Community Advisory Panel
David Morales, a community developer with the largest social housing provider in Canada, has more than 10 years of lived experience, professional knowledge, and expertise. David’s insights have served as a catalyst to support young people and their families who are living on the margins of society while cultivating culturally responsive strategies centred on multi-sector collaboration, anti-oppressive principles, and anti-Black racism.
Deqa Nur, a Social Development Field professional, has worked as a Community Development Officer in public, private and social sectors. She is currently the Executive Director of Hooyo Innovation Hub, a community organization focused on serving marginalized women and communities in the Greater Toronto Area.
Deqa has a BA. Honours in Major International Development Studies, a BA in Minor African Studies, and a Certificate in Migration and Refugee Studies, Central Refugee Studies, from York University.
She is a strong advocate for social change, social justice, economic inclusion, diversity, decision-making, representation, women in development, and community capacity building. As a member of the Central Etobicoke Community Hub Initiative Board of Directors, she advocates for and addresses the significance of having community spaces for residents in Central Etobicoke and Toronto.
In 1990, Fazela Haniff led the Urban Alliance on Race Relations in Toronto, which afforded her the skills and insight to champion diversity and inclusion throughout her career. She has worked with diverse teams in both public and private sectors, with partners in more than 30 countries.
Fazela completed her Human Resources Management studies at Toronto Metropolitan University, Higher Education Management from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Yorkville University. She is the first woman and past President of the International Education Association of South Africa.
Fazela consults on Strategic Leadership through a belonging lens and is the current Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Human Resources Strategist Consultant in higher education at ACEI Global Consulting Group.
Joshua Spencer is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, majoring in Creative Writing. He is a Jackman scholar and researcher, with a “deep reverence” for hip-hop music, and its influence on language and society.
His work and volunteer experience tie back to the Art Gallery of Ontario's Youth Council, UNITY Charity, R.I.S.E. Edutainment, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto.
Presently, Joshua works with several Scarborough high schools to mentor and train students at their co-op placements. He also works at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus in the Academic Advising and Career Centre as a mentor/teaching assistant, advising university students on possible career paths and learning techniques.
Margaret Sciortino - Community Co-Chair
Margaret Sciortino holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Master of Arts Degree in Criminology and Socio-legal Studies from the University of Toronto. The focus of Margaret’s research was understanding violence within at-risk communities by examining how the intersectionality of race, poverty, lack of education, and housing impacts the risk of violence.
Currently, Margaret works for the Federal Public Service as a Hearings Officer with Canada Border Services Agency. Prior to this, she was employed by the Auditor General of Ontario (AGO), in the Justice and Health Portfolio, where she provided recommendations on whether the Ontario Court System and the Legal Aid Program operated efficiently, effectively, and with due regard for the economy.
While working for the AGO, she also provided recommendations on how to efficiently and effectively, deliver municipal services within Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories.
Marika Bishop - Community Co-Chair
Marika Bishop is currently the Manager of Policy Development and Special Projects at a Toronto-area academic health organization. Prior to this, Marika held positions within the Offices of the Attorney General, Minister of Education, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and the Minister of Transportation – focusing on safe and healthy schools, gender-based violence, the provision of healthcare in rural and remote Ontario and Ontario’s mental health strategy. She has also held an advisory role within Ontario’s Office for Victims of Crime, providing analytical and policy support to its Board.
Marika currently serves on the Board of the Professional Practice Network of Ontario and the governing body of the Canadian Policy and Procedure Network.
Michael Kissi’s extensive work supporting young fathers evolved into the establishment of a weekly group that he created in the Scarborough area.
Michael, with a strong ability to analyze, think critically, and problem solve, also created Scarborough’s first youth clothing bank in 2017 which provided new and gently used clothing items to children and their families struggling due to financial hardships.
He formed ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’, a monthly roundtable for community partners and stakeholders to discuss community trends, racial narratives, and to provide a safe and open space for expression on challenging issues.
As co-chair of the Dorset Park Youth Services Network, he also worked diligently to address issues of safety, and complicit bias by organizing community consultations and facilitating workshops.
Michael is a trained mental health professional with a Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelors of Community Development, a certificate in Advancing Equity, and is a trained restorative justice facilitator.
Sam Osman has been a Peer Support Worker at LOFT Community Services since 2021 but has worked with young people for over 10 years. Sam has a diversity of experiences in youth-oriented spaces such as Alternative Schools at Toronto District School Board, youth shelters, local community centers, youth co-op housing, and mental health services. Currently, Sam works on community-based research projects to support by-youth, for-youth resources like Housing Outreach Project-Collaborative (HOP-C), a CIHR-funded multi-organization collaboration focused on improving services for young people who have experienced homelessness.
Sam values policy advisory for implementing positive changes in young individuals’ lives, as a result, she offers her advocacy services to various panels, such as CAMH’s Black Youth Advisory Panel and the National Youth Action Panel.
She:kon; is a Six Nations band member, living in Tkaronto for the past 10 years.
She:kon has worked in the social services field for the past 15 years, primarily with the indigenous community. She has volunteered with both indigenous and non-indigenous agencies.
Bringing experience both from her work and her community, She:kon is passionate about the Race and Indentity-based Data Collection project and the potential that it holds for future healing.
Suman Roy has an extensive career in private, public and not-for-profit business operations around the City of Toronto, nationally and internationally. Suman is on his second term at the Toronto Board of Health. During his time at the Toronto Food Policy Council, he supported the launch of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, and is also the Chair of the Board of Director at FoodShare Toronto.
Suman was one of the key consultants who helped write the first food strategy for the City of Toronto. He also initiated the Scarborough Food Security Initiative, to spread awareness and combat food apartheid with a vision of a hunger-free resilient Scarborough.
For many years, Tara Brady’s career has focused on disability services. She worked for many years as a Behavioural Consultant and managed a vocational and life skills program for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Tara, who attended Toronto Metropolitan University, assisted in building and managing a youth transitional program specifically designed to support and rehabilitate young women who had been identified as having been exploited and involved in human trafficking. This program was a part of the Combating Human Trafficking Act, a bill passed in 2021 to support the fight against human trafficking in Ontario. Following this opportunity, she became involved in a mental health diversion initiative in Toronto and worked closely with the City of Toronto and Toronto Police Service to offer an alternative response to police for individuals experiencing a mental health-related crisis.
Venita Anderson is committed to equity and addressing anti-Black racism both within the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and in the broader community.
As public servant for almost eight years, Venita has a BA in Criminal Justice from York University, and a Masters in Public Policy, Administration and Law from the University of Guelph.
She is currently a Policy Advisor within the Black Equity Branch of the Treasury Board Secretariat, and also develops and implements strategic initiatives to address and combat anti-Black racism and the inequities that Black employees face. Venita has also held roles with the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility and the Ministry of the Solicitor General.
She has also been involved with the CJ Munford Centre at the University of Guelph, and as part of the Town of Whitby’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee 2021-2022.
Viviana Santibanez works with marginalized communities, focusing on supporting and advocating for Latinx living with HIV and LGBTQ+ Latinx refugees. She is also the first Trans Latina woman appointed to the board of directors of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network and The OHTN Cohort Study.
Viviana has a background in community health, nursing, community capacity building and digital communications.
She founded Vivi’r, a support group organization for Latinx LGBTQ+ refugees and newcomers, in 2019, and connects with the community via her private support group which refers people to social, legal, and health services.
Rayon is a seasoned community development business professional, deeply driven by the holistic approach grounded in principles of empowerment, human rights, inclusion, social justice, self- determination and collective action. Currently, Rayon Brown is the Community Economic Development Director of Helping Neighbourhoods Implement Change - a non-profit organization deeply rooted in under serviced communities; to equip individuals with tools and resources; and build their capacity through training and mentorship.
Paula brings educational, research and media experience to the Community Advisory Panel. She is an educator who supports students through a critical and anti-oppressive lens. Paula is a doctoral student at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education/ University of Toronto. As well, she is pursuing a collaborative specialization in Ethnic and Pluralism Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
Paula's research examines the academic aspirations of Black boys, and racialized students with special education needs, outcomes in Ontario K-12 schools.
Her research interests include leadership, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Paula has experience as both an Associate Producer and Video Journalist with CNN and brings various volunteer and board experiences to the panel. She is the 2019 recipient of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto, Excellence in Teaching Equity Award. Paula operates on the premise that organic change flourishes from a strong community of risk-takers.
Dr. Ardavan Eizadirad
Ardavan is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, an instructor in the School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University, and in the Faculty of Social Work, Master of Teaching, and Bachelor of Education program at University of Toronto. He is an educator with the Toronto District School and author of Decolonizing Educational Assessment: Ontario Elementary Students and the EQAO.
Dr. Eizadirad is also the founder and Director of EDIcation Consulting offering equity, diversity, and inclusion training to organizations. Lastly, he is a basketball official with the Toronto Association of Basketball Officials and a community activist with non-profit organizations Youth Association for Academics, Athletics, and Character Education (YAAACE) in the Jane and Finch community, and a Board of Directors member for Amadeusz which provides educational programs and services for incarcerated youth and young adults.
Dr. Sean Hillier
Sean is a queer Mi’kmaw scholar from the Qalipu First Nation. He is an assistant professor at the School of Health Policy & Management & Special Advisor to the Dean on Indigenous Resurgence in the Faculty of Health at York University. He is Co-Chair of the Working Group on Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous Racism in the Faculty of Health and the Chair of the Indigenous Council at York University.
Dr. Hillier’s collaborative community based research program spans the topics of aging, living with HIV and other infectious diseases, and antimicrobial resistance, all with a concerted focus on policy affecting health care access for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. He continues to work in the area of HIV research and is an Investigator with the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network. Sean is also a Principal Investigator, Investigator and Executive Team member on various projects related to equity and diversity, funded by CIHR and SSHRC.
Haris leads the application of evidence-based methodologies to address complex program and policy challenges at the Government of Canada's Treasury Board Secretariat. In his time in both the private and public sectors, Haris been both a user and designer of identity-based data systems. As a user, he has leveraged race-based data in order to inform policy advice on key files, including in the areas of social benefit uptake and criminal justice. Haris has also helped lead the modernization of the federal government's employment equity data system to be more accurate, efficient and equitable. Haris holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Public Policy, both from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Apondi J. Odhiambo
Dr. Apondi J. Odhiambo is a Manager and Senior Policy Advisor with the Office of Chief Science Officer and Office of the President at the Public Health Agency of Canada. She holds a Ph.D. from Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, a Master of Law (LLM) specializing in Health Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, and a Master of Science in Psychology. Her research program area is grounded on more than 15 years of research and development. Dr. Odhiambo is passionate about engaging in projects that advocate for social justice, health equity, human rights and anti-Black racism. She is an innovator in using intersectional, anti-colonial, critical race theoretical insights, and materialist research strategies to develop and implement research to understand health systems, social justice, health equity, as well asaccess and the social determinants of health.
Reyhana is the Head of Communications and Government Relations at the international NGO Islamic Relief Canada. Reyhana has a background in policy development and analysis, communications, and journalism. She is a former BBC News Journalist and specializes in advocating for change in civil society and minority communities on issues around gender-based violence, racism, and women's rights.
Gerald Mak is currently a Strategy Manager within the Ontario Public Service (Crown Agency). Prior to joining the OPS, Gerald has worked in various financial and professional institutions with roles in risk, communications and technology. With over 15 years in community service, Gerald currently serves as a board member on the Children Aid’s Society of Toronto and as a committee member with Hospice Toronto, Catherine Donnelly Foundation, and the University Health Network. He has received several awards for his community work, including the Prime Minister’s Canada Volunteer Awards, Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Ontario’s June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism. Gerald holds a Commerce degree from the Ted Rogers School of Management - Ryerson University, an Executive Master’s degree in Communications from McMaster University and various education modules at the Queen's School of Business and the University of Toronto.
Patrick Roncal is a mathematician whose public service career over the last decade has spanned portfolios in equity, public safety and justice. He has been serving on the RBDC Community Advisory Panel since its launch in 2021. Patrick has worked in all three levels of government and his experience includes the City of Toronto’s Data for Equity Strategy, the Ministry of Labour’s COVID-19 occupational health and safety analytics and the Ministry of Attorney General’s Bail Action Plan. He has also proudly served in multiple non-for-profit and community leadership roles, including as a Board member for Planned Parenthood Toronto. Patrick holds a mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo and the Certified Human Resources Professional designation from the Human Resources Professional Association.
Nate has been a resident of Scarborough for all of his life and is actively involved in the community. Through his lived experiences, he hopes to bring a different perspective to the Community Advisory Panel that will help shape future interactions and relationships with Toronto’s Black Community. He is currently employed by the Federal Public Service and is a member of many different panels and working groups designed to dismantle racism and aid in the recruitment, retention and advancement of racially visible persons within the Federal Public Service. Nate holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and also graduated from the Toronto Police Community Police Academy in 2019 where he was selected as class valedictorian.
Since re-joining the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as Director in March 2019, Caspar has led teams responsible for delivering on a diverse range of financial public policy initiatives including reforming Ontario’s annual $3.5 billion municipal development charge framework supporting the province’s Housing Supply Action Plan, and designing three rounds of municipal funding equaling nearly $2 billion in emergency municipal pandemic relief. Caspar was the founding Director at Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate starting in 2016. During his tenure, he led teams delivering Ontario’s first Anti-Racism Strategic Plan including establishing Anti-Racism Legislation, Ontario’s Anti-Racism Data Standard, and the Ontario Public Service Anti-Racism Human Resources Policy. He has received the IPAC/Deloitte Leadership Silver Medal Award for his work as part of the Secretariat supporting the Commission on the Reform of Ontario Public Services in 2012.
Michael is a community development worker and equity and human rights advocate now serving as a Coordinator with Colour of Poverty - Colour of Change – the racial justice education and advocacy network in Ontario.
Michael has worked in a number of capacities with several newcomer settlement and refugee advocacy groups and organizations over many years, as well as being active in a broad spectrum of equity, human rights and racial justice advocacy efforts and community-based campaigns. He was the Coordinator (for its first five years) of the National Anti-Racism Council of Canada - NARCC (2001-2006).
Dr. Sara K. Thompson
Dr. Sara K. Thompson is a Professor in the Department of Criminology, Ryerson University, and Associate Director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS). Her recent and ongoing research focuses on urban violence; push, pull and protective factors associated with violent offending; and the implementation and evaluation of violence prevention policy and programming. Thompson has presented on her research at a range of domestic and international academic and practitioner conferences and has briefed high level government and police officials on issues related to urban violence, terrorism/violent extremism, and program evaluation.