Three York University faculty appointed to the Order of Canada

The Member of the Order of Canada medal

Three York University professors are among a group of individuals with connections to York University appointed to the Order of Canada.

Faculty of Health Distinguished Research Professor Ellen Bialystok, Faculty of Education Professor and alumnus Stephen Gaetz (MA ’85, PhD ’90), and Osgoode Hall Law School Professor David Vaver are among the 113 new appointments to the Order of Canada, which is the country’s highest civilian honour.

“On behalf of myself and the entire York community, I congratulate these York faculty members, alumni and honorary degree recipients on this most deserved honour,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, York University president and vice-chancellor. “It is gratifying to see each of these individuals being recognized for his or her unique—and diverse—achievements. All are Canadian leaders of truly outstanding impact, innovation and engagement, and they reflect the best that York brings to the nation and to the world.”

The new appointees include one companion (C.C.), 27 officers (O.C.) and 85 new members (C.M.). These appointments were made on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada and announced June 30 by the Office of the Governor General of Canada.

picture of Ellen Bialystok
Ellen Bialystok

Ellen Bialystok was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to understanding of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism, and for opening up new avenues of research in her field. Bialystok is a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology and Walter Gordon York Research Chair of Lifespan Cognitive Development at York University. She is also an Associate Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.

Her research uses both behavioral and neuroimaging methods to examine the effect of experience on cognitive processes across the lifespan, with most attention on the effect of bilingualism. She has published extensively in the form of books, scientific articles, and book chapters. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Society for Experimental Psychology, American Psychological Society, and other professional organizations. Among her awards are the Canadian Society for Brain Behaviour and Cognitive Science Hebb Award (2011), Killam Prize for the Social Sciences (2010), York University President’s Research Award of Merit (2009), Donald T. Stuss Award for Research Excellence at the Baycrest Geriatric Centre (2005), Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research (2002), Killam Research Fellowship (2001), and the Walter Gordon Research Fellowship (1999).

Stephen Gaetz
Stephen Gaetz

Stephen Gaetz was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his leadership in providing evidence-based research to policy makers and practitioners in the movement to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. As a professor in the Faculty of Education at York University and the director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub, Gaetz has garnered international attention for his work on homelessness.

Gaetz has played a leading international role in knowledge mobilization in the area of homelessness. York University played host to 2005’s Canadian Conference on Homelessness – the first research conference of its kind in Canada. In addition, York University now hosts the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub, the first comprehensive and cross-disciplinary web-based clearinghouse of homelessness research in the world. The focus of this network is to work with researchers across Canada to mobilize research so that it has a greater impact on homelessness policy and planning.

David Vaver
David Vaver

David Vaver was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his leadership in intellectual property law as a scholar and mentor. He is among Canada’s foremost leading authorities of Intellectual Property Law. His influence on the academy led to scholars from around the world to honour him with their own contributions in a festschrift in 2010, The Common Law of Intellectual Property: Essays in Honour of Professor David Vaver (an honour that has not been bestowed on many.

Vaver’s coining of the phrase, “user rights” in his book Copyright Law, has transformed the international language and perspective of balance in copyright, where users enjoy rights alongside copyright’s traditional stakeholders of owners and authors. In 2012, he was awarded the Pattishall medal for Teaching Excellence for Trademark and Trade Identity. He founded and served as editor-in-chief, for the Intellectual Property Journal (1984-98, 2010-15) and has regularly advised the Canadian government in various roles typically culminating in a road map for reform, or outright reform, in various areas of intellectual property.

Joining them are York University alumni Isabel Bassett (MA ’73, LLD [Hons.] ’01), Gregory Belton (BA ’80), Mary Cornish (LLB ’74, LLD [Hons.] ’15), Dennis O’Connor (LLB ’64, LLD [Hons.] ’07),  Kathleen Taylor (JD ’84, MBA ’84, LLD [Hons.] 14) and Warren Winkler (LLB ’62, LLM ’64, LLD [Hons.] ’12).

Bassett was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for her community engagement and commitment to the advancement of women and public service, notably in educational broadcasting. Belton was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his active support and promotion of youth development programs, particularly through the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and for his philanthropic generosity in the fields of youth services and the arts.

Cornish was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for her leadership in advancing pay equity and for her long-standing commitment to social justice. Taylor, who is a Bryden Award recipient and member of the Schulich School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the hotel and financial services sectors and for her community engagement, most recently as the Chair of the SickKids Foundation.

O’Connor was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his service to the legal profession and for his commitment to justice as a commissioner of the Walkerton and Arar inquiries. Winkler was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of Canadian labour law and for making the justice system more effective and accessible as a former chief justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Also appointed to the Order of Canada are honorary degree recipients Serge Godin (LLD [Hons.] ’13), Piers Handling (LLD [Hons.] ’11), Roberta Jamieson (LLD [Hons.] ’03) and Salah John Bachir (LLD [Hons.] ’15).

Recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.