Recipients of the 2018 Canada’s Volunteer Awards

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

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National awards

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Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award

Harold Empey

  • Photograph 1: Harold Empey

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos and Lise Casgrain present Harold Empey with the Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Even past the age of 80, Harold Empey continues to work for the betterment of the people in his province. This Saskatchewanian has devoted countless hours to helping improve the lives of people in any way he can. Harold’s volunteerism began in the 1950s when he volunteered at a fire department and has continued in various capacities ever since, from local politics to international health campaigns.

Over the past several years, Harold developed the “Just in Case” binder, a resource designed to educate and guide people through advance planning, when required to act on someone’s behalf in case of emergency, incapacity or death. When the full program was finalized, it was done in honour of his late wife and son. To date, Harold has sold over 12,000 binders, held countless free information sessions, and raised over $200,000 for charity.

Harold has also contributed to several notable achievements in his local communities, such as leading initiatives to build needed community structures. He has been active in Scouting at the local and provincial levels, and been an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. He played a fundamental part in opening Rotary International membership to women in the early 1990s, and has been major fundraiser for the organization. Globally, Harold has participated in the campaign to rid the world of Polio and led teams to both Siberia and Poland to assist communities during times of political changeover.

Harold believes that giving back can happen through the smallest of ways. He has been recognized many times over for his commitment to the community. Harold’s entrepreneurial spirit combined with his integrity, commitment to serve, and consistency in following through makes him a truly inspirational community leader. His passion is infectious, and he proves that one can never be too busy to do the things that matter.

Regional awards

In this section

Community Leader

David Bradley – Atlantic

  • Photograph 2: David Bradley

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents David Bradley, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Community Leader (Atlantic) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

As a result of David Bradley’s vision and hard work, the historic fishing town of Bonavista, Newfoundland, has shifted from a place of population and economic decline in the 1990s to a shining example in the province of the benefits of both heritage conservation and thoughtful community development. As one of the founders of the Bonavista Historic Townscape Foundation, David helped direct the development of a revitalization plan that eventually saw millions of public and private dollars invested in community improvements and the preservation of nearly 100 historic buildings.

David and his late father, Gordon Bradley, were a driving force behind this dramatic turnaround in the economic and cultural future of the Town of Bonavista, which had lost hundreds of residents due to the Cod Moratorium of 1992. They led efforts to revitalize a community in crisis by protecting and developing Bonavista's heritage resources.

David has also been a passionate and articulate advocate for heritage on the municipal and provincial levels, having served as chair of the Newfoundland Historical Society and the Association of Heritage Industries. These organizations successfully lobbied the provincial government to include Newfoundland and Labrador history in the high school curriculum, and to adopt the province’s first cultural policy. David laid the groundwork for heritage preservation and development that is held up as a best practice throughout the province. David has also made significant contributions to heritage conservation at the national level and is considered a leader in the field.

David's leadership has helped shape provincial and national heritage organizations by drawing together volunteers toward a common purpose. The accomplishments of David Bradley are proof that the right kind of leadership, a strong belief in a long-term plan, and dogged persistence, pay off in creating positive community change.

Audrey Burt - Québec

  • Photograph 3: Audrey Burt

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Audrey Burt, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Community Leader (Quebec) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Driven by her commitment to creating a better life for her son and for children like him, Audrey Burt left her career as a substitute teacher in a local high school in order to dedicate herself to autism. Audrey built Soutien Autism(e) Support (S.Au.S.) from the ground up and has made an immeasurable impact on her community. S.Au.S. is a pioneer organization offering services where there previously were none. It operates in Candiac (Québec), a region that needs accessible services adapted to the needs of individuals on the autism spectrum. It was created by Audrey, but made possible by the community she brought together through the first Autism Awareness Run, followed by years of time and effort.

Audrey increased her impact on the community by creating a summer camp for adolescents on the autism spectrum. Knowing that children on the spectrum need a camp with programs and activities designed with them in mind, Audrey opened Camp Oasis in 2015, and has been welcoming children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ever since. By holding many fundraising events and having regular volunteering positions in her programs, Audrey has provided many students from local high schools with the opportunity to contribute within their community.

Audrey’s huge heart and philanthropy are now the driving force behind the plan to build a day centre for low functioning adults with ASD over the age of 21 who have no services available for them. It will welcome the maturing participants of S.Au.S. programs. Through all of her initiatives, Audrey effectively serves the participants of this growing community throughout their childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Through her years as a dedicated volunteer, Audrey has inspired many people and contributed endlessly to her community. Her story and her vision have touched many young minds.

Paul Nguyen – Ontario

  • Photograph 4: Paul Nguyen

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Paul Nguyen, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Community Leader (Ontario) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Paul Nguyen has been committed to creating unique opportunities for the at-risk youth in his Jane-Finch community. In 2004, he created the inspirational community website from his home to lift up his community while also creating awareness of the systemic barriers and socio-economic challenges that prevent many youth from dreaming big and achieving their goals. Paul uses video and the power of the internet to engage the youth in his community to create their own music, videos, blogs and to participate in citizen journalism, promoting positive neighbourhood news to counter negative stereotypes about the area and its residents.

Paul has dedicated his skills and energy to work alongside youth and residents, by filming and editing their projects, connecting local youth to opportunities in broader society, and getting a positive media spotlight on the neighbourhood. has enabled people from marginalized groups to express their views to help change their neighbourhood for the better. Paul’s efforts include coverage of the municipal, provincial, and federal election activity to encourage civic engagement within the community. Paul sits on various boards to promote initiatives beyond Jane and Finch, such as the York University Alumni Board, York University Senate, National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada and Vietnamese Association of Toronto.

Paul is a tremendous role model and example to marginalized and at-risk youth. By using limited resources to sustain, he has shown that you don’t need all the money in the world to make an impact in your community. Paul is always willing to provide advice and time to projects for the residents of the neighborhood. His efforts have produced many new young leaders who have won national praise from government and industry for their efforts through his website.

Oswald Sawh - Prairies

  • Photograph 5: Oswald Sawh

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Oswald Sawh, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Community Leader (Prairies) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Over the last 25 years, Oswald Sawh has made many contributions to his home community of Thompson and to the Northern Region of Manitoba. After growing up in and witnessing violence in the home, he developed great sympathy and understanding of victims of domestic violence, especially children. He has gone on to launch a number of initiatives as well as providing governance to a number of socially-focused organizations and agencies.

Oswald’s many contributions over the years include serving as a founding member and long term Board Chair for the Thompson Regional Humane Society as well as previously being a long term board member for the Thompson Renewal Corporation. He founded and continues to preside over Men Are Part of the Solution (MAPS), started the "Family Matters" radio show and was the founder and Board Chair of the Northern Detox Programs Inc. that assisted in lobbying for a non-medical detox program in Thompson.

MAPS provides its Healthy Relations program to men with stress and anger issues in the City of Thompson and in Northern Manitoba. MAPS also operates a transitional housing service, called the Phoenix House for homeless men fighting addictions. These initiatives have made a positive impact in Thompson and the surrounding communities with the vast majority of men serviced by the Phoenix Housing moving on to stable housing after.

Oswald would be the first to say that he does not believe he is a motivational speaker. He does believe that the fact that he has been very candid when talking about his childhood experience of witnessing abuse has not only helped him in dealing with his past but has helped to make the discussion of addiction and domestic violence easier. His relatability and practical approach to dealing with social issues has had a measurable and lasting impact on many communities.

Cornelis Zandbergen – British Columbia and the North

  • Photograph 6: Cornelis Zandbergen

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Cornelis Zandbergen, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Community Leader (British Columbia and the North) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Cornelis (Cor) Zandbergen has volunteered practically his whole life. His volunteer service to the community began in Mackenzie, British Columbia in 1971 when at the age of 18 he joined the Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service. After becoming a paramedic he joined the BC Ambulance Service (BCAS), volunteered as a Vancouver Police Reserve and later started volunteering with the Vernon Search and Rescue team. He also became affiliated with the local Red Cross, in what would become a lifelong commitment.

After 35 years with BCAS, Cor retired in 2006, but then he got busier! He continued volunteering with the Red Cross and was deployed to Pakistan on a cargo escort mission. He volunteered in Saskatchewan and Manitoba during the spring floods, in Louisiana and New Jersey during Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy, in Ontario during the Ice Storms, and in Alberta during the floods. Cor helped raise $3 million for a new facility during the 2013 Kelowna Campaign.

After suffering a stroke in 2015, Cor joined a stroke recovery group and went through physiotherapy to regain his mobility. Even while going through this recovery he led fundraising initiatives to benefit the entire group. After returning to his volunteer role with the Red Cross, he helped fundraise for Fort McMurray fire relief, and in 2017, helped lead the response to BC wildfires. Later that year Cor was awarded the Order of the Red Cross, the highest honour given by the Canadian Red Cross Society.

In almost five decades, Cor has dedicated his life to helping people, from saving one man experiencing cardiac arrest in 1977, to the millions who suffered floods, hurricanes and wildfires. Those who have worked with him describe him as an extraordinary man whose remarkable body of work contrasts sharply with a humble volunteer who has never sought recognition.

Emerging Leader

Sue Duguay - Atlantic

  • Photograph 7: Sue Duguay

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Sue Duguay with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Emerging Leader (Atlantic) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Sue Duguay listens to the people she represents and gives them a voice. She advances her community’s priorities and draws on their motivation and drive to make things happen.

Sue began volunteering at the age of 14 as a member of the executive board of the Fédération des jeunes francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick (FJFNB). She continued to be involved throughout her high school years, becoming president of the FJFNB in May 2016. During the 2016-17 school year, Sue was the president of her school. In 2017-18, she was vice-president of the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française (FJCF).

It is extremely rare for a young person to remain on the executive board of the FJFNB for more than one year. Her longevity reflects her desire to make a long-term impact on society through her actions. One of her key issues was linguistic insecurity, on which she spoke before the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages. Sue provided an opportunity to hear the views of New Brunswick’s youth on this issue, which affects Canada’s Francophone community.

Thanks to her energy and hard work, she is not only advancing the rights of young Francophones, but also acting as a role model that encourages young people to become more involved in the community.

Sébastien Verger Leboeuf – Quebec

  • Photograph 8: Sébastien Verger Leboeuf

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Sébastien Verger Leboeuf with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Emerging Leader (Quebec) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Sébastien Verger Leboeuf is a young engineer who decided to get involved in his community in order to make it more resilient and safe by actively participating in search and rescue. He has been recognized for his involvement, innovation, altruism and leadership. Sébastien first discovered his passion in search and rescue at the young age of 15 and was known as the youngest volunteer rescuer with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. Over his years of community services, Sébastien has taken his passion for safety seriously and has developed search and rescue classes and presentations for people, ranging from primary schoolers to emergency service workers.

Sébastien has participated in numerous search and rescue missions, saving countless lives and giving families a second chance. He organized one of the biggest search and rescue simulations in the port of Montreal, bringing together leaders of the emergency services in a mock rescue mission to improve the response during major marine incidents. In addition to having helped bring the agencies together for this event, he recruited numerous volunteers of all ages to ensure that the final simulation was realistic and safe.

On top of his services in Marine Search and Rescue, Sébastien also organized the first k-9 obstacle run in Quebec in the Eastern Townships. He became very active in canine exhibitions, races and charitable events, meeting thousands of people to share his passion, knowledge and vision of canine search and rescue volunteering.

Sébastien inspires others to give back. He is constantly acquiring new technical and people skills that serve him well. His presentations are remembered well after he delivers them, and he puts no limits on the time he will give to the causes he is passionate about. Together with his search dog Frost, he is creating a lasting practical and emotional impact in the community.

Gerald Mak - Ontario

  • Photograph 9: Gerald Mak

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Gerald Mak with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Emerging Leader (Ontario) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

After dealing successfully with an unexpected life-changing event in his early 20s, Gerald Mak used the experience to inspire people to pursue volunteerism and community service. Gerald is renowned within his community for his extensive community involvement, philanthropy, support for charitable organizations and for inspiring young adults to give back to their communities. His desire to create opportunities and to connect students with employers inspired him to organize a Shark Tank like theme competition by inviting executives from BMO, Deloitte, RBC, University Health Network, and Ernst and Young to hear pitches and judge start-ups. This gave students a real taste of what it is like pitching to executives and a chance to be hired by those organizations.

Gerald’s passion in assisting his community is reflected in the various roles he has played as a Student Trustee with the Toronto District School Board, Chair of the Chief's Youth Advisory Committee of the Toronto Police Service, and Steering Committee member of the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University. Most recently, he was an Executive Member for the 32 Division Community Policing Liaison Committee where he started the Student Leadership Awards aimed at breaking down financial barriers for a number of graduating grade 12 students pursuing post-secondary education.

His quest for helping those in need has fueled his desire to be actively involved in fundraising and coordination for many organizations, including St. John Ambulance, City of Toronto Special Events, United Way, Rotary Club of Toronto, Princess Margaret Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Chinese Community Cultural Centre of Toronto. These activities illustrate Gerald’s commitment and boundless generosity to his community, while promoting youth development. His dedication has had a lasting effect on a number of organizations.

Kaleb Dahlgren - Prairies

  • Photograph 10: Kaleb Dahlgren

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Kaleb Dahlgren with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Emerging Leader (Prairies) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Founding Dahlgren’s Diabeauties in 2017, Kaleb Dahlgren has demonstrated incredible leadership and served as a source of inspiration, information and a role model for those who are affected by diabetes. Through traditional and social media, his reach has extended from beyond where he started in Saskatchewan to all of Canada and around the world.

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) when he was four, Kaleb dreamed of playing hockey but faced additional challenges due to his diabetes. Determined to prove himself, he has since played for two Junior “A” teams. While playing hockey at this level, he volunteered for Juvenile Diabetes events and dreamt of creating his own foundation. Dahlgren’s Diabeauties has now become a club for kids who live with T1D. It provides opportunities for kids with diabetes to attend hockey games, to participate in ceremonial face-offs and obtain some hockey mementos. With a motto of “I manage my diabetes; I don’t let it manage me”, Kaleb empowered youth to speak about their diabetes, become educators and leaders themselves by partnering with them to present to their schools. And if Dahlgren’s Diabeauties was not enough to have on Kaleb’s plate while playing in a 58-game hockey season, he also volunteered approximately 15 hours a week outside of Dahlgren’s Diabeauties.

To say that Kaleb worked through some challenges would be an understatement. On April 6, 2018, the Humboldt Broncos bus was involved in a devastating accident on the way to a playoff game. In addition to losing numerous teammates and friends, Kaleb suffered multiple injuries. Managing his T1D during all of this was a struggle for medical staff. However, Kaleb was soon on the road to recovery and continued his volunteer work as soon as leaving the hospital. With the support of the York University Lions, Kaleb has brought his Diabeauties program with him to Ontario.

Sukhmeet Singh Sachal – British Columbia and the North

  • Photograph 11: Sukhmeet Singh Sachal

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Sukhmeet Sachal with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Emerging Leader (British Columbia and the North) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Since immigrating to Canada at the age of 7, Sukhmeet has been committed to championing marginalized peoples in Canada and all over the world, and empowering his peers to do the same. In grade school, Sukhmeet would engage with other students through public speaking or by organizing events to show solidarity with marginalized groups, to bridge divides and promote love and understanding.

Based on his own experiences with bullying, and recognizing that other students faced similar discrimination during grade school, Sukhmeet became passionate about raising awareness and showcasing solidarity through public events. Becoming a community activist has helped him channel his own hardships into positive change.

Sukhmeet is passionate about good health and well-being as a right for all, and has devoted his time to reducing disparities between people’s access to health services in Canada and around the world. He co-founded the non-profit Break The Divide with his brother in 2016 to connect youth in Northern communities to youth across Canada to explore topics such as climate change and its impacts on mental health and have them work together to think of solutions. His Break The Divide program has been implemented in schools across Canada, as well as in India, Singapore, and South Africa. Sukhmeet’s commitment to good health is also a reflected in his work around the world. He has launched initiatives in India and Uganda.

Sukhmeet is a role model for the youth in his community, offering his mentorship and inspiring them to get involved in the community and finding their passions. By helping to create a non-profit model where students can open up a chapter of Break The Divide in their own schools, students are given an opportunity to grow as leaders and address the social challenges that they are passionate about.

Business Leader

PEI Credit Unions – Atlantic

  • Photograph 12: PEI Credit Unions

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents David Chapman and Kate Ryan, accepting on behalf of PEI Credit Unions, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Business Leader (Atlantic) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

As a locally owned financial institution, PEI Credit Unions is committed to improving the communities it serves. Credit Unions have been a community staple in PEI since 1936, and they continue to flourish due to their firm belief in co-operative values, commitment to community, friendly and honest financial advice and general spirit of volunteerism.

Each year, roughly $600,000 is given back to PEI communities from credit unions in the form of sponsorships and donations. Many charities have benefitted from the credit union’s volunteerism, partnerships, and sponsorships, including but not limited to, the Canadian Cancer Society PEI, Junior Achievement, Ronald McDonald House, Credit Union Place, and the Special Olympics.

Credit Unions have been dedicated to addressing the need for more financial literacy in their community. Since 2016, their staff have volunteered their time to conduct financial literacy presentations in PEI high schools, community organizations and non-profits through various different programs. They are also active on social media where they provide financial education though a video series. Through the high school financial literacy program alone, credit unions have directly impacted more than 4,000 students with their financial knowledge and expertise. Their dedication to creating financially literate students has led them to be chosen by Junior Achievement as Company of the Year in 2016 and 2017.

In addition to the impact on the community, the effect of the Credit Union’s initiatives on employees themselves has been significant. With the right education and encouragement staff members grew to feel excited to share educational content on their own personal channels and made them feel proud to work for, and represent, a community-minded organization that was focusing on a real need in the community – financial education.

Marché Ferdous Inc. - Quebec

  • Photograph 13: Marché Ferdous Inc.

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Ala Jabur and Ramine Jabur, accepting on behalf of Marché Ferdous, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Business Leader (Quebec) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Ala Jabur migrated to Canada from Iraq and created Marché Ferdous in 2009, aiming to give back to a country that welcomed him as an immigrant and facilitated his integration. Mr. Jabur was inspired to help the growing number of refugees and homeless people around his neighbourhood in the downtown area of Montreal. In order to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, within his community, he committed himself to improving the quality of life of the homeless, refugees and families in his neighbourhood by serving hot meals to those who cannot afford it, as well as, connecting immigrants to available resources to facilitate their integration process in Canada.

His eatery gained widespread attention thanks to a posting on Facebook by someone who visited the business in response to a poster at the entrance of the store, which reads “People with no money welcome to eat free”. “Marché Ferdous won't let you go hungry,” said the article on local media. This attention helped with the drive to do more in assisting refugees and the homeless with food, training and employment opportunities.

Even though generating funds has always been a major challenge to sustain with the demand for food, Marché Ferdous is committed to pursuing its mission of serving free hot meals to the less fortunate with the support from customers, family and friends. Marché Ferdous goes beyond just providing hot meals, it connects immigrants with their respective communities and it improves the quality of life in surrounding communities by lessening the individual hardships faced by its members. Through Marché Ferdous, Ala Jabur’s objective is to give back to a country and community that received him with open arms as an immigrant.

Tangerine Bank - Ontario

  • Photograph 14: Tangerine Bank

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Lyndsay Alves, accepting on behalf of Tangerine Bank, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Business Leader (Ontario) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

The business enterprise of Tangerine Bank has built strong relationships with communities through local not-for-profit organisations in the Toronto area. The company inspires its employees and their families, local community members and Canadians nationwide to participate in improving the health of their community. Tangerine launched its program #BrightWayForward in February 2015 as a community investment platform. Through this program, Tangerine supports organizations and programs that inspire self-esteem, teamwork, leadership, and encourage a sense of belonging and acceptance which the company says are “… essential ingredients to creating a bright way forward today and tomorrow.” Through their #BrightWayForward program, they are partnering with charities to address social challenges and are making a significant impact in the community.

Tangerine was one of the early members of the Corporate Council on Volunteering, founded by Volunteer Canada. One of the council’s objectives is to bring businesses together from many industries to generate and promote leadership on community investment practices that create value for the community, employees, other stakeholders and business. Tangerine is seen as a leader in corporate volunteer engagement.

One of the key partnerships that Tangerine has nurtured is with the YMCA of Greater Toronto (YMCA GTA). Tangerine’s greatest contributions have been at the YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre, and between 150 and 300 employees volunteer at the facility each year. Tangerine employees were instrumental in the funding and construction of a new amphitheatre, fire pit, outdoor classroom and shelter spaces. As a result of their work, Cedar Glen has been able to increase program spaces where youth campers develop leadership and teamwork skills, make long-lasting connections and build their self-confidence.

ENMAX Corporation – Prairies

  • Photograph 15: ENMAX Corporation

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Jennifer Hamilton and Elly Nordstrom, accepting on behalf of ENMAX Corporation, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Business Leader (Prairies) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

In 2017, ENMAX Corporation and its employees set out to strengthen their contributions to the City of Calgary by launching "The Year of the Volunteer". Tied into Mayor Naheed Nenshi's "Three Things for Canada" challenge, ENMAX challenged its employees to get out of the office and make a difference in the lives of those around them. ENMAX set a goal of 3,300 volunteer hours for the year, and the employees were determined to meet people and organizations in their own community in order to achieve this goal.

ENMAX provided over 120 different volunteer opportunities for its team members to volunteer. They had the opportunity to learn about community issues and how they could effect change in their own way. It focused on personal interactions at the local level. Employees visited seniors at their residences, brought children living on the autism spectrum and homeless children to the Calgary Zoo, hosted homeless families at the employee barbecue and donated and installed lighting at youth homeless shelters. Some employees even gave 134 fellow citizens a Christmas that they never dreamed possible, when they personally purchased all the items on their wish lists.

ENMAX partnered with the Calgary Humane Society to allow employees to work on a program that helps take care of the pets of those fleeing domestic violence. Workers with a musical gift performed shows at the Calgary Drop-In Centre, while fellow employees prepped and served meals. Employees passionate about physical health partnered with the Calgary Dream Centre to host softball and hockey games for people in recovery for addiction.

At the end of the year, ENMAX employees had achieved over 5,800 volunteer hours in service of their community. They made their community stronger and broke down barriers as well as assumptions about people in need, and weaved their corporate value of service into everything they accomplished.

Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-operative –British Columbia and the North

  • Photograph 16: Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-operative

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Donald Babey, accepting on behalf of Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-operative, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Business Leader (British Columbia and the North) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

A strong social conscience has always been part of how the Yellowknife Co-op operates. The business has been built on a foundation of community involvement and service. The Co-op runs a financially viable business that aims to return profits to members, while simultaneously investing in the community. They support the causes that matter to local residents and neighbouring communities.

The Board of Directors of the Co-op have made food security and eliminating hunger a priority in their community and with their donation policies, and the Co-op sponsors several annual events to assist in feeding the needy. “Stuff the Bus” is an initiative run with the local radio station to encourage shoppers to donate enough food to fill a bus parked outside the store. Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of the year where Co-op shoppers are encouraged to donate to the less fortunate by purchasing a hamper of goods with food to make a turkey dinner. The Co-op, with the help and generosity of its members, has helped to deliver food security to the people in this area of the Northwest Territories through its volunteerism.

The Yellowknife Co-op has taken a direct role in reducing hunger in the community by donating to groups that provide relief to needy families. The Co-op sponsored the YKCares program that provides weekend "survival kits" to youth in the schools who may not have nutritious meals over the weekends. Altogether, the Yellowknife Co-op is directly responsible for over $140,000 a year being raised or donated for local Yellowknife charities. As well, every year, the Co-op makes cash donations to Yellowknife and area schools.

The Yellowknife Co-op offers both economic and social benefits. While committed to operating efficiently in providing goods and services to members and their families, they also recognize their social responsibility to help improve the quality of life in Yellowknife.

Social Innovator

Choices for Youth - Atlantic

  • Photograph 17: Choices for Youth

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Sheldon Pollett, accepting on behalf of Choices For Youth, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Social Innovator (Atlantic) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

With almost three decades of service as one of Canada’s leading community agencies, Choices for Youth (CFY) delivers innovative programs and social enterprises to help at-risk youth and emerging adults in Newfoundland and Labrador secure stable housing and employment, while working towards family stability and better health. The organization has an active Youth Leadership Council that focuses on the integration of lived experience into decision-making, program design and public engagement.

Creating inclusive, safe and thriving neighbourhoods is a core part of CFY’s work. As a social justice organization, they embrace a constant effort to reduce stigma and facilitate new connections that lead to increased social bonds and healthier communities. Complimenting CFY’s work in providing supportive housing, creating employment opportunities, providing emergency shelter, and crisis response supports, they have a critical focus on prevention that aims to redefine how systems address youth homelessness. From working with young parents and organizations serving children, to investing in family programs and building connections with schools, to collaborating with researchers and policy makers – CFY is playing an important role in helping youth make positive changes before their challenges become too overwhelming.

CFY works across sectors to ensure youth receive individualized support, where and when they need it. CFY’s Outreach Centre, which combines a myriad of services, a low-barrier safe space, health clinics and the provision of basic needs, operates as a nationally recognized Centre of Excellence for Integrated Service Delivery, and exemplifies their approach to partnerships. Over the years, CFY has grown from an initial staff of 5 to a team of 130 committed change makers working with over 1500 young people every year. Looking ahead, CFY is building new partnerships to bring important services to youth in rural and remote communities across the Newfoundland and Labrador.

Accueil Bonneau – Quebec

  • Photograph 18: Accueil Bonneau

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Aline Bourcier, accepting on behalf of Accueil Bonneau, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Social Innovator (Quebec) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Since 1877, Accueil Bonneau (AB) has played a key role among Montreal’s homeless population. Its mission is to provide shelter to homeless individuals and to those who are at risk of becoming homeless, assisting them daily in meeting their essential needs, integrating into society, getting a stable roof over their heads, and achieving a better quality of life and well-being. In order to meet its objectives, AB relies on close to 250 volunteers, including 180 regular volunteers per week who provide more than 62,000 volunteer hours annually. In addition to the 250,590 meals offered and the 63,457 items of clothing provided free of charge every year, AB has introduced, with the help of its dedicated volunteers, two innovative projects: Espace Santé and Miel Bonneau.

At the Espace Santé health clinics, chiropractors and podiatrists provide free preventive care and treatment to address issues commonly encountered by homeless individuals. The chiropractic clinic offers treatments twice a week, and the foot clinic once a month, to anyone taking part in AB’s social reintegration program. Between 2015 and 2017, homeless individuals have received more than 300 foot treatments. In addition, 564 persons received 1,967 treatments from 55 chiropractors volunteering more than 1,000 hours.

The second project, Miel Bonneau, has been introducing men to urban apiculture and the development of socio-professional skills since 2014. Because of its innovative nature and social vocation, Miel Bonneau has quickly attracted different stakeholders. Volunteers also organize workshops for volunteers and AB members on making beeswax candles out of Bonneau hives wax. AB continues to rely on volunteers, the main pillar of its success.

David McAntony Gibson Foundation – GlobalMedic – Ontario

  • Photograph 19: David McAntony Gibson Foundation – GlobalMedic

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Rahul Singh and Chantel Kehoe, accepting on behalf of the David McAntony Gibson Foundation - GlobalMedic, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Social Innovator (Ontario) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

The David McAntony Gibson Foundation has provided life-saving aid in the aftermath of disasters since 2002. Known by its operational arm, GlobalMedic, the Foundation was founded on the idea that aid could be delivered more effectively, efficiently and at a lower cost. Since its founding, GlobalMedic’s teams have responded to 198 missions in 68 countries bringing relief to three million people.

In 2003, GlobalMedic had an operating budget of $6,000. It borrowed space in the basement of ambulance stations for storage. Today, GlobalMedic has its own warehouse, several staff members, over 2,000 volunteers and growing annual donations of approximately $2 million. GlobalMedic has achieved success by leveraging partnerships with the private sector to secure donations of essential products and to reduce or eliminate transportation costs entirely. Dedicated and skilled volunteers package the aid and deliver it to the beneficiaries. Partnerships include Procter & Gamble, Air Canada and IKEA.

Domestically, GlobalMedic has responded to disasters like the Fort McMurray fires and British Columbia floods. Globally, its teams train local partners and emergency responders on how to use and run emergency equipment. The field hospitals and water purification units are left so they can be used again to deploy to future disasters. Field hospitals in Bangladesh and Pakistan along with water purification units in the Philippines and Haiti have been deployed to different disaster zones in order to help more beneficiaries.

GlobalMedic is also known for its use of innovative strategies. Whether that means working with a water filter company to redesign its product to lower costs, or reducing the bulk of products to allow more aid pallets to make it into a disaster zone, or starting a ground-breaking Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program that maps disaster zones, GlobalMedic is always improving, and is widely respected within the aid community as a result.

The Arusha Centre – Prairies

  • Photograph 20: Arusha Centre Society

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents Aralee Pereira and Sierra Love, accepting on behalf of Arusha Centre Society, with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Social Innovator (Prairies) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

The Arusha Centre inspires and supports communities in Calgary to connect, gather, and create a socially, economically, and environmentally just future. It is a collectively run, member-supported organisation that provides resources and initiatives on social justice and environmental issues. It helps Calgarians through community economic development and community resilience programs. It also offers varied practical resources and activities that educate, inspire and connect people and projects.

The Arusha Centre has been inspiring and supporting communities for over 40 years. The Centre was named after the Arusha Declaration of 1967, as a guide towards economic and social development. The Centre has identified and addressed three priorities within the community of Calgary: social justice; environmental sustainability; and, economic sustainability through social equity. All three priorities are addressed through Arusha’s three main programs: the Calgary Dollars (C$), Open Streets, and the Take Action Grants (TAG). Calgary Dollars is a complementary currency system that brings together local talents and resources to strengthen community inclusion and the local economy. Open Streets is program encouraging people to be involved in environmental sustainability, while TAG awards up to $2,000 in grants for local, social and environmental non-for-profit projects.

The Arusha Centre supports vulnerable and marginalized Calgarians in a city with growing diversity and persistent poverty. Through their programs, The Centre has created an innovative approach to addressing community challenges and priorities. They also provide educational resources, activities and connect individuals with projects. The Centre has become a role model for finding a way to accomplish its mission. Creating funding and an extensive web of supporters and collaborators have made it a leading Centre for issues of social justice, equity and economic and environmental sustainability.

The Japanese Community Volunteers Association (Tonari Gumi) – British Columbia and the North

  • Photograph 21: The Japanese Community Volunteers Association (Tonari Gumi)

    In the photo: The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos presents David Iwaasa and Lurana Tasaka, accepting on behalf of The Japanese Community Volunteers Association (Tonari Gumi), with Canada’s Volunteer Award for Social Innovator (British Columbia and the North) on December 5, 2018, at a ceremony in Ottawa.

The Japanese Community Volunteers Association, or Tonari Gumi as it is called in Japanese, was established in 1974 as the result of the initiative of some young Japanese Canadians and Canadian-bord third-generation Japanese Canadians who sought to help the plight of Japanese Canadian seniors who were isolated and alone in the rooming houses of the Downtown East-side of Vancouver. Many of these seniors had returned home after having been forcibly removed to camps and work projects east of the Rockies during the Second World War. Tonari Gumi was created to offer a helping hand to seniors to increase their independence and quality of life. Since its formation, the services offered have widened in order to address changing needs.

With over four decades of service, Tonari Gumi, has created unique volunteer-driven programs such as a Japanese meals-on-wheels, a Telephone Buddy program for isolated seniors, a new program to help seniors use tablet computers and innovative activity programs for frail seniors and those in early stages of dementia. Tonari Gumi engages with other seniors groups in the wider community, holding joint events that provide seniors an opportunity to interact and share with each other. For many hundreds within the Japanese Canadian community, Tonari Gumi is the go-to place to receive help and support, as it is the only fully bilingual organization of its type within the community. Without Tonari Gumi, many would have nowhere to go.

Tonari Gumi’s efforts to help the vulnerable have been replicated by other ethnic groups and other Japanese Canadian communities elsewhere in Canada, Tonari Gumi’s model of activism and volunteerism has been a major strength to the Japanese Canadian community and has played an important role in helping seniors remain engaged with the community, build new pride in their culture and contribute to the greater good of Canadian society.

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