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Board of Directors

Compassion, Commitment, Leadership

VON Canada’s Board brings together leaders in the fields of health care, nursing, management, finance, law, human resources and information technology. With decades of volunteer service in communities across Canada, they understand the health and social concerns facing Canadians today. Throughout their careers, many have actively advocated for a stronger health care system in our country. And they all share a passion for helping others and making a difference.

We rely on their guidance for moving VON Canada forward in its mission of building a healthier society for all Canadians.

Gary Ursell

Chair, Board of Directors

Driven by his belief in giving back, Gary Ursell has supported many charitable causes as a volunteer and philanthropist throughout his career. As a Board Director and Board Chair, he has guided non-profit organizations through periods of significant change. In addition to serving on the VON Canada Board since 2012, Gary was a member of the Board and chaired the VON Toronto-York Community Corporation Board from 2007 to 2012. In the past, he also contributed his time and expertise to the Toronto City Mission and Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, among others. more

Neil Stuart

Past Chair, Board of Directors

Neil Stuart is a retired consultant, having spent his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM. He is also a founding board member of Patients Canada, a patient-led organization dedicated to bringing the voice of patients and caregivers to health care reform in Canada. more
Dafna Carr

Dafna Carr

Dafna brings more than 20 years of success in driving high-profile, high-impact change initiatives to her role at VON. Currently, she is the ‎Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Children, Youth and Social Services Information and Information Technology (I&IT) Cluster at the Ontario Public Service. As CIO, she leads the delivery of I&IT services, policies and practices to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS), supporting more than 6,000 staff across the two ministries and several provincial agencies. more
Cyndy De Giusti

Cyndy De Giusti

Cyndy De Giusti brings extensive leadership expertise in health care, marketing and communications as well as wide-ranging board experience to VON Canada. Most recently, she provided senior communications counsel to the Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, University Health Network, CAMH Foundation, Toronto East General Hospital, Canadian Hearing Society and Toronto Centre Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). more

Pete Larocque

Pete Larocque is Managing Partner for CoreTracks, a management consulting firm that provides consulting services to the Federal Government across Canada. Pete is responsible for business development, sales, recruiting, and administration. more
Amy K. Lee

Amy K. Lee

Amy Lee is a Certified Health Executive, a Canadian Certified Risk Manager and a Risk Fellow, with extensive expertise in project management, change management, quality improvement, and care delivery models. Currently, Amy is Director, Administration and Operations for Youth Opportunities Unlimited, where she leads agency-wide operations and the adoption of best practices for administration and operations. more

David MacIver

David MacIver, who retired in 2007 as Vice President of Community and Continuing Care for the Cape Breton District Health Authority, continues to consult in the areas of continuing care planning, health ethics, capacity development and environmental health. Prior to his retirement, he was a member of the Canadian College of Health Service Executives. more
Alison McKay

Alison McKay

Alison McKay is CEO of the Saskatchewan Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan (SHEPP), the largest defined benefit pension plan in Saskatchewan, serving 61 employers and more than 54,000 healthcare employees. She is responsible for the effective operation of the plan and works with the SHEPP Board to establish its strategic direction. more

Malcolm Mercer

Malcolm Mercer is a partner in McCarthy Tétrault’s Litigation Group with over thirty years in practice. He acts as McCarthy Tétrault’s General Counsel and is the former co-leader of the firm’s National Litigation Practice. He maintains a civil litigation practice, specializing in commercial and corporate matters and professional negligence. more
Jim Merkley

Jim Merkley

Jim Merkley recently retired as the Interim CEO of the Cape Breton District Health Authority, where he also served as Vice President, Operations for ten years. In this role, he oversaw finance and human resources for this $250 million integrated health care organization and was active in the provincial restructuring of all health districts in Nova Scotia. Prior to this, Jim served as a senior executive in health organizations in Manitoba, British Columbia and Ontario, including as President and CEO of the Brockville General Hospital. more

John Peddle

John Peddle is Principal Consultant and owner of AMP Associates (88) Ltd., which provides consulting services in industrial relations, human resources and other areas. Prior to this, John served as Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Boards Association (NLHBA) for more than 13 years and as the association’s Director of Labour Relations for nearly 20 years. In these roles, John provided advice to the Boards of the Regional Health Authorities (members of the Association) and served as an advisor to the Department of Health and Community Services. more
Monique Porlier

Monique Porlier

Monique Porlier has more than 20 years of strategic and operational leadership experience in finance, pension and group benefits, human resources, information technology (IT) and risk management. Currently, Monique is Vice-President, Corporate Services for Headwaters Health Care Centre, responsible for operations including Human Resources, Organizational Development, Finance, Facilities, Health Records and Decision Support, Information Management and Technology, Patient Experience, Communications and Strategy, Maintenance/Facilities/Biomedical Engineering, Food Services, Materials Management and Security. more

Lynn Power

Lynn Power is Executive Director of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador. She also sits on the provincial Telehealth, HealthLine and the Personal Health Information Act Steering Committees and is an adjunct professor at Memorial University’s School of Nursing. more

Karen Ursel

Karen Ursel is a nursing instructor at the University of New Brunswick, Moncton Campus. She is also an Interdisciplinary PhD student at the University focusing on the teaching-learning journey as experienced by nursing students. more


Accreditation Canada is an independent, not-for-profit organization that consults with experts to develop health care standards based on best practices. They accredit a wide range of health care and social services providers, including hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, clinics, and community health programs. Accreditation Canada has been helping providers improve health care quality and safety for more than 55 years.