2018 Annual Knowledge Exchange: Speakers


"TRANSITIONS: Aging Across the Life Course"



Ashton Applewhite

This Chair Rocks: How Ageism Warps our View of Long Life

​Ashton Applewhite is the originator of the enormously popular "This Chair Rocks" anti-ageism project. As such, she is a widely recognizable figure and highly sought after public speaker. Her books have been on the New York Times bestseller lists and her project has won numerous awards. Ms. Applewhite is also a prominent figure in an emerging movement dedicated to making age a criterion for diversity, promoting the positive aspects of growing older, which tie in with the event's focus on life transitions. Her events across the globe routinely sell out and she is a large draw for younger audiences.

Ashton Applewhite's keynote address will emphasize that people are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives. The vast majority of North Americans over 65 live independently and the older people get, the less afraid they are of dying. The talk will begin by addressing how aging is a natural, lifelong, powerful process, and debunk myths and assumption that depression, diapers, and dementia lie ahead for all older adults. Ms. Applewhite will question why the 20th century's astonishing leap in life expectancy is seen as a disaster-in-the-making, and emphasizes that underlying all the hand-wringing is ageism: discrimination that sidelines and silences older people.


D​r. Samir Sinha

​Samir Sinha, MD, DPhil, currently serves as the Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the University Health Network Hospitals in Toronto and was recently appointed the Peter and Shelagh Godsoe Chair in Geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital. In 2012, he was appointed by the Government of Ontario to serve as the expert lead of Ontario's Seniors Strategy. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Sinha's breadth of international training and expertise in health policy and the delivery of services related to the care of the elderly have made him a highly regarded expert in the care of older adults. He has consulted and advised hospitals and health authorities in Canada, the United States, Britain and China on the implementation and administration of unique, integrated, and innovative models of geriatric care that reduce disease burden, improve access and capacity, and ultimately promote health.

Dr. Peter J. Whitehouse

Peter J. Whitehouse, MD, PhD, is Professor of Neurology and former or current professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Bioethics, History, Nursing and Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and President of Intergenerational Schools International. He is a prevention oriented, life course developmental neurologist.

Dr. Whitehouse received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and MD-PhD (Psychology) from The Johns Hopkins University (with field work at Harvard and Boston Universities), followed by a Fellowship in Neuroscience and Psychiatry and a faculty appointment at Hopkins. In 1999, he founded with his wife, Catherine, The Intergenerational School, a unique public multiage community school. He is the author of hundreds of academic papers and book chapters, ranging from genetics to clinical issues, to community and public health and ethics. His main focus is on ecopsychosocial models of health and aging.


Michael Nicin

​"Public Policy for Ageing Demographics"

Michael Nicin is the Executive Director at National Institute on Ageing (NIA) at Ryerson University. He is a leading policy expert who had previously served as acting Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to the Ontario Minister of Seniors Affairs. Mr. Nicin recently led the design and launch of the $155 million provincial seniors strategy. Prior to this, he also served as the Director of Policy and Strategic Planning for CARP, a 300,000+ member-based advocacy organization for older Canadians, and Senior Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. 

Susan Eng

"Effecting Change - From Advocacy to Public Policy"

Susan Eng is a Toronto lawyer and former Executive Vice President of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP). During her 8-year tenure as head of advocacy, Susan led CARP to shape the public discourse and secure legislative change on key issues such as pension reform, investor protection, mandatory retirement, workplace age discrimination, home care, and seniors' poverty. In 2012, Ms. Eng was named one of The Hill Times' Top 100 Lobbyists.

Ms. Eng served on the Board of Directors of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and was on the executive of the Chinese Canadian National Council. She was a founder of the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, a world renowned care centre providing culturally appropriate care for Chinese, South Asian, Japanese, and Filipino seniors.


Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader of Canada

​Jane Rooney was appointed Financial Literacy Leader in April 2014 to exercise leadership at the national level and to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians. Over her career, Ms. Rooney has worked 20 plus years in the financial sector. As Canada's Financial Literacy Leader, Ms. Rooney works to engage and collaborate with stakeholder groups from the public, private, and non-profit sectors across the country to coordinate efforts and strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians. A priority since her appointment has been the development and implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy—Count me in, Canada. Ms. Rooney also established and chairs a federal government committee on financial literacy. She is Canada’s representative and National Coordinator for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) International Network on Financial Education (INFE). Ms. Rooney also sits on the INFE’s Advisory Board and co-chairs an expert sub-group on core competencies in financial literacy.

​Lina Creta, Ontario Securities Commission

Lina Creta, CPA, CA, is a Senior Advisor of Policy for the Investor Office at the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). Prior to joining the Investor Office, she was Senior Accountant in the Compliance and Registrant Regulation Branch at the OSC. As Senior Accountant, her responsibilities included leading policy initiatives and compliance reviews of exempt market dealers, portfolio managers, investment fund managers and scholarship plan dealers. Ms. Creta is a Chartered Professional Accountant, and prior to joining the Commission, she worked in the assurance group of KPMG LLP.

​Neil Parmenter, Canadian Bankers Association

Neil Parmenter is President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Bankers Association (CBA). He is the principal spokesperson for the banking industry in Canada and communicates the perspectives of the industry to all levels of government, regulators, international bodies, media and the Canadian public. In this role, Mr. Parmenter represents CBA members who are leaders in financial literacy by creating their own financial education programs and services for their clients, supporting financial literacy programming at the community level, and providing financial and volunteer support for not-for-profit credit counselling agencies in local communities across Canada. Prior to joining the CBA, Mr. Parmenter held the position of Senior Vice President, Corporate and Public Affairs (Global) and Chief Communications Officer at TD Bank Group.

​John Stapleton, Open Policy

​John Stapleton is a writer, instructor and Innovation Fellow with the Metcalf Foundation. He worked for the Ontario Government for 28 years in the areas of social assistance policy and operations, and was Research Director for the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults in Toronto. Mr. Stapleton teaches on public policy for community advocates and is extensively published in local and national media.

​Doretta Thompson, Chartered Professional Accountants

​Doretta Thompson is Director of Corporate Citizenship at CPA Canada. She is responsible for CPA Canada's social responsibility initiatives, including CPA Canada's international award winning Financial Literacy program, programs that support financial literacy and financial capacity building in Indigenous communities, and newcomer credential recognition and labour market integration. She is a member of FCAC's Working Groups on Workplace Financial Literacy and Indigenous Financial Literacy, and the Conference Board of Canada's Leaders' Roundtable on Immigration, the Immigration Policy Committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her voluntary work in the health sector.


​"Financial Wellness in Retirement: The Importance of Financial Literacy"


Ms. Rooney will moderate a panel discussion on the importance of financial literacy among seniors. Topics will include growing debt among the elderly the risks of fraud and financial abuse, and the achievements of the Seniors' financial literacy strategy, developed the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).


Dr. Laurie Mallery, Dalhousie University


Laurie Mallery, MD, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Subsequently, she received subspecialty training in Geriatric Medicine at Dalhousie University/Halifax Infirmary Hospital. Dr. Mallery was the Head of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Dalhousie University for 13 years and is a driving force for the PATH (Palliative and Therapeutic Harmonization) program. Dr. Mallery's research focuses on frailty care, dementia, medical education, exercise, and optimal prescribing through the development of frailty-specific guidelines. In 2016, Dr. Mallery was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General of Canada for her work in frailty. She is the author of the book ​The Salami Salesman and his Daughter Falafel: What an Older Man's Death Can Teach Us about How Not to Care for the Frail and Dying.


​"Palliative and Therapeutic Harmonization (PATH): A New Approach to Palliative Care"


Dr. Mallery will lead this interactive workshop, which will introduce the Palliative and Therapeutic Harmonization (PATH) process, geared to promote the careful consideration of the complex issues relevant to frail older adults nearing the end of life. Participants will have a chance to follow the four-step process (understand, communicate, empower, and respond) via case studies and exercises and gain an understanding of the conceptual framework, its application, and relevance to (clinical) practice. A reflection piece is set to enhance decision making for caregivers, policy-makers, and academics.


Dr. Marlene Goldman, University of Toronto


Marlene Goldman, PhD, is a writer, filmmaker, and English professor at the University of Toronto. Her most recent work explores the question of how we decide what's pathological, who sets the definitions, the impact of biomedical labels on the people who receive them, and the role of history in shaping stories about illness have all been treated in her artistic and academic career. The author of four books and numersous scholarly articles, Dr. Goldman has contributed chapters to studies of Canadian literature and presented at symposiums around the world. Keynote speeches on the overlap between literature, neurology, and psychiatry have brought her to Austria, Italy, and China, while her latest book, ​Forgotten: Narratives of Age-Related Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease in Canada​, continues her investigation of the theme. Dr. Goldman is currently researching and writing a book entitled ​Performing Shame: Simulating Stigmatized Minds and Bodies.


Dr. Adam Palanica, Klick Health


Adam Palanica, PhD, is a Behavioural Scientist and received his Doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience Psychology from the University of Waterloo. He has utilized his expertise to advance academic research and commercial applications. He is well-versed in the use of effective neuroscience research techniques, as well as proven technologies such as electronic eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG), and skin conductance response to obtain relevant insights on how people think and behave. With over a decade of experience in managing research projects across a variety of domains, Dr. Palanica is an expert at the creation, interpretation, and communication of quantitative and qualitative analyses, resulting in numerous scientific journal and commercial white paper publications.


​"Symptom Transference and The Future of Embodied Learning in Healthcare: Simulating Parkinson's Disease Tremors with the SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device"


Dr. Goldman and Dr. Palanica will focus this workshop on Klick Labs' SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device, a ground-breaking Proof of Concept - the first to digitize and transmit tremors in real time to enable physicians and caregivers to experience what it is like to be in a patient's shoes. This patent-pending device was designed to help foster clinical empathy and better care for the more than 40 million people living with movement disorders in the US alone. Participants will learn about the device's development, and will also have the opportunity to experience a demonstration of the SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device during this workshop.


Dr. John Puxty, Queen's University and Providence Care


​John Puxty, MB, is currently an Associate Professor and Chair of the Division of Geriatric Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Queen's University. He is Co-Director of the Centre for Studies in Aging and Health at Providence Care. He is the Clinical Lead for the Southeast Ontario Clinical Service Roadmap for Restorative Care, Co-Chair of the Executive of the Seniors Health Knowledge Network and Chair of the Ontario Network of RGPs. Dr. Puxty has certification as an Internal Medicine Specialist in Geriatric Medicine in both Britain and Canada. He is an experienced academic geriatrician who has an extensive list of publications and academic presentations, and is the co-author of two books. He has special interests in the development of eldercare services, distance-education, and the use of information technology, both as an aid to learning and strategies for effective Knowledge and Information transfer.


Sarah Webster, Providence Care


Sarah Webster, MHS, is currently the Knowledge Broker for the Ontario Age-Friendly Communities Planning Outreach Program. Through this role, she increases awareness about age-friendly communities, strengthens connections between people involved in this work, and builds community capacity to make use of resources and supports available to them. With a career focus on improving the lives of older adults with complex needs, and extensive practical experience with system-level knowledge translation and exchange, Ms. Webster has the ability to understand the unique needs of this population while effectively engaging stakeholders, connecting complex parts in the system and facilitating shared solution finding. Beginning her career in long-term care and residential living, she later transitioned into the field of knowledge translation and exchange, and has extensive experience providing knowledge brokering support to knowledge exchange networks such as the Alzheimer Knowledge Exchange, Canadian Dementia Resource and Knowledge Exchange, and most recently to Niagara Connects, the Centre for Studies in Aging and Health and the Seniors Health Knowledge Network.


Jessica Baumhour, Centre for Studies in Aging and Health


Jessica Baumhour, BPHE, MPH, is the Research Assistant for the Ontario Age-Friendly Outreach Program. In this position, she leads research on meeting the needs of older immigrant. She also provides communication, data management, project coordination, and knowledge translation support. With a background in health promotion and public health, Ms. Baumhour offers a holistic viewpoint while providing insight on the social determinants of health. In the past, she has worked in program evaluation, quality improvement, and health economics. She has experience collaborating with a variety of populations including working on projects in Nunavut, Peru, Kenya, and Rwanda. She advocates for cultural awareness and health equity.


​"Sustaining Age-Friendly Communities: Provincial and Local Experiences in Ontario"


The aim of this workshop will be to translate research evidence on how age-friendly communities (AFCs) have developed across the province. The session will describe and discuss the provincial strategy and locally-driven approach to supporting and creating capacity for sustainable AFCs. During this interactive session, Dr. Puxty, Ms. Webster, and Ms. Baumhour will provide an overview of AFCs and how age-friendly constructs contribute to and enhance the health, safety, and economic growth of communities; describe the provincial strategy to support AFC development; explore research findings from an extensive evaluation of AFC development with a particular focus on the unique factors and considerations that contribute to successful and sustainable AFCs; and conclude with a discussion about how AFCs can and must be tailored to meet the needs of diverse subpopulations across the province.


Dr. Cory Harris, University of Ottawa


Cory Harris, PhD, is co-founder of Cannabis Ed and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, where he holds a Dealer's License. His research integrates laboratory, field and community-based methods to study the ethnobotany, chemistry and pharmacology of plants used for food and medicine, including cannabis. Working with patients and practitioners, Indigenous communities, and private sector partners, his team applies a "benchtop to community practice" approach to support the safe and effective use of natural products and alternative medicines, including cannabis. Dr. Harris teaches plant science, pharmacology and toxicology at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and through science outreach activities.


Dr. Martha Mullally, Carleton University


​Martha Mullally, PhD, is co-founder of Cannabis Ed and an Instructor in the Biology Department at Carleton University. Dr. Mullally completed a PhD at the University of Ottawa, where her research focused on medicinal plants for the treatment of mental illness. Following her PhD, Dr. Mullally completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Ottawa in pharmaceutical development, focused on characterizing novel molecules that modulate stress response in vertebrates. Dr. Mullally completed a second post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia at the Carl Weiman Science Education Institute, conducting research in undergraduate science education. A passionate science educator and plant scientist, Dr. Mullally teaches courses in plant biology, biotechnology and microbiology.


​"A Practical Introduction to Cannabis"


​In this workshop session, Dr. Harris and Dr. Mullally will introduce participants to the practical aspects of cannabis use. To start, they will examine common myths and misinformation about the uses and effects of marijuana. They will then explore the wide array of cannabis products available, from dried plants to oils and edibles, and the various methods of delivery available. Finally, they will examine product labels to help participants make sense of product information. The workshop will be hands-on and interactive; participants will leave with a greater understanding of the types of cannabis available, the ways it can be used, and tools to decipher information on the packages.





Jane Teasdale, Mosaic

​Jane Teasdale is the joint owner and Director of Business Development and Community Relations of Mosaic Home Care & Community Resource Centres. Ms. Teasdale is dedicated towards developing awareness of home and health care issues in the community, and to developing relations between healthcare professionals, home care providers, not-for-profit agencies and other important service providers that are needed to provide the wider levels of support often required by those in need in the community. Ms. Teasdale is also co-chair of the North York Elder Abuse Network, a diverse group of North York community service partners committed to promoting awareness of elder abuse and providing educational and training opportunities supported by The Ontario Network for Prevention Against Elder Abuse.

​"The Role of Community Based Home Care for Aging in Place: An Age-Friendly Community Perspective"

In this session, Ms. Teasdale will focus on the importance of a more complete model of care that looks to maintain the journey of discovery that is life, and the need to allow an individual's character, vitality, and life contributions to continue to shine through the caregiving relationship. Specifically, she will speak on the homecare services model of the future where individuals, their families, and their communities need to be put at the centre of the continuum of care. Ms. Teasdale will also present on the service structures and systems that should be developed in order to meet different life and lifestyle needs of a diverse aging population.




Erin Hawker-Budlovsky, Alzheimer Society of Toronto


Erin Hawker Budlovsky is a registered social worker and counsellor at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, providing education and support to individuals and families living with dementia. She is a graduate of the Master of Social Work program at the University of Calgary, with a specialization in Clinical Gerontology. With broad experience in community, hospital, and long-term care settings, she also currently serves as a Board member of Family Councils Ontario. Her particular interest is in having transformative conversations with individuals and family carers coping with issues of grief and loss. In addition to her counselling role, she is the agency Project Lead for a program aiming to build capacity among care partners of people living with dementia across the city of Toronto, as part of the rollout of Ontario's Dementia Strategy.


"Coping with Change on the Dementia Journey: Encouraging Carer Resilience"


When one family member has dementia, the whole family is on a dementia journey. The challenge in dementia care is to help people who are on a dementia journey to connect with their resilience for an arduous trip that holds potential for coping, adaptation, and personal growth. In this session, Ms. Hawker-Budlovsky will explore the construct of resilience, the significance of carer resilience as a necessary support to quality outcomes for people living with dementia, and ways to encourage resilience capacity among care partners along the way.




​Laura Garcia, Alzheimer Society of Canada


Laura Garcia is the Knowledge Transfer and Exchange coordinator at the Alzheimer Society of Canada. She holds a Master's degree in Health and Aging from Western University. Her professional aim is to raise awareness and understanding about dementia in order to help improve the experience of people living with dementia.


​"It was the Hardest Day of Our Lives: Supporting Residents with Dementia and Their Families in Their Move to a Long-Term Care Home"


For caregivers, making the decision to move the person with dementia to a long-term care home may be one of the most difficult decisions they will ever have to make. Health care providers can play a pivotal role in making the move-in day and adjustment period less traumatic for families. In this session, information about challenges faced by a person with dementia and their family when moving to a long-term care home will be shared with participants, along with tips and strategies from caregivers' perspectives on how to make the transition into long-term care less traumatic. Ms. Garcia will also raise awareness of two types of resources created by the Alzheimer Society of Canada to support individuals with dementia and their families in their move to a long-term care home, and to support the development of strong relationships with families during the adjustment phase to a long-term care home.




​Dr. Thomas Goergen, German Police University


​Thomas Goergen, PhD, is a psychologist and the Chair of Criminology and Interdisciplinary Crime Prevention at German Police University (Muenster). He joined German Police University in 2007 as the Head of Department of Criminology and Crime Prevention, and became an Appointed Professor in 2008. He received his doctorate from the Justus-Liebig-University in Germany. Dr. Goergen's current fields of research include victimization risks in later life, elder abuse, prevention of crime and violence, violent crime, political and religious extremism, and hate crime/prejudice-related crime.


​"Elder Abuse: Financial Exploitation in Trust-Based Relationships"


Dr. Goergen's session will help to show how to translate research evidence on phenomenology, as well as detection and prevention of financial abuse in later life. The session will put a special focus on financial exploitation in legal guardianship, analysing this field within the frame of a concept of trust-based relationships, and elaborating on preventive approaches.




Rick Firth, Hospice Palliative Care Ontario


Rick Firth is President and CEO of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, a member based association representing hospices, health care professionals and volunteers working in palliative care. Mr. Firth came to hospice care in 1991 as a board member and then joined the staff team in 1997. He moved to the Hospice Association of Ontario in 2009 and led the creation of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario through a merger with the Ontario Palliative Care Association. He is a member of Executive Oversight for the Ontario Palliative Care Network, the government’s principal advisor for palliative care planning in Ontario. He was President of The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association for 2016 & 2017 and now serves on the board as Past President. He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Markham Sunrise and a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 in recognition of his contribution to palliative care in Canada. In 2017, Mr. Firth received the Ontario Medical Association’s Centennial Award in recognition of outstanding achievements in serving the health and welfare of the people of Ontario. His focus is on enabling sustainable community based palliative care through effective public policy engagement, driving system change for building sustainable, high quality hospice palliative care services for the people of Ontario.


​"Emerging Issues in Hospice Palliative Care"


In this presentation, Mr. Firth will provide an update on current hot topics in hospice palliative care, including access and equity, the role of hospice, education activities, and the emerging issue of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).




Dr. Usha George, Ryerson University


Usha George, PhD, is Professor of Social Work and Director of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement. She served as Interim Vice-President, Research and Innovation at Ryerson University after completing her ten year term as the Dean of the Faculty of Community Services. She came to Ryerson from University of Toronto's Faculty of Social Work. Dr. George's research and scholarship is in the area of post-migration studies, specifically on the settlement and integration of newcomers to Canada.


​"Aging in Ethnic Minority Communities"


In this session, Dr. George will examine the concept of 'ethnicity', as traditionally understood in the field of Social Gerontology, and will present current perspectives on this topic. Dr. George will also review studies on the issues of aging and later life among ethnic minorities and emphasize the importance of considering the diversity and complexity of experiences, as well as the historical and contemporary social contexts in which aging takes place.




​Anne Arbour, Credit Counselling Society


Anne Arbour is the Credit Counselling Society's Financial Educator for the Greater Toronto Area. Ms. Arbour has over 20 years combined experience in facilitation and financial services, including operating her own small business financing company. She graduated with an MBA from York University's Schulich School of Business. She is passionate about promoting financial literacy in her community, about meeting new people, and building strong working relationships.


​"Financial Wellness in Later Life: Living on a Fixed Income"


After many years of active earning, the new financial realities of living on a fixed income can often be a challenge in later life. In this session, Ms. Arbour will cover many important elements of good money management for later life, including steps to be taken beforehand to eliminate debt, financial goal setting, expense tracking techniques, and strategies to recognize and reduce threats to later life financial plans, such as dependent adult children and unexpected medical expenses.




​Howard Sapers, Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform


​Howard Sapers was appointed Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform for the province of Ontario on January 1, 2017. In May 2017, he released his first report titled, Segregation in Ontario, which provided the Ministry of Community and Correctional Services with advice and recommendations on ways to reduce the use of segregation, improve conditions of confinement for those segregated and enhance accountability and transparency in the segregation process. A second report, Corrections in Ontario: Directions for Reform, was released in October 2017 and called for transformative change in numerous areas of correctional operation. In total, the two reports contained 125 recommendations. Based upon Mr. Sapers’ recommendations, the Government of Ontario has committed to passing new principle-based correctional law for the province. Between 2004 and 2016, he was the Correctional Investigator of Canada. Previously, he has been the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Alberta, an elected member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta representing Edmonton Glenora, Director of the National Crime Prevention Centre Investment Fund and Vice Chairperson (Prairie Region) of the Parole Board Canada. Mr. Sapers is a Past President of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and between 2012 and 2016, was a North American Regional representative to the International Ombudsman Institute. He represented the community of small federal departments and agencies on the Government of Canada Small Department Audit Committee and was Chairman of the Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces Ombudsman Advisory Committee. His work as Correctional Investigator was recognized in the cover story of the Fall 2016 edition of Power & Influence magazine. Mr. Sapers is an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology, and has been awarded a Honourary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Ottawa. He is currently a member of the Ryerson University Department of Criminology Advisory Council and the Legal Aid Ontario Prison Law Advisory Committee.


​"Growing Old Behind Bars"


In this session, Mr. Sapers will provide a brief overview of corrections in Canada, including a description of the changing offender profile. The demographics of the population behind bars reveal a population that is sicker, older, and increasingly vulnerable. Mr. Sapers will discuss the particular challenges related to safely housing older inmates, the need for a strategic response to the changing demographics, and managing end of life while in custody. Some proposals to address the challenges will also be presented.




​Marilyn White-Campbell, Canadian Mental Health Association

Marilyn White-Campbell is the provincial lead and Co-Chair of the Older Adult Substance Use Collaborative with Behavioral Supports Ontario and a Principal Investigator for the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health Geriatric Addictions best practice guidelines. She is currently on secondment to the Community Responsive Behavioral Team and Specialized Geriatric Services and Geriatric Addiction Specialist for the COPA program in Toronto, one of Canada's first addictions treatment programs for older adults. She is recognized as a Canadian pioneer in the treatment of substance use issues in older adults.


​"Geriatric Addictions Facilitating Successful Transitions to Long-Term Care: Geriatric Clinical Complexities in Substance Use Disorders"


Ms. White-Campbell will lead this session on how older adults with substance use disorders can safely and successfully transition to long-term care. The session will discuss treatment of substance use disorders, specifically where there is an identified Substance Use Disorder for older adults who are waiting for admission to long-term care. More specifically, Ms. White-Campbell will discuss how to support individuals who have dependence on substances, such as alcohol, opiates, marijuana and nicotine, as part of care planning for successful transitions to long-term care.


Dr. Cosmin Munteanu, University of Toronto

Cosmin Munteanu, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology at University of Toronto Mississauga, and Co-Director of the Technologies for Ageing Gracefully lab at University of Toronto. His area of expertise is at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Automatic Speech Recognition, Natural User Interfaces, Mobile Computing, Ethics, and Assistive Technologies, having dedicated the past two decades to investigating the human factors of interacting with information-rich media and intelligent technologies. His main research goals are to facilitate natural, meaningful, and safe interactions between people and digital media and devices. Dr. Munteanu's multidisciplinary interests include speech and natural language interaction for mobile devices, mixed reality systems, learning technologies for marginalized users, usable privacy and cyber-safety, assistive technologies for older adults, and ethics in human-computer interaction research.

Benett Axtell, University of Toronto

​Benett Axtell is a PhD student working with Dr. Cosmin Munteanu at the Technologies for Ageing Gracefully lab (TAGlab) at the University of Toronto. Her main research interest is the design of new speech interactions that include voices that are usually excluded, like older adults. Her general research revolves around how older adults and their experiences expand the possibilities for new technologies. Her current research project investigates the digital management of family picture collections and their memories.

​"Creating Digital Picture Reminiscence with Older Adults"

Photography is a form of artistic expression, but also of social documentation. Family pictures and photography enables people to maintain a sense of self-identity throughout the life course. The social aspect of pictures, sharing and reminiscing together, is particularly important for older adults as a way to prompt and share their memories and experiences. Modern mobile technolgies, like tablets, allow entire family picture collections to be accessed from anywhere with a single, portable device, but current digital options are not intended for in-person sharing and reminiscence. This is especially a problem for older adults who are more motivated to share their memories, but lack digital tools that support this. In this session, Dr. Munteanu and Ms. Axtell will discuss how researchers can work with older adults to create reminiscence experiences and demonstrate new ways to interact with digital pictures for free-flowing storytelling. Digital family reminiscence supports photo viewing on tablets with access to complete picture collections, creating a lightweight and portable solution that is more accessible to all. They will then explore how digital technologies can build on family reminiscence activities by using past shared memories to organize pictures and create a richer browsing experience. Through this work, Dr. Munteanu and Ms. Axtell are moving towards digital tools that support all the different social aspects of photography in the daily lives of older adults and their families.


​Dr. Kelly Murphy, Baycrest Health Sciences

​Kelly Murphy, PhD, is a registered clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology at Baycrest Health Sciences. She obtained her PhD from Western University and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute. Presently, she is the clinical lead for a psychology service focused on early identification and memory intervention for older adults at risk of dementia. She also holds several academic appointments, including Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and Adjunct faculty positions in psychology at York University and Queen's University. Her research program is centred on cognitive aging and innovation in behavioural interventions focused on promoting brain health and wellness in older adults. Dr. Murphy has authored and co-authored peer-reviewed research publications, as well as a book for the general public and health care professionals called ​Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Guide to Maximizing Brain Health and Reducing Risk of Dementia​. She has also written and been interviewed for many articles in the news media on the topic of memory and aging, and contributes to a blog for Psychology Today on the topic of living with MCI.

​"Feasibility of an Online Group Intervention for Older Adults at Risk of Dementia"

In this session, Dr. Murphy will explore the feasibility of implementing an online group intervention for older adults who are experiencing mild cognitive decline that may lead to future dementia. With technology use among older adults increasing, online delivery of programs focused on cognitive health may facilitate access to behavioural interventions aimed at secondary prevention of dementia in at-risk older adults. Dr. Murphy's presentation will touch on how to effectively deliver cognitive behavioural interventions in an internet-based delivery environment. Specifically, the session will discuss the efficacy of an online program for engaging older adults and to demonstrate how technology can be effectively leveraged to improve access to evidence-based care.


Laurie Johnston, Ontario Retirement Communities Association

​Laurie Johnston is the Chief Executive Officer at Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA). She has over 30 years of experience in the retirement home sector, first as an owner/operator of two residences, followed by experience as a regional director of operations for a large Canadian chain. In 2006, she started up her own consultancy, specializing in operations and sales and marketing support for seniors housing. In 2011, she accepted the role of CEO of ORCA, and under her direction, ORCA has revamped its member service offerings to become a "one stop shop" for all aspects of education training and compliance support for members. Now representing 93% of all retirement homes in Ontario, ORCA is "the voice" of the sector, expressing the interests of members in successful lobby efforts across several ministries. She served seven years on the ORCA Board of Directors, including two years as Board Chair. Ms. Johnston has a BA from York University and a Certified Executive Coach (CEC) through Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia.

​"Self-Directed Care: Catching Up In Ontario"

​The retirement sector in Ontario is growing as fast as the seniors' population. For the first time in history, there are more seniors than children, and the retirement community sector is ready to provide real homes and real choice for seniors and their families. The sector believes that government should put seniors at the centre of decision-making by redirecting control for funded supportive services to seniors themselves. In this session, Ms. Johnston will touch on the increasingly robust body of evidence supporting the benefits of a self-directed care model, and provide several practical examples Ontario can draw from.

Chris Morley, OMERS

Chris Morley, MBA, is the Vice President of Government Relations at OMERS Pension Plan. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment's Foundation, a registered charity that provides sports opportunities for youth. Previously, he was the Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at Labatt Breweries of Canada, as well as the Chief of Staff at the Office of the Premier of Ontario.

Darryl Mabini, HOOPP

​Darryl Mabini, MBA, is the Senior Director of Growth and Stakeholder Relations at Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). He has worked in the pension industry for almost 20 years. After spending about half his career in plan administration at two of the largest defined benefit pension plans in Canada, he transitioned to a new position at HOOPP, focusing on new employer and member recruitment. Since 2012, Mr. Mabini has led the Growth and Stakeholder Relations team as Senior Director, adding to his portfolio public affiars, media, and research. He helped develop a defined benefit advocacy program at HOOPP, which includes opinion columns by the pension plan's leadership, stakeholder events and conferences, a DB pension ambassador and education program, health and retirement research studies, and public opinion polls. He has a global executive MBA from both the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and a Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University.

​"Pensions and Health"

Mr. Morley and Mr. Mabini will participate in this session featuring a mini-panel of speakers. A brief overview will be provided by Michael Nicin, Executive Director of the National Institute on Ageing (NIA), on the NIA's burgeoning work on the relationship between reliable income in retirement and well-being. Mr. Nicin will serve as moderator of this panel; each of the speakers will present research for 10 minutes, followed by a short three-way discussion.

Sue VanderBent, Home Care Ontario

​Sue VanderBent, BA, BSW, MSW, MHSc, CHE, is the Chief Executive Officer of Home Care Ontario and an Associate Professor (PT), Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, where she teaches Communication Skills. Ms. VanderBent advocates at many public and professional forums regarding the role and value of the home and community care system as a key element of health care system transformation.

​"Preparing Ontario's Home Care System for the Challenges of Tomorrow"

In this session, Ms. VanderBent will outline a series of recommendations to transform Ontario's home care system to ensure it is sustainable, provides more care for those who want and need it, supports the skilled professional home caregivers, and truly puts patients first.

Sue Lantz, Collaborative Aging

Sue Lantz, BA, MPA, is the Founder and Managing Director at Collaborative Aging, and an Advisory Board Member of Ryerson University's National Institute on Ageing. She specializes in healthcare policy, operational change, design and delivery in the fields of seniors care (home and community and residential settings), and health promotion and prevention. She is known for her collaborative and engaging approach, along with her consumer-oriented philosophy, integrity, and clear communication style. Ms. Lantz has had extensive experience in building new service models “on the ground” directly with clients, caregivers and front-line staff of multiple organizations working together. She also has worked at more macro levels as a policy leader and implementation expert. She is known for her ability to build upon the experiences of caregivers and seniors, and bringing complex and meaningful improvement projects to fruition.

​"Aging in Place: Why Collaborative Options Can Make the Difference"

In this session, Ms. Lantz will speak about our readiness for an empowering experience during later stages of life and shaping the choices to prepare for aging in place. Given the sheer numbers of boomers that are aging in Canada, and the capacity and challenges we have with resourcing and organizing our current healthcare, community care and housing options, we need to "get practical" about the future. She will talk about her vision for generating the aging in place options, including the needed tools for navigating and making the best choices and plans (for ourselves, caregivers and society). She will share insights and stories from her travels as a healthcare consultant and policy expert, about navigating the health system, navigating ourselves as we age, and the need for change leadership. Ms. Lantz will highlight specific examples of initiatives that demonstrate why collaborative options can make the difference in preparing for the societal phenomenon of aging boomers.

​Ran Manor, Biomedical Zone

Ran Manor is Startup Services Manager of Biomedical Zone. He has over 15 years of experience in multi-disciplinary engineering. He served in positions of CEO, VP R&D and Director of Technologies, as well as investment manager and business development manager, in Israel and in Canada. He has experience managing small and large teams in complex multidisciplinary state-of-the-art projects. In his current role at the Biomedical Zone, Mr. Manor leads business strategy sessions with the startup companies, helps align them with clients and clinical needs, as well as helps them get ready for and seek financing and strategic partners.

The Biomedical Zone is a startup incubator for biomedical and healthcare ventures, immersed in a clinical setting. The Biomedical Zone was founded in 2015, with the goal of fostering and growing early-stage health technology companies. It applies a cross-disciplinary, team-based approach to finding need-based solutions to real clinical challenges. Its companies span medical devices, big data, health IT, simulation, and VR. Its companies develop technology-based solutions to address significant global healthcare challenges. End users of the technologies include nurses, doctors, surgical residents, allied health professionals, and patients.

​Andre Bertram, Helpwear Inc.

Andre Bertram is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Helpwear Inc. As a young entrepreneur, he uses his background in science and systems engineering in tackling the issue of cardiovascular illness globally. To this end, Helpwear was founded to help bring more affordable and accessible healthcare to cardiac patients. Throughout his career, he has engaged with a variety of institutions and programs in Health and Entrepreneurship (including Y-Combinator, Creative Destructive Labs, MIT Launch).

Helpwear Inc. is striving to achieve better at-home healthcare by developing affordable and accessible products for patients all around the world. Helpwear's focus is clinical need driven innovation, designing solutions to not only what a patient would need, but from a clinical perspective, to what the healthcare system requires as well.

​Jonathan Davis, Trualta

​Jonathan Davis became inspired to start Trualta while working with companies that provided training and education to healthcare professionals. He realized that valuable training related to senior care and aging-in-place existed, but it wasn't available to family members at home. Trualta is the first modern eLearning platform dedicated to the family caregiver audience, and has a library of engaging, actionable content to build caregiver confidence, reduce burnout and enable aging-in-place. 

Trualta helps employers, insurers and healthcare providers prepare and support family members caring for aging loved ones. Trualta is the first modern eLearning platform dedicated to the family caregiver audience, and has a library of engaging, actionable content to build caregiver confidence, reduce burnout and enable aging-in-place.

​Connor Ross, Iris Technologies

Connor Ross is Chief Operating Officer of Iris Technologies. He is an alumnus of Mechanical Engineering at Queen's University, where he co-founded Iris Technologies in his final year. The company was founded out of personal experience with concussions, with the goal of aiding individuals in managing the difficulties of digital activities during recovery. His role at Iris involves the development of Iris' products, the company's supply chain, and clinical research. 

Iris Technologies is committed to using assistive technology to help individuals suffering from a concussion or computer intolerance reclaim their lives in our digital world. Their patent-pending, research backed E-paper secondary monitor reduces the negative health repercussions of using LCD screens for individuals recovering from a concussion. Slips and falls are a major cause of head injury and older patients take longer to recover from a concussion, making them a particularly susceptible population to long term recovery.

​"The Biomedical Zone's Vision for Supporting Tech Companies Focused on Aging"

As North America's aging pyramids flip and people live longer, longer quality of life becomes a major concern. After all, what good is it to live to be 120 if we spend our last 50 years without any quality of life? Startups have a crucial role in developing game changing technologies to improve our lives in general and for aging in particular. Technology has the potential to keep us mobile, allow us to communicate, expand our memories and even help our social lives. With more and more baby boomers becoming older adults, there is a growing need and appetite for technologies that will make our lives longer and even more, better. The Biomedical Zone is a physician-led startup incubator located at St. Michael's Hospital. With our uniquely developed model, we help startups build and test in clinical settings, revolutionary products that have the potential to change lives. We have companies that help early detection of (and therefore allow treatment for) dementia, that prevent hip fractures, enable accessibility and social interactions, track pain, and many more. In this talk, Mr. Manor, Mr. Bertram,  Mr. Davis, and Mr. Ross will explain their models and highlight some of the amazing companies and products you should be on the lookout for.

​Julie Dunning, National Institute on Ageing

​Julie Dunning is a Policy Analyst at the National Institute on Ageing (NIA). In her role at the NIA, she has undertaken the background research and co-authorship of two white papers, ​'Why Canada Needs to Better Care for Its Working Caregivers'​ and ​'The Underappreciated Burden of Influenza Amongst Canada's Older Population and What We Need To Do About It'​. Ms. Dunning holds a Masters of Public Health with a specialization in Gerontology from Lakehead University.

Stephanie Rosinski, Bridgeable

Stephanie Rosinski is Service Design Lead at Bridgeable, a Toronto-based design firm. Her practice has largely revolved around improving the patient experience via service delivery, and helping bridge the gap between clinical practice and patient needs. She has worked with health providers and researchers internationally as Chief Experience Officer at the m-health startup Shift Health, and locally as a researcher at UHN's Centre for Innovation in Complex Care.

​"Understanding Behavioural Barriers to Increasing Vaccination Rates Amongst Older Adults"

​Vaccination is a crucial component of preventative health for older adults. The Canadian Government has taken multiple actions to increase vaccination rates, and yet adoption rates are going down. In this talk, Ms. Dunning and Ms. Rosinski will explore how taking a qualitative design research approach helped to gain new insight into the behavioural barriers behind vaccine hesitancy.

Dr. Joyce Lee, North York General Hospital

​Joyce Lee, MD, is the founder and the physician lead of the Geriatrics Clinic for Parkinson's at North York General Hospital. She is one of the co-founders of the Five Weekend Care of the Elderly Certificate Course at the University of Toronto, an annual course which has educated over one hundred family physicians in Canada since its inception. Dr. Lee received her MD at the University of Toronto and completed her clinical fellowship at McGill University. Her research interests include dementia, medication use, and the management of Parkinson's disease in the elderly.

Greta Mah, North York General Hospital

​Greta Mah is the Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist at North York General Hospital's Geriatric Clinic for Parkinson's, Geriatric Day Hospital and Coordinator of the Fanny Bernstein Living Well with Parkinson's Program. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto and a member of the Parkinson Canada's Medical Advisory Council. Her recent research projects include ​'Emergency Department Visit Prevention through Telephone Intervention Service In A Comprehensive Geriatrics Clinic for Parkinson's' and ​'Outcomes of the Inter-Professional Chronic Pain Management at a Geriatric Day Hospital'​. 

​"Comprehensive Parkinson's Care: A Paradigm Shift"

Parkinson's disease (PD) in older persons is a very challenging clinical problem due to the intersection of non-motor and motor complications of PD, multiple co-morbidities, and polypharmacy. The psychosocial aspects of the disease, as well as caregiver burden, are significant. Current North American models of care are highly subspecialized and often result in fragmented care. This talk explores a novel comprehensive model of care, based on Comprehensive Geriatrics Assessment and Management, in the management of PD in older persons. Research with focus on prevention of hospitalization for older persons with PD and alleviation of caregiver burden will be presented. Suggestions for availability and scalability of this model of care will be discussed.

Amanda O'Rourke, 8 80 Cities

​"Healthy Cities Across the Age Spectrum"

Amanda O'Rourke is the Executive Director at 8 80 Cities. She has been with the organization since the beginning in 2007. She was a key architect of the 8 80 concept, and has held several positions within the organization. She has been a key driving force in the development and growth of 8 80 Cities and has worked on numerous projects related to parks, public spaces, and sustainable transportation in North America, Europe, Mexico, and Australia. Ms. O'Rourke holds a Masters of Science in Planning from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology from Queen's University. She is also currently Co-Chair of the Children, Play, and Nature Committee for World Urban Parks.

Julia Drydyk, Public Interest Strategy

​"Universal Basic Income"

​Julia Drydyk is the Managing Director of Public Interest Strategy. She has been involved in conducting research, community engagement, and progressive policy development for multiple levels of government and the community services sector. She received her Masters in Public Policy from the University of Toronto's School of Public Policy and Governance. Ms. Drydyk's most recent role was Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Hon. Dr. Helena Jaczek, Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services, where she provided strategic policy advice toward the transformation of Ontario's social assistance programs and the design and implementation of Ontario's Basic Income Pilot.

Ivy Wong, National Institute on Ageing

​Ivy Wong is the Director of Policy at the National Institute on Ageing (NIA). Previously, she spent several years as a senior civil servant in the Department of Health and in the National Health Service (NHS) in London, England. Her focus was on funding reform, integrated care, and financial incentives. Before working in health policy, she was an IT consultant, specializing in financial services, and also worked as an Account Directorin digital marketing and advertising. Ms. Wong holds a Masters of Public Administration from the London School of Economics, a Masters of Public Affairs from L'Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and a BA cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

​Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto Public Health

​Vinita Dubey, MD, is Associate Medical Officer of Health for Toronto Public Health. Dr. Dubey is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Her research interests are in the areas of immunization and vaccine preventable diseases, preventive health care, and public health; her current research projects include HPV school-based vaccination implementation, vaccine storage and handling, local vaccination coverage rates, and vaccine hesitancy. Dr. Dubey received MPH from Harvard School of Public Health and her MD from the University of Calgary.

Dr. Jeffrey Kwong, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences

​Jeffrey Kwong, MD, is a Senior Core Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). He is also a Scientist at Public Health Ontario, Family Physician at Toronto Western Family Health Team, Associate Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute, Associate Professor and Clinician Scientist at the University of Toronto's Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Dr. Kwong received his MSc in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto and his MD from the University of Toronto. His research interests are in the areas of immunization, infectious diseases, and primary care/clinical practice.

Umberto Leone, Humber College

​Umberto Leone is a pharmacist and instructor in Health Sciences at Sheridan College and Humber College. He is a pharmacist at Columbus Pharmacy and Westlaw Guardian Pharmacy, and is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan and the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. Mr. Leone received his BSc in Pharmacy from Ferris State University.

​Dr. Durhane Wong-Rieger, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders

​Durhane Wong-Rieger, PhD, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD), the umbrella organization of patients and patient groups, and chair of the Consumer Advocare Network, a national network for patient engagement in healthcare policy and advocacy. She is also President and CEO of the Institute for Optimizing Health Outcomes, providing training and direct service on health coaching and patient self-management. Dr. Wong-Rieger has served on numerous health policy advisory committees and panels and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Genetics and the Patient Liaison Forum for the Canadian Drugs and Technologies in Health. Dr. Wong-Rieger holds a PhD in psychology from McGill University and was professor at the University of Windsor from 1984-1999.

Rosalie Wyonch, C.D. Howe Institute

​Rosalie Wyonch, MA, is a Health Policy Analyst at C.D. Howe Institute. Prior to joining the C.D. Howe Institute, she was a research analyst at the Ontario Ministry of Finance in the Office of Economic Policy. While writing broadly about economic issues, her research interest focuseson the implications of technology and innovation, with the goal of identifying policy gaps, misaligned incentive mechanisms, and assessing potential causes and solutions. Ms. Wyonch received her Master of Arts in Economics and her Bachelor of Arts in Honours Mathematical Economics from the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Susan Brien, Health Quality Ontario

​Susan Brien, PhD, is the Director of Public Reports at Health Quality Ontario. She is reponsible for the development and production of reports on the performance of Ontario's health system. Prior to joining Health Quality Ontario, Dr. Brien was at the Health Council of Canada and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. Her post-doctoral research in the department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary was focused on health system performance reporting and report cards, with methodological focuson systematic and scoping reviews. She received her PhD in pharmacology from Queen's University.

Lori Hale, The Change Foundation

​Lori Hale, MSW, is the Executive Lead, Research and Policy at The Change Foundation. In this role, she leads research projects and evaluation initiatives, the positioning of the Foundation's policy papers, and strategic planning. She held increasingly senior positions at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, handling a wide range of policy portfolios, including health promotion, telehealth, health economic develpment, and quality standards. She also has a wide broad range of public service experience with leadership positions at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affiars, the Ministry of Research and Innovation, and the Premier's Council on Health, Well-Being and Social Justice. Ms. Hale holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Queen's University.

Sherry Hnatyshyn-Webster, CAREpath

​Sherry Hnatyshyn-Webster, RN, is the Managing Director at CAREpath. Her business and nursing career spans over two decades in both the private and public sectors. She has been an integral part of Bayshore HealthCare's leadership team, supporting business growth for more than 17 years in a number of Ontario communities. As a Registered Nurse, she has an extensive background in community palliative care nursing. Most recently, she was a Board member for the Doctor Bob Kemp Hospice, and has been very successful in growing and supporting a number of community health care services across Ontario. Ms. Hnatyshyn-Webster has a keen interest in building community health care programs that empower patients to ensure their needs are met, and that help them play an active role in their own health.

Catherine Suridjan, Canadian Home Care Association

​Catherine Suridjan, MSW, RSW, is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian Home Care Association.

Donna Thomson, Author and Family Caregiver Activist

​Donna Thomson began her career as an actor, director, and teacher. But in 1988, when her son Nicholas was born with severe disabilities, she embarked on her second career as a disability activist, author, consultant, and writer. In her book ​The Four Walls of My Freedom​, she examines her personal family experience with caregiving, probing the ethics and economics of how families giving and receiving care can flourish in society. She examines how social innovation leading to practical solutions can help families thrive, even in very challenging circumstances - a subject she blogs about regularly at her site ​The Caregivers' Living Room​. Ms. Thomson also writes extensively for magazines on the topics of eldercare, disability parenting, and family caregiving. 


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