Members of the McGill community appointed to the Order of Canada

Administrators, professors – current and former – and alumni honoured for their “contributions to making Canada a better country”

A pair of McGill leaders and two professors are among members of the University community who have been named to the Order of Canada, as announced earlier today, by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette (BEng’86, DSc’03), Governor General of Canada.

Dr. Guy Rouleau, Director of The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) of McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre; and Yves Beauchamp, Vice Principal, Administration and Finance, join 114 new appointees.

As well, Dr. Alice Benjamin, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Elliot Lifson, Adjunct Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management were also appointed to the Order.

“My heartfelt congratulations go out to Yves Beauchamp, Guy Rouleau, Alice Benjamin, and Elliot Lifson, four exemplary Canadians, and leaders in their respective fields,” says Professor Suzanne Fortier, Principal of McGill. “We McGillians applaud their accomplishments in receiving this prestigious national honour.”

“They desire a better country”

Since its founding in 1967, more than 7,000 people from across the country have been named to the Order, which recognizes Canadians who have distinguished themselves in their fields or contributed to making Canada a better country.

“Those who bear the order’s iconic snowflake insignia have changed our nation’s measure of success and, through the sum of their accomplishments, have helped us build a better Canada,” says a news release from the office of the Governor General. “They take to heart the Order’s motto: Desiderantes meliorem patriam (‘They desire a better country’).”

Appointments are made for sustained achievement at three levels: Companion, which recognizes national pre-eminence or international service or achievement; Officer which recognizes national service or achievement; and Member which recognizes outstanding contributions at the local or regional level or in a special field of activity. Officers and Members may be elevated within the Order in recognition of further achievement, based on continued exceptional or extraordinary service to Canada.

Yves Beauchamp (Member of the Order of Canada)

Order of Canada citation: For expanding the École de technologie supérieure and Montréal’s Quartier de l’innovation, and for his devotion to post-secondary education.

Yves Beauchamp is the Vice Principal, Administration and Finance, McGill University and the President of The Canadian Academy of Engineering. Over the course of his career, Beauchamp has received numerous awards and acknowledgements, including the Knight of the National Order of Québec, the Médaille de l’Assemblée Nationale of the Government of Québec, a recognition from the Order of Engineers of Québec for outstanding achievement in research and teaching, the Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and both Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.

Yves Beauchamp

Beauchamp holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and a Masters in Industrial Safety and Hygiene from Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières, as well as a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of West Virginia.

With a long and distinguished career in higher education in Quebec, Beauchamp has a wealth of experience and expertise in academia, administration, government and institutional relations, and project development.

He served two terms as Director General of École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), and was a member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty. Under Beauchamp’s decade of leadership, ÉTS experienced extraordinary growth. It was during his tenure that ÉTS initiated the Quartier de l’innovation partnership with McGill.

Beauchamp was recruited by the Université de Montréal to lead a major development project – the new Site Outremont satellite campus and its Science and Engineering Complex. “It was huge – transforming the old railway yard into a new campus,” said Beauchamp in an interview with the Reporter in January 2020  “It is the largest university construction project ever in Canada. I like challenges, so I accepted.”

Beauchamp is now applying his expertise in complex, transformative development to McGill’s ambitious New Vic project, for which he serves as Executive Sponsor of the New Vic Project Office. The plan, still awaiting approval from the Quebec government, would convert the iconic Royal Victoria Hospital into cutting-edge centre of multidisciplinary education and sustainability research while also serving as a gateway to Mount Royal.

“This project is very rewarding because we are helping realize something unique,” said Beauchamp in an interview with the Reporter in September. “It is probably the most beautiful project in Montreal. Yes, there are lots of wonderful buildings being built, but we’re taking this incredible old castle and hospital and bringing it back to life for an important purpose.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to transform McGill, Montreal and Quebec.”

Dr. Guy Rouleau (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his excellence in clinical care and research, and for championing open science principles in the neuroscience community.

Dr. Guy Rouleau is Director of The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital); Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery of McGill University; Director of the Department of Neuroscience of McGill University Health Centre; and co-founder of the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute. He is an MD graduate (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Ottawa in 1980, and he completed his PhD in genetics at Harvard University.

Guy Rouleau

A pioneering clinician-scientist, Dr. Rouleu has dedicated his career to advancing research and clinical care for neurological patients and training the next generation of neuroscientists. He has made critical discoveries in the field of genetics and neurological disease, helping identify more than 30 genetic risk factors, novel mutation types and their effect on human health.

Dr. Rouleau’s work on mapping, isolating and characterizing the genes responsible for French-Canadian founder diseases have led to a dramatic reduction in the number of cases with some of these diseases due to carrier testing in the populations at highest risk.

Since joining The Neuro in 2013, Dr. Rouleau has spearheaded its Open Science initiative, which is breaking down barriers to medical discovery by encouraging the sharing of data and reagents across institutions. In order to understand the brain and discover new treatments and cures for patients, Dr. Rouleau believes scientists must take advantage of all the information and reagents being generated by the many different groups around the world.

Over the course of Dr. Rouleau’s career, he has received many prestigious distinctions, including the Prix du Québec – Wilder Penfield from the Government of Québec, and the Prix d’excellence of the Collège des médecins du Québec. In 2007, Dr. Rouleau was made an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, and in 2016 he was named a Royal Society of Canada Fellow. In March, Dr. Rouleau was honoured by the Gairdner Foundation with its Canada Gairdner Wightman Award.

Dr. Alice Benjamin (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her contributions as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist dedicated to the advancement of obstetrics and the management of high-risk pregnancies.

Dr. Alice Benjamin with pictures of just a few of the thousands of children she’s helped bring into this world.Owen Egan / Joni Dufour

Over the course of her long and distinguished career as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dr. Alice Benjamin has delivered tens of thousands of babies, inspired decades of McGill residents, and significantly reduced stillbirths and miscarriages in her high-risk patients.

Dr. Benjamin is held in high esteem among colleagues and students. Two different prizes, the Alice Benjamin Award for Excellence in Obstetrics; and the Molson Award for Educational Excellence (created in honour of Dr. Benjamin), are awarded to McGill residents each year. A third prize, the Dr. Alice Benjamin Leadership Award is awarded to McGill senior residents annually.

In recognition of Dr. Benjamin’s commitment, a committee of former patients and their families launched a campaign in Dr. Benjamin’s honour via McGill Global Health Programs and the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. To date, the Dr. Alice Benjamin Fund has raised over $400,000. The Fund will send residents to underserved communities for an opportunity to witness maternal health care as it is practiced in low-resource settings. Later, it will bring doctors and nurses from low-resource areas to McGill for intensive training on such topics as resuscitation, advanced ultrasound and detection of fetal anomalies and their treatment.

Elliot Lifson (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his leadership and mentorship in the apparel industry, for his commitment to Canada’s economic growth, and for his community involvement.

Elliot Lifson

Vice‐Chairman of Peerless Clothing Inc. and President of the Canadian Apparel Federation, Elliot Lifson joined the Desautels Faculty of Management in June, 2005 as Adjunct Professor.

For the past 45 years, Lifson has been working in the Canadian apparel industry. He is President of the Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF); Member of the Board of Directors for Export Development Canada (EDC), Member of the Quebec Government Committee for Export Quebec, Member of the Board of Manufacturers and Exporters of Quebec (MEQ), and Past Chairman of the Board of the Montreal Board of Trade – of which he currently sits as an advisor.

Lifson’s longstanding involvement with the Desautels Faculty of Management has made him a valued member of the McGill community. In 2016, Lifson, a graduate in Law from the Université de Montréal who earned his MBA from the University of Western Ontario, was awarded an Honorary Life Membership Award by the McGill Alumni Association

He serves as a member of the Desautels Faculty Advisory Board, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Organization in the Faculty, where he is a popular lecturer who is well-known for going above and beyond for his students.


On top of the four active members of the University community, another 16 members of the McGill family were appointed to the Order of Canada. They include:

Howard Alper (Companion of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his significant contributions to organometallic chemistry and for his internationally recognized leadership in science research and policy.

Howard Alper earned his PhD in Chemistry from McGill in 1967. Alper is currently chair of the Government of Canada’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Council; and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Ottawa. The basic research Alper has been pursuing encompasses organic and inorganic chemistry, with potential applications in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical and commodity chemical industries.

Ella Yoelli Amir (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her contributions to the field of mental health and for advocating on behalf of families and caregivers.

Ella Amir (MBA’79) has been Executive Director of AMI-Québec since 1990. Under her leadership the grassroots organization supporting families of the mentally ill through advocacy, education and guidance has become one of the principal resources in Quebec for families struggling to cope with mental illness. Chair of the Family Caregivers Advisory Committee for the Mental Health Commission of Canada from 2007 – 2012, Amir led the development of the Guidelines for caregivers support, a blueprint for a comprehensive system of care to support family caregivers across the country.

The Honourable Monique Bégin (Companion of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her lifelong contributions to public health, education and global human rights, and for consistently strengthening Canada’s international reputation in these fields.

In 1972, Monique Bégin became the first woman from Quebec to be elected to the House of Commons, winning three subsequent terms (1974, 1979, 1980). During her tenure as Minister of National Health and welfare from 1977 to 1984, Bégin helped renew the foundations of Canada’s health care system. Bégin taught at McGill from 1985–86.

Ronald Ivan Cohen (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his dedication to promoting and preserving literary and cultural heritage in Canada and abroad.

A graduate of both Harvard and McGill (BCL ’68), Cohen is a lawyer, award-winning film producer and author. He was professor in the Faculty of Law at McGill and founding Chair of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. A member of the Barreau du Québec, Cohen has a distinguished record of achievement in public service, including as Senior Counsel for Québec’s “Commission d’enquête sur le crime organisé” and a director of the Consumers Association of Canada.

Sandra Djwa (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her promotion of Canadian and Québécois literature and for her cultural contributions as a teacher, mentor, biographer and critic.

Born in Newfoundland, Sandra Djwa is a writer, critic and cultural biographer. Canadian Literature would be unrecognizable today without Djwa’s lifelong efforts and dedication. She was part of a movement in the 70s that established the study of Canadian Literature as an independent discipline. Best known for her essays on poets and novelists (Atwood, Cohen, Lawrence), and as a biographer and editor, Djwa co-founded the Association of Canadian and Quebec Literatures in 1973. In 2016, she was awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters honoris causa, from McGill.

The Honourable Joan Fraser (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her trailblazing career as a journalist and for her commitment to minority language rights.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages from McGill in 1965, Joan Fraser began her a long and illustrious career in journalism, culminating as editor-in-chief of the Montreal Gazette. In 1996, she accepted the position of director general of the Centre for Research and Information on Canada, a division of the Council for Canadian Unity. Fraser was appointed to the Senate of Canada on September 17, 1998, by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien.

Robert Godin(Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his research and development activities in guitar manufacturing.

Robert Godin began his career working in his aunt’s Montreal guitar repair shop. The teenage Beatles fan began experimenting with customized guitar modifications, and soon his innovations attracted nationwide interest. In 1972, demand for his work was so great that Godin repurposed an old window-manufacturing factory. That Baie d’Urfé-based business, Godin Guitars, now sells 200,000 hand-finished instruments each year to clients that include Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, John McLaughlin and Leonard Cohen. In 2015, Godin was awarded on honorary degree, D.Mus.) from McGill

B. Denham Jolly (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his contributions to the promotion of equity and opportunity within the Greater Toronto Area’s Black community.

Brandeis Denham Jolly, BSc(Agr)’60, is a teacher, entrepreneur, publisher, broadcaster, philanthropist, civil rights activist and community leader. Jolly began his business career by purchasing and operating rooming houses and nursing homes. He later purchased and became the publisher of Contrast, a Black community newspaper in Toronto and established FLOW 93.5, the first Black-owned radio station and the first station in Canada to showcase Black music and the stories of the Black community. Jolly also was involved with or founded and led community groups — such as the Black Action Defence Committee — that sought to end police violence targeting young Black men. Jolly also contributed generously to several causes including scholarships for promising young Black Canadians.

Sandra Kirby (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her pioneering research on athlete harassment and for her sustained efforts as an advocate for equity, inclusion and safety in sport.

Dr. Sandra Kirby (MA’80) is a former Olympic rower and an accomplished educator, sport administrator, coach and activist who has dedicated much of her career to fighting sexual harassment and abuse, homophobia and violence against children in sport. For over forty years, Kirby’s tireless activism and compassionate scholarship have helped transform the values and ethics shaping sport practices in Canada and around the world.

Maria Labrecque-Duchesneau (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her psychosocial suicide prevention interventions adapted to the needs of rural families.

Maria Labrecque Duchesneau is a trained social worker known as the “guardian angel of the agricultural community.” Born on a farm in Quebec, Mrs. Labrecque Duchesneau knows firsthand the hardships of farming life. In 2001, she founded Au Coeur des Familles Agricoles (ACFA), a non-profit organization that works to meet the needs, both physical and psychological, of the agricultural community, while sensitizing the public to the agricultural environment. In 2016, she was awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters honoris causa, from McGill.

Linda Leith (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For connecting the country’s Anglophone and Francophone communities, and for fostering creativity and intercultural understanding through a literary festival.

Linda Leith (BA’70) is a Montreal-based writer, editor and publisher. She is founder of the Blue Metropolis (also known as Blue Met) international literary festival held annually in Montreal since 1999. Blue Met is the world’s first multilingual literary festival. Leith also founded the Blue Metropolis Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing people from different cultures together to share the pleasures of reading and writing.

William Macdonald (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his distinguished career as a law practitioner and for his expert counsel on national public policy issues.

William Macdonald (BA’48) practised law for 42 years, 20 of those as senior partner at McMillan Binch in Toronto. In 1993, he left McMillan Binch (now McMillan) to establish W.A. Macdonald Associates Inc. Its focus is on government relations, economic policy, and the Canadian and global economic/political/policy environment. He has been involved for over fifty-five years in a very broad range of policy issues for governments and business, as well as specific major projects involving both provincial and the federal governments.

Sarah Milroy (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For promoting Canadian art and artists through her roles as editor, publisher, critic and curator.

Sarah Milroy (BA’79) is a Toronto-based art critic, curator and writer, contributing widely to such publications as the Globe and Mail, Walrus, Canadian Art and Border Crossings. In 1991, she co-founded the Canadian Art Foundation, and she served as the editor and publisher of Canadian Art magazine from 1991 to 1996. From 2001 to 2010, Milroy was the staff critic of the Globe and Mail, covering major exhibitions and artists’ projects from all parts of Canada.

Jacques Nantel (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his scholarly work related to the retail industry, and for promoting ethical business practices.

A professor, researcher and expert in the retail field, Jacques Nantel (BCom’78) is one of Quebec’s best-known specialists in his field. He founded the RBC Financial Group Chair of E-Commerce and directed it from 2002 to 2007, as well as serving as Secretary General, Director of the Marketing Department, Director of Academic Programs and holder of the HEC Omer deSerres Chair in Retailing.

Anthony Robin Poole (Companion of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his contributions to medical education and for his breakthrough research on cartilage that has paved the way to the early detection of osteoarthritis.

Emeritus Professor Robin Poole joined McGill’s Department of Surgery in 1977, and was co-founder and Director of McGill’s Joint Diseases Laboratory working on arthritis. The successes of his research on the pathobiology of inflammatory and degenerative joint disease, focussing on cartilage degradation in health and disease, has led to numerous awards including a Lifetime Achievement Awards of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International and the International Cartilage Regeneration & Joint Society.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his ground-breaking contributions to developmental neuroscience, and for his renowned academic leadership and strong advocacy for science.

A world leader in the study of brain development and repair, Dr. Tessier-Lavigne’s research has focused on the cause and treatment of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as on therapies for spinal cord injuries. In 2016, Tessier-Lavigne (BSc’80, DSc’11) became Stanford University’s 11th president

Read the Governor General’s press release.





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Harold A Maio
3 years ago

… supporting families of “the” mentally ill

Please be far more specific, like “the” Blacks, “the” mentally ill disinforms. There is no such generic.