Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Order of Canada

By Maria DiDanieli   


Each era, society and group has its unique ways of recognizing its
heroes and, in fact, of defining the qualities and achievements
necessary to receive the distinction.

Each era, society and group has its unique ways of recognizing its heroes and, in fact, of defining the qualities and achievements necessary to receive the distinction. For some, courage and prowess in military affairs are elements that are considered worthy of accolades. In other instances, contributions to the knowledge of a society – for instance, through science, philosophy or art – inspire tribute. Alternatively, an individual’s efforts aimed at building peace among peoples may bring honoured status on a national, or even international, level. Regardless, the point behind this sort of recognition is to highlight individuals who have done something to benefit the society and/or add strength to its cultural fibre.

Dr. Allan Gotlib (left) accepts a plaque on behalf of the CCRF. The plaque is being presented by Dr. Catherine Whiteside, MD, PhD, at a University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine event recognizing the establishment of the university’s CCRF Professorship in Spine. The professorship is currently held by Dr. Carlo Ammendolia, DC, PhD (right). The inscription on the plaque acknowledges the CCRF for its support and commitment to advancing research, education and the health of individuals around the world.
©2012 Gustavo Toledo Photography




In Canada, we have several national vehicles for honouring heroes in all walks of life.  Among them is a system of Orders to which meritorious Canadians can be appointed by the Governor General of Canada for outstanding contributions to Canadian society and culture. Among these is the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada was established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to highlight accomplishments in all sectors of our society. It has become known as the “centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.”   

Civilians are appointed to the Order of Canada in one of three categories, namely, Companion, Officer or Member, with “Companion” being the highest level of distinction. Members and Officers can be upgraded to the status of Companion over time.2

Appointments to the Order of Canada are administered through the Chancellery of Honours. An individual is nominated by a member, or members, of the public who feel(s) that the individual is worthy of the distinction.

Nominations are received by the Chancellery of Honours, which will then open a file and conduct thorough research into each nomination. For this process, peers, colleagues and Members of the Order are consulted and the results are sent to the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada.3 

The Council is a diverse and independent body that is chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada. The Council will review and vote on the nominations. If a consensus by the Council supports the individual’s appointment, the Council Chair will recommend this individual to the Governor General. The Chancellery of Honours will then contact the recipient to confirm his/her agreement to the appointment. As final confirmation, the Governor General signs the Instrument of Appointment.4

Twice a year, those being appointed at each level are invited to an investiture ceremony at Rideau Hall – the official residence of the Governor General – in Ottawa, or at La Citadelle du Quebec. At this ceremony, they receive an insignia, typically from the Governor General. The insignia is snowflake-shaped, with a maple leaf in its centre, and is mounted on a red and white ribbon. It is inscribed with the Order’s motto, “Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam” meaning “They desire a better country.” (This motto is Biblical in origin – it is taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews, Chapter 11, verse 16.)5 On the insignia, over the maple leaf and inscription, is St. Edward’s Crown – originally constructed in 1661 and slightly modified over time, the crown is the headpiece currently worn by the reigning monarch.6 To date, more than 5000 people have been invested into the Order.7 

The process of choosing those to appoint to the Order of Canada requires consideration and scrutiny by delegates from a number of levels, and from various sectors, within Canadian society and government. As well, a list of appointees, with reasons for appointment, is posted on the website of the Governor General and investiture ceremonies are publicized across the country on television, radio and the Internet. On top of this, much is written about appointments in regional and national newspapers and magazines. Therefore, when an individual achieves appointment, their work and their dedication to Canadian society in general, become widely known and upheld as model initiatives.

It is no surprise, then, that Canadians consider it an honour to be appointed to the Order. Furthermore, those groups with which appointees are affiliated are pleased about their member’s achievement, both for the credit it brings to the individual and, by extension, for the recognition it confers on the group at large. 

The most recent list of individuals to be appointed to the Order of Canada was announced on June 29, 2012 and includes a doctor of chiropractic.  This DC is Dr. Allan Gotlib. Dr. Gotlib was appointed a Member in recognition of his contributions to advancing research in the chiropractic profession and its interprofessional integration.
Understandably, he is quite pleased about being appointed. And, behind him, there is a profession that is not only proud of him, but excited about the significance of a DC’s rise to this honour.

Dr. Gotlib attends the recognition event for the CCRF Professorship in Spine Biomechanics and Human Neurophysiology established at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine, School of Medical Rehabilitation.


As Dr. John Triano, dean of graduate education and research at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto, notes: “There are roughly 600-800 total nominations for this honour a year, of which 150 or less are appointed – there were 70, in June. It’s awarded to individuals for outstanding efforts in their field and it is this man’s effort that is worth recognition. He clearly thinks very strategically about how to make the greatest influence possible within our social structure. By researching a tangible path for which scientific arguments for the chiropractic profession could be made more visible to the Canadian public, Dr. Gotlib has been able to reach out and improve health for all of Canada by making chiropractic more accessible, acknowledged and apparent.”

Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (CCRF) director and chair of funding allocation Dr. Don Nixdorf also comments: “Dr. Gotlib’s appointment speaks to at least two matters. The first is the recognition of his outstanding personal character and many achievements. The second is the value of the outcome of his dedication that has facilitated partnerships for necessary health-care research that flourish through the inclusion of chiropractic doctors at universities across Canada. This research capacity benefits all Canadians and the chiropractic profession.”

First of all, Dr. Allan Gotlib is a chiropractor. A graduate of the CMCC chiropractic program, he practiced in Toronto until 1995. As suggested above, his renown within the profession has to do with his dedication to research, and specifically, to bringing DCs into high-quality interprofessional environments where they have the opportunity to conduct world-class research. Due to his unrelenting commitment to this goal, his work has resulted in the establishment of research chairs and professorships for chiropractic researchers in prominent university settings in almost every province in the country. This has the potential to put chiropractors on the cutting edge of health science while making chiropractic more accessible to the Canadian public.

Dr. Drew Potter, president of the CCRF notes, “Allan’s vision of creating chiropractic research chairs and professorships in Canadian Universities, and his commitment to that goal, is a testament to his tenacity in enhancing the credibility of the chiropractic profession. The announcement by the Governor General of Canada of the appointment of Dr. Allan Gotlib to the Order of Canada heralds a monumental milestone in Allan’s career and in the recognition of the importance of Chiropractic Research and interprofessional integration in the scientific world. I am convinced that receiving this prestigious award will encourage Dr. Gotlib to continue to strive to increase our research capacity. Our profession is extremely fortunate in having a person of such stature at the forefront of our research initiative.”

CMCC president, Dr. Jean Moss, notes, “CMCC is tremendously proud to see a graduate being recognized for such a prestigious honour as the Order of Canada.

 “Dr. Gotlib has created a heightened interest in research which plays a vital role in the development of the chiropractic profession. This is an inspiration to our students and assists us in fostering an interest in scientific inquiry among them. In fact, Dr. Gotlib’s work in facilitating chiropractic chairs and professorships in universities across Canada stimulated CMCC to create its own Research Chair, the McMorland Family Research Chair in Mechanobiology.”

 Dr. Gotlib has held a number of research-related roles within the profession. He has been the editor of the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association (JCCA), a peer-reviewed scholarly scientific publication, for the past 28 years. He is the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) director of research programs and executive vice-president of the CCRF, which supports chiropractic research.

CCA president, Dr. John Corrigan states, “ The impact Dr. Gotlib has had on the research community, not just in our country but abroad as well, will resonate for years to come. We, at the CCA, are extraordinarily proud of Dr. Gotlib and extend our warmest congratulations on his appointment to the Order of Canada. It is a testament to his vision and dedication to the chiropractic profession.”

Speaking from her office at CMCC, where Dr. Gotlib is also a past full professor, Dr. Moss adds, “ The research being conducted in Canada is the envy of the world and has the potential to create advances in the care and quality of life for patients everywhere. Dr. Gotlib is fundamental to this success and is to be congratulated.”

Dr. Gotlib has held many committee positions including Executive Committee for the Canadian Cochrane Network and Center (CCN/C), CIHR President’s Voluntary Sector Committee, President of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, Transitional Council of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, Deputy Judges Council in Ontario, and Bencher on the Law Society of Upper Canada.

For his work in these various capacities, the profession has honoured him with a number of awards, among them, the CCA Medal of Merit (2007), the highest award given by the profession in Canada, and in 2007 and 2008 the Homewood Professorship from CMCC, the school’s highest academic award. In 2006, he received the Chiropractor of the Year award from the Ontario Chiropractic Association, the highest award given by the association in Ontario.

When congratulated on his appointment to the Order, Dr. Gotlib is very gracious – however, questions regarding his achievement elicit a tangible and multi-layered excitement!

“For me and my family,” he tells Canadian Chiropractor, “to be acknowledged by the Governor General of Canada with one of our country’s highest civilian honours is an extraordinary privilege. Canada gives its citizens one of the world’s most precious gifts – freedom!

“Because of this freedom, Members of the Order include Canadians who have distinguished themselves in the fields of communications, engineering, music, public service, health care, politics and industry. They are driven to succeed in making Canada a better country. This is personally very inspiring to me and fires my passion. To be recognized in this outstanding way by our country, for the contributions made not only to my profession but to Canadian society, is beyond belief.”

He continues, “The Governor General’s Advisory Council, in recommending me to the Governor General, noted my lifetime contributions to effective professional regulation, interprofessional integration and research excellence. They noted in particular, the expansion of our research culture into the university realm with Chiropractic Research Chairs and Professorships. The profession is in the spotlight and has a wonderful opportunity to grow arm in arm with Canada and to engage all Canadians in the future.”

Dr. Jill Hayden is a chiropractor who currently holds a CCRF Professorship in epidemiology in the faculty of medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax.  She was the third DC to receive the distinction of a CCRF/CIHR Chiropractic Research Chair, which she held at  the University Health Network at the University of Toronto from 2007-2008, and then transfered to Dalhousie until 2011.  

Dr. Hayden notes, “I would not be where I am today without Dr. Gotlib’s dedication and hard work and his being appointed as a member of the Order of Canada is terrific news! This is well-deserved recognition for Dr. Gotlib’s commitment to building chiropractic research capacity in Canada, growing the evidence-base of chiropractic care, and enhancing interprofessional integration. Dr. Gotlib has worked tirelessly for decades to build research capacity within the chiropractic profession in Canada, with terrific success. He has identified opportunities to ‘do a lot with a little’ and has worked really hard to bring opportunities to fruition. His enthusiasm and support have encouraged many new chiropractic researchers, including me!”

Dr. Greg Kawchuck holds the Canada Research Chair in Spinal Function at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta and was the first DC to be awarded a university-based research chair, largely due to the efforts of Dr. Gotlib. He says, “Allan’s idea, to create a critical mass of chiropractic researchers within Canada, has touched the career of almost every chiropractic investigator in this country. Allan’s experience and insight continues to guide chiropractic research in the same way that clinicians care for their patients.”
Dr. Gotlib acknowledges those who have been the driving force behind his goals for the profession and the Canadian public: “I am thankful to all of my colleagues, chiropractic organizations, government agencies and universities that I have worked with over the years. And I want to thank our most precious asset – our researchers!! They should be continually acknowledged and cherished for their steadfast commitment to our profession!”

CCRF director and chair of fundraising and membership campaigns Dr. David Leprich comments, “The future of health care is being driven by research. This is more pertinent to chiropractic than any other health profession. Although our research program is relatively new, the results are astounding. We now have chiropractors leading high-level research at some of the best universities in Canada.”

Although Dr. Gotlib is pleased with the progress of chiropractic research, thus far, he also realizes that there is still work to be done.

“The profession definitely needs to rapidly grow its research capacity and evidence,” he notes.  “In Canada we have about 15 DC PhDs in active full-time research, with another 15 DCs in PhD training programs across the country. We have an amazing opportunity to create more university-based Chiropractic Research Chairs. Increasing our capacity means we generate more research evidence and that translates into better health care for Canadians. Our profession historically engages only 12 per cent of the population. More research means 100 per cent of Canadians will come to enjoy the benefits of better health care.”

What does Dr. Gotlib feel his contribution to this vision will be, moving forward?

“In addition to my current duties,” he muses, “I will be very busy training tomorrow’s leaders! I have already accepted a new position that involves training four new investigators. Yes, they are ages seven, five, three, and two – but in my neck of the woods, to be successful, one needs patience and perspective.”

Dr. Leprich adds, “While the research team is large and growing, it is Dr. Gotlib’s vision and determination which are responsible for maintaining and advancing this program. The Order of Canada confirms the significance of his contribution to the health and welfare of all Canadians. Congratulations Dr. Gotlib.”

Dr. Gotlib’s investiture ceremony will be held at Rideau Hall in early November of this year. 

For more information on chiropractic research in Canada, please visit the CCA website at or the CCRF website at For more information on research at CMCC, please visit .

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