HealthCareCAN recognizes and values the long term impact that health leaders have in shaping the health system. The Legacy of Leadership Award recognizes exceptional individuals who have made long-lasting and outstanding contributions to advancing Canada’s health system and have demonstrated significant and sustained commitment toward the enhancement of the health of Canadians. The prestigious Legacy of Leadership Award will be announced and presented each year on the occasion of the HealthCareCAN Annual General Meeting.
Recipients of the Legacy of Leadership Award embody the very best in leadership, are forward-thinking and have:
made a recognizably significant and lasting impact on the Canadian health system at the national level over a period of 25 or more years;
exhibited a life-long commitment to the pursuit of world-class health system leadership;
demonstrated excellence in past or current senior leadership position(s) within Canadian health organization(s) including hospitals and/or regional or provincial health authorities, health-related provincial or federal non-government organization or association, provincial or federal government department, or the private sector;
provided outstanding support to other/emerging Canadian health leaders by serving as an exemplary role model; and
recognized by their peers within and outside of the publicly funded health system for their distinguished accomplishments.
2023 Legacy of Leadership Award Winner: Bill Tholl
Bill Tholl currently serves as a senior policy advisor, executive consultant, author and thought leader in health policy and leadership development.
Until his retirement, in July 2017 he served as the Founding President and CEO of HealthCareCAN: the national voice of Canada’s health care organizations and hospitals. Prior to his appointment in March 2014, Bill was Founding Executive Director of the Canadian Health Leadership Network (2009-2014); Executive-In-Residence at Royal Roads University (2008-2012); CEO and Secretary-General, Canadian Medical Association (2001-2008); and CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (1995-2001). His early career was with Health and Welfare Canada, serving in several senior roles advising Deputy Ministers and Ministers (1978-1995).
Bill is a sought-after speaker, with the Globe and Mail has described him as “Medicare’s Mr. Fix-it” and CHLNet calling him a “leader of leaders” on the Canadian health scene.
Bill has written on many topics, most recently as co-author of two books with Dr. Graham Dickson on health leadership: Bringing Leadership to Life in Health: Putting LEADS to Work (2nd Ed. In press, Springer) and Bringing Leadership to Life in Health: LEADS in a Caring Environment (Dickson and Tholl: Springer, 2014). He’s also authored or co-authored a series of articles and monographs, including Pathway to Professionalizing Health Leadership in Canada: The Two Faces of Janus (Dickson, Van Aerde and Tholl Healthcare Forum-In press); Taking a value network from concept to reality: Canadian Health Leadership Network (Tholl, Healthcare Forum 2014); and Twenty Tips for Surviving and Prospering in the Association World (Tholl, Weber, and Robertson. Monograph. Canadian Society of Association Executives 2010).
He is the recipient of numerous national awards, including most recently being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada (2019). Bill is a Certified Corporate Director (ICD.D 2009) and currently serves as a trustee on several for-profit and not-for-profit Boards, including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and Royal College International.
Bill has a graduate degree in health economics (University of Manitoba 1979) and has held several academic appointments. He currently teaches in the Fellowship in Health Systems Improvement Program with the University of Alberta.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Bill and his wife, Paula, live in Ottawa and have three children and five grandchildren
Every year, the Chair of HealthCareCAN’s Board of Directors and the President and CEO will issue a Call for Nominations, including a nomination form, to HealthCareCAN’s member organizations. The nomination form will also be available on the HealthCareCAN website. Nominations are submitted to HealthCareCAN. Only HealthCareCAN’s member organizations are eligible to submit nominations. Nominations require a mover and a seconder.
The adjudication committee will be comprised of selected members of HealthCareCAN’s Governance Committee and accomplished Canadian health leaders, to be determined by HealthCareCAN. Geographic representation, gender equity and diversity of expertise will be considered. The adjudication committee will be chaired by the Chair of the HealthCareCAN Governance Committee.
An award of $1000 will be made in the name of the recipient to a mentee of their choice or an initiative of a Canadian hospital or healthcare organization that represents the leadership, forward-thinking and impact-generating effect on the health system that the recipient personifies.
2022 Legacy of Leadership Award Winner: Shirlee Sharkey
Shirlee Sharkey is the past President and CEO of SE Health, a not-for-profit social enterprise bringing excellence and innovation to home care, seniors’ lifestyle and family caregiving to forever impact how people live and age at home. Under Ms. Sharkey’s leadership, prior to her retirement, the organization enjoyed exponential growth and expansion, and facilitated transformative solutions in areas such as Indigenous health, end of life care, and caregiver wellness and support.
Shirlee’s commitment to community advancement is evident in her leadership and involvement on many boards, ranging from health to education. She is the current Chair of Excellence Canada and a member of the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation Committee of the Baycrest Board. In January 2014, Shirlee was appointed to chair the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, a standing committee for Health Quality Ontario. She also serves on the Ontario Health Innovation Council. She is a past chair of George Brown College in Toronto and a former president of the Canadian Home Care Association. In 2007, the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care appointed Shirlee as an expert advisor on staffing and care standards for long-term care homes in the province.
Academically, Shirlee is cross-appointed to the University of Toronto’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation as an adjunct professor. She has appeared on a number of media panels and is widely published on home and community-based health care, health transformation, social innovation and breakthrough leadership. In 2017, she was presented with an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
Her insights and belief in unleashing people’s potential and creativity have generated achievements and accolades from across Canada and beyond. In 2012, Shirlee received the Diamond Jubilee Medal of Queen Elizabeth II, and accepted the Order of Excellence from Excellence Canada in organizational innovation, quality and wellness.
Shirlee was honoured with the Innovation Award for Healthcare Leadership from the Canadian College of Health Leaders in 2010. Additionally, she has received the University of Toronto’s 2008 Graduate Leadership Award, Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation; Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women, Women’s Executive Network in 2007; Award of Excellence in Nursing Leadership, Ontario Hospital Association in 2005.
2020/2021 Legacy of Leadership Award Winner: Chris Power
What began as a desire to help those in need has evolved into a mission to improve the quality of healthcare for all Canadians. Chris Power’s journey in healthcare began at the bedside as a front-line nurse. Since then, she has grown into one of the preeminent healthcare executives in Canada. Her experiences, her success, and her values have led her to the position of CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI). Recognizing the tremendous opportunity to achieve safer, higher quality, more efficient, coordinated and patient-partnered healthcare, in February 2020 under Chris’ leadership, CPSI pursued an amalgamation with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement that created a single quality and safety organization with an expanded capacity to improve healthcare for everyone in Canada, known as Healthcare Excellence Canada. Previously to her leadership role at CPSI, Chris served for eight years as president and CEO of Capital Health in Nova Scotia.
Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mount Saint Vincent University and a master’s in health services administration from Dalhousie University. She is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders and holds a Fellowship in Management for Executive Nurses from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. In 2003, she received the Award for Excellence and Innovation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders and in 2007, received an Award of Excellence from the Halifax Progress Club. She was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the Public-Sector Category three years in a row, from 2007-2009, and in 2010 was inducted into the Hall of Fame. She was named one of the Top 50 CEO’s in Atlantic Canada four times and in 2013 was inducted into the Top 50 CEOs Hall of Fame. In 2013, Chris received an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from St. Mary’s University.
Prior to retiring, Chris held significant governance roles including Co-Chair of the Canadian Health Leadership Network (CHLNet), Board member of Colleges & Institutes of Canada, and Simulation Canada. In the past, her governance legacy and system level leadership have also included President of the Canadian Association for Health Services & Policy Research (CAHSPR) Board, member for the federal advisory panel on healthcare innovation (Naylor), Co-Chair of HealthCareCAN, chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Governing Council.
2019 Legacy of Leadership Award Winner: Dr. Richard Reznick
Dr. Reznick is a Professor in Department of Surgery and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University and Chief Executive Officer of the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization.
Dr. Reznick was the founding Director of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Centre for Research in Education at University Health Network, now known as the Wilson Centre.
He developed a research program in the assessment of technical competence for surgeons and ran a fellowship program in surgical education, and was instrumental in developing a performance based examination, which is now used for medical licensure in Canada.
As Vice President of Education at UHN he advanced multiple educational initiatives and partnerships. As Chair of Surgery at University of Toronto he helped advanced a successful pilot program in competency-based medical education in Orthopaedic Surgery, and now as dean at Queen’s, he has championed conversion of 29 specialty medicine residency programs to CMBE.
Dr. Reznick’s career has combined a clinical interest in colorectal surgery with 30 years of dedication to the advancement of medical education.
He has received a number of awards, including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Medal in Surgery and the James H. Graham Award of Merit.
2018 Legacy of Leadership Award Winner: Wendy Nicklin
Wendy Nicklin’s Biography
A valued active partner in discussions about improving the quality of health care, Wendy is a recognized health care leader across Canada and internationally. Obtaining her academic degrees at McGill University, Wendy has extensive experience as a critical care nurse and in progressive leadership positions. She has participated in many provincial and national initiatives, such as the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety, and as a founding Board member on the Canadian Patient Safety Institute Board for 8 years, working to contribute to its establishment and success.
After over 11 years at the helm, in December 2015, Wendy stepped down from the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Accreditation Canada. She led a significant renewal of the approach to and value of accreditation. Her global leadership about accreditation is well regarded.
Within the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), and after 8 years on the ISQua Board, Wendy is now President. She is Past-Chair of the ISQua Accreditation Council for the International Accreditation Programme (IAP), member of several Board committees, an Expert, a Fellow and a past ISQua surveyor.
In addition to the ISQua Board, and previous Board memberships with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), the Canadian Nurses’ Foundation and Algonquin College, she serves on several other boards including the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC) and the Champlain Local Integration Health Network (LHIN). She is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and has completed the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program. An Emeritus member of CHLNet, she is a member of the Secretariat and chairs the Knowledge Mobilization Working Group. Both Queen’s University and the University of Toronto benefit from her membership on the respective advisory committees for their Master’s programs in quality and safety.
Wendy received the Woman of Distinction Award – Health Services in 1999, the Canadian Nurses Association Centennial Award in 2008, the CCHL Eastern Ontario Chapter Award for Distinguished Service in 2012, and the 2016 University of Ottawa Telfer School of Management Preceptor award.
With a strong commitment to effective governance and focusing on accreditation, quality, safety and leadership, Wendy has numerous publications to her name and has given many presentations nationally and internationally. She has academic appointments to Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa.
2017 Legacy of Leadership Award Winner: Tony Dagnone
Tony Dagnone’s Biography
Tony Dagnone embarked on an illustrious healthcare career at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. At age 36, he became the hospital’s executive director, and subsequently its president and CEO. During his 25-year tenure at Saskatchewan’s major teaching hospital, Mr. Dagnone directed expansion projects and facilitated the development of new tertiary care programs, including Saskatchewan’s first CT scanner and MRI. He was instrumental in developing outreach and community-based healthcare services, including Kinsmen Children’s Centre, Ronald McDonald House, and the Geriatric Assessment Unit/Day Hospital, first of its kind in Canada.
In 1992, he was recruited to London, Ontario as President and CEO of University Hospital. Mr Dagnone was a leading force in London’s successful 1995 voluntary merger of three Hospital campuses including Victoria Hospital. As a result of this historic merger, the newly formed London Health Sciences Centre, became one of Canada’s largest academic Hospitals.
During a time when putting the patient first was a radical idea, Mr. Dagnone embraced the notion head on. In 2009, in his role as Commissioner of Saskatchewan’s Patient First Review, he penned a report entitled “For Patient’s Sake” which was hailed by the community as a must-read for every politician, health administrator and health professional in Canada.
Mr. Dagnone has held numerous leadership positions, including Board Chairman for the Canadian College of Health Leaders, Chairman of the Ontario Hospital Association, Board Member of Cancer Care Ontario. Currently, Tony serves on the Board of London Health Sciences Centre Foundation and advises several national corporations involved in the healthcare enterprise.
In addition to excelling in his many leadership roles, Mr. Dagnone has also received several awards, including the Order of Canada (1991), the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2003), the Canadian College of Health Service Executives (CCHSE) Distinguished Service Award, CCHSE’s first Honorary Life Member award (2008), and the Regents Award by the American College of Healthcare Executives (2009).