, videos and awards commemorate Canola Council’s 50th anniversary

Dr. George Clayton, Joan Heath and Maurice Delage honoured for outstanding industry contributions

March 10, 2017 – The Canola Council of Canada celebrated 50 years at its annual convention this week in Winnipeg. This important historical moment was commemorated with the launch of, release of two new videos and honouring three individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the canola industry. The week also marked the opening of the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum’s travelling display “Canola: A Story of Canadian Innovation”.

Award recipients announced at the 50th Annual Convention include:

Dr. George Clayton: Recipient of an Honourary Life Membership Award, in recognition of his exceptional contributions to canola research. As both an excellent researcher and communicator, George contributed greatly to agronomic improvement and enhancing the research environment in Western Canada. He was instrumental in the signing of the first five-year agronomic research agreement between Agriculture Canada and the Alberta Canola Producers Commission in 1997 – and continued to provide leadership for the signing of three more five-year agreements. George also brought about a Prairie-wide canola agronomy research agreement that included SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association, and played a strong advisory role in the development of the two very successful canola science clusters.

Joan Heath: Recipient of an Honourary Life Membership Award, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the canola industry. Joan is well-known for her 25 years of remarkable leadership to the Saskatchewan canola industry, including serving as the long-time Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Canola Growers Association and Chair of the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission. Joan has put SaskCanola at the forefront of many discussions and policy decisions affecting the industry, and she is known for her ability to work with coalitions for the betterment of growers and the industry.

Maurice Delage: Recipient of the James McAnsh Award in recognition of his work in making Canada a leader in genetic innovation – advances that provided growers with the tools to enhance yields and preserve their land for future generations. Maurice is a farmer and former CEO of Hoechst Canada, AgrEvo and Aventis CropScience, which became Bayer CropScience. His determination to mobilize resources and cooperation among industry and government in the early 1990s set the path for Canadian leadership in crop biotechnology and regulation – a path of vision and leadership that continues to drive our industry forward today.

The James McAnsh Award is named in memory of a man of undaunted enthusiasm, leadership and foresight, who played a key role in the creation of the canola industry. Fifty years ago, McAnsh led the establishment of the Rapeseed Association of Canada, which in time became the Canola Council of Canada. 

To celebrate canola’s fascinating story of achievement, innovation and transformation, the Canola Council also launched a new website this week called The site features an interactive timeline that highlights pivotal achievements since the first time rapeseed was grown on the Canadian Prairies, 80 years ago.

In addition to the major industry milestones, the site also celebrates the people who have nurtured it and helped it to prosper. A section on leadership history includes a listing of all past Canola Council presidents, chairs, board members and noted award recipients. Through the “Share your Canola Story” section, visitors have an opportunity share a special memory, post a favourite photo or acknowledge a mentor or industry leader.

The site is also home to two new videos:

  • Canadian Gold: The Story of Canola Innovation” highlights why canola came to be, the exciting early days of innovation and collaboration, achievements and the road ahead.
  • Good as Gold: 50 years of the Canola Council of Canada” features stories and memories of the evolution of the canola industry and the role of the Council from people across the canola value chain. 

Visit to learn more.

The Canola Council of Canada is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters. Keep it Coming 2025 is the strategic plan to ensure the canola industry’s continued growth, demand, stability and success –  achieving 52 bushels per acre to meet global market demand of 26 million metric tonnes by the year 2025. This year, the Canola Council celebrates its 50th anniversary. 



Media may contact:

Heidi Dancho, Director, Communications

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