Canada Cares Caregiver Central Awards Winners 2015

We’re pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Canada Cares Awards. Check out their stories and our regional award winners over the next few days. We invite you to share your congratulations and feedback. A special thank you to everyone who entered the coast to coast and to our judges and committee members.

THE UNBREAKABLE WIFE AND MOTHER: Heidi Tanninen, Family Caregiver, Central Region


Heidi was a mere 25 years old when her husband, Veijo, had a car accident that left him brain damaged and eventually paralyzed in all his limbs. With three kids under the age of six and her husband in a wheelchair, Heidi took on the responsibility of raising her children while fighting to give her husband the best quality of life possible.

Whether standing up for her husband in the hospital or battling insurance companies, Heidi worked relentlessly to bring him home where he would be surrounded by family and friends and able to watch his children grow up.Under Heidi’s care and love, Veijo learned to speak again and perform simple tasks such as eating a banana.

Her son acknowledges his mom is his “inspiration” for sacrificing everything to care for and stand by her husband.


THE PRO CAREGIVEER: Suzanne Beland, Professional Caregiver, Central Region

Suzanne BelandSuzanne is the Executive Director of Personal Choice Living/Choix Personnel Vie Autonome (PCIL/CPVA), providing care services to adults with physical disabilities and assisted living services for high-risk seniors. She works collaboratively with other health care professionals to deliver care with positivity, gentleness and direction that inspires confidence and hope in both her clients and their families. She attends to the emotional and physical needs of each client and brings her “personal touch” to caregiving.

In addition, Suzanne has developed two new key programs now benefiting a wide range of individuals throughout Ottawa. These are the French Language Services operating out of PCIL/CPVA’s Bronson Avenue site and the Assisted Living for seniors program operating across central and western Ottawa. Through her work, Suzanne demonstrates her deep commitment to ensuring individuals receiving care are able to maintain a quality of life and level of dignity that is above the standard of others affected by similar circumstances.