The John Brant Award

Christine Elliott – John Brant Award 2023 Recipient

Christine, former Minister of Health and Deputy Premier has shown strong leadership in her community and throughout her public service. During her tenure as Ontario’s Minister of Health from 2018 to 2022, Christine played an integral part in overseeing the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was an easy call to ask her to be my Deputy Leader when I was Leader of the Ontario PC Party,” says Board Chair Tim Hudak. “My judgement was correct as she excelled in one of the toughest jobs during COVID as Minister of Health and Deputy Premier.”  

In her role as Minister of Health, she also sponsored The People’s Health Care Act and enacted the Connecting Care Act. The Connecting Care Act gave rise to Ontario Health, a Crown agency that merged the 14 Local Health Integration Network and other agencies including Cancer Care Ontario, Gift of Life Network, eHealth Ontario and HealthForce Ontario in order to facilitate integrated care delivery systems also known as local Ontario Health teams.  

Christine, along with her husband James Flaherty (Jim) was a founding partner of Flaherty, Dow, Elliott & McCarthy. Later, Christine and Jim co-founded Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ontario, which supports and celebrates the abilities of all people and is a place where everyone belongs, regardless of their challenges. In addition, she has held positions on a range of boards in the health care sector since becoming involved as a volunteer with several charities including the Lakeridge Health Whitby Foundation, Durham Mental Health Services, and Grandview Children’s Centre. 

Hudak, who has known Christine Elliott for almost 25 years, described her as “thoughtful, warm, engaging, whip smart, well informed and a strong communicator.”  

“She has solid values that reflect the Academy and that she has passed on to her sons, John, Galen and Quinn,” says Hudak on why she was chosen to receive the John Brant Award this year. 

The John Brant Award will be presented at the Academy’s Gala Event, Saturday April 20, 2024 at the Academy. Past recipients of the award are The Honourable Rob Nicholson in 2020 (presented in 2022 due to pandemic); General Walter Natynczyk in 2019 and Dave Levac, then Speaker of the Ontario Legislature in 2018.  

For information on the Gala Event, visit 

The John Brant Award

Robert Land Academy is a school that values leadership, that stresses the importance of responsibility and accountability, and that focuses on the values of loyalty, labour, commitment, courage and honour. Our students are encouraged, and supported, in achieving their full potential by incorporating leadership, responsibility and values, along with a highly disciplined program, into their daily routine.

The boys on our campus are also encouraged to recognize leadership and strong values in members of the community outside of campus life and to appreciate the link between those values and an individual’s success, whether it is in the military, politics, education or community service.

The Academy leadership was inspired to formally recognize these character traits in community leaders which lead to the creation of the John Brant Award.

The award was named in honour of the Mohawk Grand Chief John Brant (1794-1832). Like his father Joseph Brant, John Brant demonstrated loyalty to the British, strong leadership and a great deal of integrity throughout his life. In the War of 1812, Brant led native warriors to stop an American attack at the Battle of Queenston Heights and took part in several other battles. Following the war he encouraged the creation of schools for his people and worked to secure land rights for the Six Nation. John Brant was the first Native American to sit in Upper Canada’s Parliament, until his right to hold the seat was questioned because he did not own enough land.

By naming the award after John Brant, the Academy is honouring a respected leader who demonstrated loyalty, labour, commitment, courage and honour throughout his life.

Previous recipients of the award include The Honourable Rob Nicholson, former MP for the riding of Niagara Falls, General Walter Natynczyk, Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff until 2012, and Dave Levac, former MPP representing Brant and speaker of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.

The John Brant Award is traditionally presented during The Academy’s Gala Event held each spring. This year’s gala will be held Saturday, June 10, 2023, beginning at 6 pm, at Robert Land Academy.

The image of John Brant used in the logo for the Academy’s

John Brant Award logo was created by Iroquois Artist Raymond Skye.

Mr. Skye’s art is featured in the Landscape of Nationals memorial

at Queenston Heights where a statue of John Brant was created

based on one of Mr. Skye’s images. The Academy is honoured

Mr. Skye shared his incredible talent and traditional teachings

to create this image.

Rob Nicholson – John Brant Award 2020 Recipient

The Honourable Rob Nicholson served his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ontario for more than 35 years as a Member of Canadian Parliament (MP), a school trustee, and a Regional Councilor.

A respected MP with a stellar political career, Rob Nicholson was first elected to Parliament in 1984 and, as the longest serving MP when he retired in 2019, served under five Prime Ministers. He has also held several high-profile positions while in Parliament, including House Leader, when he was responsible for working with Opposition parties to gain support for the government’s legislative agenda and steering legislation through parliament.

During his first term in Parliament, Nicholson served as Minister for Science and Minister responsible for Small Business. He also served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Most recently Nicholson was appointed Shadow Minister for Public Services and Procurement.
In February of 2015 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. Previously, he served as Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform. In February 2006 he was named Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada where he served until he was named Minister of National Defence in July 2013. In November 2015, Nicholson was named the Justice Critic for her Majesty’s Official Opposition.

In the 1993 election the entire caucus except for two MPs was defeated, including Nicholson. He continued his public service, however, by serving in Municipal politics. He was elected as a school trustee for the Niagara Catholic District School Board in 1994 and elected to Niagara Regional Council later that same year. He was reelected to Regional council in 2000 and 2003.

In the 2004 election Nicholson was returned to Ottawa and served as MP until he chose not to run again in the 2019 election.

Nicholson has a law degree from the University of Windsor and is a member of the Upper Canada Law Society. He is married to Arlene and has three adult children.

General Walter Natynczyk – John Brant Award 2019 Recipient

General (retired) Walter Natynczyk has given a lifetime of service to his country, and is a very fitting recipient of the John Brant Award.

Currently serving as Canada’s Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs, General (retired) Natynczyk first joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1975. His military career, which spans nearly four decades, includes numerous operations, both internationally and at home. In 2008 he reached the pinnacle of his military career when he was appointed Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Since his retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2012, he served as President of the Canadian Space Agency before assuming his current role in Veterans Affairs in 2014.

He has been recognized for his service with a number of medals and honours including the Commander of the Order of Military Merit, presented for outstanding meritorious service and demonstrated leadership in duties of great responsibility; the Meritorious Service Cross, which  recognizes highly professional acts that are of considerable benefit to the Canadian Forces; and the Legion of Merit, a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

The John Brant Award was created to recognize leaders in the community who embody the five values of Robert Land Academy: loyalty, labour, courage, commitment and honour.

Serving in the Canadian Forces for almost 40 years; taking part in numerous operations, at home and overseas; demonstrating leadership to his fellow soldiers as Chief of Defence Staff and continuing to serve those men and women as Deputy Minister to Veterans Affairs, General Natynczyk is a true example of the values of the Academy and The John Brant Award.

The Honourable Dave Levac – John Brant Award Recipient 2018

Robert Land Academy is based on the values of loyalty, labour, courage, commitment and honour. It is these values that form the foundation of The John Brant Award, created by the Academy to recognize a community leader who exemplifies these values.

MPP Dave Levac is just such a community leader. He has exemplified these values in all aspects of his life.

As an educator at St. Mary’s Catholic School Mr. Levac created an award-winning conflict resolution program for his students. His leadership at St. Mary’s provided students with the tools they needed to resolve conflict, learn integrity and develop pride in themselves and their school. He made a commitment to his students and his community and had the courage to implement a program he believed would support that commitment.

Mr. Levac has been involved in a long list community initiatives, working hard as founder and organizer of many fundraisers and volunteering with many more organizations. As MPP he has worked just as hard for his community. His labour in and for Brant as well as his loyalty to his community are evident in the work he has undertaken throughout his life.

MPP Levac has introduced numerous Private Member’s Bills, and is responsible for several of them being passed in the Legislature to become law, that honour many segments of Ontario’s population, including students, firefighters, police officers, and the Ukrainian Community.

As a man who has served with dignity and integrity in both is career as an educator and as Member of Provincial Parliament, it is very fitting that Mr. Levac be recognized with the John Brant Award for a life and career given to public service.

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