Shannon received the honour for his championship of the rights of people with disabilities. After suffering a spinal-cord injury at the age of 18, he has since devoted his legal career to promoting and raising awareness of disability rights and accessibility issues, a description from the governor general’s office noted.
Shannon’s advocacy has taken him to many places, including the North Pole. A couple of years ago, Shannon, who has quadriplegia due to the injury, made the journey with fellow Thunder Bay lawyer Christopher Watkins. The trip made him the first person with quadriplegia to achieve the feat. Also in 2009, the pair made a dangerous high-altitude skydive in another effort at raising awareness of people with disabilities.
Shannon practises at Shannon Law Office in Thunder Bay. He received the Order of Canada honour from Gov. Gen. David Johnston during a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Friday. He became a member of the order, an honour that follows his receipt of the Order of Ontario earlier this year.
Other honourees from the legal community on Friday included Tricia Smith, a B.C. lawyer and four-time Olympic rower. Smith is also senior vice president of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
At the same time, Maureen Sabia became an officer of the order for supporting the advancement of women in the corporate sector and strengthening corporate governance.