Ajay Dilawri to receive the Order of British Columbia

LEADING entrepreneur Ajay Dilawri of Vancouver, whose parents immigrated to Canada from India, is one of 16 exceptional people who will be appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the Province’s highest form of recognition, Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin, chancellor of the order, announced on Monday.

“As representative of the Crown in British Columbia and as Chancellor of the Order of British Columbia, I am delighted to welcome 16 new members to the order,” Austin said. “Their extraordinary leadership has been a source of strength for communities across the province. In difficult times, they have connected us through art, culture, public service and more. As we move with optimism toward the future, their achievements will be a foundation of success for future generations. It is with great honour I share congratulations to these remarkable individuals.”

Dilawri’s citation reads: “Ajay Dilawri is a leading entrepreneur whose vision, perseverance, leadership, and social conscience continues to improve the lives of many people in our province. He has made a significant and far-reaching impact throughout B.C.

“Ajay and his brothers Kap and Tony are the founders of the Dilawri Group – the largest automotive group in Canada, with more than 4,000 employees and 76 automotive dealerships across Canada. With 24 dealerships in B.C. alone, he supports more than 2,000 employees and their families in his home province. His significant investment in electrical vehicle development is also helping address climate change and contributes to a greener economy.

“The Dilawri brothers’ success is largely based on learning a strong work ethic from their parents, who immigrated to Canada from India. They haven’t forgotten their upbringing and have built the business not only for financial success, but to generate enough capital to give back to the community.

“With a focus on children and healthy outcomes, the Dilawri Foundation has donated tens of millions of dollars to help charitable causes in health care, mental health, education, autism, and public safety. Ajay believes that by giving children a solid foundation early in life, they are infinitely more likely to thrive in the future.

“Dilawri uses his considerable leadership skills daily to ensure the well-being of British Columbians. His commitment to making B.C. a better place to live creates a healthier and more productive population, which benefits everyone in the province.”

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is also one of the recipients.

This year, 257 British Columbians were nominated. Since its inception, 475 British Columbians have been appointed to the Order of B.C. Members have been appointed from all regions of the province and in numbers generally proportionate to a region’s population.

“Each one of this year’s Order of British Columbia recipients has made tremendous contributions to their communities,” said Premier John Horgan. “I want to extend my congratulations and honour them for their leadership and dedication as community leaders. Trailblazers in medicine, that carried us through an incredibly difficult pandemic with expertise, grace and of course, kindness. Inspiring philanthropists, determined protectors of the environment and powerful Indigenous leaders. We are all truly grateful for your leadership.”

This year’s recipients are:

* Chief Joe Alphonse of Tsilhqot’in Nation

* Joe Average, MGC, of Vancouver

* Brenda Baptiste of Osoyoos

* Frances Belzberg, OC, of Vancouver

* Dr. Debra Braithwaite of Victoria

* Ajay Dilawri of Vancouver

* Debra Doucette (Hewson) of the District of North Vancouver

* Dr. Bonnie J. Fraser Henry of Victoria

* Carol A. Lee of Vancouver

* James McEwen, OC, of Vancouver

* Andrew Petter, CM, QC, of Victoria

* Dolph Schluter of Vancouver

* Dr. Poul Sorensen of Vancouver

* Arran and Ratana Stephens of Vancouver

* Marvin Storrow, QC, of Vancouver

The citation for Dr. Bonnie Henry reads:

Dr. Bonnie Henry

“Dr. Bonnie Henry was appointed as provincial health officer for B.C. on Feb. 1, 2018 and has led the province through the mayhem of COVID-19 with outstanding community leadership benefiting all people of B.C. Her exemplary commitment to the health and well-being of everyone in the province, and her tireless dedication to communicable disease prevention leaves a lasting legacy.
“Henry was the deputy provincial health officer for three years starting in August 2014. Prior to that, she served as the interim provincial executive medical director of the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) from December 2013 until August 2014.
“She was also BCCDC’s medical director of communicable disease prevention and control and public health emergency management. She served as medical director for the provincial emerging and vector-borne diseases program, as well as a provincial program for surveillance and control of health-care associated infections; a position she started in February 2005. When B.C. was infected with COVID-19 Dr. Henry was ready and led the country in prevention awareness to isolate the virus.
“Prior to this, she was responsible for the Toronto Public Health emergency services unit and the communicable disease liaison unit and was the operational lead in the response to the SARS outbreak in Toronto. Never one to hide from adversity, she was a member of the executive team of the Ontario SARS scientific advisory committee.
“Henry is a specialist in public health and preventive medicine and is board certified in preventive medicine in the U.S. She graduated from Dalhousie Medical School and completed a master’s in public health in San Diego. She also completed her residency training in preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and in community medicine at the University of Toronto.
“She is an associate professor at the UBC faculty of medicine and has taught at Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and in Ecuador at a university partnership. She is the past chair of Immunize Canada and a past member of the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the National Infection Control Guidelines Steering Committee. She chaired the Canadian Public Health Measures Task Group and was a member of the Infection Control Expert Group and the Canadian Pandemic Coordinating Committee responding to pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza. She is the Chair of the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness task group which developed the plan on which Canada’s COVID-19 response was based. She is also the Chair of the Canadian Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, which formed the basis for the Special Advisory Committee responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.
“Henry has developed extensive knowledge and experience in three primary areas of public health over the past two decades: surveillance; public health emergency management; and infection prevention and control. She is recognized nationally and internationally in these areas and was specifically requested to represent Canada and support the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization in initiatives in these areas working on the Ebola crisis in Uganda and polio eradication in Pakistan. She has also been requested to provide advice to several provincial governments. In recognition of this expertise, she has been invited to sit on the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the National Infection Control Guidelines Steering Committee in Canada and a WHO Expert Group on Mass Gatherings and WHO Advisory Committee on Health Security Interface. The guidelines developed by these groups affect public health and health care programs across the country and internationally.
“She has been involved with planning, surveillance and response to mass gatherings in Canada and internationally, including with the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. She is the author of Soap and Water and Common Sense, a guide to staying healthy in a microbe filled world and co-author with her sister Lynn Henry of Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe – four weeks that shaped a pandemic. She remains calm and compassionate in chaos, practical when others are paranoid, and serves with outstanding distinction in whatever health portfolio she takes on.”

Biographies of recipients: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/8-2_obc_bios.pdf