Filipino-Canadian criminal barrister among 15 outstanding B.C. residents

Richmond, B.C. 

Government to award Medal of Good Citizenship for this year’s winners for their service to their communities 

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

Filipino-Chinese Canadian Winston Sayson, K.C., is among the 15 recipients of the 2022 Medal of Good Citizenship award given by the Government of British Columbia to exceptional community leaders who have shown dedication and selfless service. 

“It’s an honour to award these individuals with the Medal of Good Citizenship,” said Premier David Eby in a press release by the Government of B.C. “Each one of them embodies the traits of generosity, kindness and sacrifice for the benefit of others. Their actions touch so many lives, creating better communities throughout B.C. I commend each one of them. They are an example to all.”

Sayson received the award for his three-decade long legal career, steadfast service to victims of crime, dedication to the rule of law, and volunteer work.

He immigrated to B.C. from the Philippines when he was still a teenager. 

His strong work ethic and street smarts made him the successful lawyer and community leader he is today. 

He is now retired but his legal career was highlighted by him becoming a criminal barrister whose trials were prosecuted to the highest standards. 

Sayson recognized that victims of crime frequently come from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds with many intersectional vulnerabilities. 

“He was a pioneer in combining wellness practices with legal work and taught lawyers trauma-informed practices to minimize re-traumatization. He worked many hours above and beyond his normal workday to ensure victims were well supported,” his bio read. 

His work that dealt with violence, which included cases of vehicular homicide, domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, took a toll on him. 

He experienced PTSD, anxiety and secondary trauma resulting from the nature of his work and the threats he received. 

As he healed from these, he shared his experience to teach lawyers, criminology students, and victims about self-care and resilience. He advocates for bringing mental wellness to the forefront in the legal profession. While a full-time Crown Counsel, he successfully studied to be a counsellor and mentor. 

The recipients will be presented with medals at in-person ceremonies throughout the province in 2023. Established in 2015, the medal acknowledges people’s remarkable service to community life.

The 2022 Medal of Good Citizenship recipients are:

  • Debra Arnott of Cache Creek
  • Landon Douglas Brown of North Vancouver
  • Bob Burrows of Vancouver
  • Rachel Dong of Vancouver
  • Barry English of Terrace
  • Shannon Fisher of Cranbrook
  • Karen Hira of Victoria
  • Guul Jiit Jaad of Vancouver
  • Andrei Marti of Saanichton
  • Ron Rice of Victoria
  • Rishika Selvakumar of Richmond
  • Farhad (Fred) Soofi of Port Moody
  • Chantal Stefan of Cumberland
  • Jody Woodford of Coalmont

“This year’s recipients represent extraordinary people in our province who continuously go above and beyond to serve and meet the needs of others,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, and chair of the medal’s selection committee. “It is a privilege to recognize and honour their valuable contributions with the Medal of Good Citizenship.”

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