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2017 Governor General’s Innovation Award Winners

May 5, 2017

MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall. ©OSGG, 2017

OTTAWA—The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Governor General’s Innovation Awards (GGIA). These awards recognize and celebrate outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations whose exceptional and transformative work help shape our future and positively impact our quality of life.

“The recipients of the 2017 Governor General’s Innovation Awards demonstrate that Canadians are among the world’s most creative and dynamic innovators,” said His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. “Through hard work, ingenuity and collaboration, each recipient has developed a unique and innovative approach to solving to an important challenge of our time. Their success is changing lives for the better in Canada and around the world.”

The Governor General had an online conversation with the recipients via Facebook. You can listen to their discussion and learn more about these remarkable innovators online at Facebook/GGInnovation.

Listed below are the winners and their citations:

David Brown

Island View, New Brunswick

David Brown founded MyCodev Group in order to resolve a lack of supply of chitosan, a valuable pharmaceutical ingredient that is essential in a wide variety of medical devices and drugs. Mr. Brown’s innovative technology produces chitosan directly from a fungal fermentation, a process that uses very little energy or chemicals. Mycodev Group is only four years old and is selling its chitosan to major pharmaceutical and medical device companies around the world.

Nominated by Futurpreneur Canada

Marie-Odile Junker

Ottawa, Ontario

Marie-Odile Junker has been a pioneer with respect to endangered Aboriginal languages in Canada, exploring how information and communication technologies can be used to preserve these languages. She has also brought together numerous speaker communities by using a participatory-action research framework that has resulted in the creation of several collaborative websites, including the Algonquian Linguistic Atlas and its online dictionary.

Nominated by Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Patrick McGrath (Strongest Families Institute)

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Dr. Patrick McGrath are the creators of the Strongest Families Institute, a non-profit organization that delivers evidence-based programs to children, youth and families through a unique distance-delivery system. Using proprietary software technology, trained coaches are able to connect with users by phone or via the Internet, thus allowing families greater flexibility when accessing services. The programs address common mental health problems and other issues impacting overall health and well-being.

Nominated by Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

Bonnie Mallard

Guelph, Ontario

Dr. Bonnie Mallard created the High Immune Response Technology (HIR), which manages livestock health through genetic identification. This sustainable and efficient approach was designed to meet consumer expectations for healthy, non-GMO products while maintaining profitability and addressing global food demands.

Nominated by Universities Canada

Audra Renyi

Montréal, Quebec

Audra Renyi co-founded World Wide Hearing (WWH) Foundation, which uses affordable technology, market incentives and rapid training to help underprivileged people affected by hearing loss. Ms. Renyi is also the founder and CEO of earAccess, a for-profit social enterprise that aims to cut the price of hearing aids by 75 per cent. HAW uses innovative distribution models to ensure hearing aids and related services are available to those who need them the most.

Nominated by Grand Challenges Canada

Paul Santerre

Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Paul Santerre invented Endexo technology, a unique compound of surface-modifying macro molecules that are added to plastics during the manufacturing process of medical devices, like catheters. The special coating helps reduce clotting when the devices are used to treat patients, reducing the risk of adverse reactions and potentially deadly complications. Now being used in commercialized products in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, Endexo is helping to improve treatment outcomes for thousands of patients.

Nominated by Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

Presentation Ceremony – May 23, 6 p.m.
The Governor General will present the awards to the winners during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, on May 23, 2017, at 6 p.m.

Selection Committee

The GGIA Selection Committee is composed of distinguished individuals chosen for their expertise in and breadth of understanding of the innovation ecosystem. The 2017 Selection Committee is comprised of the following individuals:

  • Sakchin Bessette, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Moment Factory
  • Chaviva Hošek, Professor, School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto
  • Paul Lacerte, National Ambassador Moosehide Campaign, BC
  • Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO, Cirque du Soleil
  • Heather Munroe-Blum, former principal, McGill University

About the Governor General’s Innovation Awards (GGIA)

The GGIA were created by Governor General David Johnston to foster a culture of innovation by recognizing the outstanding and groundbreaking work taking place in our country. The GGIA are sustained through the efforts of founding and nominating partners. Winners are selected through a two-stage, merit-based selection process. The selection process is managed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation while the execution of all aspects of the program is overseen by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, working in close collaboration with the Rideau Hall Foundation.

A fact sheet on the GGIA is attached. For more information, visit

Additional details regarding the awards ceremony will be released at a later date.

Media information:

Julie Rocheleau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-302-0249 (cell)

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.


Innovation is one of the primary driving forces behind Canada’s prosperity, standard of living and quality of life. And while Canadians are some of the world’s most accomplished innovators, we seldom recognize ourselves as such or celebrate our outstanding contributions to our society and to humanity as a whole.

In today’s globally competitive and interconnected world, increasing productivity through the creation of new products and services, improving public sector performance, and building an inclusive, compassionate society will be the keys to Canada’s success as a caring, efficient and prosperous nation.

Announced in June 2015 and presented for the first time in May 2016, the Governor General’s Innovation Awards (GGIA) inspire Canadians to embrace innovation and to emulate innovative, entrepreneurial risk-takers who have developed new or better ways of creating value and who are having a meaningful impact on our quality of life.

As innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are fundamentally important to all Canadians and can have a transformative, positive impact—regardless of whether it is in the private, public or not-for-profit realms—the awards encompass all sectors of Canadian society and will

  • Celebrate excellence in innovation across all sectors of Canadian society;
  • Inspire Canadians, particularly Canadian youth, to be entrepreneurial innovators; and
  • Foster an active culture of innovation that has a meaningful impact on our lives.

Each year, up to six award winners are identified through a two-stage, merit-based selection process. This adjudication process is managed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

The Governor General’s Innovation Awards are given to individuals, teams and/or organizations whose innovations are

  • Truly exceptional;
  • Transformative; and,
  • Positive in their impact on quality of life in Canada.

The program operates on an annual cycle, with an awards ceremony held each spring. The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG) oversees the execution of all aspects of the program in conjunction with founding partners and nominating partners.


The GGIA is an ongoing national awards program, sustained through both public and private financial contributions and through the efforts of numerous organizations across Canada.

Founding Partners

  • The OSGG oversees all aspects of the awards.
  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation manages the selection process, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of highly accomplished individuals from all sectors of society.
  • The Canadian Science and Technology Museums Corporation supports the initiative through public education and outreach by showcasing and promoting Canada’s outstanding innovation success stories.
  • The Rideau Hall Foundation gathers and aligns contributions from philanthropic and corporate sectors.

Nominating Partners

Drawn from all sectors of society, and authorized by the OSGG, nominating partners seek out, gather and submit nominations on behalf of their members, clients, partners and associates. Nominating partners include organizations that currently deliver innovation-related awards programs and other organizations that work to support and promote innovation across Canada. In addition to providing a consistent and sustainable flow of nominations on an annual basis, partners assist in promoting the program and generating visibility across the country.

List of Nominating Partners (as of April 2017)

Apathy is Boring
Arctic Inspiration Prize
Association francophone pour le savoir
Business Council of Canada
Business Development Bank of Canada
Canada Council for the Arts
Canada Gairdner Awards
Canada’s Public Policy Forum
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
Canadian Digital Media Network
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Centre for Social Innovation
Chantier de l’économie sociale
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Community Foundations of Canada
Engineers Canada
Entertainment Software Association of Canada
Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year
Excellence Canada
Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Futurpreneur Canada
Grand Challenges Canada
Institut du Nouveau Monde
Information Technology Association of Canada
MaRS Discovery District
National Association of Friendship Centres
National Research Council of Canada
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Polytechnics Canada
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Startup Canada
Sustainable Development Technology Canada
The Conference Board of Canada
The Institute of Public Administration of Canada
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
The Royal Society of Canada
TRICO evolution
Universities Canada
U15 – Group of Canadian Research Universities

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