Bill Chantler is from London, Ontario where he has worked in the Law Enforcement/Public Safety Sector for over 35 years. Bill has worked in a variety of policing roles and has enjoyed serving the community during his policing career. Bill is currently the Director, Campus Safety & Emergency Services at Western University.
Bill’s career with the London Police Service allowed him the opportunity to take a lead role in mental health crisis response and supporting individuals who experience mental health issues. He learned firsthand the challenges individuals face when dealing with mental health issues including receiving adequate and appropriate responses to crisis, as well as navigating the mental health care system. Bill has also learned how devastating operational stress injuries and PTSD can be to first responders. Bill’s interest in serving on the CMHA Ontario Division board is driven by a keen desire to do better in terms of supporting individuals who have mental health issues and responding to mental health crises.
Bill’s governance experience began in 2010 as a Board member with WOTCH mental health Services in London. In 2013 he joined the CMHA – Middlesex board and in 2019 CMHA Ontario Division board. In his role with the boards, Bill has been the chair, and vice-chair as well a member of the amalgamation leadership teams when CMHA-Middlesex amalgamated.
Marcel Gagnon is from Thunder Bay where he works in the financial sector as an FCPA (Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant) as a partner in the national accounting and consulting firm, MNP. Marcel works primarily with not-for-profit clients in both the health care and Indigenous sectors. As a professional accountant and auditor, he has been advising clients in the not-for-profit sector and assisting them on governance matters for over 40 years.
Marcel’s interest in participating on the CMHA Ontario Division board stems from his initial involvement on the local branch of CMHA Thunder Bay as the Treasurer. He is also motivated as someone with lived experience in the mental health and addictions sector. He is especially interested in giving back to advance the awareness and accessibility of supports for people living with mental health and addition issues.
Marcel’s governance experience includes CMHA Thunder Bay as the treasurer for over 10 years as well, previous tenure with the board of St Joseph’s Care Group in Thunder Bay (a local health care organization offering a broad range of programs and services in addictions and mental health, rehabilitative care, and seniors’ health) as treasurer.
Zehra Sheerazi is from Toronto where she is a partner at Torys LLP in the Private Equity/Mergers & Acquisitions group. Zehra enjoys working on complex transactions with people in a variety of different industries.
Driving Zehra’s interest in participation on the Board of Directors for CMHA Ontario Division is the struggle that family members have had with mental health issues. She is proud that the organization stands for and advances programs and values that she strongly believes in.
Zehra has worked with public and private companies on matters related to governance. Additionally, she is on the governance committee for Girl Guides Canada, Queens University Council and previously served on the governance committee for Addus, a not-for-profit organization supporting young adults with developmental disabilities.
Louise Paquette is from Sudbury, Ontario. For several years Louise worked for the LHIN (Local Health Integrated Network – now the Ontario Health Team) as the CEO for Northeastern Ontario. In this capacity she worked diligently to support mental heath agencies throughout the northeast, particularly the four CMHAs. Now, retired Louise’s greatest passion is to continue to advocate for the adult mental health sector and strengthen the brand through her work on both the CMHA Ontario Board and the National Board for CMHA.
Anne-Marie Hourigan hails from Toronto, Ontario. She has retired from 30 years working in the criminal justice sector in Ontario as a criminal defence counsel, prosecutor, and as a Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice. In her many roles, Anne-Marie enjoyed helping people who found themselves in the criminal justice system, whether they were accused persons, victims, family, or community members. This interest led her to retiring early as a Judge so she could more directly assist others, particularly those struggling with mental health and substance misuse issues.
Anne-Marie’s interest in volunteering as a board member stem from her experiences serving on boards of national mental health organizations, and she is very interested in learning more about the mental health landscape in her home province.
Upon her retirement, Anne-Marie founded and chaired the Hourigan Foundation, a not-for-profit entity that supported young persons struggling with mental health and substance misuse problems. In addition, she has served as a director and in leadership and governance positions on various local, provincial, and national boards.
Currently, she is a board member for three national organizations; the Mental Health Commission of Canada (where she serves as Vice Chair and Co-Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committees), Pallium Canada and Stepped Care Solutions.
David Smith is the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association Peel Dufferin (CMHA Peel Dufferin). Over the last ten years David has stewarded the growth of the organization. Under his leadership the organization has also established the 24.7 Crisis Support Peel Dufferin program, implemented the Rapid Access Addiction Clinic, redesigned multi-disciplinary teams, introduced Ontario Structured Psychotherapy, the Black and Afro-Caribbean Health Centre, and is an active leader of the Hills of Headwaters OHT and Co-Chair of the Central West OHT. David also chairs the provincial integrated assessment record committee and sits on the provincial OHT governance and leadership advisory committee.
David has worked at the Ministry of Health as, Director of Operations for an NHS Mental Health Trust and for the European Union deprivation projects.
His work has included implementation of the National Mental Health Service Framework including introduction of Crisis Teams, Early Intervention in Psychosis services, Assertive Community Treatment Teams and Complex Needs Services. He was also responsible for the implementation of new electronic Care Planning and assessment technologies.
Prior to his time in the UK, David worked as a frontline community mental health worker, working for several different CMHA branches in housing and case management.
He completed his MBA at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.
David Woodard is from Toronto, although grew up in Connecticut. David has been a public servant with the Ontario government for more than 15 years. His service has predominately been in the Ministry of Children, Community and Social services. From policy to operations in the areas of violence against women, Indigenous healing and wellness, social assistance and now child welfare in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. David has also led projects to enhance equity and address anti-Black racism through organizational change. David enjoys seeing ideas become reality through contract development, delivering major initiatives and creating new client services. In particular, he enjoys relationship-building and implementing projects that help internal and external partners achieve their goals.
David has always been interested in the intersection of mental health with race, sexuality, and gender; this reflects his lived experience and academic training. He also enjoys strategic thinking and collaborative leadership.
David’s governance experience extends from 2007 to 2012 when he was a board member of The Redwood, a violence against women shelter, and served as chair of the Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Committee. David has been a board member of CMHA Ontario since 2019.
Dr. Patrick Fleming is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a consultant dermatologist at University Health Network. He holds an undergraduate degree in nutrition and psychology, a master’s degree in community health and a graduate certificate in medical education. He completed the Global Clinical Scholars program in advanced epidemiology at Harvard Medical School. He has over 50 published papers and he has been an investigator for over 40 clinical trials. He was previously Vice-President of the Canadian Mental Health Association – Newfoundland & Labrador and has over 18 years of experience in community mental health work driven by his personal and family experiences with mental health.
Bryanne Smart is a member of the Seneca Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River and grew up just outside of that community in southern Ontario.
Bryanne comes from roles in education, criminal law, and health, and has recently returned to a position in higher education as the Associate Director, Indigenous Relations at the University of Waterloo. This work allows Bryanne to work directly within the Co-operative and Experiential (CEE) Learning Unit where she can assist in fostering an inclusive community within CEE to mobilize Indigenous related strategies across the unit by offering specialized support and guidance in collaboration with staff, employers, students, and community, while working in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Relations on their University wide Indigenization strategies.
Bryanne’s interest in serving on the Board of Directors with CMHA Ontario Division stems from having spent years working with Indigenous folks and furthering her knowledge and understanding on colonization and the residential school experiences for Indigenous people in Ontario and across Canada. Her experiences of working with this marginally oppressed group will bring to the governing body at CMHA Ontario Division an assurance that these experiences are shared and considered.
Governance experience for Bryanne originated from her involvement and participation on Indigenous community boards that serve urban Indigenous people in Ontario. Currently, she serves as Chair of the Board for De Dwa Da Dehs Nye’s Aboriginal Health Access Centre. As well, she often trained or worked with Indigenous boards across the province on governance during her time as a consultant.
Mrs. Prajakta (Praj) Raut, CPA, CA is a finance and governance professional. She immigrated from India 20 years ago and is currently based out of Toronto. She has been working with a leading national retailer, Sleep Country Canada, for the past 19 years where, she has held senior leadership positions in varied areas ranging from Internal Audit to Operational Finance to Business Transformation. Challenges, changes and working across diverse teams excite Praj. In her current role as VP, Finance and Risk Management, she is focused on strengthening the Company’s Business Resilience and supporting the Company’s key strategic initiatives, such as acquisitions. Prior to Sleep Country, she has worked with various public accounting firms.
Praj has closely witnessed the mental health struggles of her family and friends. She believes that we need to actively manage it, and, there will be always be more to do in this ever-evolving complex space. She is curious about the Canada’s current mental health landscape, its key challenges and its roadmap. She believes that as it is on each one of us to contribute to mental resilience in any and every way we can as these issues are very pervasive and the impact is severe. She is proud to serve on the Board of CMHA, Ontario.
Bio coming soon!
Cynthia Wujek hails from Toronto. Cynthia’s career focused on Marketing Communications Strategy with a focus on workplace mental health. She especially enjoyed leading large teams, developing marketing strategy and launching health and wellness products.
Cynthia’s interest in the CMHA Ontario Division board stems from the opportunity to work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and participate in robust discussions about mental health advocacy, governance and programs in Ontario.
Cynthia’s governance experience includes being the former Board Chair and President of the governance board of a North-American wide communications board for IFCA.
Peter Kastner is from Guelph, Ontario and worked for many years in the financial sector of the community as a CPA. Peter has been an active member on many boards supporting their mission, vision, and values. He was a board member of a CMHA local branch during their amalgamation with another agency and as such has firsthand experience from a governance perspective on the amalgamation process.
Peter’s interest in volunteering as a board member with CMHA Ontario Division arises from his keen interest to understand the programs, services and supports available to those living with mental health and addictions issues.
Nitika Rewari is from our country’s capital of Ottawa. Currently she is the Director of Prevention and Promotion Initiatives (focused on suicide prevention and life promotion) with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Nitika enjoys her work with the Commission as she is able to contribute to the mental health and wellness of Canadians. As a board member with CMHA Ontario Division, she is especially proud to be a part of supporting CMHA and its branches at the governance level in providing mental health and addiction services to residents of Ontario. As a first-generation immigrant to Canada, Ontario is her home, and she is acutely aware of the need for mental health programs. Nitika also serves as a board member at the Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region, SOCH Mental Health and most recently – Frayme a national network that ensures youth receive the right care in a timely fashion from the most appropriate provider in Canada.
Tom Walters hails from Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. For many years Tom has worked in both adult and child mental health services as well as children’s paediatric rehabilitation services. Most of his career in these sectors has been in the capacity as a Chief Executive Officer. Throughout his career, Tom has learned that his lived experiences with mental health personally and as a family member have been instrumental in teaching and guiding him over the years, both personally and professionally.
Tom’s passion for serving on the Board of Directors with CMHA Ontario Division is driven by his experiences as a mental health professional and as someone who has received and benefitted from services.
Tom has served on CMHA Boards at the local and national levels over the years. Additionally, he has served on a number of provincial Boards including, the Ontario Provincial Clearinghouse Board, Empowered Kids Ontario Board and the Thunder Bay Children’s Aid Foundation Board.