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Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness Members

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Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness Members

Ministry of Municipal Affairs

The following 14 members were appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness.

Pedro Barata, United Way Toronto

Pedro Barata's involvement in the non-profit sector spans almost two decades, with a variety of roles in communications, research, public policy, and community development. As Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs at United Way Toronto, Pedro is responsible for message and brand positioning, media relations and public policy engagement. Pedro has experience working within and across a variety of settings, including community-based organizations, strategic philanthropy, and various levels of government.

Maya Chacaby, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres

Maya Chacaby is Anishinaabe, Beaver Clan from Kaministiquia.  She is the Aboriginal Cultural Competency Education Coordinator at the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and has been leading training sessions across the province for numerous sectors including District School Boards, health service providers, hospitals, law enforcement, Children's Aid, municipal leadership, Provincial Ministries and Tribal Councils. Maya also teaches linguistics and sociology at York University and has designed several Aboriginal youth-based leadership initiatives provincially.

Michael Creek, Working for Change

Michael Creek is the Director of Strategic Initiatives with Working for Change, former Coordinator of the Toronto Speakers Bureau; Voices from the Street, where he has learned research, public policy and public speaking. Michael sits on the boards of Social Planning Toronto, Inner City Family Health Team, and is a member of 25 and 5, a poverty reduction network. Michael is a survivor of cancer, physical and mental abuse, homelessness, poverty and is a psychiatric consumer/ survivor. Michael continues to work with marginalized people and encourages them to speak out, and that their voices can make a difference in shaping policy and planning with governments.

Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, Western University and Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing

Dr. Cheryl Forchuk is a Distinguished University Professor in nursing and psychiatry at Western University, and Assistant Director at the Lawson Health Research Institute. Her current research includes exploring issues related to poverty, housing/ homelessness and inclusion for people with mental illness/ addiction, and to develop and test new approaches to mental health care such as the transitional discharge model and the use of smart technologies.

Dr. Stephen Gaetz, York University and Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Dr. Stephen Gaetz is a Professor at York University & Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub.  Dr. Gaetz is committed to increasing the impact of research on homelessness policy, planning and practice, thereby contributing to solutions to end homelessness in Canada. His research on homelessness has focused on youth, economic strategies, nutritional vulnerability, education and legal and justice issues, as well as solutions to homelessness from both a Canadian and international perspective.

Dr. Stephen Hwang, St. Michael's Hospital

Dr. Stephen Hwang is a practicing physician in general internal medicine at St. Michael's Hospital. He is also the Chair of Homelessness, Housing, and Health at St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto. Dr. Hwang's research focuses on improving the health of people who are homeless and vulnerably housed and the effects of housing on people's health.

Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Wellesley Institute and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Dr. Kwame McKenzie is Medical Director of Underserved Populations; Access & Transitions at CAMH. As a Senior Scientist, he specializes in Systems and Health Equity Research at CAMH. Additionally, Dr. McKenzie is Director of the Social Aetiology of Mental Illness (SAMI) CIHR Training Centre. He is a full Professor and the Co-Director of the Division of Equity Gender and Population in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.  Dr. McKenzie is also President of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto and sits on the Board of the United Way Toronto.

Mike Nadeau, City of Sault Ste. Marie

Mike Nadeau is the Commissioner of Social Services for the City of Sault Ste. Marie. Previously, Mike was the executive director of the Ontario Native Welfare Administrators' Association (ONWAA). He is a subject matter expert on the administration of social services, program development and homelessness issues in Northern Ontario.

Joe-Anne Priel, City of Hamilton

In 2000, Joe-Anne Priel accepted the position of General Manager of the Community and Emergency Services Department with the City of Hamilton.  This department offers a unique blend of human services including income assistance, management of the child care system, two long-term care facilities, employment services for those that have difficulty accessing the labour market, recreation programming, housing and homelessness initiatives; fire and paramedic services. In conjunction with community partners, Joe-Anne led the development of the Social Vision for the City of Hamilton, which is regarded as a key social policy paper used to guide the City to reach its goal of being a safe, healthy, vibrant and caring community.

Bruce Rivers, Covenant House

Bruce Rivers, a highly regarded child welfare expert and advocate, assumed the post of Covenant House Toronto Executive Director in 2011. Over the past 30 years, he has held a number of senior executive roles, including 16 years as Executive Director of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto. He has strong skills supported by hands-on experience in social service program planning, policy and service delivery as well as financial planning, administration and fundraising.

Aseefa Sarang, Across Boundaries

Aseefa Sarang completed her undergraduate at University of Toronto and received a Master's Degree in Leadership from University of Guelph. She is currently the Executive Director of Across Boundaries and has been with the organization since 1995. Previously, she was President of the newly amalgamated Addictions and Mental Health Ontario Board and a Member of the Provincial Collaborative Advisory Group (PCAG) for Service Collaborative Initiatives, facilitated by CAMH. She co-authored various academic articles on the Toronto site findings of the "third arm" of the At Home/ Chez Soi project on homelessness and mental health, Mental Health Commission of Canada. She holds a dedicated interest and commitment to health equity for marginalized/ racialized communities.

Michael Shapcott, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness

Michael Shapcott has worked extensively in Toronto, nationally and internationally on social innovation, housing and housing rights, poverty, social exclusion, urban health and health equity. He is a founding member and director of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and a founding member of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. From 1990 to 1993, he was manager of the Rupert pilot project, which provided healthy and safe housing to 525 people who were chronically homeless.

Brian Smith, WoodGreen Community Services (Retired)

During his tenure as CEO of the WoodGreen Community Services, Brian Smith continued WoodGreen's tradition of growing and diversifying programs to meet the needs of the community, including developing a "wrap around" service model that puts the client's needs at the centre. He has also advocated for policy changes that allow social service agencies to better serve vulnerable populations. WoodGreen operates 800 units of safe, affordable housing in Toronto's east end.

Simone Thibault, Centretown Community Health Centre (CCHC)

Simone Thibault is the Executive Director of the Centretown Community Health Centre (CCHC), serving diverse populations in downtown Ottawa, including LGBTQ, immigrants and refugees, isolated seniors, young families, and individuals on low income, including those who are homeless or poorly housed. Programs run by the CCHC also stretch further to cover the City of Ottawa and the Champlain region. Simone has led a number of non-profit community-based organizations for the past 25 years. She has shared her leadership at a number of regional and provincial networks to enable positive change in the area of community health and well-being, woman abuse, health equity, as well as the reality of francophone populations in a minority context.


Ted McMeekin (Co-chair), Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Deb Matthews (Co-chair), Deputy Premier, President of Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy

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