Order of British Columbia 2021 inductees include Dr. Bonnie Henry, artist Joe Average, Chief Joe Alphonse, and more

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      The latest appointees to B.C.'s highest honour span the fields of art and culture, business and finance, food, health, law, science, and more. 

      Today (August 2), British Columbia’s Lt. Gov. Janet Austin announced the 16 inductees to the Order of British Columbia. These recipients of the honour were chosen from 257 British Columbians who were nominated.

      “"Their extraordinary leadership has been a source of strength for communities across the province,” Austin, who is chancellor of the order, stated in a news release. “In difficult times, they have connected us through art, culture, public service, and more. As we move with optimism toward the future, their achievements will be a foundation of success for future generations.”

      A total of 475 British Columbians have been appointed to the order since it was launched 32 years ago.

      This year's recipients are:

      • Chief Joe Alphonse of Tsilhqot'in Nation, who led a major Supreme Court of Canada Aboriginal land title win in 2014;
      • artist Joe Average, MGC, of Vancouver, who has devoted his artwork to HIV/AIDS and LGBT+ causes since the 1980s;
      • Brenda Baptiste of Osoyoos, who coordinated the planning and operations for the $10-million first phase of the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre and was the director of the Aboriginal Business Showcase for the Four Host Nations during the 2010 Olympics;
      • Frances Belzberg, OC, of Vancouver, who cofounded the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation in 1976 and helped establish the Think AIDS Society;
      • Debra Braithwaite of Victoria, who was the community physician during her 34-year career at Victoria Hospice, which began as a pilot project in 1984;
      • Ajay Dilawri of Vancouver, who cofounded the Dilawri Group, the largest automotive group in Canada, and the Dilawri Foundation, which has donated tens of thousands of dollars to charities;
      • Debra Doucette (Hewson) of the District of North Vancouver, who is the president and CEO of B.C.–based investment firm Odlum Brown, and is a board member of Providence Health Care, Drug Free Kids Canada, and Alumni UBC;
      • B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie J. Fraser Henry of Victoria, who has led the province through the COVID-19 pandemic;
      • Carol A. Lee of Vancouver, who is the chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, which she cofounded in 2011;
      • James McEwen, OC, of Vancouver, who invented the automatic surgical tourniquet and led and founded companies and organizations, including Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre’s biomedical engineering department, Western Clinical Engineering Ltd., Delfi Medical Innovations Inc., and the Medical Device Development Centre;
      • Andrew Petter, CM, QC, of Victoria, who has been a dean of law at the University of Victoria, president and vice-chancellor of Simon Fraser University, and an MLA and minister responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission;
      • Dolph Schluter of Vancouver, a world authority on the role of ecology in the origin and divergence of new species and author of the book The Ecology of Adaptive Radiation, who also launched the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC;
      • Poul Sorensen of Vancouver, a UBC professor of pathology who has devoted his career to understanding childhood cancers;
      • Arran and Ratana Stephens of Vancouver, who cofounded and co-own Richmond-based organic food and manufacturing company Nature’s Path;
      • Marvin Storrow, QC, of Vancouver, who is a senior litigation partner practicing a diverse realm of law, and has served or serves 23 professional associations provincially, nationally, and internationally.

      The appointees were chosen by an independent advisory council comprised of: B.C. chief justice Robert J. Bauman (chair); B.C. Legislative Assembly speaker Raj Chouhan; Royal Roads University president and vice-chancellor Philip Steenkamp; Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat deputy minister Silas Brownsey; Union of British Columbia Municipalities president Brian Frenkel; Shirley Chan, OBC 2020; and Ruth Williams, OBC 2020.

      The Order of B.C. investiture ceremony for 2020 and 2021 recipients is tentatively scheduled to be held at Government House in Victoria in December. Biographies of the recipients are available from the B.C. government. 

      In addition, this year’s B.C. Medal of Good Citizenship will recognize people who have gone above and beyond in helping others and demonstrating kindness during the COVID-19 pandemic, without expectation of reward.

      Nominations for this award must be received by September 19 and must have a COVID-19 focus for consideration. More information is available online

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.