Chair Esther Goldstein’s twelve years of work as a hospital social worker in the Greater Toronto Area led her to develop an interest in, and understanding of, the retirement home sector and to the work she currently does. In 1997, Esther created a resource directory on retirement homes that has evolved to become the “Comprehensive Guide to Retirement Living & Long-Term Care”. Esther now works full-time on the annual Guide and its affiliated website, www.senioropolis.com. Both the website and the book are relied upon resources by professionals who work with seniors, their families, as well as the retirement home industry across Ontario.
Father Greg Montreuil Blonde is an ordained a Catholic Priest and holds a Masters in Social Work from Carleton University. Greg is a retirement home resident and the elected Chair of his home’s Residents’ Council, having served in the role for the past three years. He is also interested in local history having recently published a book on the history of one of the last small one room schools in Ontario.
Beryl Collingwood, of Paris, Ontario began her career as a nurse, eventually moving into a number of key leadership roles within the retirement home and long-term care home sectors. Beryl is currently the VP of Operations for Lifetimes Living Inc., leading enhancement of both the resident and employee experience in 15 Ontario retirement homes. Beryl sits on the Education Committee and the Government Task Force at the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) and is on the Board of Directors of Grand River Hospital and Brantford Community Healthcare System, where she sits on the Governance Committee and Quality and Patient Safety Committee.
Paul Ouellette, of Cambridge, is President of Acronamic Learning Systems Inc. and Chief Operating Officer for Pixel Pros Inc., overseeing the production of education courses and online/print material for various Canadian organizations including real estate brokerages, associations and regulatory authorities. Over the past three decades, Paul has developed an extensive working knowledge of not-for-profit organizations, provincial/national associations and regulatory councils/commissions. Paul also served on the Board of Directors for a Community Care Access Centre.
Gail Walker, of Toronto is the Director of Retirement at Belmont House. Prior to working at Belmont House, She was the Administrator of a Long Term Care Home with Chartwell Seniors Housing. Gail has also worked as a Program Manager at the Alzheimer’s Society of Peel, Manager of Programs and Health and Safety at the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre and Professional Practice Leader at the Toronto Rehabilitation Centre. Gail is a member of the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) and is an Executive member of Ontario Association of Non Profit Housing Services for Seniors (OANHSS) Region 5, serving as their Housing Representative. Gail also chairs a Retirement Home Networking group in Toronto.
Graham Webb, of Toronto, is the Executive Director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE), and has been a Staff Litigation Lawyer at the organization since 1995. ACE is a community legal service for low income seniors that focuses on legal issues that have a greater impact on the older population. Before joining ACE, Graham was engaged in private practice for ten years in Barrie, Ontario, in a general practice with emphasis on civil and criminal litigation. Graham gives frequent legal education presentations on elder law issues to older adults and service providers, including police, health-care professionals and other lawyers. Graham has also served as a part-time evening instructor in Gerontology at Ryerson University, winning an award from the Continuing Education Students’ Association at Ryerson for excellence in teaching.
Peter Dernick has had a gratifying career in the computer and technology industry. He has worked with some of the leading technology firms as well as establishing and managing his own company specializing in lubrication systems for the past 22 years. After graduating from Ryerson Institute of Technology in Electronics Technology, Peter joined Computing Devices of Canada, a manufacturer of computerized simulators for military applications. He earned a BSc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta, and was recruited by the American company, Scientific Data Systems, which was acquired by the Xerox Corporation. It was here that Peter worked on numerous innovative projects such as the automation of the Robarts Library at the U of T, where the world’s first multi-language non- impact printing was achieved.
Peter is now retired and he and his wife, Joanne, live in a retirement home in Whitby, Ontario.
Nira Rittenberg has extensive experience and expertise in geriatrics and dementia care. With more than 20 years of experience as a Senior Occupational Therapist at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, and in private practice, she has in-depth understanding of the broader health care system. Nira has written several publications about dementia and is a lecturer at the University of Toronto Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. She is also a columnist at the Toronto Star and writes for the “Caregiver SOS”, column. Most recently, Nira, participated in the making of the CBC documentary “The Caregivers’ Club”, which tell the story of her clients living with dementia over the course of a year.