Government of New Brunswick

The names of the recipients of the 2022 Order of New Brunswick were released.

The award honours current or former long-time residents of New Brunswick who have demonstrated a high level of individual excellence and achievement in any field, having made outstanding contributions to the social, cultural or economic well-being of New Brunswick and its residents.



Biographical Notes




 Originally from Tracadie, Jean-Claude Basque has lived in Moncton for over 35 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in arts from the Collège de Bathurst and a bachelor’s degree in education from the Université de Moncton.

In his 20s, Mr. Basque worked as a student activist in the Tracadie area. He then worked at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton for about 10 years. In the 1990s, he made a name for himself as a union and social activist. In 1990, he became the Canadian Labour Congress union representative for the Atlantic region.

He was active as a workers’ advocate and fought for social justice, opposing cuts to the employment insurance program, among other things.

In 2006, he became the provincial co-ordinator for the Common Front for Social Justice. Upon his retirement in 2009, he continued this work on a volunteer basis until 2020. He wrote a number of reports and briefs for the Common Front for Social Justice, which were used to lobby governments. By working hard and using an evidence-based approach, he transformed this organization into a lobby group that attracted the attention and respect of the media and policy makers.

Known as a free thinker, Mr. Basque was not afraid to think outside the box to bring social injustices and issues of poverty to light. He often took a creative approach to mobilizing and informing people on the causes he was defending. He understood that a variety of events, strategies and actions were needed for the Common Front for Social Justice to reach New Brunswick’s diverse population.

Jean-Claude Basque is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his exceptional work towards and commitment to defending workers’ rights and social justice for all residents of New Brunswick.




Cecile Cassista is executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights and a councillor-at-large for the Town of Riverview. She served as deputy mayor from 2013-2014 and from 2016-2017.

She is well known in the community for her commitment to the feminist movement, to unionism, and to seniors’ rights and well-being. She has served as vice-president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and has many years of public service experience as a contract negotiator with the Canadian Auto Workers Union (UNIFOR). She has served on the Manitoba Labour Board as the representative for labour and on community boards with the Childcare Coalition of Manitoba and the United Way of Winnipeg.

She returned to New Brunswick after her retirement and, in 2004, co-founded the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights. This organization works to achieve and maintain affordable and accessible programs to enhance the quality of life for seniors and their families. She remains a volunteer with the coalition and has been an important voice for seniors. She puts her energy and enthusiasm into raising awareness of issues important to them, and particularly to those who reside in nursing homes and senior care facilities.

A champion of her community of Riverview, Ms. Cassista sees her role as representing the interests and concerns of residents in areas such as immigration, affordable housing and senior care. In 2006, she co-founded the Seniors’ Roundtable for the Town of Riverview, which organizes the Year of the Older Person, a popular celebration that attracts many seniors from the Greater Moncton area.

She is the co-founder and chair of the Riverview Neighbourhood Watch program, has served as director for the Riverview Lions Club and continues to dedicate her time to the organization. Ms. Cassista also served as vice-president of Urban Rural Rides for Southeastern New Brunswick in 2021, and was elected as director for the Union of Municipalities in Zone 2 (UMNB).

Cecile Cassista is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her outstanding commitment to advocacy on behalf of the province's seniors, so they can live with greater respect and dignity, and for her strong leadership in serving the residents of her community.




Randy Dickinson is well known for his ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. He has served as a trusted advisor to the provincial government and a tireless volunteer within his community and beyond.

He was a member of many local, provincial and national committees relating to disability issues, human rights, rehabilitation professionals, employment for people with disabilities, accessible transportation, accessible and affordable housing, and recreation.

He served in various professional positions during his career, including director of camping and community relations and, later, executive director of the Canadian Rehabilitation Council for the Disabled, which is now known as Easter Seals New Brunswick.

Mr. Dickinson spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Disabled Persons (now known as the Premier’s Council on Disabilities). During that period, he was seconded to act as executive director of the Premier’s Council on Health Strategy and also as executive director of the Canadian Paraplegic Association for New Brunswick.

After being approached by the provincial government, he became chairperson of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission from 2010 until 2015. Shortly afterwards, he returned to the Premier’s Council on Disabilities in a volunteer capacity as chairperson.

He served with many organizations, but notably helped to establish the John Wood Foundation, of which he is vice-president. He also remains an active member of the Age-Friendly Community Advisory Committee for the City of Fredericton and serves as co-chairperson of New Brunswick Disability Awareness Week.

He is the recipient of various awards and recognitions over the years for his professional and volunteer efforts. Among them are two Rotary Paul Harris Fellowships and the Order of Canada.

Randy Dickinson is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his dedication to creating a province where all residents can be truly equal, and for working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for people with different types of disabilities and to increase awareness of issues affecting them.




Penny Ericson, professor emeritus from the University of New Brunswick and retired dean of the faculty of nursing, is well-known and respected across Canada in both professional and academic communities and community organizations.

Ms. Ericson has held executive positions in national professional associations and has an impressive record of service provincially, locally and within the university. Under her leadership, the faculty of nursing became a model for the rest of Canada as it responded to the 1989 decision by the Nurses Association of New Brunswick to make the baccalaureate degree the minimum requirement for entry to nursing practice. Ms. Ericson also oversaw the establishment of a master’s degree program in nursing and the introduction of international exchange programs for faculty and students.

As dean, she led the faculty of nursing through 11 challenging years of transition, promoted a high level of teaching, research and service among faculty members and continued to teach undergraduate courses and mentor graduate students.

In her nursing career, Ms. Ericson has concentrated in the areas of education, administration and women’s health issues with a particular focus on gerontological nursing care and abuse. As a professor she has focused much of her research on care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and has engaged in collaborative research on violence in military communities.

In addition to her work in the nursing field, Ms. Ericson founded a family violence research centre and facility for palliative care patients in Fredericton. She is also an advocate for housing initiatives for people who are homeless or in precarious situations.

Ms. Ericson’s contributions to her community are vast and span many sectors, and she has long been a strong supporter of the arts, culture and heritage. Within a week of her arrival in Fredericton in 1971, Ms. Ericson established the Fredericton Heritage Trust to prevent the demolition of the Justice Building on Queen Street. Both the trust and the building still exist today.

Penny Ericson receives the Order of New Brunswick for her outstanding achievements and leadership in improving the health, social, and cultural well-being of her community and province.




Aurèle Ferlatte served in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War. He served as president of the Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans Association for five years and played an important role in resolving these soldiers’ longstanding struggle to have their contribution to the war effort officially recognized.

Mr. Ferlatte always ensured the recognition of the dignity and contribution of his peers. He informed veterans and their widows about their benefit entitlements. This proud veteran was also one of the first signatories to a consensus reached in 1995 by five organizations representing veterans on a special benefit package provided to members of the Merchant Navy by the Government of Canada. His experience and expertise were key assets in ensuring all eligible veterans of the Merchant Navy and their spouses received this special benefit.

He worked as a secretary-treasurer for the Canadian Paperworkers Union and defended workers’ rights for over 35 years. Recognized for his exemplary professionalism, he held the respect of everyone and all levels of government for his commitment to promoting social justice. The government of New Brunswick often sought his expertise.

A man of conviction, he was also vice-president of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights and was president of the coalition in 2006. His efforts resulted in policy changes to ensure property, such as bank accounts and homes, is not taken into account when a family member has to be placed in a nursing home and another family member is still residing in the former home.

In 2002, he became a member of the Order of Canada.

Aurèle Ferlatte is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his important contributions to the veterans of the Merchant Navy, for his commitment to improving the lives of the workers of the province he represented, and for his commitment to social justice.




Lucinda Flemer is a philanthropist, a visionary and a community-minded business leader.

When she founded Kingsbrae Garden with her late husband John Flemer, in 1998, their goals were to preserve the family green space for the whole community to enjoy, improve the province’s economy and create rural employment. Their love for nature and socio-economic motivation led the couple to create something unique that enhanced Saint Andrews as a go-to destination by making Kingsbrae Garden a well-known tourist attraction.

Improving the garden means, for Mrs. Flemer, improving her community and its vibrant culture and local economy. Not only has she gone above and beyond to boost regional revenue with the garden, she has also helped others by starting a business and training facility where people at risk and the long-term unemployed can develop horticulture skills and find employment. In addition to the garden, her generosity has brought to fruition many projects, including the recent construction of a world-class amphitheatre with 2,000 seats and the development of an artist-in-residence program.

Her scope of contribution expands outside of Saint Andrews. As a patron of the arts and benefactor of many causes, she currently serves as president of the Tamarack Foundation, helping non-profit community organizations from Ontario to New Brunswick, such as art galleries, museums, youth centres and nursing homes. In addition to constructing a brand new youth centre for her community, Mrs. Flemer assists with annual costs to operate and staff the facility.

In 2014, with her late husband, she established the Lucinda and John Flemer Netherlands Study Tour at the University of New Brunswick’s Gregg Center to promote awareness of the impact of the Second World War. In the same year, she was invested in the Order of Canada for her support of those in need and her engaged leadership in promoting the well-being of her community in Charlotte County. In 2017 she received the Garden Person of the Year award, one of the Canadian Garden Tourism Awards.

Lucinda Flemer is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her profound impact on the residents of her community and on the lives of many New Brunswickers, thanks to her  vision, her endless creativity, and her generosity




Sandra Irving is a community leader and a champion of education and health-care research.

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, she holds a bachelor of arts with distinction from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and a master of arts in political science from the University of Toronto.

Admired for her kindness and care, she is deeply committed to helping others. Together with her husband, Arthur Irving, she supports students across Atlantic Canada with leading scholarship and mentorship programs. As chair of the President’s Advisory Council of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC): The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences, she was instrumental in establishing the organization’s Atlantic Canadian chapter to further support academic research.

She served on the board of UNB, the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission, the Saint  John Regional Hospital, Dialogue NB, and the Boys and Girls Club. She is a strong supporter of Junior Achievement and an honorary fellow of the RSC.

She played an important role in developing the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens at Acadia University, the Beaubassin Environmental Research Station, The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth College, and the Harriet Irving Library Research Commons and Gardens at UNB.

As a cancer survivor, she is dedicated to supporting cancer research and care through the Stay Strong Cancer Survivorship Program in New Brunswick and research in cancer immunotherapy at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

For her outstanding leadership and commitment to community, Mrs. Irving received the Paul Harris Fellow award (Rotary Club of Saint John), the Red Cross Humanitarian Award, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. She was named to the Order of Canada and is an honorary degree recipient from St. Mary’s, St. Thomas, Acadia, Dalhousie and UNB.

Mrs. Irving loves music, bicycling, walking, and spending time with her family and her dogs.

Sandra L. Irving receives the Order of New Brunswick for her outstanding leadership, advocacy for the transformative power of education, her substantial impact on health care and delivery, and her passionate commitment to the betterment of her community and her province.




Larry Nelson is a respected community leader, philanthropist and businessman.

He began his career at Lounsbury Company Ltd. after graduating from Harrison Trimble High School. He retired over 48 years later as president and CEO of Lounsbury Group. Considered a very positive life force by all who know or have worked with him, Mr. Nelson has always demonstrated through his involvement with Sistema, Atlantic Ballet of Canada, Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, the Friends of the Moncton Hospital Foundation, the Université de Moncton Excellence - Evolution Campaigns, the United Way, the IAAF 2010 World Junior Championship and many others, that he truly wants to make his community and his province a better place to live.

He is known for his strong spirit of co-operation and for wholeheartedly supporting the bicultural nature of Moncton with enthusiasm and understanding. When he was asked to be the chairman of the Friends of the Moncton Hospital Foundation, he told the board that the first thing he would like was to undertake a joint campaign with the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital Foundation. Thanks to Mr. Nelson, the foundations worked together and launched the Hand and Hand – Main dans la Main lottery.

He also recognized what the Université de Moncton brings to the city and became an important contributor to the Université de Moncton’s Aigles Bleus hockey team fundraising campaign. Another of his most important contributions was to bring together anglophone and francophone business leaders to meet casually and learn from each other, to share insights, and to work together for their mutual benefit and that of the province.

For his support of the two linguistic communities, Mr. Nelson received an honorary doctorate from the Université de Moncton, a Dialogue New Brunswick Award, and was inducted into the Order of Canada. Described as a selfless man who contributes to all aspects of life in his community, and a person who embodies all that is positive about it, he also received the Order of Moncton in 2011, and he was inducted in 2015 into the Junior Achievement New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame for his excellent leadership of the Lounsbury Group.

Larry Nelson is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his service and dedication to his community and for his tremendous economic, social and cultural contribution to New Brunswick.




Valois Robichaud is originally from Baie de Petit Pokemouche, near Shippagan, and studied at the Université de Moncton. In the 1980s, he took theology courses at the Université de Sherbrooke and then at the Université de Montréal. A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship, he pursued master’s studies in the United States and, with the help of a scholarship from the French government in 1985, he pursued doctoral studies in Grenoble.

He has a doctorate in education and an honours degree in social gerontology and psychogerontology. He is also an international speaker, author, psychoanalyst and psychotherapist.

Mr. Robichaud had a successful career at the Université de Moncton, primarily at the Shippagan campus, as a professor of education and gerontology. His great teaching skills earned him the admiration of many students and the Université de Moncton’s 2008 Prix d’excellence en enseignement. In the late 1980s, his visionary qualities pushed him to establish the Université du troisième âge in the Acadian Peninsula, Restigouche and Chaleur regions, allowing adults of all ages to pursue university education and improve their knowledge. In the 1990s, his innovative side made him the first professor to experiment with distance learning technologies.

Travelling to Rome, Jerusalem, France, Austria, Argentina, Peru, Canada and the United States, Mr. Robichaud has held many talks on the challenges of human aging and the happiness, relational care and psychological needs of people at the end of life. He also taught gerontology in Liège, Belgium, and was involved with the Person-Centered Approach Institute as a facilitator for future French psychotherapists. Also a prolific author, he has written 10 books on education, aging, retirement and end-of-life care, among other things.

Valois Robichaud is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his many accomplishments as an educator and humanist committed to helping others, and for his support of people who are sick or at the end of life.




Robert Sylliboy, better known as Bobby, is a former police officer and someone who is always on the move. When he’s not coaching archery in the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation community, he is working for the National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, part-time with A Breath of Life, which is an anti-tobacco group,or finding new ways to make his community better. 

Throughout the years, Mr. Sylliboy has developed several programs to help others live an alcohol and drug-free lifestyle, including an outdoor 3D archery range, an outdoor rink, traditional cultural education classes, a community food harvesting experience for youth, and coaching certification programs for sports. He has spent many hours volunteering with schools, organizing athletic programs such as the Aboriginal Games, and activities to encourage young people to learn more about their culture. He played an important part in the launch of the Esgenoôpetitj Youth Centre, ensuring it was not only operational, but would provide a safe and welcoming environment.

Mr. Sylliboy began his coaching career when he learned children in the area were having trouble getting into sports, as there were no coaches to instruct them. Since then, he has become a highly successful archery coach, travelling to Prince George, B.C., in 2015 as part of the Canada Games Aboriginal Apprenticeship Coaching Program and coaching at the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto in 2017.

Despite his travels, he has remained grounded and committed to his community. He often says, “Never take your community and put it down, always bring it with you. Whether it is a rock or a sage, take a piece with you and you will never be lost.” This holistic approach to life is found in his coaching philosophy, as well, as he routinely speaks Mik’maq with his athletes and often does a smudge before going onto the playing field. His dedication to coaching young people was recognized by both the Aboriginal on the Move Coaching Award and the Leave Your Mark Coaching Awards.

Robert “Bobby” Sylliboy is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his incredible work and dedication as a coach and champion for youth in his community of Esgenoôpetitj, and for his exceptional mentorship and excellence in volunteerism.