2018/2019 Process

The Governor General's Innovation Awards are an annual celebration of innovations that exemplify excellence and help improve the quality of life in Canada and around the world.

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

  • 2018 Selection Committee

    Sakchin Bessette

    CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MOMENT FACTORY

    Since co-founding Moment Factory in 2001, Executive Creative Director Sakchin Bessette has spearheaded the creation of over 400 multimedia shows and installations around the world. He leads the studio in a perpetual quest to amaze, inspire and bring people together by exploring new types of entertainment. As Moment Factory has grown—now with more than 300 in-house employees in Montréal, Los Angeles, London, Paris, New York and Tokyo—Mr. Bessette has fostered an ecosystem where artists can strive, collaborate and evolve. His great responsibility is to provide guidance, vision and inspiration to the diverse, multidisciplinary artists who have joined the team over the years, pushing them to think in new ways, create with passion and make no sacrifices to mediocrity. The collaboration and cross–disciplinary process that he has put in place in the studio is key to its success. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division) in 2017.

    Peter Dinsdale

    PRESIDENT AND CEO, YMCA CANADA

    Peter Dinsdale is a strategic leader who has demonstrated his ability to generate results and manage complex change efforts in large, mission-driven networks made up of strong, diverse and autonomous member organizations. Former CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, executive director of the National Association of Friendship Centres and of the YMCA Canada board of directors, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Native studies and political science, and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary humanities from Laurentian University. He has co-edited three volumes of Aboriginal Policy Research and has written a policy piece and review. He holds an honorary degree from Canadore College.

    Chaviva Hošek

    PRESIDENT & CEO EMERITUS, CANADIAN INSTITURE FOR ADVANCED RESEARCH

    From 2012 to 2017, Chaviva Hošek was a professor at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. From 2001 to 2012 she was the president and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Prior to that she served for seven years as the director of Policy and Research in the office of the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, then-Prime Minister of Canada. Between 1990 and 1993, she ran the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau and was the senior policy advisor to Mr. Chrétien in his role as leader of the Official Opposition. A lifelong feminist, Dr. Hošek was an active member of the Ontario Committee on the Status of Women and chaired the Women’s Studies Program Committee at the University of Toronto. For several years, she was a member of the elected executive of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and served as its president from 1984 to 1986. Since 2002, she has been a member of several for-profit and non-profit boards. She has received four honorary degrees, the Outstanding Performance Award of the Public Policy Forum, and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

    Daniel Lamarre

    PRESIDENT AND CEO, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

    As president and CEO of the Cirque du Soleil Group, Daniel Lamarre is in charge of strategy at both the business development and operations levels. He also sees to the organization’s financial sustainability and the perpetuation of its culture and values. Prior to joining Cirque du Soleil in January 2001, Mr. Lamarre served for nearly four years as president and CEO of the TVA Group, Quebec’s largest private broadcaster. From 1984 to 1997, he worked for National Public Relations, the largest public relations firm in Canada, first as executive vice-president and senior partner, and then as president starting in 1995. In 1981, in his capacity as vice-president and managing director, he opened the first Montréal office of Burson-Marsteller, the largest public relations firm in the world. He also previously held various communications leadership roles with cable operator Cogeco and the Fédération des Caisses Populaires du Centre du Québec, and worked as a journalist for over 10 years. Over the course of his career, Daniel Lamarre also served as a board member of numerous organizations.

    Heather Munroe-Blum

    PRINCIPAL EMERITA, MCGILL UNIVERSITY AND CHAIRPERSON, THE CANADA PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD

    Dr. Munroe-Blum is a distinguished academic and business leader, and an outstanding scholar in the fields of psychiatric epidemiology and public policy. Before serving as principal and vice-chancellor/president of McGill University—the first woman to serve in this role—she was the vice-president of Research and International Relations at the University of Toronto. She is a graduate of McMaster University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which she received a Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology (with distinction). She is extensively published in epidemiology and public policy, having conducted major research programs funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and Canadian research agencies. She has served on various domestic, international and governmental advisory councils on science, health and innovation, has chaired peer-adjudication research and scientific award-granting panels and is a member of several prominent corporate boards. She is the recipient of numerous Canadian and international awards and honorary degrees in recognition of her leadership in research, science and innovation, higher education, health and governance. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the Order of Quebec and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

    Sue Riddell Rose

    PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF PERPETUAL ENERGY INC.

    Sue Riddell Rose is president and CEO of Perpetual Energy Inc. and the predecessor of Paramount Energy Trust since its inception in 2002. She graduated from Queen’s University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in geological engineering. She launched her career as a geological engineer with Shell Canada and has close to 30 years of experience in the Canadian oil and natural gas industry. From 1990 until 2002, she was employed by Paramount Resources Ltd. in various capacities, culminating in the position of corporate operating officer. She has been a director of Paramount Resources Ltd. since 2000, as well as a director of Newalta Corporation and AltaLink, L.P., and was a member of the board of trustees of Brookfield Canada Office Properties until their go-private transaction in June 2017. Ms. Rose is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and is a governor of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. She is actively involved with a number of non-profit organizations including the United Way of Calgary, UNICEF Canada, Queen’s University and Fulbright Canada.

  • 2017 Selection Committee

    Sakchin Bessette

    CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MOMENT FACTORY

    Since co-founding Moment Factory in 2001, Executive Creative Director Sakchin Bessette has spearheaded the creation of over 400 multimedia shows and installations around the world. He leads the studio in a perpetual quest to amaze, inspire and bring people together by exploring new types of entertainment. As Moment Factory has grown—now with more than 300 in-house employees in Montréal, Los Angeles, London, Paris, New York and Tokyo—Mr. Bessette has fostered an ecosystem where artists can strive, collaborate and evolve. His great responsibility is to provide guidance, vision and inspiration to the diverse, multidisciplinary artists who have joined the team over the years, pushing them to think in new ways, create with passion and make no sacrifices to mediocrity. The collaboration and cross–disciplinary process that he has put in place in the studio is key to its success. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division) in 2017.

    Chaviva Hošek

    PRESIDENT & CEO EMERITUS, CANADIAN INSTITURE FOR ADVANCED RESEARCH

    From 2012 to 2017, Chaviva Hošek was a professor at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. From 2001 to 2012 she was the president and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Prior to that she served for seven years as the director of Policy and Research in the office of the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, then-Prime Minister of Canada. Between 1990 and 1993, she ran the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau and was the senior policy advisor to Mr. Chrétien in his role as leader of the Official Opposition. A lifelong feminist, Dr. Hošek was an active member of the Ontario Committee on the Status of Women and chaired the Women’s Studies Program Committee at the University of Toronto. For several years, she was a member of the elected executive of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and served as its president from 1984 to 1986. Since 2002, she has been a member of several for-profit and non-profit boards. She has received four honorary degrees, the Outstanding Performance Award of the Public Policy Forum, and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

    Paul Lacerte

    NATIONAL AMBASSADOR MOOSEHIDE CAMPAIGN, BC

    Paul Lacerte is a member of the Carrier First Nation in northern British Columbia. He served as the executive director for the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres for the past 20 years. In 2011, Mr. Lacerte and his daughter, Raven, co-founded the Moosehide Campaign, a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men working to end violence against women and children. He is the vice-chair of the Vancouver Foundation board of directors and the co-chair of Reconciliation Canada. Mr. Lacerte was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2014.

    Daniel Lamarre

    PRESIDENT AND CEO, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

    As president and CEO of the Cirque du Soleil Group, Daniel Lamarre is in charge of strategy at both the business development and operations levels. He also sees to the organization’s financial sustainability and the perpetuation of its culture and values. Prior to joining Cirque du Soleil in January 2001, Mr. Lamarre served for nearly four years as president and CEO of the TVA Group, Quebec’s largest private broadcaster. From 1984 to 1997, he worked for National Public Relations, the largest public relations firm in Canada, first as executive vice-president and senior partner, and then as president starting in 1995. In 1981, in his capacity as vice-president and managing director, he opened the first Montréal office of Burson-Marsteller, the largest public relations firm in the world. He also previously held various communications leadership roles with cable operator Cogeco and the Fédération des Caisses Populaires du Centre du Québec, and worked as a journalist for over 10 years. Over the course of his career, Daniel Lamarre also served as a board member of numerous organizations.

    Heather Munroe-Blum

    PRINCIPAL EMERITA, MCGILL UNIVERSITY AND CHAIRPERSON, THE CANADA PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD

    Dr. Munroe-Blum is a distinguished academic and business leader, and an outstanding scholar in the fields of psychiatric epidemiology and public policy. Before serving as principal and vice-chancellor/president of McGill University—the first woman to serve in this role—she was the vice-president of Research and International Relations at the University of Toronto. She is a graduate of McMaster University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which she received a Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology (with distinction). She is extensively published in epidemiology and public policy, having conducted major research programs funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and Canadian research agencies. She has served on various domestic, international and governmental advisory councils on science, health and innovation, has chaired peer-adjudication research and scientific award-granting panels and is a member of several prominent corporate boards. She is the recipient of numerous Canadian and international awards and honorary degrees in recognition of her leadership in research, science and innovation, higher education, health and governance. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the Order of Quebec and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

  • 2016 Selection Committee

    Sakchin Bessette

    CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MOMENT FACTORY

    Since co-founding Moment Factory in 2001, Executive Creative Director Sakchin Bessette has spearheaded the creation of over 400 multimedia shows and installations around the world. He leads the studio in a perpetual quest to amaze, inspire and bring people together by exploring new types of entertainment. As Moment Factory has grown—now with more than 300 in-house employees in Montréal, Los Angeles, London, Paris, New York and Tokyo—Mr. Bessette has fostered an ecosystem where artists can strive, collaborate and evolve. His great responsibility is to provide guidance, vision and inspiration to the diverse, multidisciplinary artists who have joined the team over the years, pushing them to think in new ways, create with passion and make no sacrifices to mediocrity. The collaboration and cross–disciplinary process that he has put in place in the studio is key to its success. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division) in 2017.

    Jocelyne Bourgon

    PRESIDENT, PUBLIC GOVERNANCE INTERNATIONAL

    From 1974 to 1999, Jocelyne Bourgon held various positions in Canada’s public service, notably as deputy minister Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Industry), cabinet secretary for Federal-Provincial Relations, and president of the Canadian International Development Agency and Transport Canada. She was the first woman appointed as clerk of the Privy Council, serving from 1994 until 1999. She was president of the Canadian Centre for Management Development from 1999 to 2003, and was named president emeritus when it became the Canada School of Public Service. She also served as ambassador to the OECD until 2007. Ms. Bourgon is a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and a visiting professor at the University of Waterloo.

    Erin Egan

    CHIEF PRIVACY OFFICER, FACEBOOK

    Erin Egan helps drive innovation by ensuring privacy considerations are embedded throughout Facebook and facilitates an ongoing dialogue with policymakers about the company’s products and services. Prior to joining Facebook, Ms. Egan was a partner at Covington & Burling where she represented companies on a range of tech policy issues, including privacy, data security, e-commerce and advertising. Ms. Egan sits on the board of the Internet Association, an organization dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect Internet freedom, foster innovation and economic growth, and empower people.

    Naveen Jain

    BOARD OF TRUSTEES, XPRIZE FOUNDATION

    As a board trustee at the XPRIZE Foundation, Naveen Jain is focused on finding entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges in education, health, agriculture, water and energy. An entrepreneur with a passion to solve world’s biggest challenges with innovative technologies, he is the founder of Moon Express, iNome, World Innovation Institute, Intelius, TalentWise and Infospace. He is on the board of directors at Singularity University, an interdisciplinary university with the mission to educate and inspire leaders to address humanity’s grand challenges through innovative technologies. He is a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post. He is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and The Explorer Club. Mr. Jain has been awarded many honours for his entrepreneurial successes and leadership skills.

    Daniel Lamarre

    PRESIDENT AND CEO, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

    As president and CEO of the Cirque du Soleil Group, Daniel Lamarre is in charge of strategy at both the business development and operations levels. He also sees to the organization’s financial sustainability and the perpetuation of its culture and values. Prior to joining Cirque du Soleil in January 2001, Mr. Lamarre served for nearly four years as president and CEO of the TVA Group, Quebec’s largest private broadcaster. From 1984 to 1997, he worked for National Public Relations, the largest public relations firm in Canada, first as executive vice-president and senior partner, and then as president starting in 1995. In 1981, in his capacity as vice-president and managing director, he opened the first Montréal office of Burson-Marsteller, the largest public relations firm in the world. He also previously held various communications leadership roles with cable operator Cogeco and the Fédération des Caisses Populaires du Centre du Québec, and worked as a journalist for over 10 years. Over the course of his career, Daniel Lamarre also served as a board member of numerous organizations.

    Heather Munroe-Blum

    PRINCIPAL EMERITA, MCGILL UNIVERSITY AND CHAIRPERSON, THE CANADA PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD

    Dr. Munroe-Blum is a distinguished academic and business leader, and an outstanding scholar in the fields of psychiatric epidemiology and public policy. Before serving as principal and vice-chancellor/president of McGill University—the first woman to serve in this role—she was the vice-president of Research and International Relations at the University of Toronto. She is a graduate of McMaster University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which she received a Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology (with distinction). She is extensively published in epidemiology and public policy, having conducted major research programs funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and Canadian research agencies. She has served on various domestic, international and governmental advisory councils on science, health and innovation, has chaired peer-adjudication research and scientific award-granting panels and is a member of several prominent corporate boards. She is the recipient of numerous Canadian and international awards and honorary degrees in recognition of her leadership in research, science and innovation, higher education, health and governance. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the Order of Quebec and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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