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Human Services Planning Board of York Region (HSPB-YR)

Complex problems can’t always be solved using old ways of thinking.

York Regional Council created the Human Services Planning Board to bring together leaders in human services to find new ways of improving the health and well-being of our residents.

Coming together from different sectors, members of the Board seek answers to social issues to enhance a region where all our residents can thrive.

HSPB has begun its work by looking for solutions to:

  • The lack of affordable housing
  • Help residents improve economic and social well-being

Message from the Co-chairs of the Human Services Planning Board of York Region

York Region’s 2016 to 2018 Action Plan

The Human Services Planning Board (HSPB) of York Region’s 2016 to 2018 Action Plan focuses on improving health and well-being for low and moderate income residents by addressing housing options that are affordable for everyone and fulfilling employment opportunities. It builds on the direction set in Making Ends Meet in York Region: A Road Map for 2015 to 2018.

Focus: Increasing Housing Affordability

The growing gap between household income and the high cost of living in York Region makes it difficult for individuals and families to make ends meet while spending as much as 30 to 50 per cent of income on shelter alone.

The HSPB-YR works to ease this hardship by improving housing affordability in the Region.

Learn more by reading:

Making Ends Meet in York Region

Collaborative Advocacy Plan - Make Rental Happen: Creating the Conditions to Build Private Market Rental Housing

Year in Review 2011 Turning Talk to Action: A Community Model for Change

The Making Ends Meet in York Region Baseline Measures: Turning the Curve report

HSPB-YR Members

Member Organizations

Regional Government Sector

Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), The Regional Municipality of York, Ex-Officio Member

Chairman Wayne Emmerson is a fifth generation resident of The Regional Municipality of York and the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. He is currently serving his first term as Chairman and CEO following his appointment at the Inaugural meeting of York Regional Council for the 2014 to 2018 term.

Chairman Emmerson has more than two decades of political experience, most recently as Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor for 17 years. Focused on getting results, his experience and leadership is well-respected across York Region and all levels of government.

During his 17 years on Regional Council, he served on various standing committees and numerous task forces that include Fire Services and Solid Waste. Chairman Emmerson was Chair of the Region’s Transportation Services committee for eight years between 2006 and 2014 and is committed to advancing the foundation of work being done across the Region to move people from their key destinations of choice.

In his capacity as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of York Region, he is an ex-officio member of all Regional Committees. Additionally, he is a member of the York Regional Police Services Board and CEO of the York Region Rapid Transit Board.

John Taylor, Regional Councillor, Town of Newmarket and Co-Chair, Human Services Planning Board of York Region

John is in his third term as Regional Councillor for the Town of Newmarket. He sits on a number of York Region committees, including Community and Health Services (Chair) and Housing York. During his time in office, John has focused his efforts on policy development that enhances the planning and implementation of complete communities. As Co-Chair of the HSPB, his focus has been on creating the conditions in York Region that will lead to a much needed increase in the supply of private market rental housing. John sits on over 20 boards and committees including York University President's Community Engagement Council and Teach for Canada. John is the volunteer Chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation for York Region North and the founder of the Newmarket Children's Dream Foundation. John has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Trent University, as well as a Bachelor of Education and PhD from the University of British Columbia.

Mario Ferri, Regional Councillor, City of Vaughan

Mario is now serving his fifth term as Local and Regional Councillor with the City of Vaughan. He has held positions in public office for 17 years, as a School Trustee for four years, followed by two terms as Ward 1 Local Councillor, and two terms as a Local and Regional Councillor, one of these terms as Vaughan’s Acting Mayor. Prior to entering public service, Mario dedicated 23 years as an Executive Director of a Human Service Agency, assisting underprivileged children, youth, seniors and families through educational, recreational and social programs. Mario has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies, a Bachelor Degree from York University and a recreation diploma from Centennial College. He looks forward to joining the HSPB as he is a promoter of the great work undertaken by the Board that enhances the well-being and lifestyle of the residents of York Region. The rich history and numerous successes of the Board are well known, recognized and appreciated.

Adelina Urbanski, Commissioner of Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York

Adelina Urbanski is Commissioner of Community and Health Services for The Regional Municipality of York.  Adelina’s responsibilities include the administration of Family and Children’s Services, Housing Services and Social Assistance/Ontario Works, Emergency Medical Services, Long Term Care and, in partnership with the Medical Officer of Health, Public Health programs and services. Prior to joining York Region, Adelina served as Halton Region’s Commissioner of Social and Community Services. In addition to her work, Adelina provides support and consultation to a number of organizations and community partners.

Education Sector

Patricia Preston, Director of Education, York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB)

Patricia has been the Director of Education since 2013. Prior to her current role, she held several leadership positions with the Board including Associate Director: Leading Learning Executive and Superintendent of Curriculum and Assessment and Superintendent of Schools. She was also the Principal of St. Justin Martyr Catholic Elementary in Unionville and St. Michael Catholic Academy in Thornhill. She began her career in York Catholic as a teacher at Blessed John XXIII in Unionville. A graduate of Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, Patricia holds a Masters of Education degree and certificates in leadership from St. Michael’s College as well as the Rotman School of Business. Patricia is a member of the Teacher Education Advisory Committee for Niagara University and a Board Member of the Markham-Stouffville Hospital Foundation.  

J. Philip Parappally, Director of Education, York Region District School Board (YRDSB)

J was appointed as Director of Education at the YRDSB in 2014. With over 20 years of educational experience and a strong commitment to student achievement and well-being, J brings a broad range of educational and work experience to the role of Director of Education. He previously served for six years as a Superintendent of Schools in the York Region District School Board in both the West and Central areas. He joined the Board as a Vice-Principal in 2000, was appointed as an elementary school Principal in 2003 and later served as a Principal on Assignment in Education and Community Services before becoming a Superintendent of Schools. Before joining the York Region District School Board, J taught in the Halton Catholic District School Board and the Peel District School Board.

Hospital-based Healthcare Sector

Leah Martuscelli, Director, Human Resources and Privacy, Southlake Regional Health Centre

Leah serves as Director, Human Resources and Privacy for Southlake Regional Health Centre. She has diverse background in both human resources and organizational development operations and strategy. She is a strategic and results-driven leader commanding more than 15 years of progressive success within health care. She has spearheaded the development and adoption of leading people practices and is an acknowledged thought leader and skilled conference presenter in the areas of workforce planning, talent management, employee engagement, change management, and accessibility. Her educational background includes a Masters of Industrial Relations from Queen’s University and an Honours Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Western Ontario. She has served as a college instructor in Labour Relations and is a Certified Human Resources Professional. Leah also holds a Certificate in Adult Education.

Community-based Healthcare Sector

Rebecca Shields, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) York Region

Rebecca has been the CEO of the York Region Branch at Canadian Mental Health Association since 2012. Previously, Rebecca was the Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver Burnaby Branch where she led the Vancouver Burnaby Branch through economic crisis, organizational culture change and the adoption of an evidence based recovery model. In her prior capacity as the Executive Director of the Deafblind Services Society of British Columbia, Rebecca increased public awareness of the agency and spearheaded collaborative partnerships. Rebecca was also the Director of Development and Communication at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society and spent time as a Special Events Promoter. Recently she was selected as one of Vancouver's Top 40 under 40 for her many achievements in supporting the social fabric of her community.

Jo-anne Marr, President and CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital

Jo-anne Marr is the President and CEO at Markham Stouffville Hospital (effective June 9). Previously, Jo-anne was the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Community Care Access Centre. With more than 30 years of health care experience spanning public and private sectors, community and academic hospitals and community care, Jo-anne has a strong record of achievement that includes leading change, balancing strategy and execution, delivering high-quality care and organizational efficiencies, relationship building and community engagement. Through participation in a broad range of initiatives and cross-sector collaborations and partnerships, Jo-anne has made significant contributions to the provincial health system. Her strong clinical background and expertise in patient experience and care redesign complements her commitment to best practice innovations that improve care. Jo-anne is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders and the author of a book on healthcare management, and co-author of numerous publications for nursing and health care management journals on a wide variety of issues.

Non-Profit Community Investment Sector

Pedro Barata, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Public Affairs, United Way of Toronto & York Region

Pedro Barata's involvement in the non-profit sector spans almost two decades, with a variety roles in communications, research, public policy, and community development. As Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Public Affairs at United Way Toronto & York Region, Pedro oversees strategy development and implementation, research and evaluation, as well as policy and public affairs.

Community Safety Sector

Chief Eric Jolliffe, York Regional Police

Born and raised in York Region, Chief Eric Jolliffe has been with York Regional Police since 1981 and was appointed to Chief of Police in 2010. Over his 33 year career, Chief Jolliffe has served in a variety of functions including Uniform Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Planning Services, Project Management and Strategic Planning. Chief Jolliffe holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from York University and a Masters of Arts Degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University. The Chief is active in the community and is proud of the partnerships he has developed with the various diverse communities in this Region. Chief Jolliffe has received the Police Exemplary Service Medal and 30 Year Bar and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding service to our citizens, community and country. In May of 2007, the Governor General of Canada presented the Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces medal to Chief Jolliffe, recognizing commitment to this country and to honour a career of exceptional service within policing in Canada.

Children, Youth and Family Services Sector

Member Representative under Recruitment, 360ºkids

Seniors/Healthy Aging Sector

Christina Bisanz, CEO, CHATS-Community & Home Assistance to Seniors

As Chief Executive Officer of CHATS – Community & Home Assistance to Seniors, Christina has the pleasure of working with over 300 staff and 500 volunteers, supporting the health and well-being of seniors and caregivers in York Region and South Simcoe. Christina is also the Ward 7 Councillor for the Town of Newmarket. Christina has served as CEO and a senior executive with a number of organizations, including the Ontario Long Term Care Association, Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management, Consumers Council of Canada, the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards and Food and Consumer Products Canada. In addition, she served as a Vice President with Patient Care Automation Services Inc., an innovative health care technology company, and operated NiceWorks, an independent consulting company. Christina’s volunteer activities have also spanned numerous community and business associations. Currently, she serves on CARP’s Newmarket-Aurora chapter and Advertising Standards Canada, is a member of the Government Relations Committee for the Canadian Society of Association Executives and is a volunteer with Belinda’s Place Foundation.

Business Community Sector

Pat Horgan, Vice President, Manufacturing, Development and Operations, IBM Canada

Pat has built a diversified career at IBM holding a wide variety of leadership positions in sales, strategy, development, operations and finance. Pat has held many Global leadership roles in a variety of functions. In his present role, Pat is the leader of business operations for IBM Canada including CIO, Supply Chain, Real Estate, Procurement, Corporate Citizenship and Government Programs. Pat participates on many Boards, including being named 2013 Chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business, the Ontario Brain Institute, CivicAction, iCanada and Science Matters. He leads IBM Canada’s citizenship efforts involving many charitable organizations and is the Executive Sponsor of the IBM Aboriginal Network Group. Pat has been recognized with many awards including IBM Golden Circle, Hundred Percent Clubs and Leadership Excellence – and most recently the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant contributions to Canada.

Rachael Wong, Senior Regional Manager, Central Canada, TD Direct Investing

Rachael began her 17 years of extensive retail experience as a customer service representative and progressed into branch management roles. As branch manager for six years, she successfully managed her branches by developing people while driving business results. Currently, as the Senior Regional Manager for Direct Investing, she leads the business development team to support and grow the Direct Investing business. She is a recipient of TD’s prestigious Vision In Action Award and actively participates in United Way campaigns.

Innovation Sector

Karen Dubeau, Director of Partner Engagement, ventureLAB

As Director of Partner Engagement for ventureLAB, Karen leads the development and management of strategic and collaborative partnerships key to ventureLAB’s clients and stakeholders, and to the evolution of a dynamic regional ecosystem supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.

Karen has experience as a successful founder and entrepreneur of an Ottawa technology firm, and has spent the last 6 years working with not-for-profit business associations and communities on strategic programs involving intelligent communities, gigabit corridors, knowledge mobilization for small businesses and building community-based collaboration ecosystems. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for province of Ontario, a Top 40 Under 40 Alumnus, the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada’s Staff Person of the Year Award, and most recently, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Training/Education Sector

Tina DiSimone, Dean, Faculty of Applied Arts and Health Sciences, Principal of King Campus, Seneca College

Tina has more than 25 years of experience in the post-secondary sector and a proven track record in educational leadership. During her time in the college system, Tina worked in a variety of areas including health sciences, community studies, public safety and technology. Tina leads Seneca’s Faculty of Applied Arts and Health Sciences in the development of community relevant, educational programs that contribute to making York Region the best place to live, work and learn.

Stan Shapson, University Professor, c/o Faculty of Education, York University

Stan Shapson serves as University Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University. Prior to this Stan served as founding vice-president of research and innovation (VPRI) and Dean of the Faculty of Education. In all these roles, his goal has been to increase York’s reputation as a comprehensive, research-intensive University built on international standards of excellence. Stan transformed the Faculty of Education into a research faculty with innovative programs for the diverse GTA population. During Stan’s tenure as VPRI, York’s research performance increased dramatically on almost every metric and gained attention both nationally and internationally.  He has helped develop better relationships with York’s community, particularly York Region and the City of Markham, establishing links with industrial and health organizations.

Newcomer/Immigrant Support Services Sector

Moy Wong-Tam, Executive Director, Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS) and representing the Welcome Centre Immigrant Services and its five lead agencies

Moy Wong-Tam has been the Executive Director of CICS since August 2008. She had been a professor at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Seneca College and Tyndale University College in Toronto. She was formerly a board member of Ontario Council for Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), and founding Executive Board member of SEAS Centre. Her other roles had been Co-Chair, Toronto Mayor’s Committee on Community and Race Relations, Chair, Advisory Committee on Social Services Worker (Gerontology) Program, Seneca College. Her previous positions include Commissioner, Ontario’s Commission on Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System, and founding CEO and Executive Director of Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She is a proud recipient of the Canada 125 Commemorative Medal for outstanding services to the community. She spear-headed the Multicultural Liaison Project in Ottawa-Carleton in the 1990s, which served as the model for the Settlement Worker in School Program (SWIS) in Ontario, and received an Honourable Mention for Peter Drucker’s Award for Innovation in the not-for-profit sector. Moy holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies (human services and gerontology) and Bachelor of Science degree.

Noor Din, CEO, Human Endeavour

Noor Din is the founder and CEO of Human Endeavour, a not-for-profit organization that harnesses partnerships and social enterprise models to meet community needs. His passion for innovation and creativity has helped to grow and sustain employment and senior support programs which reach hundreds of people across the GTA, many of them from the city’s diverse ethno-racial communities.

Community and Social Support Based Services Sector

Medhat Mahdy, President and CEO, YMCA Greater Toronto

Medhat Mahdy is the President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto and President of YMCA Ontario. Medhat has an extensive background in charitable sector leadership and strategy – as well as a 38-year relationship with the YMCA, as a member, volunteer, donor and leader. He brings a deep understanding of the social determinants of health, and a conviction that we owe every one of our kids the opportunity to grow stronger every day in spirit, mind and body. Medhat has served in a variety of leadership capacities at both the YMCA of Greater Toronto and YMCA Canada. An architect of the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s current 10-year strategic plan, Strong Start, Great Future, Medhat is committed to building 10 new YMCA Centres of Community across the GTA in order to help advance the Y’s vision that “our communities will be home to the healthiest children, teens and young adults.” Medhat holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of Toronto and has served on a number of high profile task forces, including the Government of Ontario’s Healthy Kids Panel.

Community Leader Members

Housing and Community Planning Sector

Thomas Fischer, Regional Vice President, York Region, Habitat for Humanity

Thomas Fischer is VP, Regional Development of Habitat for Humanity GTA overseeing Brampton, Caledon and York area. He began a new career with Habitat in August 2006 following 2 ½ years of full time volunteering with the organization. Prior to his employment with Habitat, Thomas filled various volunteer roles including, site supervisor for Brampton’s first build in 2004, chair of Brampton’s build committee and he sat on Brampton’s Board of Directors as Vice Chair. This career change occurred after 18 years in the financial services industry as Regional Vice President with Primerica Financial Services helping families become debt free and financially independent. Thomas’ organizational focus is to increase home building.

Community Development Sector

Susan LaRosa, Co-Chair of the Human Services Planning Board of York Region and Former Director of Education, York Catholic District School Board

Susan is the former Director of Education of the York Catholic District School Board. In addition to being the Co-Chair of the Human Services Planning Board of York Region, she is also very active in the community. She is a Senior Strategist with Education Research Development Inc. and a volunteer with Free the Children and Ontario Special Olympics. Susan has a B.A. from Ottawa University and a Masters of Education and Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University.

Bill Hogarth, Former Co-Chair, Human Services Planning Coalition

Bill has spent the past 40 years in two school boards, through a range of experiences. Bill has developed and implemented strategic plans, Board policy, Ministry regulations, as well as curriculum and professional development programs. As Director of Education for 16 years, his leadership helped move the York Region District School Board into an organization that advocates not only for York Region students, but for public education as a cornerstone of all healthy communities. Bill values excellence in student achievement, positive student and staff morale, good communication, and meaningful partnerships. Bill has received an Honorary Doctorate from York University, and was chair of Seneca College. Presently he sits on the Board of Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Charles Beer, Principal, Counsel Public Affairs Inc.

Charles has over 40 years of leadership experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. He has served as Chief of Staff to a former Minister of Health and Long-Term Care; President and CEO of the Canadian Executive Service Organization; former Assistant Headmaster at Pickering College and founding Executive Director of the Canadian Educational Standards Institute. Before joining CESO, Charles spent 23 years in the Ontario government, in politics and public service. He was Minister of Community and Social Services and Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs, Member of Provincial Parliament for York North for nine years, and was a senior public servant in the Intergovernmental Affairs, Finance and Citizenship portfolios. He has been with Counsel Public Affairs for the past ten years. Throughout his career he has been active in volunteer and advisory roles, serving on a wide range of boards relating to health, education, social services and international development.

Homelessness Sector

Stephen Gaetz, Professor, York University and Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub

Stephen is a Professor in the Faculty of Education and is the Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub. He is also President of Raising the Roof, a leading Canadian charity that focuses on long-term solutions to homelessness. His research on homeless youth has focused on their economic strategies, health, education and legal and justice issues, and more recently, he has focused his attention on policy and in particular the Canadian Response to homelessness. Stephen was Associate Dean of Research and Professional Development in the Faculty of Education. Prior to his time at York University, Stephen 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. Stephen has played a leading international role in knowledge dissemination in the area of homelessness, publishing numerous works on homelessness.

Faith-based Organization and Homelessness Sector

Rehana Sumar, Executive Director, Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold (MIOTC)

Rehana is currently the Executive Director of the Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold (MIOTC), a not-for-profit organization that provides emergency overnight shelter to the homeless throughout southern York Region. Rehana developed the Out of the Cold programs and a long-term strategic plan, which included the set-up of Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold (MIOTC) as a registered charity, the development of internal policies, and a public relations and community outreach plan. The organization has since developed into an interfaith network of over 50 communities with shelters operating seven nights a week. Rehana is the only staff member, working with Mosaic’s 1,400 volunteers to operate 10 emergency homeless shelters. She has an extensive background in social services and development both nationally and internationally. She has worked overseas in war affected areas with human rights organizations, refugee camps, and think-tanks involved in conflict resolution and government negotiations. In Canada, Ms. Sumar has served as a volunteer in various organizations including Victim Services of York Region, York Regional Police, and Social Services Network (SSN) Community Advisory Board.

Government Advisor and Resource Members

Member Representative under Recruitment, Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development

Kim Baker, CEO, Central Local Health Integration Network (CLHIN)

Kim Baker, Chief Executive Officer at the Central LHIN, is a seasoned health care leader with significant experience in multiple healthcare disciplines. This includes key roles at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, including the Strategic Directions Project, leading the redevelopment planning directorate at the University Health Network, heading a national portfolio for Extendicare’s home care and community health service division and serving on the Board of the Central Community Care Access Centre. Originally a clinician, Kim’s career began by providing critical care to patients as a respiratory therapist. Kim holds a Masters of Health Science in Health Administration (MHSc) from the University of Toronto and a Chartered Director designation from McMaster University. She is also an active member of the Canadian College of Health Service Executives as a Certified Health Executive (CHE).

Nadia Frantellizzi, Regional Representative, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Nadia Frantellizzi has been with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation since 1999. Nadia is a dedicated affordable housing professional that has a wide range of experience in both the private and government sectors related to market housing, social and affordable housing. She currently plays a vital role within the Affordable Housing Centre where she works closely with private, non-profit developers, housing providers and service managers to find creative ways to facilitate the creation of new affordable housing with and without federal subsidy. In her previous role as Manager, Inter-governmental relations she worked closely with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to promote the implementation of the Investments in Affordable Housing Agreement as well as led the Ontario regional initiatives related to the development of Affordable Housing through the Affordable Housing Centre.

Jim Baird, Commissioner of Development Services, City of Markham

Jim brings over 30 years experience in urban planning and municipal administration with the City of Markham. In his current work as Commissioner of Development Services Jim’s portfolio includes Planning & Urban Design, Engineering, Building Services and Economic Development. Markham has come to be known as a leading municipality in such areas as new urbanism, environmental protection, heritage preservation, community planning and the quality of the built environment.

Darryl Gray, Director of Education and Outreach, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Darryl Gray is Director of Education and Outreach at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Darryl provides leadership to a diverse team that supports TRCA’s vision for The Living City and focuses on improving access to learning opportunities for all segments of the regional community. These include school programs, community outreach and youth employment and mentorship activities, professional training for new Canadians and industry practitioners, sustainable technology performance evaluation and TRCA's accessibility program. Darryl has a Bachelor of Arts in History from McMaster University and has a background in community volunteerism.

Member Representative under Recruitment, Ontario Trillium Foundation

Daryl Chong, CEO, Greater Toronto Apartment Association

Daryl Chong is the President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Apartment Association (GTAA). From 1994-1999 he worked inside Toronto City Hall as the Executive Assistant to a Metro Councillor and amalgamated City of Toronto Councillor. Daryl then pursued a career in consulting for more than a decade (1999-2011) with clients spanning a wide range of industries including Housing, eCommerce, Procurement, Telecommunications, Energy, Advertisement and Transportation. He joined the GTAA in 2011.

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The HSPB-YR holds two types of meetings:

  • Full membership meetings
  • Member working sessions

Full membership meetings are open to the public, while member working sessions are only attended by appointed members.


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