Members of the National Seniors Council

Members of the National Seniors Council (NSC) have experience or expertise on seniors and aging issues. For example, these individuals:

  • volunteer or work for organizations that represent the interests of seniors
  • conduct research or teach in academic institutions focusing on seniors issues, or
  • are seniors themselves

The NSC can have up to 12 members, including the Chairperson. The terms of members range from 1 to 3 years and are renewable once. Appointments are staggered. This is to ensure balancing continuity and the desire to provide new perspectives on the NSC’s work.

The Governor in Council appoints members on the recommendation of the Minister of Seniors and the Minister of Health.

The selection process is open, transparent and merit-based. Interested candidates should visit the Government of Canada’s Governor in Council appointments website. On this site, candidates can:

  • view appointment opportunities
  • create, build and update their account profile, and
  • submit their application

Current members

Ms. Nora Spinks (Chairperson)

photo of Nora Sprinks

Nora Spinks is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2018 and she serves as the Chairperson since December 14, 2022. Ms. Spinks’ original reappointment for a second term of 2 years was extended by the Governor in Council to 3 years, ending June 30, 2024.

For over 30 years, Ms. Spinks has engaged the research community to mobilize knowledge. She also connects those who study, serve and support Canada’s diverse families.

She is:

  • a nationally and internationally recognized leader and speaker

She was:

  • the Chief Executive Officer of the Vanier Institute of the Family for ten years (2011 to 2021)

She has:

  • helped develop a variety of federal, provincial, community and corporate programs. Most of these have focused on employee health and well-being, family care, workplace flexibility and work-life harmony
  • created Canada’s first national eldercare resource and referral service, now delivered through workplaces across the country
  • 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
    • work and family
  • received numerous awards, such as the:
    • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
    • Canada 125 Award for Exemplary Community Service
    • Workplace Wellness Pioneer of the Year Award
    • Learning Partnership Volunteer of the Year Award

Dr. Olive Bryanton

photo of Olive Bryanton

Olive Bryanton, Ph.D., is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2022.

She has been a fervent activist for seniors’ well-being for all of her professional life. Her 2018 PhD dissertation, titled, Pioneers in Aging: Voices of women 85 years and older aging in place in rural communities, shows her passion for defending the best interests of seniors.

She is currently a research assistant in Family Science at the University of Prince Edward Island.

She helped establish:

  • a Seniors' Centre in Charlottetown, which was officially opened in January 1993
  • a provincial PEI Seniors' Safety Program, together with the RCMP, the Public Trustee, and Consumer Services in 1999
  • the Seniors College of Prince Edward Island, affiliated with the University of Prince Edward Island, which opened in 1997. She also served as the college’s first president

She has:

  • a doctorate in Philosophy, Education from the University of Prince Edward Island
  • a master’s thesis in Education, from the University of Prince Edward Island

She received:

  • the Order of Prince Edward Island in 2020
  • the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013
  • an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Prince Edward Island in 2000

Dr. Carole A. Estabrooks

photo of Carole A. Estabrooks

Carole Estabrooks, RN, Ph.D., FCAN, is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2022.

Dr. Estabrooks is an applied health services researcher focusing on knowledge translation and aging. Dr. Estabrooks is leading a longitudinal research program to develop solutions for improving the quality of care and quality of life or end-of-life for nursing home residents. The study also examines ways to enrich the work life of caregivers and for enhancing system efficiencies and effectiveness.

She is:

  • a tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Knowledge Translation from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • a professor with the Faculty of Nursing and a cross-appointed professor with the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health
  • a member of the Health Standards Organization (HSO) Technical Committee developing national standards for long-term care

She has:

  • a postdoctoral fellowship, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the University of Toronto
  • a doctorate in Philosophy, from the University of Alberta
  • a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, from the University of Alberta
  • participated as a board member on various committees
  • received numerous awards, such as the:
    • Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) Fellowship in 2020
    • International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in 2018
    • Order of Canada (Member) in 2016
    • American Academy of Nursing in 2011
    • Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2007

Dr. Réjean Hébert, MD

photo of Réjean Hébert

Réjean Hébert, MD, Ph.D., is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2022.

Mr. Hébert is a geriatrician with Montréal’s regional public health department.  He is also a full professor with the Department of Health Management, Evaluation and Policy at Université de Montréal’s School of Public Health. His work focuses on public policy and the coordination of health services in the context of chronic diseases, through home support, front-line services and service integration.

He was:

  • the dean of Université de Montréal’s School of Public Health from 2017 to 2019
  • a professor in the Department of Family Medicine of the Université de Sherbrooke’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences for 30 years. He served as dean of that faculty from 2004 to 2010
  • elected as a member of Quebec’s National Assembly in September 2012
  • the Minister of Health and Social Services, Minister Responsible for Seniors, and Minister Responsible for the Estrie Region from 2012 to 2014

He has:

  • a medical degree in geriatrics from the University of Sherbrooke and a degree in gerontology from the University of Social Sciences of Grenoble
  • a Master of Philosophy in Epidemiology from the University of Cambridge
  • conducted numerous research studies on gerontology, such as the Functional Autonomy Measurement System and the Program on Research for Integrating Services for the Maintenance of Autonomy
  • founded and directed the following organizations:
    • the Research Centre on Aging at the Sherbrooke Geriatric University Institute
    • the Quebec Network for Research on Aging
    • the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Aging

Mrs. Linda Jeffrey

photo of Linda Jeffrey

Linda Jeffrey is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2021.

Mrs. Jeffrey has extensive experience in the public service, both at the municipal and provincial levels. She is also involved in projects regarding autism spectrum disorder and health and safety in the workplace.

She is:

  • Executive Director of the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association

She was:

  • City Councillor for the City of Brampton from 1991 to 2003
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the Brampton Springdale and Brampton Centre ridings from 2003 to 2014 and served as:
    • Minister of Natural Resources
    • Minister Responsible for Seniors
    • Minister of Labour
    • Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Mayor of the City of Brampton from 2014 to 2018

While serving as Minister Responsible for Seniors, she has:

  • had all retirement homes and nursing care homes in Ontario equipped with residential sprinklers
  • created new provincial licensing rules targeting retirement homes in Ontario suspected of elder abuse and neglect through the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority

In 2012, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for public service.

Mr. Omar Saad

photo of Omar Saad

Omar Saad, BSc. Pharm., MBT, is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2019. The Governor in Council reappointed Mr. Saad for a term of 3 years, beginning on October 20, 2022.

Mr. Saad has over 15 years of experience providing pharmacy services and leadership expertise in a variety of health care environments. Mr. Saad brings exemplary ethics and integrity to his pharmacy practice and to seniors care in Canada.

He is:

  • a pharmacist with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Technology from the University of Calgary
  • a member of the Disciplinary Committee with the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia
  • the Vice President, Western Canada Operations, with CareRx Corporation, a leading provider of pharmacy services to seniors

He has:

  • overseen medication management programs at residential care facilities and ensured crucial training for patient safety
  • delivered innovative, seniors-focused programs to enhance clinical outcome indicators for older adults residing in congregate living environments
  • worked in partnership with numerous seniors’ community organizations and stakeholder groups to improve the quality of life and care for older adults
  • worked as a former member of the Ethics Advisory Committee with the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia

Ms. Zena Simces

photo of Zena Simces

Zena Simces is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2021.

Ms. Simces is a senior consultant with over 30 years of experience in managing complex projects and acting as a change agent. She has worked at the national, provincial and community levels in New Brunswick, Ontario, and British Columbia. Many of her projects have focused on improving the health and well-being of seniors.

She is:

  • an engaging, motivating leader who takes an inclusive, collaborative approach to everything she does
  • experienced and engaged in work to advance policy issues in a number of sectors including:
    • population and public health, primary care and mental health
    • social services
    • education
    • justice
    • employment/labour force

She has:

  • a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from Queen’s University
  • a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of New Brunswick
  • written and published a book, You Can Make A Difference: A Guide to Being A Great Consultant. The book refers to her experience and research. The book proposes ways for managers and leaders to make a difference in today's complex world
  • facilitated numerous consultation sessions engaging various key and targeted groups within the Canadian population including:
    • women, youth, families, and seniors
    • community organizations
    • academics
    • diverse cultural groups
    • First Nations
    • people with mental and physical challenges
    • the general public

Dr. Samir K. Sinha, MD, DPhil

photo of Samir K. Sinha

Dr. Samir Sinha, MD, DPhil, FRCPC, AGSF, is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2021.

Dr. Sinha is a passionate and respected advocate for the needs of older adults. He has a breadth of international training and expertise in health policy and the delivery of care services to the elderly. This has made him a highly regarded expert in the care of older adults.

He is:

  • a Rhodes Scholar
  • Director of Geriatrics of Sinai Health System and the University Health Network, Toronto
  • the Peter and Shelagh Godsoe Chair in Geriatrics, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Director of Health Policy Research at the National Institute on Ageing, Ryerson University
  • Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • a Fellow of the American Geriatrics Society

He has:

  • completed undergraduate medical studies at the University of Western Ontario
  • obtained a Masters in Medical History and a Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Ageing
  • pursued his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto and in Geriatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Pamela Williamson

photo of Pamela Williamson

Pamela Williamson, Ph.D., is a member of the National Seniors Council since 2021.

Dr. Williamson has a particular interest in elder-specific research. She has extensive experience in community primary healthcare, including as the Executive Director of the Noojmowin Teg Health Centre. She has also championed a number of initiatives and programs in support of the health and well-being of Indigenous elders.

She is:

  • a First Nations researcher and author with:
    • personal knowledge of the Anishinabek ways of being
    • a solid understanding of the issues and challenges experienced by Northerners
  • a board member of the Health Sciences North Research Institute
  • a member of a provincial indigenous circle with the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health

She has:

  • a doctorate in Higher Education, Administration, from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
  • a master’s degree in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration from Central Michigan University
  • served as a board member with a number of organizations
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