Members of the National Seniors Council

The National Seniors Council (NSC) is made up of experts on seniors issues and aging, individuals with experience working for organizations that represent the interests of seniors, and seniors themselves.

The NSC can have up to 12 members, including the Chairperson. To balance the need for continuity and the desire to continually provide new perspectives on the NSC’s work, the terms of members range from 1 to 3 years, and can be renewed once.

Members are appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Seniors and the Minister of Health.

Interested candidates must apply through an online, open, transparent, and merit-based Governor in Council selection process by visiting the Government of Canada’s Governor in Council appointments website. Individuals must register for an account, which then enables them to view appointment opportunities, build and update their profile as required and apply for positions.

Current members

Dr. Suzanne Dupuis-Blanchard (Chairperson)

Ms. Suzanne Dupuis-Blanchard, Ph.D., has over 25 years of experience in community health nursing and gerontology, is a board member of the Université du troisième âge of Southeastern New Brunswick and recently completed her term as President of the Canadian Association on Gerontology (2014 to 2018) . She is the Research Chair in Population Aging of the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS) – Université de Moncton , an associate professor at the School of Nursing as well as director of the Centre for Aging Research at the Université de Moncton in New Brunswick. Her program of research includes the diverse aspects of aging in place. From 2009 to 2013, Dr. Dupuis-Blanchard chaired the Charter Review Task Force and was an elected member of the Governance Committee of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Term: December 14, 2017 to December 13, 2020

Ms. Joan Marie Aylward

photo of Joan Marie Aylward

Ms. Joan Marie Aylward, a nurse by training, currently serves as Vice Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Labour Relations Board. As the former Executive Director of St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, a 210–bed Nursing Home, Ms. Aylward worked closely with seniors and families as seniors transitioned into new, diverse and challenging living arrangements. In 1996, Ms. Aylward was elected to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly where she served in numerous portfolios including as Minister of Human Resources and Employment, Minister of Health and Community Services, Minister Responsible for Seniors, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance. Living in a multigenerational family in Newfoundland and Labrador, working closely with and advocating for seniors, veteran’s and community groups has strengthened Ms. Aylward’s lifelong interest in ageing and all that it has to offer in both opportunity and challenge.

Term: September 7, 2018 to September 6, 2020

Dr. Jean-Pierre Gagné

photo of Jean-Pierre Gagné

Mr. Jean-Pierre Gagné, Ph.D., is a full professor at the École d'orthophonie et d'audiologie at the Université de Montréal. He is also the director of the hearing and aging laboratory at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal Research Centre. Since 2017, he has been the Fondation Caroline Durand Research Chair in hearing and aging at the Université de Montréal. Professor Gagné's research interests are in the area of audiological rehabilitation for people with hearing loss, including the psychosocial consequences these people can experience because, in addition to communication problems caused by hearing loss, hearing loss associated with aging often comes with psychosocial adaptation problems. One area of Professor Gagné's research deals with the stigma associated with hearing loss for seniors. His work with seniors has led to his interest in ageism and promoting the social participation of seniors. Dr. Gagné took part in the work of an international World Health Organization committee that aimed to describe the difficulties experienced by people with adult-onset hearing loss. In 2014, Dr. Gagné received the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology honour award for his career contribution to the field of rehabilitation of people with hearing loss.

Term: June 25, 2018 to June 24, 2021

Mr. Gary Peter Gould

Mr. Gary Gould is a member of the Maliseet Nation with more than 40 years of experience representing and working on behalf of the Off-Reserve Aboriginal People of New Brunswick and Canada. He has served as an Executive Officer and President of the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council, Secretary-Treasurer of New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association and was founder of the Wabanaki Development Corporation. He has appeared before numerous Parliamentary Committees and Commissions and has been published in the UNB Law Journal and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In 2012, Mr. Gould was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, Order of New Brunswick in 2015 and received the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association Leadership Award in 2017.

Term: January 18, 2018 to January 17, 2021

Mr. Jim Hamilton

In his previous work with the Manitoba Government and the University of Manitoba Centre on Aging, Mr. Jim Hamilton has provided leadership in addressing many of the complex and often inter-related issues of aging. Mr. Hamilton has served as an advisor to the Public Health Agency of Canada and to the World Health Organization. An advocate of building age-friendly environments that encourage healthy, active and inclusive lifestyles, he continues to collaborate with governments, seniors and non-government organizations in Manitoba, across Canada and internationally. Mr. Hamilton holds graduate degrees from the University of Oregon, in Therapeutic Recreation and in Public Policy and Management.

Term: January 18, 2018 to January 17, 2021

Dr. Martine Lagacé

photo of Martine Lagacé

Ms. Martine Lagacé, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Communications Department and researcher affiliated with the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. She completed a Ph.D. in psychology in which she explored the psychosocial aspects of early retirement, using primarily the theories of relative deprivation and social identity. For nearly 20 years, she has worked on age-based prejudices, specifically the ins and outs of ageist stereotypes and discrimination. She has conducted numerous studies on the subject, particularly with older workers, retirees and older patients, both in Canada and internationally. In addition to publishing several scientific papers, she has edited two collective works on the topic of ageism: L'âgisme : comprendre et changer le regard social sur le vieillissement (2010) and Représentations et discours sur le vieillissement : La face cachée de l'âgisme? (2015).

Term: June 25, 2018 to June 24, 2020

Ms. Alison Leaney

Ms. Alison Leaney is a registered social worker with 35 years of practice experience. She holds a Master's degree and a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from the University of British Columbia. Ms. Leaney currently serves as the Provincial Coordinator for Vulnerable Adults Community Response at the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC and is the Chair of the BC Association of Social Workers Seniors Community of Practice. She is a former Chair of the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and a recipient of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work on adult abuse/neglect. Ms. Leaney brings a passion for promoting contributions of older adults and is an advocate for the availability of quality of life/wellness support services.

Term: January 18, 2018 to January 17, 2021

Dr. Kevin McCormick

photo of Kevin McCormick

Mr. Kevin McCormick, Ph.D is the President and Vice Chancellor of Huntington University. During his tenure, Dr. McCormick championed the University’s Gerontology program and provided leadership and support during the establishment of the Canadian Institute for Studies in Aging (CISA) — a research think tank engaging seniors, experts, stakeholders and educators. Dr. McCormick’s current research interests are focused on seniors and aging populations in the criminal justice system. In addition to an esteemed career in academia, Dr. McCormick is a philanthropist, community leader and dedicated humanitarian. Dr. McCormick has also shared his time and expertise with countless organizations, such as the United Way, Health Sciences North, Réseau Access Network, Maison McCulloch Hospice and St. John Ambulance. He is the recipient of numerous national and international honours and awards, including a Hospice Leadership Award, the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee Medals.

Term: July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022

Dr. Parminder Raina

Mr. Parminder Raina, Ph. D., is a professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University, specializing in the epidemiology of aging. He is the Scientific Director of the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) and its affiliated Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging; he holds the Raymond and Margaret Labarge Research and Knowledge Application for Optimal Aging Chair; and a Canada Research Chair in Geroscience. He is the lead principal investigator of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Dr. Raina is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research and has published in many peer-reviewed journals. He is also a member of the Council of Canadian Academies expert panel on Adapting to the Transportation Needs of an Aging Population.

Term: January 18, 2018 to January 17, 2021

Mr. Omar A. Saad

photo of Omar A. Saad

Mr. Omar A. Saad is a pharmacist who holds a Masters in Biomedical Technology from the University of Calgary. Mr. Saad has over 15 years of experience providing pharmacy services and leadership expertise in a variety of health care environments. He has overseen medication management programs at residential care facilities, ensured crucial training for patient safety, and delivered innovative, seniors-focussed programs such as falls prevention and influenza preparedness services. Active in his community, Mr. Saad has worked in partnership with numerous seniors’ organizations and stakeholder groups to improve the quality of life and care for seniors in Canada. A former member of the Ethics Advisory Committee with the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia and a current member of their Disciplinary Committee, Mr. Saad brings exemplary ethics and integrity to his pharmacy practice and to seniors care in Canada.

Term: July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022

Ms. Nora Spinks

photo of Nora Sprinks

Ms. Nora Spinks is Chief Executive Officer of the Vanier Institute of the Family, where she has served her current role since 2011. For more than 30 years, Ms. Spinks has engaged the research community to mobilize knowledge and connect those who study, serve and support Canada’s diverse families. She has assisted in the development of a variety of unique federal, provincial, community and corporate programs that focus on employee health and well-being, family care, workplace flexibility and work–life harmony. She created Canada’s first national eldercare resource and referral service, now delivered through workplaces across the country. She has led and been a partner on many national projects including Caregiving and Work, participated in and hosted many roundtables on seniors and aging, older workers, family care leaves, and work and family. A nationally and internationally recognized leader and speaker, Ms. Spinks has received numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canada 125 Award for Exemplary Community Service, the Workplace Wellness Pioneer of the Year Award and the Learning Partnership Volunteer of the Year Award.

Term: June 25, 2018 to June 24, 2021

Ms. Cindy Starnino

photo of Cindy Starnino

Ms. Cindy Starnino is a Senior Director with over 30 years of experience in the Health and Social Services Network of Quebec, forging strong relationships between the world of practice and research. She has been active in the co-development of cutting edge services in the areas of caregiving, prevention and health promotion programs for seniors, as well as intervention regarding the mistreatment of the elderly. Mandated by the Government in 2010, she co-created the Elder Mistreatment Helpline of Quebec and organized trainings across the province based on best practice supported by research. Also, she has been active on several boards of directors and strategic committees, where she advances the quality of services for seniors in Quebec and in Canada. Ms. Starnino is currently a board member of the Canadian Home Care Association, Chair of the CIUSSS – McGill University Education committee and Member of the Provincial Table of Research. She has held several strategic positions as Director of Home and Senior Care, Director of Quality, Performance and University Mission and is currently the Director of Academic Affairs of the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal. Ms. Starnino holds a Master's degree in Social Work from McGill University.

Term: June 25, 2018 to June 24, 2020

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