Women, visible minorities make up larger share of latest Order of Canada appointments

My working deck highlights more of the findings of my analysis of the close to 1,700 appointments made over the past 9 years, looking at representation of women, visible minorities and Indigenous peoples, broken down by level, province and background. Given that most appointments reflect a long-term contribution, there is a gap between the population and visible minority appointments:

Working on a more detailed analysis but this provides the highlights:

Women, visible minorities and Indigenous people accounted for a larger share of the latest Order of Canada appointments than in recent years — a sign that Rideau Hall’s quest to diversify one of the country’s highest civilian honours is making progress.

Of the 135 people recently inducted into the Order of Canada, 40.7 per cent (55) are women, 12.6 per cent (17) are visible minority and just over eight per cent (11) are Indigenous.

The numbers are higher in all three categories than in the previous three years. Last year, most of the inductees were white men, and in 2019 well under a third were women.

Retired public servant Andrew Griffith, who served as Canada’s director general of citizenship and multiculturalism, said that while the numbers represent a “significant improvement,” it’s too soon to say whether it’s a trend.

“I’m always wary of claiming victory on the basis of one year,” he said. “So what I look at, whether I’m looking at these kind of numbers or other diversity numbers, is are you seeing a sustained change, a sustained increase.

“What I would like to see is two to three years from now comparing, let’s say, the previous three year period to the next three year period, and see if the needle has been moved.”

The Governor General makes appointments based on recommendations from the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada, which advises her based on nominations suggested by members of the general public.

Griffith said this process means Rideau Hall doesn’t have as many options to diversify the Order of Canada as other institutions.

The newest appointees include entreprenuer and philanthropist Mohamad Fakih and former senator Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Order of Canada relies on public nominations. The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General encourages people to nominate individuals who are reflective of our diversity, including Indigenous peoples and persons from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds,” a spokesperson for the Office of the Governor General said in a statement to CBC.

“As of 2019, the OSGG has asked new appointees to the Order of Canada to complete a voluntary self-identification questionnaire. We look forward to identifying trends as we gather data in the coming years.”

‘Perpetually vigilant’

Sarah Kaplan, director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, said the numbers show improvement but still don’t reflect Canada’s demographics.

“It seems to me that if your population is made up of about half women, or people of diverse genders, and you’re not representing that same proportion in the country’s most prestigious honours, then you are doing a disservice to the community,” she said.

She said she’d like to see Rideau Hall and the advisory council reach out to communities for suggestions rather than rely solely on nominations.

“Who’s going to know about that process and figure out how to navigate the nomination system?” she said. “It’s going to be people who are already in the centre of power, and that’s a pretty closed set of folks in the Canadian context.”

She also said the Office of the Governor General must keep pushing to make the Order of Canada better reflect Canadian society.

“The thing about improving representation in a society that has historically privileged just one group of people is that you have to be perpetually vigilant,” she said.

“And so one year’s progress does not mean that we have now fixed the problem, and that it will naturally trend upwards in subsequent years.”

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/representation-better-order-of-canada-2021-1.6302725

Most new Order of Canada appointees are white men, despite diversity-boosting efforts

For the full analysis, see my deck below:

Order of Canada Appointments: 2013-20

With the second batch of 2020 appointments announced, I have updated my analysis of the appointments looking at diversity from the angle of women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, province, and area of activity.

While the percentage of women appointed in 2019 was lower than average, this rose to a more typical one-third of appointments in 2020. Representation of visible minorities was higher than previous years, representation of Indigenous peoples also rose from 2019 but remained lower than 2017 and 2018, but still higher than previous years.

There is a certain subjectivity with respect to area of activity. For example, activist, academic, public service or business and philanthropy. I have tried to be as consistent as possible.

The presentation below provides the details.

21 racialized Canadians who could help the Order of Canada look more like Canada

Did a quick diversity analysis: 10 Black, 5 Chinese, 2 South Asian, 1 Japanese, 1 Indigenous (surprising that Murray Sinclair has not already been awarded the Order), and no Arab/West Asian or Southeast Asian. 15 women, 5 men. Weighted towards activists:

Earlier this week, the BlackNorth Initiative made a point that seemingly too few people had realized: the 114 people named to the Order of Canada this year were overwhelmingly white and men.

The organization, led by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, sent a letter to Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, whose office hands out the awards, calling for change. 

Only one Black Canadian, Denham Jolly, was listed when the honours were announced Nov. 27, along with a few Indigenous and Asian recipients. Outside of this year, the more than 4,000 Canadians appointed to the Order of Canada are mostly white. Since 2013, only 4.8 per cent of appointees have been visible minorities, while they account for 22.3 per cent of the population of Canada, based on research from Andrew Griffith, who focuses on diversity in politics, and reported by CBC News.

The Star asked community organizations, staff and members of the public which racialized Canadians they think could receive a nomination in the future.

Anyone can make a nomination and the nominees don’t have to be Canadian citizens, rather simply someone who has “enriched the lives of others and made our country a better place” over their lifetime. Elected officials and judges are ineligible while in office. 

These are some of the suggestions: 

M. NourbeSe Philip is an award-winning poet, writer and lawyer born in Tobago and based in Toronto. Philip’s work has helped build an understanding of the Caribbean experience in Canada. Before writing full-time, she was a practising lawyer for seven years. Her work includes “Harriet’s Daughter,” “Caribana: African Roots & Continuities” and “Zong!” In 1990, Philip was named a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. 

Maryka Omatsu was the first Asian woman judge, appointed to the Ontario Court 1993. She is a member of the Order of Ontario as of 2015. Omatsu played a key role in achieving redress for Japanese Canadians interned during the Second World War and is the author of “Bittersweet Passage,” a book that documented the Japanese Canadian community’s campaign for an apology and an acknowledgment of the racism they endured during WWII.

Adelle Blackett is a law professor at McGill University. As a legal scholar, her work has focused on human rights and labour law. In 2009, Quebec’s national assembly appointed her to the province’s human rights commission. She’s received several awards and fellowships over the years, including from Barreau du Québec for her social commitment and her contributions to the advancement of women, and from the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers for her contributions to the legal community and community at large. She was also elected a fellow to the Royal Society of Canada in 2020 and was a 2016 fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

Gary Yee is a lawyer who has devoted his career and community activities to legal clinics, adjudicative tribunals, access to justice and anti-racism. Yee was the president of the Chinese Canadian National Council, where he spearheaded the redress campaign for the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act. 

Paul Taylor has worked in food security and anti-poverty in both Toronto and Vancouver. He is currently the executive director of FoodShare Toronto. Taylor works to both feed and support communities while changing narratives and perceptions about the causes of food insecurity and advocating for workers’ rights. In 2020, Taylor was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

Dr. Alan Tai-Wai Li has been a physician with the Regent Park Community Health Centre since the 1980s. Li has worked in HIV/AIDS research through the Ontario HIV Treatment Network and the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment. His work has focused on many marginalized communities including newcomers and racialized communities living with HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ people, people struggling with mental health and addictions, and those experiencing poverty and homelessness.

Lynn Jones has spent her life campaigning for civil rights in Nova Scotia as an educator, and a community and labour organizer. She grew up at a time when her hometown of Truro, N.S., was segregated in a family of activists. She worked with Saint Mary’s University to create the Lynn Jones African-Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection, which documents her family’s activism and 50 years of Black Nova Scotian history. Jones was also a vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress, where she pushed for an anti-racism report on unions and their communities in Canada in 1995.

Vivek Shraya is a Calgary artist who works across music, literature, visual art, theatre and film. Her bestselling book “I’m Afraid of Men” explores the role masculinity has played throughout her life as a trans woman. Shraya is founder of the publishing imprint VS and has taught creative writing at the University of Calgary. Her album with the Queer Songbook Orchestra, “Part-Time Woman,” was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize.

Amy Go has been a social worker for over 30 years and worked to break down barriers for immigrants and racialized people. Go has worked to promote culturally appropriate long-term care through her work as executive director at the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care. She co-created the CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses in 2001, helping women around the globe pass registration exams to work in their profession. She is also the founding president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice.

Akua Benjamin has been involved in numerous community groups and initiatives advocating for change, and challenging racist policies and structures. Groups in which she has played leadership roles include the Black Action Defence Committee, National Action Committee on the Status of Women and the Congress of Black Women. In 2003, she became the first Black director at Ryerson University. She was a social work professor at Ryerson University for decades and is now head of the Akua Benjamin Project at Ryerson.

Winnie Ng is a long-time social justice and union activist. For more than three decades, Ng championed workers’ rights through her involvement in labour organizations and networks, including as acting executive director of the Labour Education Centre, the Canadian Labour Congress’s Ontario regional director and Ryerson’s CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy. 

Afua Cooper has made contributions to Black studies and art in Canada. Cooper is a sociology professor at Dalhousie University where she was the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies from 2011 to 2017. She founded the Black Canadian Studies Association and was Halifax’s seventh poet laureate. Her book “The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal” was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award.

Murray Sinclair served the justice system in Manitoba for decades. He was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba and the second in Canada. The senator was chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, conducting hearings across the country on the impact of residential schools on Indigenous people, culminating in a report on a way forward toward reconciliation. (Note: officials are ineligible while serving.) 

Baldev Mutta has been in social work for more than 40 years. He founded Punjabi Community Health Services, which started in Mississauga and expanded across Ontario. He has worked for the last 28 years developing a holistic model to address substance abuse, mental health and family violence in South Asian communities and increase access to services for these communities.

Debbie Douglas is the executive director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. She has highlighted issues of equity and inclusion including race, gender and sexual orientation within the immigration system and advocated for safe, welcoming spaces in settlement and integration. She has received several awards, including a Women of Distinction Award from YWCA Toronto, the Amino Malko Award from the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture and an Urban Alliance on Race Relations Racial Equity Award. 

Susan Eng is a lawyer and has been involved in community efforts, including as a founding board member of the Chinese Canadian National Council and as part of the campaign for redress for the Chinese Canadian head tax. Eng was a chair of the Toronto Police Services Board and a vice-president of Canadian Association of Retired Persons. 

Angela Marie MacDougall is the executive director of Vancouver’s Battered Women’s Support Services. MacDougall has advocated for women’s empowerment and against violence against women, and worked on strategies to create gender equity. The City of Vancouver named her a Remarkable Woman in 2014.

OmiSoore Dryden is the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies in the faculty of medicine at Dalhousie University. She has studied the experiences of Black Canadians in the health-care system. She led research into the barriers that gay, bisexual and trans men encounter when attempting to donate blood in Canada.

Grace-Edward Galabuzi is a Ryerson University professor researching experiences of recent immigrants and racialized groups in the Canadian labour market; race and poverty, and social exclusion. Galabuzi also worked in the Ontario government as a senior policy analyst on justice issues in the early ’90s.

Avvy Go is a lawyer and director of the Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. Go has worked largely in legal clinics serving low-income individuals and families, immigrants and refugees. She has also served on several boards and councils including the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council and the Ontario Justice Education Network. Outside of her legal practice, Go organized in the community for causes related to poverty, racism and Chinese Canadians.

Ingrid Waldron is a sociologist and professor in the faculty of health at Dalhousie University. Her work has encompassed the impacts of racial inequities on health. Over the last eight years, through the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health (ENRICH) Project, she has studied the social and health effects of environmental racism in Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/12/05/21-racialized-canadians-who-could-help-the-order-of-canada-look-more-like-canada.html

BlackNorth Initiative calls for ‘too white’ Order of Canada to ‘reflect the deep cultural mosaic of our country’

While the overall point of under-representation of visible minorities and Black Canadians in particular is factually correct, Wes Hall does not appear to understand how the Order selection process works. It is based upon nominations, which are reviewed by the selection committee which makes the recommendations, for the formal approval of the Governor General.

Rather than calling on the Governor General, the correct and more effective approach is to ensure more nominations of visible minority and other under-represented groups.

Proposing the nomination of dead Canadians is a non-starter as this would have to be open to all and most award programs are for the living, not the deceased, the most prominent being the Nobels.

Recognition of Viola Desmond on the $10 bill is both more significant and more appropriate.

In doing the background research for the chart above (and associated deck https://multiculturalmeanderings.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/order-of-canada-2013-20-diversity-1.pdf ), the Governor General’s office provided with earlier gender data that showed that the selection committee made an effort to improve women’s representation: while only 26.9 percent of nominations were women, 32.6 percent of appointments were women (2010-14 data):

The BlackNorth Initiative has spoken out about the racial gap in home ownership among Black people, the lack of Black people in boardrooms — and now it has turned its attention to one of the country’s highest civilian honours: The Order of Canada.

In a letter to Julie Payette, Canada’s Governor General, whose office hands out the awards, the initiative points out that only one Black Canadian was included out of the 114 recipients in 2020.

“If the Order of Canada is truly meant to reflect our country, then why do we not honour, dignify and celebrate the contributions of countless Black Canadian leaders who have pre-eminence, national and international service, and achievement?” asks the letter, signed by the initiative’s founder and chairman Wes Hall.

“The problem is that the vast majority of those 7,000 people who have received the Order are white and do not reflect the deep cultural mosaic of our country, especially Blacks.” 

Hall is also the executive chairman and founder of Kingsdale Advisors, which advises many of Canada’s large publicly traded companies. Hall says his experience working as a Black man in Canada led to many business leaders reaching out to him, resulting in the BlackNorth Initiative.

“I’m curious to see the reaction to this letter,” he said in an interview with the Star. “Our job is to keep shedding light on the systemic racism in our society, and hope they change their process.” 

The letter makes a number of recommendations, including the investiture of five Black Canadian leaders: businessman Michael Lee-Chin; athlete and Olympic gold-medallist Donovan Bailey; lawyer Robert Sutherland (born in Jamaica in 1830, died in Toronto in 1878); businesswoman and activist Viola Irene Desmond, who died in 1965; and social worker and Canada’s first Black MLA, Rosemary Brown, who died in 2003. The latter three have died, and the Order of Canada isn’t awarded to people posthumously — they’re given to living people. 

Hall says this was deliberate. He points out that the only 2020 Black recipient, B. Denham Jolly — who was awarded for his contribution to the promotion of equality and opportunity within the Greater Toronto Area — is already 85.

“I could die tomorrow, and no one would know about my accomplishment to society,” said Hall. 

He points out in the letter to Payette that, since 2013, only 4.8 per cent of the Order of Canada appointments are made up of visible minorities, “well below the 30 per cent of the population who identified as visible minority.”

“71.4 per cent of appointees in 2019 were men. The low number of women among the 2019 appointees — just 28.6 per cent of the total — and the low number of visible minorities — just 5.4 per cent — show the Order of Canada falling short of representing Canada’s diverse population,” the letter reads. 

Accusing the Order of Canada of forgetting countless Black Canadians, the letter urges Payette to do the “right thing.” 

“This chronic lack of recognition of Black Canadians must end. The time is now to set a path forward to equality, equity and justice for Black Canadians.”

Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/12/01/blacknorth-initiative-calls-for-too-white-order-of-canada-to-reflect-the-deep-cultural-mosaic-of-our-country.html

Men accounted for more than two-thirds of Order of Canada appointments last year

I have been tracking Order of Canada appointments since 2013 from a diversity perspective.

While my initial interest was sparked by the Harper government’s effort to increase the number of appointments from Western Canada and the business community (limited success), I increasingly viewed this a an integration indicator and one that likely reflected other award and recognition program (my 2017 detailed review can be found here: The Order of Canada and diversity):

Less than a third of Canadians appointed to the Order of Canada last year were women — a figure that represents the widest gender imbalance in appointments to the order in years.

Analysis by diversity researcher Andrew Griffith, a former senior government official, shows that 71.4 per cent of appointees in 2019 were men. The low number of women among the 2019 appointees — just 28.6 per cent of the total — and the low number of visible minorities — just 5.4 per cent — show the Order of Canada falling short of representing Canada’s diverse population.

Griffith said there may be a lag effect because the Order of Canada tends to be given in recognition of a lifetime’s body of work — and high-profile women were scarce in many fields until relatively recently. But he said he expected to see progress toward gender parity among Order of Canada recipients mirror the advances experienced by women in the public service.

“It indicates where the country has been because these are previous contributions that are being recognized, and yet it says how far we have to go to ensure that, at the honours level where we recognize Canadians, that we’re actually recognizing a broad, diverse spectrum of Canadians,” he said.

A lack of balance

Griffith looked into Order of Canada appointments since 2013. He said he found that, on average, the gender balance on appointments over the seven-year period was 65.6 per cent male and 34.4 per cent female. The appointments came closest to gender balance in 2015, when 54.4 per cent were men and 45.6 per cent were women.

Over the seven-year period Griffith studied, members of visible minorities made up an average of 4.8 per cent of Order of Canada appointments — well below the 22.3 per cent of the population who identified as visible minority in the 2016 census.

In that same period, Indigenous nominees comprised 4.7 per cent of the appointments — very close to the 4.9 per cent identified as Indigenous in the last census.

More than 7,000 people have been invested in the Order of Canada since it was launched in 1967 as one of the country’s highest civilian honours. Appointments are made by the governor general based on recommendations by an independent advisory council, which reviews nominations and holds confidential discussions before voting on each nominee.

Natalie Babin Dufresne, spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, said there has been some progress toward gender balance in the Order of Canada in recent years. She noted that just 21 per cent of the appointees in 2000 were women.

Although the number of women nominated to the Order of Canada has remained steady at about 200 a year, out of roughly 500 to 800 total nominations, Babin Dufresne said the success rate for nominations is higher for women — 72 per cent, compared to 58 per cent for men.

“Progress remains slow, and new initiatives continue to be developed to improve this situation so that we can achieve results with the Order of Canada that are comparable to other programs, such as the Sovereign Medal for volunteers, where close to 48 per cent of the recipients are women,” she said in an email.

“Data collection to get a better understanding of historical trending for other diversity groups began during the current mandate, and will offer us some important insights in the coming years to better target our initiatives and efforts to increase representation for all groups, including gender, visible minority and Indigenous representation.”

Babin Dufresne said modernizing the broader Canadian honours system is one of Gov. Gen. Julie Payette’s top priorities.

While there is no mention of diversity representation in the Order of Canada’s constitution and regulations, Babin Dufresne said steps have been taken to boost its diversity, such as new data collection on gender identity, disabilities, visible minority and Indigenous status, and a new, more user-friendly nomination platform.

She also pointed out that all Order of Canada ceremonies are now livestreamed to boost visibility and accessibility.

Babin Dufresne said the best way to improve diversity in a merit-based public program like the Order of Canada is to get more Canadians to nominate more people — which is why her office is working to increase the public profile of all of Canada’s honours programs and to make the nomination process user-friendly.

Sarah Kaplan, director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto, said more must be done to make the Order of Canada reflect the country.

‘Not acceptable’

“It’s not acceptable, in the Canadian context — a country that considers itself to be a land of opportunity, a land of equal opportunity, a land that pays attention to the diverse communities that exist within Canada — that we would see the awards going mainly to men,” she said.

Kaplan rejected the notion that bringing in quotas could erode the merit-based selection process, arguing that there are plenty of Canadians from all backgrounds who have made extraordinary contributions to Canadian society who aren’t recognized because they don’t fit the “historical template.”

“Our definition of merit is one that is self-reinforcing, about giving the same elite people the same awards. And so, when people say it should be based on merit, they’re not recognizing the fact that the idea of merit itself has been designed by the people in positions of privilege to reinforce their privilege and keep others out,” she said.

Rideau Hall said the Order of Canada advisory council makes appointment recommendations based on merit, but also takes factors like diversity into account.

The spring meeting of the advisory council was postponed due to the pandemic so the July appointments were not named. A new group of appointees is to be announced later this year.

Source: Men accounted for more than two-thirds of Order of Canada appointments last year

The Liberal government wants to pin more medals on bureaucrats

This article does beg the question of whether this is a real issue compared to other under-representation. While the public service initiative is with respect to the wide range of awards under the Governor General, I have looked at Order of Canada recipients.

Under the previous government, there were efforts to improve representation with respect to regional representation (e.g., under-representation in the West, over-representation in Ontario and Quebec) and under-representation of the business community (see my earlier The Order of Canada and diversity).

Recently, it appears that Indigenous representation has increased substantially, and is now greater than their percentage of Canada’s population. Visible minorities, reflecting in large part their relatively newer presence in Canada, but also likely some network effects of not visible minorities, remain under-represented. And women’s representation seems to have plateaued at about one-third with a few exceptions.

And, as the article correctly points out, there are already a considerable number of existing public service awards, both general and department specific:

The Liberal government wants to see more medals pinned on the chests of public servants, and so has established a kind of quota system to make sure they’re nominated more frequently.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the Privy Council and Canada’s top public servant, has pressed all federal departments to submit the names of at least five of their employees each year to the Governor General’s office for various awards.

“We encourage you to task the senior managers responsible for employee recognition within your department to begin nominating at least five public servants per year for Canadian honours,” says a letter co-signed by Wernick and Stephen Wallace, then-secretary to the Governor General.

The fall 2017 missive to deputy ministers, obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act, was followed up last year directly by the Governor General’s office to ensure departments were co-operating.

“We look forward to hearing about your department’s strategy to recognize deserving individuals in your department whose achievements, contributions or accomplishments have made a difference or have had a positive impact on your organization,” says an email from Sylvie Barsalou, administrative officer with the Chancellery of Honours.

The Liberal government initiative was triggered by an internal assessment that concluded public servants historically have been “underrepresented” within the Canadian Honours System, which includes a broad range of medals and decorations.

“[W]e are taking steps towards reversing this phenomenon,” says the Wernick-Wallace letter.

Called ‘underrepresented’

A spokesperson for the Governor General cited statistics for the Order of Canada, one of the Government of Canada’s highest honours, to support the claim that public servants are underrepresented.

“Between 1976 and 2018, people whose contributions were considered ‘public service’ made up, on average, 2.4% of annual appointments to the Order of Canada,” Sara Regnier-McKellar said in an email.

“Over this time period, public servants comprised an average of 5.9% of Canada’s employed labour force each year.”

The phrases “public service” and “public servants” in this context, she said, refer to those working in all kinds of governance and government, including Indigenous governments and municipal, provincial and federal governments.

The impact of the new nominating initiative is unclear. Both the Governor General’s office and the Privy Council Office (PCO) say they are not counting nominations submitted by federal departments.

“We do not monitor or track nominations and have no plans to do so,” said PCO spokesperson Stephane Shank.

At least one department – Innovation, Science and Economic Development – formally launched the PCO initiative internally on Aug. 15, 2018, says a briefing note to the deputy minister.

“It is anticipated that most nominations will be submitted for the Meritorious Service Decorations,” says the note, also obtained under the Access to Information Act.

Civilians in silver

Civilian versions of the Meritorious Service Decoration – either a service cross or a medal, both of silver – were introduced in 1991, complementing a military variant. A formal nomination requires the names of three people as references, as well as a full description of the reasons for making the award.

More than 800 civilian service crosses and medals have been awarded since 1991 — about 28 each year.

The Wernick-Wallace letter also says departments might consider nominating their employees for the Order of Canada. Wernick himself sits on the committee that vets such nominations.

There’s no shortage of other awards specifically reserved for federal public servants. The annual Public Service Award of Excellence, for example, recognizes five categories, including “outstanding career.” There were 123 recipients last year (131 in 2017); each one receives a medal.

And new awards are being added each year. The newly created Parliamentary Protective Service, which has provided security on Parliament Hill since June 23, 2015, recently launched an awards program involving gifts such as jewellery, art and show tickets to recognize excellence, long service and retirements.

Canada’s new information commissioner, Caroline Maynard, also created a new award last year for access-to-information officers, selecting two employees (at the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency) as the inaugural recipients.

The Canadian Press reported in 2013 that the Treasury Board of Canada was spending an average of more than $100,000 a year on gifts and prizes for public servants in that department.

The Governor General’s office alone is responsible for 13 categories of national awards, and lists a total of 413,526 people in its database of previous and current recipients.

Order of Canada 2013-18: Diversity

With the latest batch of Order of Canada appointments, I have updated my summary of the number of women, visible minorities and Indigenous peoples for the years 2013-18:

Order of Canada Appointments Update

For those that are interested, with the December 2017 Order announcements, I was able to update a number of  the key charts from my earlier The Order of Canada and diversity.

The first charts looks at the overall diversity of 953 appointments, broken down by year, for the last five years. The most notable change is the large jump in the number of Indigenous peoples appointed to the order in 2017 (particularly the December appointments).

Source: Order of Canada announcements

The second chart shows the provincial breakdown compared to the population shares, showing the historic pattern of over-representation of Ontario.

The third chart breaks down appointments by rank and group, showing slight relative over-representation at the officer level for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples compared to the ‘feeder’ group member level.

Source: Order of Canada announcements

While as noted in the article, there are a number of factors that make Order of Canada appointments an imperfect indicator for diversity and inclusion (i.e., nomination driven process, regional balance considerations etc) it nevertheless provides a sense of how the contributions of three employment equity groups are publicly recognized.

Order of Canada marks 50 years of honouring Canadian contributions – Diversity analysis


Two charts contrasting the 2013-16 baseline with the latest appointments, which should start reflecting some of the changes and additional funding announced in Budget 2015 to improve under-represented sectors, understood as Western Canadian and business-related appointments (see my earlier article in Policy Options The Order of Canada and diversity).

Given that these are only part-year appointments, full-year numbers may or may not confirm these apparent changes in diversity and provincial representation:

The Order of Canada marks its 50th anniversary this year with 99 new appointments on its Canada Day honours list, including renowned figures from the fields of law, government, entertainment and sport, as well as Canadians whose contributions are less widely known.

The list includes soccer star Christine Sinclair, television host Alex Trebek, actor Catherine O’Hara and Globe and Mail editorial cartoonist Brian Gable.

Three people were named to the highest rank, Companion of the Order of Canada: former Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein, National Arts Centre president Peter Herrndorf and The Prince of Wales.

Nineeteen people were named Officers of the Order of Canada, including former spymaster Richard Fadden, hockey player Mark Messier and actor Michael Myers. There were 77 people named as members of the Order, including opera singer Tracy Dahl, historian Bill Waiser, public health nurse Cathy Crowe and Indigenous leader Terrance Paul.

The Order of Canada is considered one of the country’s highest civilian honours. It was created in the centennial year of 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service to the community. More than 6,700 people have been named to the Order in its 50 years.

Source: Order of Canada marks 50 years of honouring Canadian contributions – The Globe and Mail