Women in Music Canada Unveil Recipients of Inaugural WIMC Honours

The recipients of this year’s Honours were selected by a finalist jury, from a long list of nominees, which was revealed last month.

Manus Hopkins
March 9, 2023

Women In Music Canada (WIMC) have announced the recipients of the inaugural WIMC Honours. Designed to celebrate and support Canadian innovators and creators who have had outstanding success in their field this past year, the Honours were presented to 18 remarkable individuals tonight during a reception at Toronto’s Opera House.

2023 Honours Recipients

(Annual Based Categories: December ‘21 – December ‘22):

Artist of the Year (presented by Amazon Music) – Charlotte Cardin

Distinguished Leader (presented by TuneCore) – Keziah Myers, ADVANCE: Canada’s Black Music Business Collective

Entrepreneur of the Year (presented by Bandzoogle) – Elise Roller, Misfit Music MGMT

Excellence in Live Music – Heather Gibson, The National Arts Centre

International Leader of the Year – Faryal Khan-Thompson, TuneCore (USA)

Organization of the Year – Ishkōdé Records / Indigenous Music Alliance

Trailblazer Award – Ryhna Thompson, Envision Management & Production

Trailblazer Award – Sandy Pandya, ArtHaus Music


2023 Honour Roll (presented by Spotify):

Ashley Bieniarz, Songsmiths

Domanique Grant

Janna Sailor, Allegra Chamber Orchestra

Mary Beth Waldram, Laughing Heart Music

Nicole Alosinac, Nicole Alosinac Luthiery

Nicole Auger, Indigenous Music Alliance

Shumaila Hemani


Sunny Chen, Sad China

Yolanda Sargeant, Sargeant X Comrade


Read more about each of the honourees here.

The WIMC Honour Roll recognizes up to 10 women and gender diverse industry members or artists who are in the early stages of their career and showing success and growth in their work. Intended to highlight new voices in the Canadian music industry, these are the folks to watch for in the coming years.

“With so many incredible women who have broken down glass ceilings and paved the way for a more equitable music industry, I am incredibly honoured to launch this year as the start to celebrating their accomplishments,” says WIMC Executive Director, Robyn Stewart. "I am also excited to elevate the projects of newer women in music who are making great strides in unique equity serving projects. This is just the beginning.”

The recipients of this year’s Honours were selected by a finalist jury, from a long list of nominees, which was revealed last month (the 2023 long list can be found here). After careful deliberation, the finalist jury determined that two Trailblazer Awards should be presented in this inaugural year, as a start to increasing the work WIMC will carry out in giving due celebration to long-standing industry leaders who have committed their careers to making change for a safer, more equitable future in music. While not previously included on the long list, Sandy Pandya of ArtHaus Music was recognized with a 2023 Trailblazer Award, alongside Ryhna Thompson, Envision Management & Production.

“I have learned so much through this process from vision to getting here today,” adds Stewart. “I, and our board, have learned about so many incredible people and initiatives that we are thrilled to highlight. We are going to start with this group of honourees, and I take it as my mission to serve this community by committing to continue highlighting the work that has been done for decades through to the projects being created now.”  

 Hosted by CBC’s Saroja Coelho, the Honours reception dinner also featured performances (supported by SiriusXM) by an incredible group of artists performing throughout the evening, including rising country star, Sacha, producer, DJ and performer, Liliane Chlela; JUNO-nominated recording artist, songwriter and producer, Desiree Dawson; Cree and Salish singer and TikTok creator, Tia Wood; breakthrough singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Sofia Camara; and decorated, multi-platinum recording artist, Fefe Dobson. 

A special induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame was presented to multi-award winning, GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Loreena McKennitt, during the event.

WIMC recognizes support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters, Ontario Creates, and the City of Toronto for their support of all WIM Canada International Women’s Day events, and also thanks the organization’s Honours partners, Amazon Music, TuneCore, Bandzoogle, Spotify, Universal Music Canada, CIMA, CMRRA, ACTRA:RACS Tiber River Naturals, Paris Jewellers, Blush Silks, Fielding Winery, Collective Arts Brewing and Bacardi.

Learn more about WIMC at  www.womeninmusic.ca

Manus Hopkins

Manus Hopkins is the Assistant Editor of Canadian Musician