Our Story

Founded in 1992 by Industry Canada as the National Quality Institute (NQI), then rebranded as Excellence Canada in 2011, we are an independent, not-for-profit corporation that is dedicated to advancing organizational performance across Canada. We are proudly Canadian and ‘service driven’.
As Canada’s national authority on Quality and Healthy Workplace® practices, Excellence Canada has created a uniquely Canadian model, providing measurable standards and objective validation through its certification programs. Since inception, Excellence Canada has helped thousands of organizations in Canada, across many industries, to implement continual quality improvement systems and employee wellness strategies.

Our Vision

To promote and enable excellence in every organization in Canada.

Our Mission

To help improve organizational performance and recognize excellence.

Our Values


Our History

Timeline   This timeline looks at the history of our company from 1984 to present day. Excellence Canada’s extraordinary past features the Canada Awards for Excellence, our national awards certification program that’s been the core of our business since day one.


  1. 1980s


  2. 1990s


  3. 2000s


  4. 2010s



Canada Awards for Business Excellence created by the department of Industry, Trade and Commerce (now Industry Canada).
The first Canada Awards for Business Excellence ceremonies held in Ottawa.

Canada Awards for Business Excellence trophy designed by Madeleine Dansreau (trifac.com) in gold plated bronze.


Canada Awards for Excellence program is transferred from Industry Canada to National Quality Institute, which becomes the official custodian and adjudicator of the awards program.


Award categories streamlined to Quality and Healthy Workplace under new name, Canada Awards for Excellence.

NQI moves from Ottawa to Toronto.


NQI launches the Progressive Excellence Program (NQI PEP) and recognizes organizations on the journey to excellence.


Education, Customer Service for Small Business and Healthy Workplace for Small Organizations categories introduced.


NQI Board of Governors’ Recognition of Achievement Award created to recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to Canadian society and/or the global human condition.

NQI links NQI PEP Level 3 certification to the Canada Awards for Excellence, Bronze and Silver recognition.


The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General of Canada, accepts invitation to become the Patron of the Canada Awards for Excellence.
NQI integrates the Quality and Healthy Workplace Criteria and launches the integrated program – Quality and Healthy Workplace for Public, Municipalities, Private and Health care sectors.
NQI creates a new level of recognition, Order of Excellence, to requalify Canada Awards for Excellence Gold trophy recipients providing the highest level of national recognition.


NQI creates a new division called People Access to help organizations become accessible to people with disabilities, as customers, employees, and the general public, and to become compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)


The Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General of Canada, accepts invitation to become the Patron of the Canada Awards for Excellence.


NQI becomes Excellence Canada. Excellence Canada launches a new standard of Excellence: Excellence, Innovation and Wellness.


Excellence Canada launches a new program of Excellence: Mental Health at Work. The Honourable Michael H. WIlson is the Patron of the program.


First-ever Mental Health at Work Awards are presented to Bell Canada and to the Mental Health Commission of Canada.


Excellence Canada partnered to launch the Wealth Management Mental Health Challenge, with a cross-Canada tour to engage employers and employees to learn about, protect, and improve psychological health and safety in the workplace, using fun and interactive rewards-based software.


Excellence Canada launched a new awards program with a focus on private businesses of all sizes, to celebrate their achievement of delighted customers, engaged and happy employees, and a culture of innovation, called the Canadian Business Excellence Awards for Private Businesses (CBEA)


Publication of the updated Canada Awards for Excellence Standard for Excellence, Innovation and Wellness

Publishing of Excellence.ca magazine commemorative Issue – called Canada 150 – A Celebration of our Heritage of Excellence featuring articles contributed by some of Canada’s most influential and beloved agents of positive social change.


Launch of the new Excellence Canada website and Learning Management System.


The Right Honourable Mary Simon, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., O.Q., C.D., Governor General of Canada, accepts invitation to become the Patron of the Canada Awards for Excellence.