The FHO community mourns the loss of one of the founders of hockey in Ottawa. Dr Shiv Chopra passed away last month, surrounded by family.
Many in the FHO community know Shiv Chopra as the founder of the Indo-Canada club. Others as the President of the Eastern Region of the Ontario Field Hockey Association. Most in the hockey community know him as father of Anil and Sandeep, and more recently, the younger generation know him as grandfather of Halley, Rohan, Marek, Rhea and Maya.
There is another side of Shiv, away from hockey, which is how he is known by most. Shiv is best remembered as a brave whistleblower who stood up for the health of Canadians in the face of huge corporate giants, becoming a 'darling' of the non-GMO movement. Although Shiv himself would say he was not an anti-GMO protestor, but rather an advocate for safe agricultural practices.
Shiv moved to Canada from India in 1964 and earned a PhD in microbiology at McGill University. From there, he became a drug safety regulator for the Bureau of Veterinary Drugs. He entered the civil service in 1968 and worked as a scientist for 35 years. Notably, in 1998, Shiv led the resistance to US government and industry pressure from Monsanto to approve bovine growth hormone (rBGH). Monsanto tried to get Health Canada's approval, but Chopra and two fellow scientists refused. During Senate hearings, Shiv exposed the government complicity in Health Canada's drug approval process. Dr. Chopra defied instructions from his employers not to speak publicly about his concerns, and about the pressure he was under at Health Canada. He is thought of as an 'anti-corruption warrior'.
In 2014, Shiv founded the Canadian Council on Food Safety and Health to carry on his advocacy of anti-corruption inside health services.
Not many people leave a legacy that impacts a community, Shiv has managed to leave two. One in the health community, and one with us, in the field hockey community.
Shiv's contribution to hockey is strongly displayed through his family. Shiv encouraged a great number of youth to play hockey in Ottawa and this continues on through his whole family. His two sons joined the leadership of the Nepean Nighthawks Club, founded by Maureen (Sandeep's wife) in 2002 - the second largest club in Ontario. His grandson Rohan represented Canada at the Youth Olympics and played on the U23 Ontario team this summer His other grandson, Marek, played for the U18 Ontario boys this year, and also got selected to the U20 Canada team touring Europe this Spring. His granddaughter Rhea played with the U18 Ontario East girls, which was coached by another of Shiv's granddaughter's, Halley, and managed by Annu (Anil's wife). Maureen coached the U15 Ontario East girls, and Sandeep coached the U15 Ontario East boys. Halley and Maya also restarted the Carleton University field hockey club, and are now in their third season. Field hockey in Ottawa is growing because of Shiv and his family.
May his integrity, strength and tenacity be an inspiration to all of us.
Our deepest condolences go to the Chopra family.