Since 2001 the PAAC has presented an Award of Distinction to a member of the public affairs community who, over their career, has made a significant contribution to public affairs in Canada.

This year’s Award of Distinction Luncheon will be held at The National Club on Thursday, June 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $80.00* (Please note: Award of Distinction Luncheon tickets are included in Annual Conference registration fees)

The recipients of the 2015 Award of Distinction are:

Alison Loat, Co-founder and Executive Director, Samara Canada & Michael MacMillan, Acting Co-director, Co-founder and Chair, Samara Canada

Alison Loat

Alison Loat is the co-founder of Samara Canada, a non-partisan charity dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics, and the co-author of the #1 best-selling book Tragedy in the Commons. Samara’s work was used to develop federal legislation on democratic reform, improve politics curricula, the orientation of newly elected MPs and initiatives to improve citizens’ participation in politics.

Previously a consultant at McKinsey & Co., Alison is an active volunteer and also teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. She is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Harvard Kennedy School, and has received several awards for public service leadership, including the Queen’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals, and is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

Michael MacMillan

In 2007 Michael co-founded Samara Canada which is a charity that is dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics. Samara conducts original research and ongoing education and engagement programming such as “Democracy Talks” and the “Everyday Political Citizen” projects.

In 2011, Michael co-founded and is CEO of Blue Ant Media, a Canadian-based media company. Blue Ant is a digital and television producer and distributor. It owns digital media properties and magazines (including Cottage Life) as well as television channels in Canada (such as Smithsonian Channel Canada and Love Nature) and New Zealand (Choice TV).

From 1978 to 2007 Michael was the Chairman and CEO of Alliance Atlantis Communications and its predecessor company Atlantis Communications.

Michael is co-founder and co-owner of Closson Chase Vineyards and winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario. It makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.

A member of the Order of Canada, Michael has volunteered with numerous community and industry organizations over many years, and is currently involved with Open Roof Films, Human Rights Watch, Civix, and the Community Food Centres Canada, amongst other organizations. He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College and co-author of the book Tragedy in the Commons.


11:30 a.m. Registrations and Networking
12:00 p.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. Presentation

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