Michael Wilson has combined a distinguished record of public service with long-standing leadership within Canada’s business community. Currently the Chair of Barclay’s Capital Canada, he has been Chair of UBS Canada, responsible for RBC Financial Group's Institutional Asset Management business and also served as a Vice Chairman of RBC Dominion Securities.
Mr. Wilson was the Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre between 1979 and 1993, during which time he served as Minister of Finance (1984 – 1991) and Minister of International Trade and Industry, Science and Technology (1991-1993). In 2006, he was appointed as Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, where he served until 2009.
A Companion of the Order of Canada, Mr. Wilson has been active in a number of professional and community organizations, including Brain Canada, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships and the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance.
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
John G. Abbott is Deputy Minister of Heath and Community Services with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, a position he held earlier (2004-2007). Before that he practiced as a management consultant with The Institute for the Advancement of Public Policy, Inc. (St. John’s) where he specialized in public policy analysis and development, and served as CEO of the Health Council of Canada (Toronto) from 2008-2014.
John’s distinguished work as a public sector executive earned him The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (NL Division) Lieutenant-Governor Award of Excellence in Public Administration in 1999. In 2012, Canadian Mental Health Association - NL awarded him the Dr. Clarence Pottle Award for Outstanding Service to Furthering Mental Health in the province.
John holds a BA in political science and economics from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a MA in Public Administration from Carleton University (Ottawa).
In addition to his role as deputy minister, John is National Treasurer of the Canadian Mental Health Association and past President of its NL Division, as well as a member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Over the past decade, John sat on the board of directors of the NL Division of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, Hot Soup Cool Jazz Association, Community Coalition 4 Mental Health, and Jimmy Pratt Foundation.
John’s personal interests include heritage property restoration, travel, hiking, camping and reading political biographies and historical fiction. In 2014, John walked the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain; previous to that he hiked Africa’s Kilimanjaro and took a polar dip in the Antarctic. He continues to hike the beautiful and at times challenging East Coast Trail.
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Charles Bruce is a senior executive with broad-based experience in finance, operations, and corporate governance. Currently the inaugural CEO of the Public Service Pension Plan Corporation in Newfoundland and Labrador, he was previously the CEO of the Nova Scotia Public Service Long Term Disability Plan Trust Fund (NSPS LTD).
With an extensive background in the fields of corporate finance, strategy and governance, he is former Chair of the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Mr. Bruce has been a member of the MHCC Advisory Council, providing strategic advice and expertise to the MHCC leadership, while serving as an external Ambassador at MHCC events.
Mr. Bruce holds the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA), Chartered Director (C. Dir) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional designations.
Watch Mr. Bruce’s introductory message.
Uppala Chandrasekera, M.S.W., RSW, is the Director of Public Policy at the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario. She is a strategic advisor to the Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee in Ontario, and Co-Chair of Ontario’s Police-Hospital Transition Task Force. She also serves on the Toronto Police Services Board. As Managing Partner at Authentiq Consulting, Ms. Chandrasekera provides education, training, and consultation services in the areas of human rights, access and equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-oppression.
From 2013 – 2016, she was Vice Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada Board of Directors, and from 2010 – 2012 she was the President of the Board of Directors at the Parkdale Community Health Centre in Toronto. A Registered Social Worker, Ms. Chandrasekera holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Ms. Chandrasekera’s advocacy work and published writings examine the impact of the lived experience of discrimination and racism on the health, mental health and wellbeing of marginalized populations.
Watch Ms. Chandrasekera’s introductory message.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Kim Calsaferri is Regional Leader of tertiary MHA & Strategic Initiatives at Vancouver Coastal Health’s Regional Mental Health and Addictions Program, Regional Leader of Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR), Client and Family Initiatives, and also Contract Manager for Vancouver Coastal Health.
A trained occupational therapist, she serves as Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Occupational Sciences and Occupational Therapy. Ms. Calsaferri has over 20 years of clinical and administrative experience working with people with lived experience, family members, staff, and agencies in the non-profit sector.
As a sibling of a person living with mental illness, Ms. Calsaferri is committed to advancing PSR best practices and also recovery in the field of mental health and addictions.
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Dr. Manon Charbonneau, a Past President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA), is Chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Sept-Îles Regional Hospital in eastern Quebec.
Dr. Charbonneau Chaired the CPA’s Working Group for the Prevention of Stigma and Discrimination. She has more than 15 years of experience serving as Vice President, Secretary and Chair of several committees within the Association des médecins psychiatres du Québec.
In 2012, Dr. Charbonneau was honoured as a Distinguished Fellow of the CPA and was a presenter at the 5th International Stigma Conference, hosted by the MHCC, entitled “Together Against Stigma: Changing How We See Mental Illness”.
Dr. Charbonneau has experience working with diverse, multilingual and multicultural populations, including French and English-speaking Canadians, Métis, Innu, and Naskapi.
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Mike Dalton is an experienced financial executive, corporate director and retired officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Currently the Chief Financial Officer of Guardian Exploration Inc., he has extensive experience in the design and implementation of financial accountability systems.
Mr. Dalton’s military experience and involvement with the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre provides the MHCC Board with the insights that can only come from a person with lived experience of military service and its impacts.
Mr. Dalton holds an Executive MBA from Athabasca University, as well as Chartered Professional Accounting designations (CA and CGA).
Watch Mr. Dalton’s introductory message.
Effective January 3, 2017, Christine Donoghue, currently Acting President of the Public Service Commission of
Canada, will take on the role of Associate Deputy Minister at Health Canada.
Christine brings extensive public service experience to the department. She first joined the federal public service in 1984 as a senior fisheries officer at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. She left the public service in 1987 to study law and later became a legislative advisor to the Government House Leader of the National Assembly of Quebec. Since 2005, Christine has served in Assistant Deputy Minister positions at Natural Resources Canada, the Canada School of Public Service, Environment Canada, and Policy Horizons Canada. In 2014, she became the Senior Vice-President, Policy at the Public Service Commission, and has held the position of Acting President since February 2015.
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
Cheryl Fraser brings over 35 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Currently Chief Talent Officer and Vice President, Communications with Crombie REIT, she has held senior executive roles with the Canada Revenue Agency, Correctional Service of Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
A graduate of Dalhousie University, holding a Masters of Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Science, Ms. Fraser is President of the John Howard Society of Nova Scotia and the Vice Chair of the YMCA of Pictou County.
She has an ICD.D designation and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for her commitment to public service.
Ms. Fraser’s passions are music and the arts, and in providing mental health awareness and support.
Watch Ms. Fraser’s introductory message.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Arlene Hache, a person who has experienced homelessness, is well known across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut as an advocate for social change. Ms. Hache was a founder and the Executive Director of Centre for Northern Families for 25 years. The Centre offered a broad range of services including an emergency shelter for women, a poverty law program, a family support program and third party intervention and child supervision services for families impacted by violence.
Ms. Hache actively participated in the development, implementation and evaluation of every program offered at the Centre including: a family support delivery model and training curriculum that helps families strengthen and negotiate internal and external inter-personal relationships in a way that promotes healthy interdependence; and, she co-developed and co-managed a gender specific trauma recovery program for First Nations, Inuit and Métis women who were impacted by colonization, systemic oppression and extreme levels of violence.
As a result of her work in the North, Ms. Hache was awarded the Order of Canada in 2009 and then the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. She has participated on several research teams and is a published author.
Anne-Marie Hourigan is a retired Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice where she presided exclusively over criminal matters for 12 years. Prior to her appointment to the Court, she practised criminal law in Toronto, both as a defence counsel and as a prosecutor for the Attorney-General of Canada.Over the course of her 30 years in the Canadian criminal justice system, Ms. Hourigan worked with thousands of people affected by mental illness and came to appreciate the direct and repeated co-relation between the gaps in their mental health care and their appearance before the Courts. She retired early from the Bench so she could bring awareness to this issue. Since her retirement, Ms. Hourigan has lectured extensively about the intersection of mental illness and criminal behaviour. She has also spoken about the need to embed mental health literacy into the education system in order to increase awareness, reduce stigma and promote early intervention and treatment. Ms. Hourigan has served on the Boards of various organizations dedicated to furthering the mental health of Canadians, including The Institute of Families for Child & Youth Mental Health, Vancouver and the Eva Rothwell Centre, Hamilton. She also has lived experience supporting family members living with mental illness. Ms. Hourigan holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College, University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University and a Master of Laws (Criminal) from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was awarded the Prime Minister of Canada’s Certificate of Excellence for Public Service and the Ontario Court of Justice Distinguished Service Medal in 2014 and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
Vancouver, British Columbia
An experienced leader in the field of the design and implementation of health services for Indigenous peoples, Richard Jock is currently Chief Operating Officer of the First Nations Health Authority in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Mr. Jock brings a wealth of experience gained at the community, provincial and national levels while working with the Assembly of First Nations, Health Canada, The Mohawk Council of Akwasasne, Norway House Health Services Incorporated and as Director of the First Nations Health Commission.
Mr. Jock holds a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York (Plattsburg) and a Master of Education from St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York.
Watch Mr. Jock’s introductory message.
Eels River Crossing, N.B.
Despite his young age, Marc-André LeBlanc has volunteered on the board of more than 10 organizations . A dynamic leader, Marc-André has lent his talents to advance diverse issues, including those affecting young people, Francophones and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
His advocacy began in high school, where he joined the “Roots of Hope” committee and wrote a manifesto he later presented to the ministers of Education, Health and Healthy and Inclusive Communities. After graduating in 2014, he received the Governor General's Medal and the Birks Leadership Medal. That same year, he became president of the Federation of Young Francophones of New Brunswick.
He is also a member of the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française, where he works to offer the best experiences possible to young Francophones and Francophiles. In his capacity within these organizations, Marc- André prioritizes mental health and wellness and strives to lend a powerful voice to young Francophones and LGBTQ+ youths.
Currently studying political science and public relations at the University of Moncton, Marc-André credits his advocacy work with enhancing his knowledge of finance and human resource management.
Alisa Praamsma is an Inuk (Taloyoak), born in the Midland region of Ontario and raised in a non-Indigenous family.
In her twenties, she moved north to work with youth in Nunavut and the North West Territories involved with the justice system. Her experience led to a role with the Government of Nunavut Policy and Planning Division, where she was mentored for the position of Director of the Policy and Planning Division for the Department of Justice. In that role, Alisa led the implementation of the Family Abuse Intervention Act, legislation designed as a community-based, prevention and intervention response to address family violence.
More recently, Alisa was hired as Executive Director of the Native Women’s Association of the NWT. Under her leadership, the agency stabilized and expanded to offer new and enhanced programming for Indigenous women and their families. In this role, Alisa also led the NWT pre-Inquiry gathering for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
After a two-day gathering with family members, loved ones, community organizations and government partners, Alisa designed a Family Information Liaison Unit with offices in Yellowknife and Inuvik, established through a partnership with the government of NWT Department of Justice.
Alisa is Chair of Board of Directors for the Yellowknife Women’s Society, an organization that operates the Centre for Northern Families. She is working with Inuit in Yellowknife to develop a cultural resource centre.
Alisa resides in Yellowknife with her husband, two semi-adult girls and her dog.