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The nightmarish losses of the 2020 pandemic have galvanized Canada’s scientific community in a way Dr. Helen Burt says she would never have thought possible in an academic world frequently short on money and collaboration.

Now, the University of British Columbia professor, who was named to the Order of Canada on Wednesday, said she has seen the future of the ability of Canada’s scientific community to come together to innovate.

“I’m really excited,” she said.

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The pandemic “has challenged scientists to truly collaborate and share our ideas and pull together as a team,” she added. A year ago, she said, it was unfathomable to think a new coronavirus could be sequenced, and then a new vaccine created, tested and approved in less than a year.

“I thought there was no way. I believed that was impossible.”

Dr. Burt, whose research has focused on nanotechnology in drug delivery, is among 13 new officers to the Order of Canada announced Wednesday. In total, 61 Canadians have been named to the three levels of Canada’s highest civilian honour. The latest list – the appointments are made twice a year – has a heavy representation of people in the scientific and health delivery fields.

They include Elizabeth Edwards, of Toronto, for contributions to bioremediation, a branch of biotechnology; health care philanthropists Peter Gilgan, of Toronto, and Myer Bick, of Côte Saint-Luc, Que.; Lori Jeanne West, of Edmonton, for her work in the field of organ transplantation; and science journalist Yanick Villedieu, of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que.

Others awarded include John W. Brink, of Edmonton, for his work to preserve Blackfoot culture; concert promoter Barbara Butler, of Mahone Bay, N.S.; and John Grigsby Geiger, of Toronto, a former member of The Globe’s editorial board and author of several books, including Frozen In Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition.

Vancouver’s Prof. John Challis was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his research with colleagues from around the world focusing on pregnancy, preterm birth and the lingering impacts of stress on the fetus.

He said being a scientist right now, especially as he works to educate the next generation of researchers, has been impactful. He acknowledged that at the same time as science has taken on a pivotal role in ushering Canadians through the pandemic, so has it become the focus of attack by groups who doubt science.

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That backlash will ensure the general populace will want to look for broader scientific evidence, and that’s not a bad thing, he said.

“The next generation of [scientists] are going to be really, really important.”

Companion of the Order of Canada

Robert Daniel Steadward of Edmonton

(This is a promotion within the Order)

Officers of the Order of Canada

John Borrows of Victoria

Helen M. Burt of Vancouver

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John Challis of West Vancouver

Elizabeth A. Edwards of Toronto

Peter E. Gilgan of Toronto

(This is a promotion within the Order)

J. Edward Johnson of Montreal

Daniel Heath Justice of Halfmoon Bay, B.C.

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Vivian McAlister of London, Ont.

Antony David John Penikett of Vancouver

The Honourable Lynn Smith of Vancouver

Daniel John Taylor of Toronto

Yanick Villedieu of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que.

Lori Jeanne West of Edmonton

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Members of the Order of Canada

Mary S. Aitken of Toronto

Yaprak Baltacıoğlu of Ottawa

Arthur Frank (Art) Bergmann of Rocky View County, Alta.

Guy Berthiaume of Laval, Que.

Myer Bick of Côte Saint-Luc, Que.

Carolle Brabant of Montreal

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Michael S. W. Bradstreet of Vittoria, Ont.

John W. Brink of Edmonton

Barbara Elizabeth Butler of Mahone Bay, N.S.

James Casey of Charlottetown

Brian Cherney of Montreal

Gina Parvaneh Cody of North York, Ont.

David Cooper of Vancouver

Michel Cusson of Montreal

Rita Davies of Toronto

Serge Demers of Lac-des-Aigles, Que.

Stanley Louis Dragland, of St. John’s

L. David Dubé of Saskatoon

Jacalyn Duffin of Kingston, Ont.

John Grigsby Geiger of Toronto

Susan R. George Bahl of Toronto

Vivek Goel of Toronto

Gary Gullickson of Saskatoon

John Hartman of Lafontaine, Ont.

Father James Lassiter Holland of Edmonton

Sally Horsfall Eaton of Toronto

Raymond Ivany of Wolfville, N.S.

Michael A. S. Jewett of Toronto

Elder Carolyn King of Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Ont.

Robert Krell of Vancouver

Susan Keiko Langdon of Toronto

Larry J. Macdonald of Okotoks, Alta.

The Honourable Louise Mailhot of Montreal

Marilyn McHarg of Dundas, Ont.

Cheryl Lisa Meeches of Long Plain First Nation, Man.

Andrew T. Molson of Montreal

Geoffrey Molson of Montreal

Morris Moscovitch of Toronto

Ginette Noiseux of Montreal

Leonard Pennachetti of Beamsville, Ont.

Lloyd R. Posno of Mississauga, Ont.

Heather Ross of Toronto

Terry Salman of West Vancouver

Brian Segal of Toronto

Douglas R. Stollery of Edmonton

Frances Westley of New Hamburg, Ont.

Frances Elizabeth Wright of Calgary

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