Electronic Products & Technology

Governor General’s Innovation Awards winners announced

Stephen Law   

Electronics Engineering awards

The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General announced the inaugural winners of its Governor General’s Innovation Awards (GGIA), recognizing outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations.

“I’m delighted to present the first six Governor General’s Innovation Awards for groundbreaking work in a variety of spheres,” says David Johnston, Governor General. “In essence, innovation is about finding new and better ways to create value, to foster a more compassionate, inclusive society and to meaningfully impact our quality of life. Hailing from across the country, the recipients of these awards are demonstrating the power of creativity and collaboration to build a smarter, more caring Canada and a better world.”

The 2016 winners are:

Breanne Everett of Calgary AB 


Breanne Everett co-founded Orpyx Medical Technologies to develop her idea for shoe insoles that prompt patients with diabetic foot conditions to move their feet to improve blood flow. This unique, wearable technology has improved users’ quality of life and reduced health care costs by decreasing the risks of sores, infection and amputation caused by diabetes-related nerve damage and poor circulation.

Nominated by Mitacs 

Kinova of Boisbriand QC

Co-founded by Charles Deguire, Kinova helps people push beyond their physical limitations and offers a more efficient and safer work environment in industrial settings. Kinova’s sleek, energy-efficient robotic arms are lightweight, quiet, unobtrusive and weather-resistant. Since its launch in 2010, the JACO arm has offered more autonomy, control and range of motion—as well as improved mental well-being—to Canadians with upper-body mobility restrictions.

Nominated by the National Research Council Canada

Robert E. Burrell of Edmonton AB

Robert Burrell’s Acticoat is the first burn dressing to simultaneously kill bacteria and decrease inflammation. This revolutionized approach to wound care increases healing rates, reduces the need for skin grafts and cuts down on long-term scar management issues. With his innovation, he has saved thousands of lives and limbs around the world.

Nominated by Universities Canada  

Jeff Dahn of Halifax NS 

Jeff Dahn and his dedicated team of researchers have pioneered the method of high-precision coulometry to rank the life span of Li-ion cells in a few weeks of testing. Not only has this development allowed researchers worldwide to speed up the R&D process and create a better and longer-lasting Li-ion cell, but it will also contribute to the switch of our energy sources from fossil fuels to renewable resources.

Nominated by Universities Canada

Mark G. Torchia and Richard Tyc of Winnipeg MB

Mark Torchia and Richard Tyc are the creators of the NeuroBlate System, a medical device that combines a novel laser probe system with real-time image guidance. Using magnetic resonance imaging and sophisticated software, the tool allows neurosurgeons in Canada and abroad to treat brain tumours and other intracranial targets in a minimally invasive way that also reduces post-operative care and health costs.

Nominated by the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

Christi Belcourt of Espanola ON

Christi Belcourt uses cutting-edge applied arts and design and new technologies in an effort to raise awareness and to create momentum toward innovative societal change while respecting traditional protocols and ancestral cultural traditions. Her initiatives relate to a wide range of social issues and she champions forward-looking collaborations that are models of respectful partnerships and principled adaptation of Indigenous cultural influence.

Nominated by the Canada Council for the Arts

The GGIA Selection Committee is composed of distinguished individuals chosen for their expertise in and breadth of understanding of the innovation ecosystem. The members of the 2016 Selection Committee are listed below:

* Sakchin Bessette, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Moment Factory

* Jocelyne Bourgon, President of Public Governance International

* Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook

* Naveen Jain, Board of Trustees, XPRIZE foundation

* Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO, Cirque du Soleil

* Heather Munroe-Blum, former principal, McGill University

The awards will be presented to the winners by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, on May 19.


The Governor General’s Innovation Awards (GGIA) were created by Governor General David Johnston to foster a culture of innovation by recognizing the outstanding and groundbreaking work taking place in our country. The GGIA are sustained through the efforts of founding and nominating partners. Winners are selected through a two-stage, merit-based selection process. The selection process is managed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation while the execution of all aspects of the program is overseen by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.



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