Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer Award

bob-volunteer-award-2 MNO President Gary Lipinski presents Senator Bob McKay with the Volunteer of
the Year Award at the MNO Annual General Assembly in Thunder Bay in 2014.
The objective of the Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer of the Year Award is to recognize Individuals who contribute as a volunteer to the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) year round and have done so for a number of years. Each year a volunteer meeting the criteria is named as the recipient of the Suzanne-Rochon Volunteer of the Year by a selection committee of the MNO.

This year, the Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Senator Robert “Bob” McKay, known fondly by many as the Métis “Brad Pitt”.

A truly worthy candidate, Senator McKay has been an active MNO Senator for the past 15 years and member of the MNO Thunder Bay Métis Council for 17 years. Senator McKay sits on many committees and provides a Métis Traditional Knowledge Holder presence at many events for organizations such as the Northern School of Medicine, Lakehead University, the City of Thunder Bay, Lakehead School Board, Saving Lighthouses on Lake Superior and the Labour Council for Aboriginal Youth to name a few. He is also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal acknowledging his long-term dedication to the cause of achieving Métis rights and self-government.

Senator McKay is also actively involved with youth and this year alone was presented with two awards from the Ontario Public School Board Association for his outstanding contribution to the education community.

The award was presented by MNO President Gary Lipinski at the MNO’s 21st Annual General Assembly Dinner and Dance in Thunder Bay. Senator McKay was thrilled to receive the award.

“Your commitment to Métis youth and the Métis community is unprecedented. Senators are so very important to Métis culture, the MNO and its governance structure. You actively keep Métis culture alive by sharing our culture and passing on our traditions through the many events that you attend,” stated MNO President Gary Lipinski. “Through your volunteerism you also educate our youth and the general public on what it means to be Métis. I personally would like to thank you for your many years of dedication to the betterment of the Métis Nation.”


The individuals nominated must exemplify the kind of volunteer contribution demonstrated by Suzanne Rochon-Burnett. They will have given generously of their time and effort, are strong advocates of the Métis Nation and their record of selfless commitment has been firmly established. They are seen as caring, giving individuals who others look up to and admire. The candidates will have provided an extended period of service as a volunteer.

About Dr. Suzanne Rochon-Burnett

Dr. Suzanne Rochon-Burnett was a founding member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Named to the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, Suzanne was a member of the Canada Council and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Brock University where she served on the Board of Trustees. She was a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and the first woman inducted into the Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame. Suzanne passed away in 2006. To honour her memory and recognize her outstanding service as a volunteer, in 2006, the Métis Nation of Ontario named Suzanne as the first recipient of the inaugural Volunteer of the Year Award which now bears her name.

Past Recipients

The 2013 Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer of the Year was presented to Senator Brenda Powley. Past winners of the award have included:

Suzanne Rochon-Burnett, Richard Sarrazin, Senator Reta Gordon, Louise Goulding, Pauline Richardson, Senator Gordon Calder, Senator Marlene Greenwood, Senator Olivine Tiedema and Senator Brenda Powley