APEX Awards of Excellence 2018

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.


Mr. Steve Verheul, Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade Agreements and Negotiations, Global Affairs Canada

The committee was struck by his work on trade negotiations and the contributions he has made to Canada and to Canadians over the past 30 years. As Canada’s Chief Negotiator on several international agreements, be it on agriculture, or trade with the European Union, or more recently on NAFTA, he has led and guided the Canadian negotiating team to advance and defend Canadian interests. His expertise and commitment to excellence have earned him a stellar reputation and international respect as a negotiator. Throughout his career, he has led by example and has inspired and taught hundreds of trade policy officers to be effective trade negotiators.


Ms. Lily Abbass, Associate Regional Director General, Newfoundland and Labrador Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The committee was struck by her vision and ongoing leadership on workplace wellness. It is clear from the letters of support received that she leads by example and that through her unique leadership style, commitment and respect for all persons, she motivates others to do their best. She was instrumental in the development and delivery of workshops on workplace wellness, on work-life balance and mindfulness, and on harassment free workplace. Her actions have directly contributed to making the workplace healthier, more inclusive and more respectful.


Mr. James Tebrake, Director General, Macroeconomic Accounts Branch, Statistics Canada

The committee was struck by his bold-thinking and intelligent risk-taking which have resulted in a complete rethink of Statistics Canada’s interpretation and application of the Statistics Act, while still protecting confidentiality and complying with legislation. His ability to think out of the box has led to the successful implementation of a number of modernized or new statistical programs such as the Cannabis Stats Hub, the World Statistics Hub and an online tool that provides information on Canada’s economic and financial activity. His innovative ideas to improve and create relevant statistical products allow Canadian decision-makers to make informed policy decisions.


Mr. Michel Doiron, Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery Branch, Veterans Affairs Canada

The committee was struck by his ongoing commitment and dedication to management excellence. As a strong leader, he fully embodies Veterans Affairs’ credo of Care, Compassion and Respect for both veterans and staff in that he works tirelessly to improve the lives of veterans, while fully supporting the staff. During a difficult period of office closures, he treated impacted employees with empathy and in a fair and respectful manner. He models the values of the Public Service and is considered by many as a mentor. He continuously strives for excellence, best management practices and improvements in the workplace. For all of these reasons, he is considered an outstanding leader.


Mr. Christian Riel, Director, Communications, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

The committee was struck by the leadership he showed in spearheading a number of science outreach initiatives such as the Science Odyssey and the Science Literacy Week. His foresight has led to fostering a strong science culture in Canada by mobilizing hundreds of partners through outreach activities and by bringing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to the forefront of public discussion. In doing so, he engaged a number of partners including government, academia, science centres, museums, libraries, schools, parents and Canadian youth.


The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Canada

In considering her nomination for this award, the selection committee unanimously agreed that she has left an indelible mark on Canada while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and as the Chief Justice of Canada. The selection committee recognizes the significant impact she has had on the Canadian judicial system and her outstanding commitment to public service in Canada. Her judgments on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 35 (Aboriginal and treaty rights) of the Constitution Act, 1982 contributed to shaping and upholding the constitutional rights of Canadians, while also taking into account the broader public interests at stake. She has played a key role in explaining and demystifying the work of the Supreme Court to Canadians and has been a highly effective ambassador for the Canadian judicial system abroad. In addition, as the first woman to hold the position of Chief Justice of Canada, and the longest serving, she has inspired other women to dream and to pursue their career ambitions, no matter how humble their origins. For these contributions and many more, we thank her.