3 Indo-Canadians honoured with Canada's civilian award

Toronto: Three Indian-origin Canadians have been bestowed with the Order of Canada — one of the country’s highest civilian honours — for their outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, helping in building a better nation, and promoting bilateral ties between Canada and India.

Internationally renowned scientist and innovator Dr. Vaikuntam Iyer Lakshmanan; real estate mogul Bob Singh Dhillon, also known as Navjeet Singh Dhillon; and renowned paediatrician Dr Pradeep Merchant were among the 135 individuals honoured with the prestigious award, according to a press note uploaded on the website of the Governor General of Canada on Tuesday.

“Today, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, announced 135 appointments to the Order of Canada,” it said, sharing the list of the recipients.

“Delighted to see the contributions of the dynamic Indian heritage community in Canada being recognized with Order of Canada. Congratulations to Dr Vaikuntam Iyer Lakshmanan, @BobDhillon_MEQ and @PradeepMerchant,” the High Commission of India in Ottawa tweeted on Wednesday.

According to the citation, Lakshmanan from Mississauga, Ontario, was honoured “for his philanthropy and for his expertise in hydrometallurgy and business, which have greatly benefited his profession, community and Canada-India relations”.

Founded in 1997, Bob Dhillon’s Mainstreet Equity Corp is the first Sikh-owned company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Calgary Herald newspaper reported.

The 56-year-old businessman from Calgary, Alberta, was recognised “for his achievements in business, and for his unwavering commitment to philanthropy and higher education,” the citation read.

Merchant has played an active role in building a strong professional and business organisation in Ottawa. He was instrumental in establishing and is currently the chair of the Governing Council of Canada-India Centre for Excellence at Carleton University, according to the Indo Canadian Business Chamber.

Merchant from Greely, Ontario, has been honoured “for his long-standing contributions to his community, including his philanthropy and his leadership in the promotion of bilateral ties between Canada and India,” according to the citation.

“The Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest civilian honours.” Created in 1967, it recognises “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation…Those who bear the Order’s iconic snowflake insignia have changed our nation’s measure of success and, through the sum of their accomplishments, have helped us build a better Canada,” the press note said.

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