Harinder Mahil among 14 to be appointed to Order of British Columbia

HUMAN rights activist Harinder Mahil of Coquitlam is one of 14 British Columbians who will be appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the Province’s highest form of recognition.

“As representative of the Crown in British Columbia and as chancellor of the Order of British Columbia, it is my great honour to welcome 14 new members to the order,” said Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and Chancellor of the Order of British Columbia, on Monday.

“I share these congratulations with gratitude to these incredible individuals who have done so much to enrich their communities. Their leadership and generous service has enhanced the lives of so many British Columbians and has contributed to shaping a better future for all residents of our province.”

This year, 194 British Columbians were nominated. Since its inception in 1989, 489 British Columbians have been appointed to the Order of B.C. Members have been appointed from all parts of the province and in numbers proportionate to a region’s population.

“On behalf of the people of British Columbia, I want to thank this year’s recipients of the Order of B.C. for their remarkable contributions,” said Premier John Horgan. “Your hard work, dedication and leadership are examples for us all. You have helped create a better British Columbia and for that we are grateful.”

Others appointed to the order for 2022 are:

* Dr. Nadine Rena Caron of Prince George

* Kúkpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir of Kamloops

* Nezhat Khosrowshahi of Vancouver

* Kathy Kinloch of Surrey

* Joy MacPhail, CM, of Vancouver

* Fred Ting Shek Mah of Vancouver

* Maureen Maloney, QC, of Victoria

* Geoff Plant, QC, of Vancouver

* Christine Sinclair, OC, of Portland, Oregon

* Paul Spong of Alert Bay

* Gerald St. Germain, PC, of Langley

* Jody Wilson-Raybould, PC, QC, of Quathiaski Cove

* Bruce Munro Wright of Vancouver

The Order of B.C. investiture ceremony for 2022 recipients and invited guests is tentatively scheduled to be held at Government House in Victoria in the late fall.

The Province’s other honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship, recognizes people who have gone above and beyond without expectation of reward in service to their communities. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship must be received by September 6 to be considered for this year.


ACCORDING to his citation:

Harinder Mahil, the former commissioner of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission, has made pivotal contributions to the province
When he immigrated to B.C. in 1970 at the age of 19, he was only able to get farming jobs in Abbotsford and the surrounding areas. His desire to build a better life here led him to work long hours and look past the unnecessary clawbacks from labour contractors taking advantage of the immigrant workforce. Mahil felt for the older workers in their 60s for the working conditions they had to endure, and he told himself he would do something to make lives better for everyone. His organizing efforts and activism to end workers’ exploitation led to major changes in B.C.’s Employment Standards Act, which saw the inclusion of farm workers in protections afforded by the act. It also led to the formation of the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union.
After a variety of farming jobs, Mahil was able to secure work in a sawmill, which eventually led him to a role as an Industrial, Wood and Allied workers (IWA) staff member and activist, making it his mission to work together with others to improve lives of sawmill workers.
Mahil stepped up in the 1980s and was one of the fearless leaders who fought back against the influx of the Ku Klux Klan becoming established in B.C. He was one of the founders of the B.C. Organization to Fight Racism, an organization that challenged hate. The anti-racism group led to the creation of others that continue to this day.
Mahil worked for the B.C. Ministry of Labour from 1982-92 and for the B.C. human rights agencies from 1992 to 2002. He then worked for the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada as a labour relations professional.
For the past 50 years, Mahil has been a champion to improve the lives of others and make B.C. a better place. As a labour relations and human rights professional, he successfully resolved thousands of workplace disputes between workers and employers, represented union members, worked with labour and business organizations, and led labour task forces.
Mahil became the chair of the B.C. Council of Human Rights, the deputy chief commissioner and then the acting chief commissioner of the B.C. Human Rights Commission. He has been a strong defender of everyone’s human rights, but also made it his principle that “we all have the right not to be discriminated against, but also have the responsibility not to discriminate against others.” He is continuing to educate about the rights and responsibilities afforded to all British Columbians regardless of race, colour, gender, creed, religion, sexual orientation, disability or income.


Learn More:

More information, nomination forms and submission instructions are available online (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/orderofbc), by telephone 250 387-1616 or by email: bchonoursandawards@gov.bc.ca