Four members of the Black and Caribbean community named to the Order of Canada

Robert Small

Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon announced 135 appointments to the Order of Canada. The new appointees include 2 Companions (C.C.), 39 Officers (O.C.), 1 honorary Member and 93 Members (C.M.).

They will be presented with their insignia at investiture ceremonies to be held on future dates.

The Order of Canada is one of our highest honours. Created in 1967, it honours people whose service shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations and whose compassion unites our communities.

More than 7 500 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order of Canada. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and have taken to heart the motto of the Order: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (“They desire a better country”).

“Canada is defined by the people that make up this great country. These most recent nominees to the Order of Canada are shining examples of the commitment and outstanding contributions Canadians have made to the well-being of communities throughout this land, whether it be social, environmental, scientific, economic, cultural or related to mental and physical health. To all of the nominees, congratulations and thank you,” The Governor General said in her comments.

Jackie Richardson

Among this year’s awardees are four members of the Black and Caribbean community.

Singer Jackie Richardson was awarded the Honorary Member C.M. for her achievement as a Canadian jazz legend, and as a leader and mentor to young performers in her community.

Bruny Surin, from Montréal, also an Honorary Member C.M., was recognized for his excellence in track and field, for supporting student-athletes, and for promoting healthy lifestyles across the province.

Surin, still shaking off the effects of the good news said: “I’m feeling pretty good and now I have to answer every call because people who I have not spoken to for 5 or 6 years are calling me now everybody’s calling to wish me well, and I do appreciate it.”  

Bruny Surin

Sharon Davis-Murdoch is being recognized for her work battling health inequality. She is the co-founder and co-president of the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC), and has worked for decades to eliminate systemic inequities in the health-care system.

Robert Small, who was born in Toronto of Barbadian parents, was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. He is a Toronto artist who has documented the lives of Black Canadians through posters for almost 30 years, and is the executive director of LEGACY Enterprises. The company produces the annual Black History Month Legacy posters.

A grateful Small said, “This is good because when you look at the old days when people wanted to make me Public Enemy Number One for calling it the official black History Month poster. But I guess it goes to show that when you are dedicated to your community it is an admirable cause when people from outside of the community see and recognize us.

“You know, this community supported me emotionally and financially, and the responsibility is something that keeps me trying to be the best that I can be, because I realize the responsibility that comes with it.

Sharon Davis-Murdoch

“When I first started this at the age of 25, if someone told me that people would be looking up to me because you created a poster I would kind of laughed at them. I mean, why would someone look up to me for making a poster. But it’s pretty much what the poster represents as well as the years that I’ve put behind it and the people see it constantly every year.”

Bestowal of honours by the governor general is the result of nominations submitted by the general public to the Chancellery of Honours, which administers more than 30 different distinctions awarded to worthy Canadians each year, notably the Order of Canada, Decorations for Bravery, Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division), the Polar Medal and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.