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Premier honours innovation, excellence in the public service

November 22, 2023 at 6:37 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Public service employees who go above and beyond in their work to make life better for people in B.C. were recognized at the Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023.

“I am so grateful for the incredible work of the individuals and teams who are dedicated to impacting the lives of British Columbians every day,” said Premier David Eby. “It is inspiring to witness the work they do, while they also find ways to innovate and lead. I encourage everyone to watch the videos on the nominees so they can see how much creativity and energy goes into the work of providing services for the people of British Columbia.”

Ten public service projects and individual employees were recognized for their creativity, commitment and professionalism in eight categories: Emerging Leader; Evidence-Based Design; Innovation; Leadership; Legacy; Organizational Excellence; Partnership; and Regional Impact.

The awards highlight the wide range of work underway, such as improving emergency services, advancing reconciliation, protecting the environment and supporting those who need it most.

“The ingenuity and passion all the finalists bring to their work promotes a healthy and thriving public service,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance. “Thank you to everyone who chooses a career in public service to selflessly improve the experiences of friends, families and communities throughout the province.”

This year’s award winners are:

Emerging Leader:
Connie Chapman, Ministry of Forests (

Recognized for her work in the Water Management Branch, Connie Chapman has tackled challenging and high-profile files while being a catalyst for continual growth of the provincial water program, collaboration across ministries and advancement of relationships with First Nations and other partners.

Evidence-Based Design:
Clean Transportation Project, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (and partners) (
The Clean Transportation Project designs policies and programs based on evidence, research, partner engagement and a continuous improvement model. As a result of their work, B.C. leads the country in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) uptake rates and has almost doubled the jobs and GDP in the ZEV sector since 2015.

Strengthening British Columbia’s Evacuee Emergency Supports, Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (and partners) (
The Evacuee Registration and Assistance Tool is a digital solution designed to modernize access to evacuee supports, including through direct-payment through e-transfer. The ERA streamlines how supports such as food, clothing and incidentals are provided to individuals when disaster strikes and improves processes for business, First Nations and local government.

Carling Helander, Ministry of Municipal Affairs (
Carling Helander is recognized for her expertise and vision in positioning B.C. as a leader in Canada in immigration policy and programming, including her leadership role in co-ordinating a whole-of-government response to welcoming more than 10,000 displaced Ukrainians.

Christie Harvie, Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (
As a senior Indigenous public-service leader, Christie Harvie is recognized for her remarkable ability to shape the reconciliation dialogue in a way that brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together. She is exceptionally gifted at building relationships, as well as managing and leading negotiations in a complex political and legal context.

Deborah Schwartz, Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills (
Deborah Schwartz is recognized for a public-service career exemplifying her empathic approach to relationship building, conflict resolution and policy development and implementation. Paramount to her success has been an empathetic approach in supporting and advocating for communities she works with, as a liaison between marginalized groups and government and as a conduit between public service employees and leadership.

Marjorie Hallihan, Ministry of Health (
Through nearly 50 years of public service, including more than 40 in various roles with the Medical Services Plan, Marjorie Hallihan has made exceptional contributions to the public service that have benefited countless B.C. residents. She is recognized as a dedicated leader, mentor and colleague with a personal legacy that sets a benchmark for dedication, kindness and generosity.

Organizational Excellence:
BC Corrections: Connecting and Healing Through Culture, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (and partners) (
Embracing the idea that “culture is healing,” BC Corrections worked with Indigenous partners to develop Indigenous-focused programs connecting residents in correctional centres with their culture and leading to a different way of supporting Indigenous peoples in custody.

Indigenous Jurisdiction in Child and Family Services, Ministry of Children and Family Development (and partners) (
The Ministry of Children and Family Development led an intensive process to co-develop legislation with rights holders, Indigenous leadership, provincial partners and the federal government. The passing of the Indigenous Self-Government in Child and Family Services Amendment Act created a path for Indigenous Peoples to govern and provide child and family services under their own child and family laws.

Regional Impact:
Working Together: Protecting the Great Bear Sea, Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship (and partners) (
On Feb. 5, 2023, First Nations, the Province and the federal government announced a plan for Canada’s first marine protected area network. This marked the culmination of nearly a decade of close collaboration to permanently protect protection management zones identified in the Great Bear Sea.

Learn More:

To see videos of the 2023 Premier’s Awards and finalists, visit:

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