OUR PEOPLE

It takes a group of people who really care.

Message from the President and CEO and Chair, Board of Directors

While Canada remains one of the world’s most prosperous nations, almost 67,000 of our children are living in foster or group homes as a result of the abuse, neglect, and insurmountable poverty. Several hundred thousand more are living with their families in unstable homes while under the watch of child protection services. Those who have become Crown wards often require significant assistance transitioning to independent living, as they’re financially and emotionally alone at just 18 or 19 years of age.

Many other complex issues exist for these young people. While our funding reached thousands of vulnerable kids across Canada this past year, there is still a huge gap to fill. The lingering effects of trauma are very real and can continue to negatively impact their lives; approximately 82% have been diagnosed with special needs that include physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and social challenges. With little support from their families, the odds are stacked against them, and, sadly, many will drop out of high school, abuse substances, become involved with prostitution and gangs, end up pregnant at a young age, or become incarcerated or homeless.

Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is dedicated to funding enriching, educational, preventative, and healing and recovery programs that encourage these kids to build their self-esteem and realize their full potential. With our $60-million National Campaign for Child Welfare, the Foundation is dedicated to expanding its reach and providing increased resources in the areas of health and well-being, education, crisis and permanence, identity, inclusion, and equity, and support while leaving care.

Truly, we would not be in the position we are today without those who believe in and support our work. Together, we will continue to build a brighter future for our nation’s most vulnerable young people.

Valerie McMurtry - President and CEO

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Valerie McMurtry
President and CEO

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Gordon Raman
Chair, Board of Directors

Gordon Raman, Chair of the Board

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Gordon Raman
Chair
Partner, Borden Ladner Gerais LLP

Barry Hildred - Past Chair, Board of Directors

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Barry Hildred
Past Chair/Treasurer
CEO, Aquila Resources

Gray Field

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Daniel Barclay
CEO, BMO Capital Markets

Lynn Belzberg

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Lynn Belzberg
Corporate Director
Social Worker

Bill Butt

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Bill Butt
Campaign Co-Chair
Corporate Director

Christian Exshaw

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Christian Exshaw
Managing Director and Head, Global Markets, Capital Markets, CIBC

Lynn Factor - Past Chair

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Lynn Factor, O.Ont, BAASS, MSW, LLD
Past Chair
Child Witness Advocate, Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention

Brian Gluckstien

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Brian Gluckstein
Principal Interior Designer,
Gluckstein Design

Gray Field

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John Gossling
Executive Vice President & CFO,
Corus Entertainment

Pruyn Haskins

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Pruyn Haskins
Managing Director, Co-Head of Global Equity and Advisory, The Bank of Nova Scotia

Jason Henderson

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Jason Henderson
Executive Vice President Head of Global Banking and Markets,
HSBC Bank Canada

Dougal Macdonald

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Dougal Macdonald
Campaign Co-Chair
President & Managing Director-Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley Canada Ltd.

Shannon McGinnis

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Shannon McGinnis
Senior Vice President, Retail Risk Management, TD Bank Group

Victoria Pelletier

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Victoria Pelletier
VP and Lead Account Partner,
Global Business Services, IBM

Jenny Poulos

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Jenny Poulos
Senior Vice President Human Resources Personal and Global Recruitment
RBC Royal Bank of Canada

Sandra Roberts

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Sandra Roberts, CRMA
Partner,
PwC Canada, Risk Assurance Public Sector/Healthcare

Donna Toth

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Donna E. Toth
Corporate Director

Andrea Weissman-Daniels

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Andrea Weissman-Daniels
Co-Founder IGNITE THE SPARK FUND

Bill Butt, Co-Chair
Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Co-Chair
Dougal Macdonald, Co-Chair

Eric Bélanger
Ted Boyd
Scott Burrows
Joseph C. Canavan
Mark Daniels
Andrew W. Dunn, FCA
Christian Exshaw
Lynn Factor
Richard D. Falconer
Brian Gluckstein
Jason Henderson
Barry Hildred
Peter Rawlins
Stephen L. Sandler
John Sherrington
Donna E. Toth
Andrea Weissman-Daniels

Founded in 2013, the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Young People’s Advisory Council (YPAC) shares their lived and professional expertise, wisdom and experiences to guide us on how to best serve Canada’s young people involved in child welfare and represents the Foundation in the community. We are grateful to all members throughout the years for lighting the way forward.

Troy Elleston

Troy2018

Troy is in his 4th year of Biological Science studies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, completing majors in both biotechnology and microbiology, with a minor in contemporary studies! A child welfare advocate and ambassador, he is also a high-school math, chemistry, physics and biology tutor, which has afforded him the opportunity to build strong relationships with families in his community.

Troy’s journey to this point has been both incredible and, at some points, rough, having spent most of his life in care. He was born to a single mother who did all she could to provide him a healthy life—he was her only son and her closest family. But at nine, after she came down with severe depression, he was taken away from his mother and put into foster care. At the time, this was absolutely devastating.

But over the last decade, Troy has flourished in his new world. He became a son to two wonderful people by the names of Joycelyn and Ronald, now his parents, and at 10, a middle sibling to two other boys. In his first five years with his new family, he gained control over his mental health and enjoyed a fulfilling social life through various groups like his church and high school student council, where he developed an aptitude to lead and tackle responsibility. With time, he is proud to say his deep wounds have healed, largely because of these new relationships. He continues to strengthen those bonds, and make new ones, at school and in his community!

Troy found financial support through the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, accessing multiple scholarships and an Element Fleet Management Youth Capital internship. He chose to give back as a CAFC Youth Ambassador and Advisor, eventually joining YPAC, which presents a tremendous and unique opportunity to exercise his passion for “in-care” issues and our greater community. Troy is thrilled to work collectively with this dynamic group to help the Foundation address the needs of children and youth in and from care and advance the Foundation’s collective mission.

In addition to his drive to give back, Troy has always been very curious about the world around him—what makes the earth spin? Cars move? Our bodies age? What is aging?! This curiosity has fueled his studies in biochemistry and also creative pursuits like spoken word. Through performances at numerous events through organizations like his church and the Foundation, Troy has built a strong reputation.

In the future, Troy plans to pursue a career in Health Finance. After completing two internships in marketing and project management, he is excited about being able to combine these skills with his science background.

Sarah Innes

Sarah Innes

Sarah is completing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Ryerson University and is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) in 2019. She also plans to further her education with a PhD in the future. She is looking forward to having a career which will allow her to work with vulnerable populations and to help the community at large. Sarah is passionate about promoting social justice, youth advocacy, mental health, and research. She joined CAFC’s Young People’s Advisory Council with the intention of being a strong voice and advocate for the rights of youth in the care of the child welfare system.

From a very young age, Sarah has been a hard worker and passionate about helping others, which is illustrated through many years of volunteer work and involvement within the community. Starting at the age of 10, Sarah began her first job delivering newspapers and often purchased non-perishable food items and toiletries with her earnings to give back to shelters within the community to those in need. Today, Sarah remains involved in her community with experience ranging from animal care at The Toronto Humane Society, fundraising initiatives for cancer research, leadership roles throughout her high school endeavours, to volunteering at shelters in Toronto to serve warm meals to vulnerable youth. Her commitment and desire to help others in need has only continued to strengthen over the years. Sarah’s new role as an advocate and member of the Young People’s Advisory Council, is a natural next step towards achieving her passion and preparing her for a career in the clinical social work field.

Joshua Law

Biography to come

Taneisha Lawrence

Biography to come

Erine Roberts

Erine

Erine is an advocate, ambassador, devoted auntie and Wilfrid Laurier University graduate, with a combined Honor’s Bachelors of Art Degree specializing in Youth and Children’s Studies and, Human Rights and Human Diversity Studies.

Born in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Erine immigrated to Canada at the age of seven. At the age of eight she was placed into the child welfare system. By age 11, she became a crown ward, and spent a total of 10 years in foster care, which ignited her passion to help create change within the child welfare system.

While at university she became the president of the Collective for Feminist Action and Research, an organization that worked with university faculty, local community partners and students, to advance women’s rights issues, and to aid in feminist research. She has been an ambassador for the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto for 10 years, speaking on behalf of children within the child welfare system in various forums. Erine has been involved with the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada for the past 6 years as a Youth Ambassador, and has recently joined the Young People’s Advisory Council to further her work as an advocate for children in care.

Erine has spoken at over 100 different platforms, and appeared in numerous media outlets, to raise awareness for the various challenges facing young people aging out of care, and hopes to continue to be an agent of change in Canada’s child welfare sector.

In the future Erine would love to work within the corporate sector to create programming and opportunities for vulnerable young people to bridge the gap between, child welfare, school, and work.

Breanna Ryan

Breanna RyanBiography to come

Reshma Shiwcharran

Reshma-webBiography to come

Eli Shour

Eli

Eli is a Wilfrid Laurier University Business Administration graduate and advocate for children and youth.

At 11, Eli was living a seemingly normal life when one day, without warning, he woke up to find his mother gone, leaving him and his brother in his uncle’s care. Due to his disability, his uncle felt unable to take care of the two boys and shortly thereafter they were taken into foster care.

Growing up in care, Eli struggled to fight off the sense of loss and abandonment from losing his family, yet he felt blessed to have had the foster family that raised him. His foster parents nurtured his love for reading and the importance of education. They instilled in him a sense of self-responsibility.

Eli believes that growing up in care, youth are sometimes forced to mature faster than usual. An innocence may be lost, but a strength may be gained. Eli is driven by the need for self-determination. He believes that life often places us in challenging circumstances without our consent, but if your “why” is strong enough, then what we do next is up to us.

Since graduation, like most young adults, Eli is looking for his path in life, craving meaning and relevance in an unpredictable world. He is comforted by the fact that what he does next is self-determined. He is currently focused on building a relationship with his birth family, reaching financial independence, and traveling in order to gain greater self-awareness.

Samidha Singhal

Samidha-web

Samidha is a member of the Children’s Aid Foundation’s Young People’s Advisory Council as well as a student, advocate and athlete studying at McMaster University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, with a minor in sustainability. In addition to advocating for changes to the foster care system, she is passionate about environmental and economic sustainability, healthy active living and education in under-developed countries. She aspires to be an entrepreneur and use her degree to make our world a better place.

Born and raised in India, Samidha’s life changed forever when her mother passed away when she was only seven. She immigrated to Canada with her family at 12, but after such devastating loss and adjustment to a new country, her father suffered from depression which also caused her family to suffer financially, and he was unable to provide parental support and care. After two years of this continuous struggle, the CCAS of Hamilton stepped in and she entered foster care, where she moved between three high schools and four foster homes, all within a two year span. Keeping friends was always difficult, and she suffered from emotional abuse, neglect and depression.

Despite these challenges, she promised herself she would continue to keep moving forward, and strives to live life by her favorite quote from Harry Potter: “It is our choices that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Samidha has made the choice to persevere and advocate for current and former children and youth in foster care and has joined the Foundation’s youth council and ambassador teams to raise awareness, to ensure there’s adequate support, to pay it forward, and, most of all, to stand by those who feel that they are alone, because they are not.

Yessinia Vasquez

Biography to come

Young People’s Advisory Council members serve 2-year terms, and during that time have a significant impact on our work at the Foundation and the child welfare sector. When terms end, every member’s contributions live on, and so our alumni remain Honorary YPAC Members.

2017-2018

Tolumade Atkinson
Alisha Brooks
Troy Elleston
Brittany Herbold
Anna Amy Ho
Christina Li
Breanna Ryan
Samidha Singhal
Eli Shour
Reshma Shiwcharran
Riley Spence

2016-2017

Tolumade Atkinson
Alisha Brooks
Crystal Groves
Brittany Herbold
Anna Amy Ho
Christina Li
Shyanne Nichols
Shameer Rahman
Melissa Sayers
Riley Spence
Jemal Thompson

2015-2016

Michele Farrugia
Jemmy Felix
Kristy Graves
Crystal Groves
Wendy Hayes
Shyanne Nichols
Shameer Rahman
Maya Ramchandani
Cheyanne Ratnam
Melissa Sayers
Jemal Thompson

2014-2015

Michele Farrugia
Jemmy Felix
Kristy Graves
Wendy Hayes
Tamia Kerem
Shameer Rahman
Maya Ramchandani
Cheyanne Ratnam
David Rutherford
Jemal Thompson

2013-2014 (Founding Members)

Michele Farrugia
Jemmy Felix
Kristy Graves
Wendy Hayes
Tamia Kerem
Noah Negash
Nana Quainoo
Cheyanne Ratnam
David Rutherford
Yuan Barnes

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