WEST CARLETON – A long-time Fitzroy Harbour resident and the founder of the Kanata-Carleton Small Business Network (KCSBN) are two of 15 inductees to the 2020 Order of Ottawa.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, with members of the selection committee, chose 15 residents to recognize with the 2020 Order of Ottawa, and one to receive the Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching and released those names today (Oct. 15).

Harbour businessman and author Sylvio Gravel and KCSBN founder Dr. Rouba Fattal join 2020 inductees Rev. Dr. Anthony Bailey, Donald Ross Bradley, Dale Craig, Paul Hindo, Barry J. Hobin, Barbara MacKinnon, Fiona McKean, Bob Monette, David H. O’Malley, Bruce G. Roney, Bharat Rudra, Vineet Srivastava and Joe M. Thottungal. Jean-Sorphia Guillaume will receive the Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching, which recognizes the contributions of an amateur coach who exemplifies leadership and commitment.

Syd and Judy Gravel
Sylvio Gravel, right with his wife Judy, was named a 2020 recipient of the Order of Ottawa. Photo by Jake Davies

Gravel is a 31-year veteran and former staff sergeant with the Ottawa Police Service. He has devoted his life to the well-being of others, particularly those struggling with mental health issues.

He is one of the founding fathers of Robin’s Blue Circle, a peer-supported, post-trauma body, established in 1988, that has paved the way for other critical-incident and peer-support initiatives within the Ottawa Police Service. He co-founded Badge of Life Canada, a resource hub for police and corrections officers who become psychologically injured on duty. He continues to serve as a senior police advisor.

Following his retirement in 2009, Gravel wrote several books on post-traumatic stress, building peer-support networks, workplace wellness and managing organizational change. Transferring the application of his police-related mental-health-improvement experience and expertise, he began consulting with policing and non-policing agencies around the world to help them develop peer-support programs. The Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Badge of Life USA, Soldiers Helping Soldiers, the Global Mental Health Peer Network, the National Police Well-being Service of the United Kingdom and the Police Service of Northern Ireland are some of the organizations that have benefited from his help to develop strategies, policies, procedures and processes for addressing trauma and to develop peer support within the workplace.

“A man of caring, wisdom, respect and impactful commitment to community, Mr. Gravel was nominated by his peers and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and inducted by the Governor General of Canada for the Order of Merit in Policing, Canada in 2007,” city staff wrote of Gravel.

In 2016, he was nominated by the Mental Health Commission of Canada as a Canadian Champion of Mental Health.

Dr. Rouba Fattal
Dr. Rouba Fattal, photographed at the 2019 KCSBN conference, was appointed to the Order of Ottawa today. Photo by Jake Davies

Fattal is a full-time public servant, currently serving as a senior policy analyst on innovation, science and economic development for the Government of Canada. She is also a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. She is a community builder, author of several children’s books, a dedicated volunteer and a mother of three.

Dr. Fattal founded the KCBSN in 2015 to help connect and empower local, small businesses. She has served as board director and committee chair for the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre and the Kanata Food Cupboard. As a board director of the Trailwest Community Association, she has organized numerous community events and activities. She has also served her community as coordinator of Neighborhood Watch, has helped raise funds for Chrysalis House, an Ottawa woman’s shelter, and is a Rotary Club board member, where she has influenced the #Canada4Refugees Campaign, raising $70,000 to sponsor Syrian refugee families in Kanata.

“Fattal’s efforts are focused on ending violence against women, poverty and homelessness, and promoting diversity and inclusions around board tables,” city staff wrote. “She actively promotes inclusiveness and integration through her work with newcomers of various backgrounds.”

In recognition of her community efforts, Dr. Fattal was recognized with the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award and the Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador Award in 2019.

“I’m beyond honored and humbled to share with you that I was selected among the exceptional residents of Ottawa who received the Order of Ottawa Award for this year,” Fattal released in a statement following the announcement. “I’d like to thank all those who nominated me and took the time to write letters on my behalf, as well as the nomination committee.

Why does this make me excited? Because if someone would have told me when I arrived to Canada 25 years ago, at age 17, without a word of English or French, that one day I’ll be nominated for anything, let alone this prestigious award, I’d have laughed at the thought.”

This year’s Order of Ottawa ceremony has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recipients will be honoured officially at a ceremony in 2021.

 “These are challenging times for everyone, and it is important to acknowledge the contributions of people in our community who are making a difference in the lives of others through their professional accomplishments,” Mayor Watson said. “The 2020 inductees into the Order of Ottawa are a group of tremendously accomplished residents whose leadership, creativity and hard work serve as an inspiration for us all.”

The Order of Ottawa recognizes exceptional residents who have made a significant contribution in a professional capacity in many areas of city life, including arts and culture, business, community service, education, entrepreneurship, public service, labour, communications and media, science, sports and entertainment, or other fields that benefit the residents of Ottawa.

Mayor Watson and city council established this prestigious civic award in 2012. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee comprised of the mayor, city clerk, chief of police, chief of protocol, city archivist and chief executive officer of the Ottawa Public Library.

For more information about the Order of Ottawa, please visit the Awards and Recognition page on ottawa.ca.