Members of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

The National Advisory Council on Poverty (Advisory Council) brings together persons with lived experience, leaders, experts, academics, and practitioners that work in the field of poverty reduction to advise the Government of Canada on its strategy and produce a report on the Government’s progress toward meeting poverty reduction targets every year.

Further information about the role of the Advisory Council is found in the Terms of reference.

Current members


Scott MacAfee — Hanwell, New Brunswick

Chairperson (full time)

Scott is a student of life, seeking out the new, innovative or interesting and connecting them to each other and existing systems. He spent almost 20 years with the Government of New Brunswick where he worked on poverty reduction through the department of Social Development and the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation.

Scott has chaired OMISTA Credit Union, Falls Brook Centre, New Brunswick Food Security Action Network and the Fredericton Loyalists Rugby Club. He has also sat on the boards of the Atlantic Summer Institute, the Healthy Eating Physical Activity Coalition and Team Rural NB.

Scott is passionate about asset based community development, storytelling, literacy, community transportation and social enterprise.

Member with particular responsibilities for children’s issues

Sylvie Veilleux — Salaberry de Valleyfield, Québec

Member with particular responsibilities for children’s issues (full time)

Sylvie Veilleux is driven by strong values of equity, justice and social inclusion. She worked with Quebec’s first “garderie populaire,” in St-Henri and as the Executive Director of the Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Vaudreuil-Soulanges. For more than 35 years, she has advocated for the needs of children and young adults.

She has a Bachelor of Arts from the Université de Montréal. She has furthered her knowledge through continuing education in intervention, management and organization. She feels very strongly about helping young people reach their full potential, making services accessible to them and improving their quality of life.

Member with lived experience

Rachelle Metatawabin — Ottawa, Ontario

Member with lived experience (part time)

Rachelle Metatawabin is a social justice advocate, who takes a personal interest in supporting children and youth involved in the social welfare system. Rachelle is passionate about ensuring that communities support individuals to address systemic barriers such as poverty. Rachelle has over 14 years of experience in program support, research and policy work on issues concerning vulnerable youth, poverty, the welfare system, and food sustainability.

She has experienced the negative impacts of homelessness and as a result can identify many of the gaps in current social policy. Rachelle currently works with the Collective of Child Welfare Survivors as a Case and Community Development Manager and is a member of the Indigenous Inclusive Strategic Planning Committee with the Child and Youth Permanency Council of Canada. To balance it all out, she adventures the land with her daughter during their free time.

Shane Pelletier — Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Member with lived experience (part time)

Shane is a program coordinator for Reaching Home, Canada’s Homelessness Strategy with the Provincial Métis Housing Corporation. He works to support communities in their efforts to end homelessness. Whether it be prevention or homelessness response and crisis management, Shane is driven by first-hand experience of the kind of grinding poverty that erodes opportunity and prevents access to services and facilities in Canada.

Currently, he volunteers his time as:

  • an Executive Board Member of Canada Without Poverty
  • as a Co-Chair of the National Alliance to End Rural and Remote Homelessness
  • as an Expert Member of the Social Planning Collective, and
  • as a member of the National Indigenous Homelessness Council

General members

Alex Abramovich — Toronto, Ontario

General Member (part time)

Dr. Alex Abramovich is an Independent Scientist with the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is also an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. His area of research focuses on 2SLGBTQ+ youth and young adult health and homelessness. Dr. Abramovich has been addressing the issue of 2SLGBTQ+ youth homelessness for nearly 15 years. He is an award-winning, internationally recognized leader in the area and one of only a few Canadian researchers studying this issue.

He has worked closely with all levels of government to develop policies and strategies that address the needs of 2SLGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. He is committed to research that successfully and ethically engages marginalized populations.

Anne Andermann — Montréal, Québec

General Member (part time)

Dr. Anne Andermann is a family doctor and public health physician. She is also an Associate Professor at McGill University where she leads the Social Accountability, Population Health and Health Advocacy theme in the undergraduate medicine curriculum. As Director of Community-Oriented Primary Care at McGill, she developed an innovative community outreach clinic at a local food bank to help connect people to care.

Dr. Andermann is a former Rhodes Scholar. She is currently a member of the Canadian Homeless Health Research Network and the Social Accountability Working Group of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. She has published widely on how frontline health workers can better support underserved patients and advocate for structural change to promote equity.

Shawn Bayes — New Westminster, British Columbia

General Member (part time)

Shawn Bayes is the Chief Executive Officer of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver (EFry), a charity supporting marginalized women and children. During her 35-year career with EFry, Shawn has led the creation of numerous initiatives, and has successfully pursued policy changes to help address deep poverty and homelessness, key risk factors tied to criminalization.

She completed a Masters of Management (McGill), where she noted the strong effect of parental incarceration on children. This led to the creation of JustKids. JustKids is Canada’s first dedicated initiative bringing together research and programming designed to improve the lives of children affected by incarcerated parents. Shawn is a recognized national expert in this area and is the recipient of numerous awards for her work.

Kwame McKenzie — Toronto, Ontario

General Member (part time)

Dr. McKenzie is the Chief Executive Officer of Wellesley Institute. The Wellesley Institute works to improve health and health equity through research, policy and action on the social determinants of health. He is an international expert on the social causes of mental illness, suicide and the development of effective, equitable health systems. He is a practicing psychiatrist, Director of Health Equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

He is a Co-Chair of the Expert Task Force on Substance Use, a member of Canada’s Expert Advisory Panel on COVID-19 and Mental Health and was a member of the Minister of Health’s Covid-19 Testing and Screening Advisory Panel.

Dr. McKenzie was previously a Human Rights Commissioner for Ontario and Chair of the Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee of Ontario's Basic Income Pilot. In addition to his academic, policy and clinical work, Dr McKenzie has been a columnist for the Guardian, Times-online and Toronto Star and a past BBC Radio presenter.

Cheryl Whiskeyjack — Edmonton, Alberta

General Member (part time)

Cheryl Whiskeyjack has been an Executive Director of the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society for 13 years. She now oversees a suite of 18 different programs and services. The organization’s programming connects Indigenous clients to the city around them. It also helps them build skills and resilience that they can use in other parts of their lives.

She proudly serves on the Canadian Accreditation Council of Human Services, Align Association of Community Services, End Poverty Edmonton and the Stewardship Round Table. Cheryl is proud of the strong partnerships she has maintained across sectors. She believes that ending poverty requires a diversity of voices to ensure better systems and communities for all of us.

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