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LEE-CHIN… an entrepreneur and philanthropist who believes in the power of giving back —

Two Jamaicans — entrepreneur Michael Lee-Chin and internationally renowned paediatrician Dr Upton Allen — are among 23 individuals who are being invested with the Order of Ontario, the Canadian province’s highest honour.

The announcement was made yesterday by Elizabeth Dowdeswell, lieutenant governor of Ontario and chancellor of the Order of Ontario, who will bestow the honor to the newest appointees during an investiture ceremony at Queen’s Park on February 27, 2018.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, appointments to the order are made on the recommendation of an independent advisory council based on public nominations. The nomination deadline is March 31 each year and anyone can nominate a resident or former long-term resident of Ontario for the Order.

Any Ontarian who has shown outstanding qualities of individual excellence and achievement in any field, leaving a lasting legacy in the province, in Canada and beyond, is eligible to be nominated for the order.

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration announcement notes that Dr Allen’s approaches to treating hospital-borne diseases have prevented the deaths of countless children.

Dr Allen received his medical degree from The University of the West Indies and acquired his pediatric training as well as training in his sub-specialty in infectious diseases at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto.

He holds an MSc degree in clinical epidemiology from McMaster University and, before the start of his pediatric training in Canada, he worked on the infectious diseases service at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, The Bahamas.


He is a director of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, a fellow of the society, and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Royal College of Physicians (UK).

He is a past chair of the Infectious Diseases Speciality Training Committee; is a member of the Specialty Standards Review Committee, and is a council member of the International Pediatric Transplant Association.

The ministry announcement states that Lee-Chin is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who believes in the power of giving back. “His gifts to local hospitals have improved patient care, and his historic contribution to the Royal Ontario Museum led to the creation of the iconic Michael Lee-Chin Crystal,” the announcement said.

Locally, Lee-Chin is known as chairman of National Commercial Bank, founder and chairman of Portland Holdings Inc, a privately held investment company which owns a collection of diversified operating companies in media, tourism, health care, telecommunications, and financial services.

He was the executive chairman of Canadian mutual fund AIC Limited, and has been named as one of the richest people in Canada and Jamaica.

In 2016, the Jamaican Government appointed Lee-Chin as chairman of the island’s Economic Growth Council, which immediately set a target of generating five per cent growth in four years.


Among the other individuals being invested with the Order of Ontario are Comedian Dan Aykroyd, one of the world’s most popular entertainers, well-known for his time on Saturday Night Live and the 1984 classic movie Ghostbusters. He is also a successful businessman — co-founding House of Blues and Crystal Head Vodka — and philanthropist in the Kingston area of Canada.

Retired nursing professor Myrtha Lapierre, who broke barriers for black Francophone nurses in Canada; mental health advocate Dr Dorothy Cotton, whose recommendations have helped change the way police respond to people with mental health crises; residential school survivor Elder Geraldine Robertson, whose efforts have helped other survivors heal and who educated Canadians on the legacies of colonialism; and celebrated science-fiction author Robert J Sawyer, who has published 23 novels and is a champion of the Canadian fiction industry.

The Order of Ontario was established in 1986 and 2017 marked the 30th anniversary of the first investiture of appointees.

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