Alex Himelfarb (Co-Chair)
In 2014 Alex Himelfarb was appointed Director emeritus of the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, at York University. He served as its Director from 2009 to 2014 and also led the Centre for Global Challenges which, stressing the interplay of domestic and global issues, brings together decision makers, researchers, practitioners, and students to explore challenges confronting Canada in a changing world.
Alex Himelfarb was a Professor of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick from 1972 to 1981. During this period, he undertook an Executive Interchange with the Department of Justice as Head of the Unified Family Court Project from 1979 to 1981.
In 1981, he joined the Public Service with the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada. He held a number of positions of increasing responsibility since that time, including Director General, Planning and Systems Group, with the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada (now Public Safety); Executive Director of the National Parole Board; Executive Director, Planning and Program Review, Citizenship and Immigration; Executive Director, Systems and Informatics, Department of Justice; Special Advisor on Constitutional and Aboriginal Affairs to the Deputy Minister of Justice; Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Social Policy Development with the Privy Council Office; and Associate Secretary of the Treasury Board. While serving as Associate Secretary of the Treasury Board, he also headed the federal Task Force on the Social Union. In June 1999, Dr. Himelfarb became Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage.
He was appointed as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet in 2002 and served 3 Prime Ministers until 2006 when he was made Ambassador of Canada to the Italian Republic with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Albania and the Republic of San Marino, and as High Commissioner for Canada to the Republic of Malta.
He received the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement award for Public Service in 2000; Honorary Fellow, Royal Conservatory of Music in 2005; Honorary Doctor of Law, Memorial University, 2006; Premio Internazionale, University of Naples in 2009.
Alex Himelfarb is a graduate of the University of Toronto where he obtained a Ph.D. in Sociology. He chairs WWF Canada and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and serves om a number of Boards including the Trudeau Foundation, the Public Service Foundation, Desmog Canada, and Canadians For Tax Fairness. He is also a Broadbent Fellow. He has published numerous books, articles and papers on Canadian society and public policy.
Roy Romanow (Co-Chair)
Roy Romanow is a Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan. During his career in public office, Mr. Romanow served as Premier of Saskatchewan from 1991 until 2001. Mr. Romanow was previously Deputy Premier, Attorney General and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Romanow led the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, and from 2003 to 2008, he served on Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee. Mr. Romanow is a Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Mr. Romanow holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. He is also the recipient of several honorary degrees.
Maria Crawford (Chair, Governance Committee)
Executive Director, Eva’s Initiatives
A graduate of York University’s Non-Profit Management and Leadership Program, Maria Crawford also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and an Honours degree in Social Work. She has extensive experience in the shelter sector in Ontario, having worked for more than 31 years in the assaulted women’s shelter system and in the youth homelessness sector.
For the past 20 years, Ms. Crawford has been the Executive Director of Eva’s Initiatives. Eva’s operates three unique and award winning youth shelters in Toronto. She has lead the growth and development of that organization from a single shelter to the current three sites, with an expanded portfolio of specialized services for homeless youth. She also developed a highly successful national program, focussed on capacity building, and assisting other communities across Canada in developing effective service delivery models for homeless youth. This national program has recently evolved into an independent Coalition. Eva’s Initiatives has become known for its dynamic approach and its focus on long-term solutions, as well as the development of unique and innovative programs dedicated to helping Toronto’s homeless and at-risk youth lead independent, self-sufficient and productive lives.
Stephen Gaetz (Secretary)
Director, Canadian Homelessness Research Network
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, York University
Associate Dean Research and Field Development, York University
B.A. (Honours) University of Calgary; M.A. York University; Ph.D. York University
Stephen Gaetz is the Associate Dean of Research and Field Development in the Faculty of Education. His research interests include homelessness, youth culture, criminal victimization and community development. His research on young people who are homeless has focused on their economic strategies, health issues and legal and justice issues. Dr. Gaetz has published a book on his research in Ireland, and numerous articles in academic journals. Currently, he is involved in research on homelessness and tuberculosis transmission. Prior to his time at York University, Dr. Gaetz worked in the Community Health Sector, both at Shout Clinic (a health clinic for street youth in Toronto) and Queen West Community Health Centre in Toronto.
Dr. Gaetz has played a leading international role in knowledge dissemination in the area of homelessness. in 2005, York University played host to the Canadian Conference on Homelessness – the first research conference of its kind in Canada. In addition, York University now hosts the Homeless Hub (www.homelesshub.ca), the first comprehensive and cross-disciplinary web-based clearinghouse of homelessness research in the world.
Dr. Gaetz has received multi-year funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to establish the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (www.homelessresearch.ca). The focus of this network is to work with researchers across Canada to mobilize research so that it has a greater impact on homelessness policies and planning.
Reshmeena Lalani (Treasurer, Chair, Audit & Finance Committee)
Reshmeena Lalani, CPA, CA was born in Mumbai, India and moved to Canada in order to pursue university studies. Reshmeena holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Simon Fraser University and a Diploma in Advanced Accounting from the BC Institute of Technology.
Ms. Lalani has accumulated significant experience in the areas of tax compliance and responsible governance by serving terms as Director of Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre Society (BC) and Immigrant Services Society of BC. As part of an international non-profit agency, Ms. Lalani has conducted audits of institutions in developing countries.
Ms. Lalani worked in the Audit and Assurance group of PWC and KPMG prior to taking a tax compliance role with the Government of Canada.
Tim Richter (Ex-Officio)
President & CEO, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness
Tim Richter is the President & CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. Prior to joining the CAEH, Tim was President & CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), charged with leading the implementation of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness – the first plan of its kind in Canada.
In the first four years of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan more than 4,000 homeless men, women and children were housed, 3,582 units of affordable housing were funded, and homelessness went down for the first time in 20 years of counting.
Between 1992 and 2006, Calgary had Canada’s fastest growing rate of homelessness. In the first point in time count of homelessness since the 10 Year Plan was introduced overall homelessness in Calgary was down 11.4% from 2008 (24% below a conservative business as usual projection) and family homelessness was down nearly 20%.
Under Mr. Richter’s leadership, the CHF:
- built and sustained public, agency and political support for action on homelessness;
- invested over $150 million in Federal and Provincial government funding in over 40 programs and a rapidly growing affordable housing portfolio;
- introduced Project Homeless Connect to Canada;
- initiated the development and implementation of several Housing First programs, including Pathways to Housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness and mental illness, Canada’s first Housing First response to domestic violence, and Housing First programs in six provincially funded shelters;
- worked with young people and youth serving agencies to create Canada’s first Plan to End Youth Homelessness;
- helped develop the “Working with Homeless Populations” certificate program at the University of Calgary;
- initiated the development of a three year research agenda on homelessness and the creation of a research network, positioning the CHF as a national leader on housing and homelessness research and public policy;
- introduced Canada’s first Homeless Management Information System to aid in meaningful data collection and homeless services navigation; and,
- led the creation of an international research and practice partnership between homelessness leaders in Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States and Australia
Prior to joining the CHF, Mr. Richter was Director of Government Relations at TransAlta Corporation. He has also worked as a political staffer in Ottawa and has served seven years in the Canadian Forces Army Reserve.
Mr. Richter received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a Bachelor of Applied Communications (Public Relations) from Mount Royal University in Calgary. In 2006, he was recognized as one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 by CalgaryInc. (Avenue) Magazine.
Chief Executive Officer, Federation of Canadian Municipalities
As CEO of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM), Brock Carlton is committed to strong municipal government. He believes that a national association of municipalities is critical to any nation’s governance and development.
Since joining FCM 20 years ago, Mr. Carlton has established himself as a leader on municipal issues, both domestically and internationally. He manages ideas, resources and opportunities to build FCM’s global program, which focuses on strengthening municipal government and local governance, and on enhancing policy frameworks toward local sustainability.
Mr. Carlton represented Canada on the OECD Urban Municipal Development Secretariat’s Sustainable Cities Working Group in the early 1990s. He was a faculty member of the Local Government Leadership Institute at the Banff School of Management and of the Cambridge University Business and Environment Seminar (the latter, delivered for national government leaders in Wales).
Mr. Carlton currently sits on the Leadership Council for Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration. He is also leading an initiative for sustainable living in Ottawa West to bring a Bike Share program to his community. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Mr. Carlton was captain of the men’s intercollegiate basketball team at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. He has lived and worked in Kenya, China and Namibia, and has a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Norman Patterson School at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.
Principal – Mark Guslits & Associates Inc
Director, Canadian Housing & Renewal Association
Mark Guslits is a graduate architect, consultant and developer, whose primary focus has been on developing affordable housing, including the creation of new seniors housing communities.
He is Principal of Mark Guslits and Associates, a residential and community development, design, planning and consulting firm, created in August 1996 to undertake and advise upon urban development initiatives.
Previously Mr. Guslits served as Senior Vice President with the Daniels Corporation. In this role, he was directly responsible for the development of 23 new construction projects, with a total value of close to $140 million dollars. Mark also served as a development consultant to co-op and non-profit groups, while acting as senior development officer with Lantana Non-Profit Homes in Toronto.
As a practicing architect during the seventies and eighties, Mr. Guslit worked in England and Canada designing residential communities along with institutional and recreational developments. These ranged from work on the “Chunnel” connecting the United Kingdom and France, to the design of an award winning marina complex on Vancouver’s False Creek, and several Aboriginal residential communities in Manitoba and Northern Ontario. He has also taught architectural design and planning at a variety of post-secondary institutions, most recently with George Brown College’s post-graduate Institute Without Boundaries program.
Mr. Guslit is active in the Congress for New Urbanism in the United States and one of the founding members of the fledgling Canadian offshoot, Council for Canadian Urbanism. In this capacity, he has been involved over the years in such innovative new residential projects as the Cornell community in Markham.
In 2001, Mr. Guslits was appointed to the position of Special Advisor, Housing Development, the City of Toronto. Through partnerships with the non-profit and private sectors, he helped stimulate the development of more than 2,000 units of new affordable housing. In 2005, Mr. Guslits left the City to become Chief Development Officer for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Here, he oversaw major urban redevelopment initiatives, such as the 70 acre Regent Park community and the 100 acre redevelopment of Lawrence Heights.
Currently, Mark Guslits & Associates is contributing to the master planning and development co-ordination work for the upcoming 2015 Pan Am Games Athlete’s Village on Toronto’s waterfront.
Executive Director, Centre for Northern Families
Arlene Hache is the Executive Director of the Centre for Northern Families, a non-profit organization that offers a broad range of services that support marginalized women and their families. Ms. Hache is well known across the North as an advocate of social change and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2009 for her work. She is a founding partner in the development of therapeutic programs and in-home family support services designed to support families recovering from trauma related to colonization and ongoing violence. Ms. Hache has spearheaded or participated in several research initiatives that have been published.
Ms. Hache is a member of territorial and national organizations focused on strengthening Indigenous communities. She is a member of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)– Network Action Team on Prevention from a Women’s Health Determinants Perspective. She is also a member of a committee focused on improving treatment options for First Nations and Inuit women at risk of having a child with FASD and on identifying the social services needs of Inuit children spearheaded by the Inuit Tuttarvigat of National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO).
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Old Brewery Mission
A graduate of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, the trilingual Mr. Pearce has devoted most of his professional career to not-for-profit causes, including 22 years in the field of international development via service with Canada World Youth, of which he was the President and CEO from 1999 to 2005.
Prior to joining the Old Brewery Mission, Mr. Pearce was the founding president of Kompendia, an organization providing a range of services to the private sector to help promote increased awareness, effectiveness and sustainability of Corporate Responsibility programs.
Director, Affordable Housing and Social Innovation
Michael Shapcott is Director, Affordable Housing and Social Innovation at the Wellesley Institute, an independent, non-profit research and policy agency dedicated to advancing urban health. He is recognized as one of Canada’s leading community-based housing and homelessness experts.
Mr. Shapcott has worked extensively in Toronto, nationally and internationally on social innovation, the non-profit sector, civic engagement, housing and housing rights, poverty, social exclusion, urban health and health equity.
Mr. Shapcott has a long record of public service, including appointments to the Downtown Community Advisory Board of the Toronto Board of Health, the Corporate Minimum Tax Working Group of the Ontario Fair Tax Commission, the Inner City Advisory Committee of the Toronto District School Board, the National Advisory Committee to the World Urban Forum II, the National Reference Group to the Mental Health and Housing Pilot Project, the Toronto Waterfront Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto’s Charitable Foundation, the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives at the University of Toronto and the Minister’s Advisory Committee of the Partnership Project (for Ontario’s non-profit sector).
He developed 525 units of supportive housing as manager of the innovative Rupert pilot project, and has served as President of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. Mr. Shapcott has worked on housing rights issues with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. He is a founding member of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. He is co-chair of Canada’s National Housing and Homelessness Network. Mr. Shapcott is active internationally with the Habitat International Coalition and has worked with community partners on housing issues in Beijing, Istanbul and Nairobi, as well as in numerous Canadian and American cities.
In 2005, Mr. Shapcott led the Wellesley Institute’s Blueprint to End Homelessness in Toronto initiative, which in turn, prompted the City of Toronto to prepare its official 10-year housing strategy. Mr. Shapcott has worked with community and municipal officials in a dozen Canadian cities to develop local housing plans. He has worked with Aboriginal housing and service providers on a national and local level to develop practical, effective strategies for Aboriginal housing. He is a founding member of the Housing Network of Ontario, and led the Wellesley Institute’s national housing initiative for those who are precariously housed.
Mr. Shapcott has been active with faith communities and is a founding partner of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Alliance to End Homelessness. He is co-author, with Jack Layton, of Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis (Penguin, 2008) and co-editor, with David Hulchanski, of Finding Room: Policy Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy (CUCS Press, 2004).
Before joining the Wellesley Institute, Mr. Shapcott worked at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Urban and Community Studies, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada and the Toronto Christian Resource Centre. Mr. Shapcott attended the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and the Faculty of General Studies at the University of Calgary. He has completed economic studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2008, he was invited by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to be part of a workshop with two dozen participants from around the world at the University of Siena.
He lives in Toronto, with his wife Ann, and his two children Malcolm and Nicole.