The MMFF Award
The Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award was created in 1992 to recognize outstanding contributions toward preventing and eliminating family violence in Canada.
The Award recognizes an individual, group, organization, business, corporation or workplace that has furthered the prevention and elimination of family violence. The Award is presented annually during a special public function of the Foundation to commemorate the birthday of the Foundation’s Patron, Muriel McQueen Fergusson.
Canadian individuals or organizations whose achievements have advanced the prevention and elimination of family violence are eligible for nomination. All nominations should be in the same format as per the nomination form above and supported by two letters of recommendation.
The Award recipient is selected by a committee of the Foundation’s Board of Directors representatives based on the information provided by the nominators. The Fergusson Foundation reserves the right to verify the accuracy of the information provided in the submission. Nominees not chosen in the first year are retained and will be considered for the Award for the next two years.
The Award itself was designed and produced by Carole Cronkite of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada’s first female pewtersmith.
The Award is made entirely by hand using only basic tools. Different gauges of sheet pewter are layered to create a three-dimensional effect. The four-piece logo is cut out with a delicate jewelers saw, filed, soldered, etched and shaded to produce the finished award.
The design of the Award is intended to symbolize the many faces of violence.
In addition, the Award recipient selects a registered charity, whose objectives further the goals of the Foundation, and the Foundation makes a $1,000 donation in their name.
New Brunswick’s Lieutenant-Governor and the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award
Founding member of the Fergusson Foundation and former Lieutenant-Governor Margaret Norrie McCain helped set the tone for the involvement of the Office of the Lieutenant-Governor in supporting the quest to eliminate family violence. For many years the Office of the Lieutenant-Governor has graciously allowed the Foundation to hold the Award presentation ceremony at Government House. Other Lieutenant-Governors including Marilyn Trenholme Counsell, Herménégilde Chiasson, Graydon Nicholas and Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau have continued this support. In 2020, the Honourable Brenda Murphy became an active participant with the Foundation’s work by accepting the role as Honorary Patron of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award.
Government House is the official residence to the Lieutenant-Governor but is also open to the public and receives thousands of visitors on an annual basis. The Award is now displayed at Government House allowing visiting Canadians, dignitaries, monarchy, heads of state, countless tours of school children and many others all to see these examples of outstanding Canadians, organizations and businesses who have helped further the elimination of family violence.
- 1993 June Callwood
- 1994 Dr. Peter Jaffe
- 1995 Margaret Norrie McCain
- 1996 Sister Cecile Renault (posthumously)
- 1997 Dr. Donald G. Dutton
- 1998 ‘Making Waves’
- 1999 The Body Shop Canada
- 2000 Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre
- 2001 Dr. Sandra Byers
- 2002 Rina Arseneault
- 2003 Red Cross RespectED
- 2004 Senator Sharon Carstairs and Margaret Newall
- 2005 Margaret-Ann Blaney
- 2006 Penny K. Ericson
- 2007 Madeleine Delaney-LeBlanc
- 2008 Bernard Richard
- 2009 Rona Brown
- 2010 Native Women’s Association of Canada
- 2011 White Ribbon Campaign
- 2012 Ghosts of Violence
- 2013 Dr. Nancy Nason-Clark
- 2014 Sigrid Rolfe & Dr. Philip Smith
- 2015 Family Enrichment and Counselling Service
- 2016 Julie Devon Dodd
- 2017 C. Anne Crocker, C.M.
- 2018 Maryse Rinfret-Raynor
- 2019 Dr. Judith Wuest
- 2021 Dr. Linda C. Neilson
The Fergusson Foundation was honoured to recognize Dr. Linda C. Neilson,
as the 28th recipient of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award.
September 22, 2021 (Fredericton, N.B.) – The Fergusson Foundation presented the 28th MMFF Award to Dr. Linda C. Neilson during a ceremony at Government House.
Created in 1992 to recognize outstanding contributions toward the prevention and elimination of family violence in Canada, the MMFF Award is presented annually to an individual, group or organization that has significantly contributed to that end.
The Fergusson Foundation was pleased to acknowledge Dr. Neilson for her exemplary leadership and commitment to the prevention and elimination of family violence.
“The Fergusson Foundation is delighted to honour Dr. Neilson as the recipient of the 2021 MMFF Award”, said Danika Carleton, Chair of the Fergusson Foundation’s Grants and Awards Committee. “Dr Neilson’s contributions and efforts related to family violence within legal systems, at the provincial, national and international levels, and beyond, have been invaluable. We are honoured to recognize Dr. Neilson and extend our sincerest gratitude for her decades of work and commitment towards the prevention of family violence.”
Meranda McLaughlin, President of the Fergusson Foundation, said, “Dr. Neilson was able to exponentially increase her scope of impact after transitioning from her career as a lawyer to becoming an internationally recognized scholar in the social-legal field. Her tireless efforts to increase the safety and fairness of the judicial system’s approach to cases involving domestic violence can be seen in the actions of judges and lawyers, and ultimately, in the legal decisions reached here in New Brunswick, across Canada and even internationally. Most importantly, her work is reflected in the improved experiences of children and partners who have experienced violence from their loved ones. Dr. Neilson exemplifies the Fergusson Foundation’s mission of being a catalyst for the prevention and elimination of family violence and is incredibly deserving of this award.”
In accepting the Award, Dr. Neilson said “It is thanks, in part, to the work of the Fergusson Foundation that we are able to stand together in response to family violence. Addressing the problem requires far more than any one of us can offer alone. My career has focused on addressing problems in the legal system. Past award recipients have responded to First Nations, health, religion, psychology, youth, gender and human rights issues. Yet everything we do depends on unnamed heroes: the women and men on the front lines who never give up on Canadian families.”
Dr. Linda C Neilson, research associate of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, is a Professor Emerita in Sociology and Law In Society at UNB. She holds two degrees from UNB – BA (Hons) and LL.B – as well as a PhD from the Faculty of Law, University of London (London School of Economics) in England. Earlier, she practiced law for 10 years. Her academic fields include domestic and family violence, court systems, family law, conflict resolution and sociology of law. She is a recipient of national awards for family mediation research, Faculty Merit awards from UNB, and was appointed University Research Scholar in 2011-2013. Linda brings to her work a dedication to the legal system and a passion for connecting research, policy and practice. In recent years her primary focus has been on enhancing legal system responses to families, women and children, in family violence cases. Throughout her career, she served on numerous government committees, including the committee that designed New Brunswick’s first specialized domestic violence court in Moncton, New Brunswick. She has responded to multiple requests from the Canadian House of Commons and Canadian Senate to comment on proposed legislation. She supervised numerous graduate students and presented her work internationally. Although officially ‘retired’ in 2016, she has continued to work in the family violence field.
Major works include, for the National Judicial Institute (NJI), three editions of a bench book for Canadian Judges on domestic violence and family law cited in 2012 by the United Nations in the Handbook For National Action Plans on Violence Against Women as one of Canada’s achievements and by two Australian Law Reform Commissions as the model to follow when developing a National bench book for that country; two editions (2017, 2020) of a comprehensive e-book for law practitioners titled Responding to Domestic Violence in Family Law, Civil Protection & Child Protection Cases, derived from the NJI bench book (Canadian Legal Information Institute – CanLII); a national empirical analysis of parental alienation cases across Canada (FREDA); a Justice Canada report on legal challenges when families are involved in multiple legal systems; a Collective Memo of Concern about parental alienation concepts directed to the World Health Organization, endorsed by over 350 leading experts from 36 countries; and, with Susan Boyd, F.R.S.C., on-line guidance on interpreting new Divorce Act provisions. Currently, with Joanne Boucher (court coordinator, domestic violence cases, Moncton), judicial advisors Justice Brigitte Robichaud and Judge Anne Dugas-Horsman and the Province of New Brunswick, she is engaged in a project, funded by Justice Canada, to design Canada’s first coordinated family violence court model spanning the criminal, family, child protection, civil protection and the Provincial and Queen’s Bench court systems. Linda founded and helps to coordinate a discussion group of 99 experts (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States) concerned about gender and child well being problems associated with the use of alienation concepts in legal systems.