This award is named after James (Joe) Bissett who, in 1956, became one of the first students to graduate from Carleton University with a Master of Arts in Public Administration. He went on to a long and distinguished career in public service in both the Canadian and international contexts.

In granting the award, the Director of SPPA, Susan Phillips, said: “William Baker exemplifies the very best of leadership to public service and has made a distinctive contribution in promoting excellence in the management of large, complex organizations. He is an outstanding example of the dedication to excellence in public service that is shared by more than 2300 alumni of the School. Over the course of several decades in the public sector, he has helped implement innovative governance models in an increasingly complex world of service delivery. He has presided over the introduction of significant technological improvements and has dedicated himself to fiscal responsibility, public safety, and economic and social well-being.”

Baker began his career with the Saskatchewan government in 1979, progressing to the position of Director, Program Review Group, Treasury Board Division, Saskatchewan Finance. In 1987, he joined Revenue Canada, Taxation, where he held positions of increasing responsibility, including Director General, Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Directorate, Policy and Legislation Branch and Assistant Deputy Minister, Appeals Branch. In 1999, he moved to the newly created Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, serving as Assistant Commissioner, Compliance Programs Branch. In 2003, he became its first Commissioner of Firearms. In 2006, he returned to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), initially as Deputy Commissioner of Revenue. In April 2007, he was appointed Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the CRA. He is responsible for maintaining the trust of Canadians in the Agency’s integrity and reliability, identifying and securing new business for the Agency and engaging clients and stakeholders in delivering results by building coalitions.

“Bill Baker’s commitment to the future of public service is obvious in both his words and actions,” says Dr. Phillips. “He is never too busy to take a call or an email from the alumni association, attend University events, and mentor future leaders in public administration. We are delighted to honour him this way.”