2017 CHRA Award Winners


Lifetime Achievement Award
To recognize an individual with many years of service who has had a major impact on the affordable housing sector in Canada.

Denis Quirion
For more than 35 years, Denis Quirion has demonstrated his qualities as a visionary, developer, leader, and most important, his caring for the tenants that he served. In the 1970s, Denis became actively involved in urban renewal programs, which led to the creation of the Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU). Denis received a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1978, and a master’s degree in urban planning in 1982.

In 1992, Denis joined the City of Montreal housing department, rising to the position of Director of Housing.  In his role as Director of Housing, Denis implemented significant growth and redevelopment strategies for housing in Montreal. His efforts in the 2000s led to the creation of more than 10,000 housing units, the renovation of 22,000 units, 70 agreements on social housing in new large scale residential developments, and home ownership for 5,500 households. He spearheaded new partnerships, particularly with health and social service agencies, to pursue joint action on homelessness.

Je voudrais en profiter pour le remercier d’avoir partagé son enthousiasme et son savoir avec ceux et celles qui l’on côtoyé durant toutes ces années, en espérant que cette reconnaissance ne soit pas un aboutissement mais un nouveau départ, dans un rôle de son choix évidemment, pour faire avancer la cause du logement social.
Robert Labelle - Président du Conseil d’administration
Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal

De 2001 à 2011 Denis est impliqué dans  la gestion immobilière et sociale des logements publics aux conseils d'administration de la Corporation d' habitation Jeanne-Mance (CHJM) et de l'Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal (OMHM).  In 2011, Denis was named directeur general of the l'Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal (OMHM), which is responsible for 23,000 units in Montreal. 

Professionnellement, c’est tout un lot de connaissances qu’il amène avec lui, une expertise et une profondeur historique de ses expériences. Mais ce sont aussi les convictions et l’énergie qu’il savait mettre à défendre le point de vue de l’institution qu’il s’était engagé à servir. Que ce soit alors qu’il était à la Ville de Montréal ou plus récemment à l’Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal, jamais son engagement ne s’est démenti.
Russell Copeman -Maire de l'arrondissement de Côte-des-Neiges

During his time at OMHM, Denis championed the construction of new affordable housing, maintenance of quality low-rent housing stock, and continuous improvement of services to tenants. Denis retired in 2016 after a long and successful career.

“Avec le recul de plus de trois décennies, je retiens que malgré les aléas des orientations politiques, des budgets et des programmes,  les gens de cœur qui œuvrent  dans le domaine du logement abordable (dans les gouvernements, les municipalités et les organisations communautaires) savent toujours se mobiliser pour faire reconnaître la pertinence des investissements en habitation et pour trouver de nouvelles solutions.  Cette mobilisation repose sans doute sur la conviction que l'intervention sur le logement  améliore la qualité de vie de nombreux ménages et aussi, plus largement, contribue à mettre en œuvre les politiques sociales et urbaines dans chacune de nos collectivités.” 
Denis Quirion


“Homme de vision, Denis a su démontrer, tout au long de sa carrière, une capacité d’innovation et maintenir une approche de collaboration et de dialogue avec ses partenaires, notamment ceux issus du milieu communautaire. J’ai toujours perçu qu’il avait à cœur l’habitation sociale et communautaire et la survie du modèle d’intervention. Je retiens de lui son approche respectueuse et pragmatique et sa volonté de travailler à la recherche de consensus et de solutions pour permettre l’avancement des dossiers, aussi complexes soient-ils. Félicitations Denis pour cet honneur bien mérité, ce fut un plaisir de collaborer avec toi au fil des ans! »

Edith Cyr, directrice générale de Bâtir son quartier


Félicitations Denis Quirion!

Leadership Award
To recognize an individual who has shown leadership in improving housing in Canada through program innovation, policy change, outreach and/or advocacy efforts.

Gary Gould
As a member of the Maliseet nation, Gary has dedicated over 40 years of his life to advancing the cause of urban and rural Indigenous people in Canada. In 1973, Gary joined the Board of the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council (NBAPC), and become President in 1976 – a role he held until 1990!

During his time as President of NBAPC, he oversaw construction of the NBAPC summer camp, a place where kids could go to learn about their culture and history in a safe and inviting space. Gary also oversaw expansion of the Skigin-Elnoog Housing Corporation, a non-profit housing provider that builds, maintains, and rents affordable housing to urban Indigenous people.  Skigin-Elnoog also offers property management services and an award winning urban Indigenous homeownership program.

From August 1990 until December 2017 he was the General Manager of Skigin-Elnoog Housing. Under Gary’s leadership, Skigin-Elnoog grew to own and operate nearly 500 units, making them one of the largest urban Indigenous housing providers in Eastern Canada.

Gary also participated in the constitutional conferences that entrenched aboriginal rights in the 1982 constitution.  He participated in additional constitutional conferences between 1982 and 1987, and represented the Native Council of Canada at the 1992 Charlottetown conference.

Gary co-wrote a book on the legal and historical basis of aboriginal title in the Maritimes, and he co-wrote a historical account of the constitutional conferences.

“It is critical to recognize the strengths of great leaders and to recognize their efforts and accomplishments and to share them as a guide for those that follow in their footsteps.  We can only hope that fellow citizens are aware of Gary’s efforts and accomplishments and strive to build on them for the benefit of future generations of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people living in urban and rural Canada”
– Don McBain, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services

He was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Metal in November 2012, and in November 2015 he was invested into the Order of New Brunswick. He has been married for the last 41 years to the love of his life Rebecca (Walsh) and has a son Kurtis.


Congratulations Gary Gould!

Community Builder Award
To recognize an individual, business or organization that has had a major impact at the community level in promoting affordable housing and/or preventing and ending homelessness.

Choices for Youth

Choices for Youth (CFY) has served thousands of at-risk and homeless youth in the St. John’s region since 1990.  CFY’s approach involves providing shelter, addressing trauma and psychological barriers, and empowering individuals to work toward greater self-awareness. 30% of the homeless population in St. John’s are youth.  Choices for Youth is helping to address that sobering statistic. Programs include a Shelter for young men, an outreach and youth employment program, pre-employment programs, transitional and supportive housing programs, and social enterprises to offer employment opportunities to vulnerable populations.

In 2016, CFY co-launched a new Community Intensive Case Management Initiative, Front Step, which provides housing and support to individuals experiencing the longest and most frequent episodes of homelessness in the St. John’s community. As a learning organization, CFY is developing rigourous monitoring and evaluation processes to ensure the organization continues to offer the highest quality of programming possible. 

“The Lilly [at CFY], has given me everything I need to live on my own. It would have taken me a lot longer to get to this point if it wasn’t for The Lilly teaching me the skills that I’ve learned like providing for myself, being independent, cooking, cleaning… there’s just so much that the Lilly has given me that I would not have found anywhere else”  
– Matt, Resident and Participant of The Lilly Housing Program at CFY. After two years with The Lilly, Matt has recently moved into his own apartment.

To combat, prevent, and eventually end homelessness, CFY has incorporated learnings from A Way Home, the Homeless Hub, and other national and provincial research findings; and they share their findings and input with government at every turn.

“Choices for Youth has been a community leader and advocate for the needs of at-risk and homeless youth for over 26 years. Our work represents a substantial contribution to the national and provincial dialogue on the role of affordable housing in ending youth homelessness.”
- Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director at Choices for Youth

“The work of Choices for Youth reflects that they have shown an extraordinary commitment to ensuring decent, safe and affordable housing to their clients and are working tirelessly to prevent homelessness in the city of St. John’s.”
– Lisa Browne, CEO, Stella’s Circle


Congratulations Choices for Youth!

Sustainability Award
To recognize an organization, business or partnership that has undertaken a program, a new build or retrofit project that advances sustainable development, resource conservation or community renewal.

Ottawa Salus

Ottawa Salus offers a range of supportive housing options for adults with serious mental illness and concurrent challenges including addictions, homelessness and cycles of hospitalization.  Ottawa Salus offre plusieurs options de logement avec soutien aux adultes vivant avec une maladie mentale grave et qui sont confrontés à d’importantes difficultés, dont la toxicomanie, l’itinérance et les cycles d’hospitalisation.

Founded in 1977, Salus now operates 14 buildings in the City of Ottawa with more than 200 units. Salus’ new Karen’s Place development, opened in October 2016, is a 42-unit supportive housing apartment building that provides homes to people living with serious mental illness, many of whom were previously homeless. It was designed to meet both LEED Platinum and Passive House standards.

Every aspect of the building was designed to consider energy efficiency.  The estimated cost to heat the development is $27 a year!  It is the most energy efficient building of its kind in North America.
It uses 5 Passive House features to be so sustainable:

  1. Thermal bridge-free construction 
  2. Air tightness measures
  3. Increased insulation
  4. Passive House certified windows and doors
  5. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery

“The Passive House standard is recognized as a key step towards net-zero buildings, which have been targeted in many jurisdictions around the world for compliance over the next 15-25 years. Ottawa Salus, with one of the first in North America, has demonstrated how this can be done affordably and successfully. The influence of this is being seen in the interest of housing providers across the province of Ontario and indeed across the continent.” – Anthony Leaning, CSV Architect  

Salus is now being approached by housing providers across North America to learn about its innovative and cost saving features.

“I feel like a royal king. I’ve been here three weeks and this place has already changed my life.” – Michael Backs, tenant

“The cost of being the first of its kind will generate a more valuable return: the opportunity for other affordable housing providers to learn from Salus and build ‘new and improved’ passive house projects of their own.” – Ray Sullivan,  Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation

“Sustainability is where economic, social and environmental principles meet, where equity and viability count.  An affordable housing sector that provides homes and services to people who are marginalized for these very reasons is in the position to lead others forward, to combat the effects of climate change and build a better world.  Sustainable buildings are a testament to the work we do every day.” – Lisa Ker, Executive Director, Ottawa Salus    


Congratulations Ottawa Salus!


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