EVENTS / LEADERSHIP / Awards of Excellence 2021/2020

2021/2020 Award Recipients

2021 Award RecipientsAPEX Awards of Excellence 2021

Each year, APEX highlights management excellence and leadership of federal public service executives. The Association’s awards are presented to the people who have made uniquely important contributions.

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Career Contribution

Abby Hoffman

Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy Branch, Health Canada.

For her distinguished career in the Public Service of Canada, including contributions in various fields such as the advancement of women’s rights, the revitalization of Canada’s high-performance sports system, women’s health, and health care policy. She is a vocal advocate for evidence-based policy, supports vibrant scientific and policy communities and is a true role model in defending Canada’s healthcare system.

Throughout her 27 years at Health Canada, Ms. Hoffman mapped out and played a lead role in many transformational initiatives including landmark legislation on Medical Assistance in Dying, the modernization of Canada’s Patented Medicine Regulations, multiple federal-provincial-territorial health accords and bilateral agreements and, strengthening federal oversight of the Canada Health Act. Ms. Hoffman is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a four-time Olympic athlete and a sports hall of famer who was also the first woman to serve as the Director General of Sport Canada.

Among her accomplishments is the development of a Canadian framework which acknowledges the importance of personal autonomy and the rights of individuals to die with dignity and the need for societal safeguards, and support for comprehensive programs giving Canadians access to safe, effective and affordable prescription drugs. Ms. Hoffman leaves an indelible mark with her unwavering commitment to the role the federal government plays in protecting and improving the public health system.

Healthy Workplace Award

Denis Skinner

Executive Director, Digital Change Sector, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS).

For taking a people-first perspective that instilled trust within his own team and promoting forward-thinking initiatives to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce in the digital and technology communities across the Government of Canada.

Mr. Skinner oversees the strategic human resource management of chief information officers and more than 20,000 employees in the CS classification across the country. As the federal central agency lead for Digital Change, Mr. Skinner launched a series of initiatives to promote the career progressions of aspiring chief information officers (CIOs) in employment equity groups. Mr. Skinner enables his team to spearhead diversity-first collective processes for executive recruitment to bring the highest level of talent to the public service of Canada. He continuously strives to increase psychological safety for employees and engages teams in difficult discussions to reduce stigma and fear of reprisals.

Mr. Skinner boosts learning for all on the matters of race, gender, unconscious bias and what mental wellness means in the workplace, implementing anti-bias practises in his team and the CIO cadre. Mr. Skinner is a leader who ensures that a diversity of voices is heard, differences are embraced, and a variety of opinions are included around the table.

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Henry de Souza

Director General, Clinical Services and Public Health, Correctional Service Canada (CSC).

For an unwavering commitment to innovation and a creative mindset that has led to outstanding leadership in the delivery of health care for federal inmates in Canada.

Throughout his 13 years at CSC, Mr. de Souza sought and embraced opportunities to transform the health care system for the incarcerated population. He brought together diverse stakeholders to achieve innovative outcomes, including the increased use of telemedicine services and the implementation of Electronic Medical Records. His work to engage physicians revolutionized the delivery of health care; and he successfully digitized the health record system that had eluded CSC for years.

Mr. de Souza’s work on harm reduction strategies has achieved international recognition. His groundbreaking work continues with the integration of primary care and mental health care in a new business model advocated by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Mr. de Souza’s efforts have been lauded by Accreditation Canada and the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the International Corrections and Prison Association recognized his work to improve care of aging offenders.

Finally, Mr. de Souza is renowned for creating a safe space that allows his team to experiment and take calculated risks – an indication of a true innovative leader.


Dr. Celia Lourenco

Director General, Biologic and Radiopharmaceutical Drugs Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada.

For showing exemplary leadership to protect Canada’s scientific and regulatory standards while expediting the review of COVID-19 treatments. Dr. Lourenco spearheaded Health Canada’s review and approval of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics under challenging operational conditions during the pandemic. She mobilized a team of over 400 experts in diverse fields to ensure timely, scientifically robust decisions in approving market submissions and clinical trial applications for COVID-19 vaccines which are pivotal in the fight against the current global health crisis.

Dr. Lourenco led the necessary innovation and shifts in systems, processes, and behaviour, all within the dynamic context of international alignment and collaboration. Dr. Lourenco gained the trust and respect of her team, and took the time to personally mentor the COVID-19 regulatory affairs team, while meeting demanding deadlines.

She is recognized for her leadership in seeking and building consensus under tight timeframes, expanding international partnerships with new players, and inspiring others to take calculated risks in seeking flexible solutions to regulatory challenges, with the goal of expediting access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the well-being of all Canadians.


Brian Wootton

Regional Director, Incident Management, Canadian Coast Guard, Western Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

For outstanding leadership as a career public servant who embodies integrity, excellence, and service to Canadians in marine safety and protection of the environment. Mr. Wootton devoted his career to transforming marine search and rescue and environmental response.

Throughout his 36 years with the Canadian Coast Guard, Captain Wootton strove for excellence and was instrumental in establishing one of the only dive teams in Canada certified to rescue people trapped underwater (Public Safety Diver Program at Sea). His visionary leadership in the Greater Vancouver Integrated Response Plan helped the Canadian Coast Guard establish a stellar multi-jurisdictional Incident Command System that is saving lives at sea and protecting the environment. His commitment to collaboration with First Nations and other coastal communities has empowered and mobilized diverse groups of responders and concerned people for more effective results.

Under his leadership, members of local communities are now trained in immediate response to – and collaboration during – marine distress and environmental incidents and other projects under Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan. Mr. Wootton is considered an exemplary, humble leader, who models positive leadership and empowers those around him to excel. He recently retired from the public service, leaving a legacy as a role model for future leaders and improving marine safety for generations to come.


Jennifer Wheatley

Assistant Commissioner, Health Services, Correctional Service Canada (CSC).

For her excellence in developing trusted partnerships with federal, provincial and local public health authorities, bargaining agents, academics and non-government organizations across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She demonstrated determination to build partnerships of all kinds to save the lives of employees and inmates during the global health crisis. Ms. Wheatley is responsible for the health services of 13,000 federal inmates in over 43 locations across the country. At the CSC, she worked tirelessly to gain positive relationships based on trust and understanding. She created multi-jurisdictional partnerships recognizing that they were key to respond in the CSC 24/7 operational environment.

Her partnerships stood out as best practices, in developing PPE guidance, contact tracing, testing, cleaning, infection prevention and control measures, site procedures, and prevention measures and clinical guidance. Ms. Wheatley worked closely with partners in provinces, territories, municipalities, non-profit organizations and academia to develop new initiatives including a new collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross and a variety of COVID-19 focussed research projects.

She is a role model in the manner in which she leads through partnerships and the setting aside of differences to focus on common objectives. Her inclusive approach led to the efficient establishment of one of the most advanced testing strategies for inmates and staff in the country.

Partnership Award

Deryck Trehearne

Director General, Government Operations Centre, Public Safety Canada (PSC).

For excellence in creating and maintaining trust-based relationships and leveraging these to coordinate the emergency response to COVID-19 across federal institutions that are responsible for the national security and safety of Canadians.

Mr. Trehearne heads up the Government Operations Centre at PSC and built a transparent, supportive, and inclusive culture within his team and the broader emergency management community. He and his team led the development of planning and exercises for the federal government to prepare for COVID-19 response, bringing together hundreds of partners. He deftly navigated the federal emergency response mandate in a whole of society response. He built partnerships based on trust, bringing together key players to plan for the return of Canadians to Canada from Wuhan, to stand up a centre to monitor progress, and to coordinate arrival sites.

He spearheaded, along with Public Services and Procurement Canada, the procuring and deployment of Mobile Hospital Units to address the impact of the pandemic and was instrumental in coordinating the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Red Cross in First Nations communities and long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario in particular. Partners recognized his coherent, whole-of-government approach to coordinating multi-level partnerships which contributed to an effective, highly valued federal emergency management response to the pandemic.

Public Service Citation

Mark Carney

Vice Chair of Brookfield Asset Management and Head of ESG and Impact Fund Investing (former Governor of The Bank of Canada and Bank of England).

This prestigious award is granted to an outstanding public servant who has made a transformational impact on Canada and Canadian society. This year, APEX will honour Mark Carney with the Public Service Citation for his exceptional commitment to public service, notably in the domains of finance and the environment.

Mr. Carney first became a public servant as Deputy Governor with the Bank of Canada in 2003, and then as Senior Associate Deputy Minister at the Department of Finance Canada where he developed economic and tax policies that strengthened Canada’s competitiveness. He was appointed Governor of the Bank of Canada in 2008, and played a pivotal role in steering Canada through the 2008 global financial crisis. Mr. Carney’s leadership helped Canada to avoid the worst impacts of the financial crisis, with his policies pulling Canada’s economy into recovery mode first and outperforming those of its G7 peers during the crisis. At the time, he was the youngest central bank governor among the G8 & G20 countries. Mr. Carney earned various accolades for his leadership and was recognized by various business magazines as Most Trusted Canadian, Central Bank Governor of the Year (2012). Mr. Carney was selected to head the Bank of England in 2013 – the first non-Briton ever to hold this position. He also served as Chairman of the Financial Stability Board, an international body made up of G20 major economies, that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system.

More recently, Mr. Carney has emerged as a global leader on environmental sustainability, and has served as the United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance since March 2020. He has become an outspoken champion for the environmental conscience of Canadian businesses, pushing the financial sector to work on climate action, and to assist with transition to low-emission and resilient sectors. Currently as head of Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) at Brookfield Asset Management, Mr. Carney is dedicating his time to influencing Canada’s businesses to shift to environmentally sustainable finance practices that will benefit society as a whole.

This award is being conferred to Mr. Carney for his dedication to the public interest, both in Canada and as a global ambassador. His exceptional leadership and commitment to innovation and excellence remain an inspiration for all public servants.

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2020 Award RecipientsAPEX Awards of Excellence 2020

Each year, APEX highlights management excellence and leadership of federal public service executives. The Association’s awards are presented to the people who have made uniquely important contributions.

NAFR logo

Career Contribution

Caroll Sukich

Director, Winnipeg Tax Centre,Canada Revenue Agency

For her 43-years of outstanding dedication to serving Canada and Canadians in regional operations at the Canada Revenue Agency. Ms. Sukich led and played a pivotal role in transforming the Winnipeg Tax Centre to become a super tax processing centre. Under her leadership, she led the modernization of technology systems to meet the demands of a digital world. Her strategic vision combined with her people management skills and innovative approach have enabled her to play an instrumental role in the successful delivery of tax services for millions of Canadians and businesses. Throughout her career she has led numerous initiatives related to program enhancements and people management with an emphasis on diversity, inclusiveness and well being.

Community Contribution Award

Julianne Dunbar

Senior General Counsel and Director General, Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada.

For her extraordinary contributions and active volunteerism of countless hours to many high-profile not-for-profit organizations that have critical mandates in society. As a proud member of the Muslim community, Ms. Dunbar’s volunteerism has focused on vulnerable persons and communities, and she has worked tirelessly to break down barriers. She is a member of the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre Community Advisory Board; Crime Prevention Ottawa Board of Directors and the International Commission of Jurists Canada Board of Directors. She exemplifies the best in public service and volunteerism and is exceptional in her leadership, energy, enthusiasm and commitment to help society. She is passionate about improving the mental wellness of the Correctional Officers, staff and inmates and ensuring Ottawa is a safe community. Ms. Dunbar is an agile leader, an advocate of diverse and inclusive workplaces and is the mental wellness champion in her organization at the Military Police Complaints Commission.

Healthy Workplace

Jason Bett

Director General, Strategic Communications and Marketing Sector, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

For fearless leadership and vision in designing and launching the first ever Public Service Pride Week and mobilizing more than 25 federal departments and agencies to participate. Jason sent a clear message to public servants and Canadians that the federal public service promotes a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace, recognizing that the health and well-being of the LGBTQ2+ community mattered. His empathetic and people-oriented leadership style made him the perfect champion for mental health. He inspired others with his devotion and commitment in building a healthy work environment and supporting Positive Space initiatives, as well as with his strong belief that our differences fade in the light of our commonalities.


Sami Khoury

Deputy Chief, Enterprise Technologies and Solutions, Communications Security Establishment.

For spearheading the transformation within the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), delivering exceptional, innovative results and providing superior service to our country. A consistent visionary, his guidance enabled and accelerated the development of unique capabilities in support of the Security and Intelligence community. Sami champions research at CSE and has been recognized as the generator of a disproportionate number of bright ideas and as a guru on cryptologic matters. He led the rollout of the Government’s first Protected B cloud to support the launch of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS). His continuous dedication to innovation, and his breadth of work helps protect Canada and Canadians against foreign threats and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.


Maxime Gunétte

Assistant Commissioner & Chief Privacy Officer, Public Affairs Branch, Canada Revenue Agency.

For his exceptional leadership of the reorganization of the Public Affairs Branch, at one of the largest, most visible organizations in the Government of Canada – the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Public trust in the fairness and efficacy of the CRA’s tax and benefit administration is essential to the ongoing operation of the Government as a whole. Mr. Guénette leads a branch with employees who work across the country in a fast-paced, high-stakes, no-fail environment. As Chief Privacy Officer, he has modernized privacy management across the CRA; and as Head of Communications, he was a key partner in the Agency’s Service Transformation Agenda. He models excellence and formalized dozens of Centres of Expertise across the Branch. He has been recognized for actively mentoring, developing and inspiring future leaders at the CRA. Mr. Guénette’s visionary approach, people management skills and authentic leadership style are the catalyst for delivering results for Canadians. He is a true leader that others want to emulate.


Susan Hilton

Director, Program and Area Communications, Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

For the development of trusted partnerships across federal, provincial and international governments, associations and industry that have helped protect the pork industry and prevent the introduction of African swine fever (ASF) in Canada. Susan’s leadership and persistence led to convincing the airline industry, and other critical sectors of the economy, to warn travellers to avoid travel behaviours that could lead to negative impacts on the pork industry and potentially the global spread of this disease. She understood early on the dangers that ASF could present to Canadian pork producers, their animals and sustainability of their farms. Her dedication and desire to play an influential role helped our country become a leader in the fight against ASF, resulting in Canada remaining free of the disease to date.

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