Governor General to Present Caring Canadian Award to 28 Volunteers in Toronto

OTTAWA, Nov. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, along with Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will present the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award to 28 volunteers from various sectors of society, on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at 4 p.m., during a ceremony at the Lieutenant Governor's Suite at Queen's Park. His Excellency will deliver brief remarks on this occasion.

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. For more information or to nominate a deserving individual, visit 

The list of recipients and their citations follow.


Bayley Ryan Abrams
Thornhill, Ontario

Thirteen-year-old Bayley Abrams has been a dedicated volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada since the age of five. Through her creation of Imagine a Cure for Leukemia, a kid-friendly event that raises funds for leukemia research, she demonstrated not only her commitment to helping people, but also her ability to inspire others to get involved.

Carol Belanger
Bradford, Ontario

For over 30 years, Carol Belanger has been directing, singing and playing guitar with the choir of the Holy Martyrs of Japan Catholic Church, and has been an executive member of the Bradford Catholic Women's League. For the past 15 years, she has also been volunteering with the Bradford Helping Hand Food Bank and has been a member of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association for over 10 years, holding numerous positions on the Bradford West Gwillimbury Minor Hockey Association Executive Committee.

Murray Bender
Toronto, Ontario

Over the past 30 years, Murray Bender has dedicated his time to the Greater Toronto YMCA as a volunteer fitness leader. In that time, he has led four fitness classes a week, provided health and wellness advice to YMCA members, and recruited and trained new volunteers.

Kathy Bodnar
Toronto, Ontario

For 12 years, Kathy Bodnar has been a youth mentor with The Peer Project, where she has served as a positive role model for her young mentee. She also sits on the organization's youth leadership and fundraising committees, as well as its board of directors.

William "Bill" Brazeau
Kilworthy, Ontario

Bill Brazeau has volunteered over 10 years to law enforcement in his community as a Powassan Auxiliary OPP officer. He is also a volunteer firefighter with the Gravenhurst Fire Department, and is a past president of the Canadian Red Cross North Bay Branch.

James W. Breckenridge
Toronto, Ontario

James Breckenridge founded the Canadian Transplant Society (CTS) in 2009, which became a registered charity in 2011. CTS acts as a liaison between the Canadian public, donor agencies, media and medical staff on issues related to organ donation.

James Chestnutt
Mississauga, Ontario

Since 1981, James Chestnutt has been helping the impoverished and homeless of Toronto through community initiatives with the Yonge Street Mission and Genesis Place Homes. He has also helped those affected by cardiac disease by organizing events and fundraising for the Toronto Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre for more than 10 years. In addition, he shares his love of music as board chairman of the Elmer Iseler Singers.

Santosh Choubey
Markham, Ontario

As the president of the Indian Canadian Organization, Santosh Choubey spearheaded a successful blood donation drive for Canadian Blood Services by hosting public gatherings and raising awareness within the South Asian community. He has also volunteered with the Lakshmi Narayan temple since 2003, serving food to over 300 devotees at the temple every Sunday.

Tyler Colbourne
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Tyler Colbourne has volunteered with Canada World Youth for more than 11 years and with Katimavik for 7 years. He has donated his time and skills as a photographer to many other organizations as well. As a board member of Youth Project, Tyler is committed to improving the lives of Nova Scotia's LGBTQ youth by reaching out through the Connect the Dots program.

 Carol Deighton
Toronto, Ontario

Carol Deighton has been a volunteer with the Adoption Council of Ontario for more than 10 years. She has dedicated many hours a year to the Council's events, information sessions, and education and mentoring programs. Over the past six years, she has helped coordinate the Council's annual FunWalk, which raises funds for and awareness of adoption in this province.

Arunima Dinesh
Scarborough, Ontario

Arunima Dinesh has strengthened her community through active involvement in a variety of programs. She has, for example, volunteered her services with the Adobe Youth Voices Program, promoting positive change and creative confidence among young people. She has also assisted technicians at the Malvern Veterinary Hospital, working closely with the animals.

Melissa Fairey
Aurora, Ontario

Melissa Fairey has made the world a more accepting and inclusive place through her involvement in Campus Ubuntu, a university organization for which she organized events that promoted peace and equality. Melissa has also contributed her time to health initiatives and after-school programs in Chile, Indonesia and Nova Scotia with the United Nations Development Programme and Canada World Youth.

Daphne Gold
Cobourg, Ontario

As part of the St. John Ambulance Northumberland Branch Therapy Dog Unit, Daphne Gold and her dog have spent four years providing therapy dog services to seniors in long-term care facilities where she encourages social interaction and brings joy to people. Her endless commitment to the Therapy Dog Unit, to its mentor program, and to fundraising events has reinforced the benefits of pet therapy, and has had a positive impact on the lives of many Canadians.

Mario Guilombo
Toronto, Ontario

Mario Guilombo is a lawyer and lifelong defender of human rights. In 2007, he founded the Canadian Human Rights International Organization, a non-profit agency that supports and assists victims of violence, discrimination, racism and other human rights violations. He continues to serve with the group as a dedicated volunteer.

Eva Guta
Durham Region and Whitby, Ontario

For the past 20 years, Eva Guta has worked with the Distress Centre Durham helpline, providing emotional support and suicide prevention assistance to those in need. Through her work with PFLAG Canada and Girls Inc., she is committed to empowering and supporting girls and LGBTQ youth through leadership, outreach and advocacy programs.

Kim Kelly
Burlington, Ontario

Special Police Constable Kim Kelly made a remarkable contribution to the Canadian Cancer Society through her initiative Kim's Ride to Cross Out Cancer. In 2014, she biked from Burlington, Ontario, to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to raise funds for cancer research. She continues to dedicate her time to the Society by sharing her story at a variety of events.

Colleen Kenny
Toronto, Ontario

For over 35 years, Colleen Kenny has given back to her community by volunteering with the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario. For the last 10 years, she has been a mentor and event coordinator with the Children's Aid Society of Toronto.

Vikrum Malhotra
Brooklyn, New York, United States of America

Cardiologist Dr. Vikrum Malhotra has volunteered extensively overseas, providing free, vital, medical services to women and children in rural India and Ghana. Through his work as a volunteer physician advisor, Dr. Malhotra has also helped improve access to health care for underprivileged rural communities in Ontario, and for veterans in Massachusetts, United States of America.

Janet Metcalfe
Aurora, Ontario

Over the course of two decades, Janet Metcalfe has been an avid and dedicated volunteer caregiver at the Child Development Centre of the Rose of Sharon Services for Young Mothers. She looks after the children of clients who are attending educational workshops or group sessions at the Rose of Sharon. With a consistent and compassionate approach, she helps with feeding, outdoor activities and interactive play.

Margaret Orsi
Markham, Ontario

In 2001, high school teacher Margaret Orsi founded Ayni, a grassroots NGO that helps alleviate poverty in Piura, Peru. Her work has inspired her students in Canada to develop a passion for social justice, and led to the creation of the York Catholic District School Board's Indigenous Studies program, which has brought students to Peru and which has influenced a new generation of humanitarians.

Jean Sylvin Pineau
Belleville, Ontario

Jean Sylvin Pineau leads by example and inspires others, particularly individuals with acquired brain injuries. He delights audiences with his piano concerts, whether he is playing at the Trenton Memorial Hospital, the Belleville General Hospital, St. Matthew's United Church, or the Open Door Café at Eastminster United Church.

Kim Rod
Thornhill, Ontario

After spending hours volunteering at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and witnessing the difficult circumstances its young patients face, Kim Rod was inspired to create the Cancer Kids Entertainment Inc. This registered charity provides entertainment and activities for children undergoing cancer treatment and their families. Her efforts have provided countless moments of happiness for children going through trying times.

Deeana Mary Saminathan
Scarborough, Ontario

Deena Saminathan, a student at Frances Libermann Catholic High School, was instrumental in helping her peers collect over 2 000 pairs of jeans for teens in need. She has also devoted many hours of volunteer service to the Scarborough Hospital Gift Shop and to the Toronto Public Library's Youth Advisory Group, where she coordinates teen-friendly events and activities.

Lorena Saxton
Port Colborne, Ontario

Lorena Saxton has been a committed volunteer for Meals on Wheels in her community of Port Colborne for over 45 years. She has also been volunteering at the Port Colborne Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop since 1972, and is an active member of United Church Women.

Abida Usman
Toronto, Ontario

For the past 25 years, Dr. Abida Usman has been volunteering with charitable causes that help orphans and vulnerable women. She gives of her time and support to the betterment and well-being of those in need in our society.

Khalid Usman
Toronto, Ontario

An accountant by profession, Khalid Usman has been involved in community volunteerism for over 20 years. His contributions include fundraising for charitable causes, advocating for equity and inclusion, and supporting participatory citizenship among newcomers to Canada.

Jean Williams
Mississauga, Ontario

For over 40 years, Jean Williams has volunteered with the Rattray Marsh Protection Association, the Conservation Halton Foundation, and Credit Valley Conservation to protect the environment in her community. Her dedication to wetland preservation has been instrumental in bringing awareness to the issue of environmental degradation.

Kenneth Wright
London, Ontario

As the founder and director of the Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS), Dr. Kenneth Wright has provided free dental care to hundreds of low-income families in London, Ontario, since 2008. As a volunteer with Community Living London for over 17 years, he has bettered the lives of people with developmental disabilities through his instrumental role in the creation of the Scatcherd Centre.


SOURCE Governor General

For further information: Media wishing to cover the event are asked to confirm their attendance with the Rideau Hall Press Office and to arrive at the Legislative Assembly Press Gallery no later than 3:45 p.m.; Media information: Josephine Laframboise, Rideau Hall Press Office, 613-993-4186, 613-668-1929 (cell),

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