Meet the 2018 Recipients

Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case

Inspired? Nominate someone!

Rina Arsenault
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Rina is recognized as a social worker, researcher, activist, organizer, author and educator.

She has a Masters in Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker. She has been the Associate Director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research since November 1993. With MMFC she has completed and documented extensive research, organized and delivered numerous regional, national and international training sessions and workshops on the subject of violence. She has contributed to the development of the accredited UNB Certificate Program in Family Violence Issues program and has taught courses in the program.

In 1997, she has been honored with the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women Recognition Award for her contribution to improving the status of women in New Brunswick and in 2002, received the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award, for her work in violence against women and family violence.

In 2014, she was appointed to the Order of Canada and in 2016 received the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) Distinguished Service Award. In 2018, she was presented with the Social Work Education Field Instructor Award by the New Brunswick Association of Social Work for exceptional commitment to the academic and professional development of students.

Rina currently resides in Fredericton, NB with her husband Dan. She loves to spend time with family.

Shirley Cuillierrier
Ottawa, Ontario

Shirley Cuillierrier, a member of the Mohawk Nation from Kanesatake, Quebec, joined the RCMP in 1982.

Shirley is an advocate of protecting, defending and promoting the benefits of women in policing. Throughout her career she has developed, mentored and sponsored numerous women to succeed in their career progression. She has dedicated much of her professional and personal time to educating, volunteering and investigating crimes of violence against women and children.

After 15 years of serving in Atlantic Canada, she became a member of the Prime Minister’s Protective Detail in 1996. In 1998, she transferred to RCMP National Headquarters, and in 2004 was named the Officer in Charge of National Aboriginal Policing Services. In 2010, she led the National Human Trafficking Coordination Centre and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, a national charity.

In 2017, Assistant Commissioner Shirley Cuillierrier was appointed Senior Advisor on Reconciliation and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She is committed to empowering the voices of Indigenous women and girls and reducing the rates of victimization.

Shirley has received numerous community and RCMP commendations, and is a recipient of both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals. In 2018, Shirley retired from the RCMP after 36 years of service.

Shirley is a proud mother of two adult children and loves spending time with them.

Rina Fraticelli
Toronto, Ontario

Rina Fraticelli has devoted her career to addressing gender inequity issues, particularly in Canada’s arts and cultural industries.

Since the late 70's she has worked to strengthen opportunities for women in the fields of theatre, literature, media and public life. She authored a highly influential report on the status of women in Canadian theatre to the Applebaum-Hebert Commission. She led two NFB Studio's - Studio D, the Women’s Studio in Montreal, where she oversaw a number of innovative projects including New Initiatives in Film to advance opportunities for Indigenous and racialized minority women; and the B.C. and Yukon Studio where she expanded activities increase the profile of Indigenous filmmakers and people with disabilities.

In 2008, Rina co-founded Women in View, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving gender and racial diversity on and off screen. With WIV, she authored five influential reports (with the sixth about to be released) tracking the employment of women in publicly-funded Canadian media. In 2015 Women in View launched Directing Change, a three-year initiative sponsored by the Status of Women Canada to shift the Canadian media landscape towards greater equity.

In 2018, Fraticelli left Women in View to take on the role of Director of The Socrates Project, McMaster University’s ambitious new forum for artists, scholars and the wider community to come together to engage with the critical issues of our time.

Charlotte Hrenchuk
Whitehorse, Yukon

Charlotte Hrenchuk is a strong activist working to address gender inequality issues in the Yukon and across the north. Since the early 1980’s, she has fought for the inclusion of the voices and perspectives of northern women and girls in national policy discussions, most recently as a member of the federal Advisory Committee on Homelessness working on the redesign of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

Her research and activism has focused on a myriad of issues related to women and girls in the north including, health, poverty, violence against women and legal system involvement. As the Coordinator of the non-profit, Yukon Status of Women Council, her work has brought awareness to issues for women that are often ignored; she is a champion of the needs of marginalized women.

As a community-based activist, Charlotte believes in elevating the status of all women. She has worked tirelessly to raise the voices of women’s narratives and through that, believes that equity and social justice for women can be achieved. Charlotte’s research and publications include the first study of women’s homelessness in the northern territories. This ground-breaking and pioneering research continues to be used as a critical policy reference document across the north.

Later, Charlotte identified a gap in our understanding of women’s experience of the justice system. As a result, she developed the court watch action research program. Most recently, Charlotte examined sex work and trafficking of women and girls in a Yukon context. This formative research has increased our understanding of the unique social factors at play in women’s lives in the north.

She is the co-founder of Hidden Histories Society Yukon which highlights the contributions of Black and Asian women in Yukon Territory. She has been a co-chair of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition for since 2011 and has served on several voluntary boards of directors. She lives in Whitehorse with her husband and they have three wonderful young adult children.

Hélène Lee-Gosselin
Ste. Pétronille, Quebec

Hélène Lee-Gosselin is a full professor in the Faculty of Administrative Sciences and director of the Institut Femmes, Sociétés, égalité et équité at Laval University. Prior to that, for over 10 years, she held the Claire-Bonenfant Chair – Women, Knowledge and Societies.

As a researcher involved in the community, she has conducted many studies in cooperation with the communities and organizations on equity and diversity in the workplace, pay equity, women’s entrepreneurship, and women’s place in decision-making bodies and academic institutions. She is committed to disseminating the results of those studies to practice settings in order to advance thought and action towards true equality and equity. 

Hélène contributed to, among other things, the creation and monitoring of Quebec’s Pay Equity Act; she was a member of the committee that, in 1996, consulted with unions, employers and community groups, and made recommendations regarding the content of this innovative legislation. Since then, she has contributed to the overseeing of its application by participating in the Committee of Partners to the Commission sur l’équité salariale. She has also worked with various organizations, including Femmessor and the Table de concertation de la Capitale Nationale en Condition féminine.

She has been a member of the Comité scientifique du Réseau québécois en études féministes since it was first established; she is also a recognized champion of sex and gender issues in Canada’s health research institutes; she uses her expertise to ensure that gender and sex aspects are adequately incorporated into applied research.

Alana Robert (Youth)
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Alana is in her final year of studies at Osgoode Hall Law School where she focuses on advancing the rights of marginalized groups in Canada.

Alana founded Justice For Women in 2013, to combat gender-based violence on campus through designing educational programming and developing a policy that mandates this training for students across all faculties at the University of Manitoba. Alana has testified on this work to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

In 2017, she interned with the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, where she worked on victim and witness protection.

As a National Network Leader for Equal Voice, Alana developed an electronic toolkit that offers strategies to address gender-based violence. In March 2018, Alana represented Equal Voice at the UN Commission on the Status of Women where she accompanied Minister Maryam Monsef to advocate for equitable access to resources for Indigenous women and girls from rural and remote communities.

As a Métis woman, Alana is passionate about eliminating violence against Indigenous women and girls, and has received the Helen Basset Commemorative Student Award from the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Date modified: