree in Philosophy from St-Paul University, as well as a Baccalaureate in Arts and a Baccalaureate in Law (1986) from the University of Ottawa. He is also a legal columnist for various media including L'Express of Toronto and Le Franco (Edmonton, Alberta).
ALEX MUNTER - Francophile
Alex Munter is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Prior to joining CHEO Alex was Chief Executive Officer of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and served as Executive Director of the Youth Services Bureau (YSB), one of Ontario's largest accredited children's mental health agencies. He also taught in French and in English at the University of Ottawa as a Visiting Professor in its Faculty of Social Sciences.
As a City and Regional Councillor in Ottawa from 1991 to 2003, he worked to improve access to French-language municipal services for the children and families in the community, most particularly in the areas of child care, library services, recreation and health services.
Alex has won numerous awards from a wide range of organizations for his contributions to the community, including "Francophile of the Year" in 2003 from l'Association Canadienne-Française de l'Ontario d'Ottawa, and others from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Canadian Institute for Child Health, United Way/Centraide Ottawa, the Federal Business Development Bank, Leadership Ottawa and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.
DANIELLE BLAIS - Young Francophone
Danielle Blais, a native of Hearst, is a professional comedian who is actively involved in her community.
Most notably, Danielle Blais was involved with the production of Ti-jean et le nénuphar de la destinée, a play based on Franco-Ontarian folktales. Danielle always works in French. She loves to communicate her passion for the world of theatre and folklore. She works tirelessly to promote the rich heritage of oral French literature and Franco-Ontarian culture.
Danielle Blais received several scholarships and awards during the course of her studies, including the Hélène Gravel scholarship, the Laurentian University Leadership Award, the Germain Lemieux award in honour of the renowned French Ontarian folklorist, and the Conrad Lavigne Bursary. Danielle is also president of the Cercle du patrimoine oral franco-ontarien (CPOFO).
Growing up in Hearst, she was very active in the Franco-Ontarian community; she helped disadvantaged people, raised funds for the local French community radio and created an environmental club. At the provincial level, she sits on several boards, notably Théâtre Action, La Nuit sur l'étang and ACFO du Grand Sudbury.
Danielle Blais holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts d'Expression (Expressive Arts) from Laurentian University.
Danielle represents the new generation that is redefining French language and culture in Ontario with a personal touch and a renewed commitment.