Premier's Awards

Launched in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of Ontario colleges, the annual Premier’s Awards honour outstanding college graduates from Ontario’s 24 public colleges. The awards are presented annually in seven categories: Apprenticeship, Business, Community Services, Creative Arts and Design, Health Sciences, Recent Graduate and Technology. George Brown College has a fantastic history with the Premier's Awards and proudly celebrates the achievements of our nominees and our winners.


The Premier's Awards is an annual provincial awards program created by the government to recognize the important economic and social contribution college graduates make to Ontario. There are 6 categories and one graduate may be nominated in each category:

  • Creative Arts and Design
  • Community Services
  • Business
  • Health Sciences
  • Technology
  • Recent Graduate

George Brown College has a fantastic history with the Premier's Awards and proudly celebrates the achievements of our nominees and our winners.

Recommend a George Brown College graduate as a potential nominee for a 2019 Premier's Award.

George Brown's 2018 Premier's Award Nominees

D'Oyen Christie

Category: Apprenticeship
Nominee: D'Oyen Christie, Executive Pastry Chef, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
Program/Grad Year: Graduate 1990, Baker/Patissier Apprenticeship

As an Executive Pastry Chef with Fairmont for almost 20 years, D'Oyen Christie has made dessert for the Queen; baked a cake for British Columbia's 150th birthday and served it to the Prime Minister; and helped open a hotel in China with a staff who didn't speak English. Currently at Fairmont Vancouver, Christie spent 11 years at the Empress in Victoria, where he was in charge of the team making pastries and sweets for the hotel's famous afternoon tea, served to 115,000 annually. Committed to giving back, Christie now trains and mentors apprentices and teaches pastry classes to hotel guests.

Kathlyne Ross

Category: Business 
Nominee: Kathlyne Ross, Vice-President, Product Development and Innovation, Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Program/Grad Year:  Graduate 1994, Culinary Management Program,
Graduate 1995, Italian Culinary Program

Kathlyne Ross jokes that she gets paid to eat and travel, but the Loblaw Vice-President takes her role as taste trendsetter seriously, travelling internationally in search of new flavours and cuisines. Responsible for strategic direction and vision for Loblaw's President's Choice and other private-label brands, Ross oversees a team of 35 and 9,000 products.  Named one of 25 Women Changing the Way We Eat Now by Chatelaine and a Canadian Grocer Star Woman, Ross is a cheese expert and member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers.  Before joining Loblaw in 2001, Ross worked as a chef in Australia and Ontario.

Catherine Bruhier

Category: Creative Arts and Design 
Nominee: Catherine Bruhier, Actor/Filmmaker
Program/Grad Year: Graduate 1988, Theatre Arts

Catherine Bruhier is an award-winning actor and filmmaker, whose stage and screen work in Canada and the U.S. has been featured in movies like The Best Man Holiday and TV including How to Get Away with Murder, Due South and Polka Dot Door. As a filmmaker, her films have won several film festival awards. In 2010, Bruhier was one of eight directors chosen to attend the Women in the Director's Chair program in Banff.  With her production company Breaking Ground Productions devoted to diversity in filmmaking, Bruhier has broken barriers throughout her career by being untraditionally cast in leading roles.

Lanre Tunji-Ajayi

Category: Health Sciences 
Nominee: Lanre Tunji-Ajayi, Chief Executive Officer, Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario
Program/Grad Year: Graduate 2000, Hearing Instrument Specialist

Lanre Tunji-Ajayi's advocacy in promoting awareness of sickle cell disease in Canada has helped achieve landmark legislation and establish policies that improve the care of individuals affected by the disease. Motivated by her brother's death from complications of the disease, Tunji-Ajayi founded the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario and was a key creator of the national association. Named one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian (ABC) Women in 2018, and awarded the Senate of Canada 150 Medal in 2017, Tunji-Ajayi's efforts contributed to eight provinces and territories adopting newborn screening and establishing June 19 as National Sickle Cell Awareness Day.

Catalin Palivan

Category: Recent Graduate 
Nominee: Catalin Palivan, Founder and CEO, Toronto Cider Festival Inc.
Program/Grad Year: Graduate 2014, Special Events Planning

In the four years since co-founding the Toronto Cider Festival, Chris Palivan has grown the award-winning event into the largest cider festival in Canada. Together with the Toronto International Cider Awards, launched in 2017, Palivan hopes to put Toronto on the map as an international cider hub.  Palivan also lent his event planning skills to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, the 2017 Toronto Invictus Games and the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. In recognition of the positive impact of his own education, Palivan established the annual Toronto Cider Festival scholarship in Special Events Planning program at the college.

Doina Oncel

Category: Technology 
Nominee: Doina Oncel, Founder and Executive Director, hEr VOLUTION
Program/Grad Year: Graduate 2008, Assaulted Women's & Children's Counsellor/Advocate  

Doina Oncel founded the award-winning hEr VOLUTION to encourage girls and young women, especially those in underserved communities, to pursue careers in STEM  - science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to advocate for more inclusion within those industries. She estimates almost 3,000 youth have participated in hEr VOLUTION's programs, camps and workshops, taught by industry professionals through partnerships with corporations such as Shopify, Salesforce, Citrix and Checkout 51. Doina founded hEr VOLUTION to help women triumph over barriers similar to those she experienced as an immigrant who overcame homelessness and domestic violence and is now a single mother of two daughters.

Aisha Addo

Category: Community Services 
Nominee: Aisha Addo, Founder and Executive Director, Power of Girls Foundation
Program/Grad Year: Graduate 2012, Business Administration - Accounting

Aisha Addo founded Power to Girls to provide young black women with the mentors and role models that were absent while she was growing up in foster care. The international organization offers programs, workshops, camps and conferences to empower Afro-diaspora girls through mentorship, community interaction and recreational activities. Addo is also the creator of DriveHer, a women-only transportation company. Named one of 14 Iconic Canadian Women by CBC Life, Addo was a 2018 RBC Women of Influence nominee and chosen one of 150 black women who have made a place in Canadian history by the CBC project HERstory in Black.