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Long-Term Care Staffing Study Advisory Group


Long-Term Care Staffing Study Advisory Group

Ministry of Long-Term Care

Ontario has launched an external advisory group to provide strategic advice on staffing in the long-term care sector across the province. The advisory group is made up of experts, academics, thought leaders and stakeholders, including the resident and family voice across the long-term care sector.

The members of the advisory group are as follows:

Arthur Sweetman, Ontario Research Chair in Health Human Resources

Arthur Sweetman is a Professor in the Department of Economics at McMaster University where he holds the Ontario Research Chair in Health Human Resources. He is also a member of McMaster's Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis.

Previously, he was the Director of the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, where he held the Stauffer-Dunning Chair in Policy Studies. He is currently a co-editor of the Canadian Journal of Economics and undertakes quantitative research on health workforce issues in Ontario as well as related issues in health economics and social policy.

Zubin Austin, Professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto


Zubin Austin BScPhm, MBA, MISc, PhD, FCAHS is a Professor and Koffler Chair in Management at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and the Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto. His research focuses on the professional and personal development of the health workforce. 

He has published over 180 peer reviewed manuscripts and authored four reference texts. In 2017, in recognition of the societal impact of his research, he was installed as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, one of the highest honours for health services researchers. He is also the only University of Toronto professor ever to have received both the President's Teaching Award for sustained excellence in education, and the President's Research Impact Award for the significance of his research. He has also been named undergraduate Professor of the Year by students on 20 occasions.

Melissa Donskov, Executive Director at the Saint-Louis Residence and Élisabeth Bruyère Residence long-term care homes

Melissa Donskov is the Executive Director at Bruyère's two long-term care homes: Saint-Louis Residence and Élisabeth Bruyère Residence. Melissa previously worked in primary health care research management with the Bruyère Research Institute, as well as with Bruyère Continuing Care as Medical Affairs Manager and Administrator for the Bruyère Academic Medical Organization. More recently, she was the Director of Operations at the Bruyère Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care. In this position, she led the team to many successes with projects aimed at enhancing the quality of care provided to long-term care residents, increasing the workforce's knowledge and skills, and helping shape the long-term care system of the future.

Melissa has a master's degree in Health Administration and an undergraduate degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Ottawa. She also holds Canadian College of Health Leaders and Certified Human Resources Leader designations, as well as a LEAN Green Belt certification.


Sharon Goodwin, Senior Vice President, Home & Community Care, Victorian Order of Nurses

Sharon Goodwin RN, MN, DHA is the Senior Vice President of Home & Community Care at Victorian Order of Nurses Canada. She currently leads a team of more than 5,000 employees in Ontario and Nova Scotia at the Victorian Order of Nurses.

Sharon is a lifelong learner with a Doctorate in Health Administration and holds a master's degree in Nursing. As a health care leader, Sharon has contributed significantly through her research, published articles and provided leadership on several Boards of Directors. Sharon is a current member of the board of the Ontario Community Support Association. 

Sharon was a pioneering Nurse Practitioner in the province of Ontario and built not only the foundations of the Telehealth Ontario system, but also advocated for accreditation standards in telehealth and home care through her work as a surveyor for Accreditation Canada. Since joining the Victorian Order of Nurses in 2004, she contributed to transforming Victorian Order of Nurses Canada into a modern organization and achieved Exemplary Standing through Accreditation Canada for two cycles. Sharon also led the transformation of Victorian Order of Nurses' home care service delivery in Ontario and Nova Scotia using lean quality improvement methods.

Akos Hoffer, CEO,The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre

Akos Hoffer joined Perley Rideau in 2008 as COO of The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre. In July 2013, he was named the CEO of Perley Rideau. Prior to joining Perley Rideau, he worked at a professional association following several years in benefits consulting.

Akos holds a Master of Health Sciences in Health Administration from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts, Industrial Relations from McGill University.

In 2018, Akos received the Distinguished Service Award for the Canadian College of Health Leaders' Eastern Ontario Chapter, presented at the National Health Leadership Conference.

Anita Plunkett, RPN, PSW instructor, Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario

Anita Plunkett started her health care career as a personal support worker working in long-term care homes 15 years ago. After bridging to complete her R.P.N. credentials, she continued working in the long-term care and home care sectors. During that time, she obtained her adult education training through St. Francis Xavier University.

Anita currently teaches the personal support worker program through the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario and has done so for nine years. She is also an advanced and diabetic foot care nurse.

For the past two years, Anita has been the personal support worker co-chair for Continuing Education School Board Administrators that supports the 22 school board personal support worker programs in Ontario.

Anita is the owner, operator and lead educator of LinkSmart Health Training Programs, which provide educational and training resources and services to long-term care homes, retirement homes, home care agencies and hospitals in eastern Ontario.

Kevin Queen, CEO and District Administrator, Kenora District Homes

Kevin has worked for the District of Kenora Home for the Aged for the last 41 years, serving as its CEO & District Administrator for 35 years. He has been a long-time member of AdvantAge Ontario. As a member, Kevin and his staff have won multiple awards for improving care for seniors. He is a past Board Chair and Northern Region Representative for AdvantAge Ontario. 

Dr. Paula Rochon, Vice-President Research and Senior Scientist, Women's College Research Institute

Dr. Paula Rochon is a geriatrician, health services researcher and the Vice-President of Research at Women's College Hospital. She is a Senior Scientist at Women's College Research Institute, a Professor in the University of Toronto's Department of Medicine and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). In 2015, she was appointed as the inaugural Retired Teachers of Ontario Chair in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Rochon received her medical degree from McMaster University and then completed a fellowship in geriatric medicine at the University of Toronto. Her research training included the completion of a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at St. George's Hospital Medical School, U.K and a master's in Public Health degree and research fellowship from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Rochon's research career focuses on understanding the unique needs of older adults, particularly women. She is one of the leading Canadian health-services researchers in geriatric medicine. Her research explores how to promote health and well-being in older adults by optimizing their drug prescribing.

Dr. Rochon published close to 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals. In 2013, she was elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) as a fellow because of her history of outstanding performance in academic health sciences in Canada.

James Schlegel, President and CEO, Schlegel Health Care

James Schlegel is the President and CEO of Schlegel Health Care, which includes Schlegel Villages and Homewood Health.

James is also the CEO of RBJ Schlegel Holdings which, in addition to Schlegel Health Care, includes Schlegel Poultry and Schlegel Urban Developments.

James is a board member of the Research Institute for Aging (RIA). The RIA was set up by the Schlegel family in 2005 to formalize a long-standing relationship with the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College. Its mission is to enhance care and quality of life for older adults through partnerships in research, education and practice. Schlegel Villages serve as research and development sites for researchers, who use their research to enhance the villages, while also sharing it with the broader sector. The research also informs curriculum development to enhance the training of future health care workers in Ontario. 

James offers his personal time to many other community involvements, including serving as a board member for Grand River Hospital and University of Waterloo. 

He graduated from the Master of Accounting program at University of Waterloo and obtained his CA designation in 1992. 

Grace Welch, Chair of the Champlain Region Family Council Network Advocacy Committee

Grace Welch is a retired academic librarian. She has been involved in long-term care since 2008 when her mother entered a home in Ottawa. Grace has continued as a volunteer at the same home since her mother's death in 2014. She was the Chair of the home's first family council and continues to advocate for improvements in resident care through her involvement in the Champlain Region Family Council Network. The Champlain Region Family Council Network is a volunteer group that helps support family councils in the 60 long-term care homes in the Champlain Region through information sharing, education and advocacy efforts.

Grace is a member of the Ottawa Council on Aging Health Issues Committee which is making long-term care a strategic issue. She also participates in the Ottawa Council on Aging's Housing Committee. Grace was previously Vice Chair of the Ontario Geographic Names Board for 10 years.

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