Board of Directors

Members

Basic Income Canada Network is governed by a volunteer board of directors, who together bring a vast amount of knowledge to the table. Directors may also participate actively in the work of BICN and/or in promoting basic income in their own spheres. They come from across Canada, and bring different perspectives and expertise from mental health, technology and taxation to lived experience of poverty, public service, international development and entrepreneurship.

Sheila is a founding member of the Basic Income Canada Network and former Executive Director of the National Council of Welfare. Her 29 years of federal public service spanned front-line work, policy analysis and development, international relations and senior management, with a focus on improving fairness and equality, and on gender and race in particular. She has policy expertise in areas of income security and taxation, such as child tax benefits, child support, maternity/parental benefits, pensions and social assistance. Her insight also comes from experiencing poverty as a young parent. Sheila is grateful, in her retirement, to have resources, time and health to do volunteer work and help care for twin grandsons.

Pierre grew up in the Netherlands where he benefited from a government-funded post-secondary education that would not have been possible otherwise. In Canada since 1973, he taught for 33 years, primarily as a Senior Instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University. He has been active in the Faculty Association, serving as an executive member, as treasurer and on the negotiation team. Pierre is guided by his belief that every human being has the right to a fair standard of living, and that as a society, as a community, we have an obligation to make this possible for all. As treasurer, he wants to support the Basic Income Canada Network in achieving its goals, especially eradicating poverty and securing fair income redistribution.

Enrique is a practicing psychotherapist working with marginalized populations and has a background in poverty alleviation, development, intergovernmental affairs, and community building. Growing up in Mexico, Enrique studied languages and international relations. He continued his education with a Master’s degree in intergovernmental affairs from Columbia University, going on to work for the United Nations Development Programme where he designed sustainable development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Canada he has worked for the Ontario government in different capacities at the ministries of Environment; Training, Colleges and Universities; and Education. In 2012 Enrique moved to Spain and later the UK and Germany, branching out to study human behaviour and specializing in psychotherapy. His understanding of the political landscape, governmental processes, and the individual experience of poverty have led him to become an advocate for the principles and objectives of the Basic Income Canada Network.

Sid Frankel is an associate professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. He teaches in the areas of social policy, research methods, management of social service organizations and critical social work practice. His areas of research interest are anti-poverty policy (including basic income) and the non-profit sector. Recent publications include: Frankel, S. (2022), Poverty as a human rights violation in John Packer and Alex Neve (Eds.) 2019/2021 Canadian Yearbook of Human Rights (pp. 118-126), University of Ottawa, Human Rights Research and Education Centre. He is also the author of  “Basic Income Advocacy in Canada: Multiple Streams, Experiments and the Road Ahead” in Political Activism and Basic Income Guarantee (pp. 139–162), Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2020. Dr. Frankel is a founding and current board member of Basic Income Manitoba and a member of Coalition Canada. He is also a long time member of the national steering committee of Campaign 2000 to End Child Poverty and is a member of the board of directors of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.

Amal Khan is a Middle Eastern-born trained Physician and a Population Health & Epidemiology specialist. She studied population health dynamics as a functional proxy of equity in society, economy, politics and beyond. She completed her MSc at Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan and is now a Ph.D. candidate there. She worked on a Canada-wide project under the Urban Public Health Network with a lens of equity, contributing to monitoring Population Health and Local Public Health Action in Urban Canada. Her life and research journey in Canada has shaped her belief and driven her passion, where one cannot keep oneself from action. She is excited to contribute what she thinks she owes to society and the nation. A testament is her keen interest and advocacy for Basic Income, as she strongly believes that is the only way to narrow the health gap and eliminate related inequities. 

Brian is a passionate advocate for the elimination of poverty after having lived and worked in some of Canada’s most vulnerable and impoverished communities. A University of Manitoba graduate, Brian went on to a career with the RCMP and became one of the force’s first certified CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) practitioners. As a certified mediator, Brian applied his skills to developing the force’s Restorative Justice program. Following his retirement from the RCMP, Brian went on to work with “at-risk” youth in the public school system and on a variety of social issues in the social planning department with the city of Red Deer. Brian draws on his these experiences to help move the needle on improving the standard of living for Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.

Hannah has been working in mental health since 1993, in several settings including government,  academia, and the not-for-profit sector. She received her doctorate in Neuroscience in 2004, from the University of Alberta. Hannah works with Little Warriors, an organization providing mental health services to survivors of child sexual abuse. She is also an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include factors influencing the ability to build resiliency following trauma. She was struck by the need for a Basic Income when engaged in research studying the mental health impacts of the Ft. McMurray wildfire, as it became evident that the ensuing economic devastation made residents’ return to mental wellness far more challenging.

John is founding director of the Canadian Poverty Institute at Ambrose University in Calgary and currently is President of John Rook Consulting. He is past President and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, was previously CEO of Potential Place, Co-Executive Director of The Alex Community Health Centre, CEO of The Salvation Army Community Services and Director of Programs & Strategic Initiatives at The Mustard Seed. John was an Associate Professor at McMaster, holds an adjunct faculty position at the University of Calgary, and lectures primarily in areas of poverty, mental illness and homelessness. He brought this experience and knowledge to his role as Chair of the National Council of Welfare (2007-2012) and the Alberta Interagency Council on Homelessness (2013-
2014).

Shari is a child and youth mental health nurse/health promoter, co-operator (member of several co operatives and the B.C. Co-op Association’s Co-op Champions Network), and a faculty member in the  nursing program, School of Health Sciences at Vancouver Community College. Shari is passionate about  co-creating healthy communities in collaboration with nursing students, Indigenous citizens and leaders,  co-ops, and diverse community groups. Part of Shari’s interest in a basic income policy arose from her  dissertation research, which was awarded the Ilona Kickbusch award from Health Promotion  International: The contradictions of Canadian capitalist processes and youth mental health: Implications for mental health promotion. This research shows the potential of universalist policies like a universal  basic livable income as foundational to enabling young people to thrive and engage in economic  systems/processes in synergistic ways.

Karen is a 50-year veteran of women’s rights activism and a tireless advocate on poverty issues. She was a key member of Women of Halton Action Movement, which presented to the parliamentary committee on s.15 of the Constitution. She has served on various community boards, including the Halton Region Police Board, Halton Women’s Place, and the Sexual Assault Centre of Halton. For over 11 years she was a Big Sister and served on the Board as a Member and Chair. A former family lawyer for over 30 years, Karen retired in 2016. She currently serves as treasurer and program committee member for Beaver Valley Association for Lifelong Learning. For the past three years she has chaired the basic income committee of Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet (GASP), whose members have lobbied cabinet ministers. Her belief in a Just Transition is the foundation of her work. Karen is an avid kayaker, cat owner and ukulele player. She currently resides in Meaford, Ontario. 

Damon Johnston has been an advocate for and within the Aboriginal community for over 40 years. He was born in Winnipeg, MB and is a member of the Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, ON. He has held the position of President of the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg since 2007. Prior to this, he was Executive Director of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre. Damon retired from the City of Winnipeg in 2005 where he served as the Community Resource Coordinator, Aboriginal Community, having worked for the City for 15 years. Damon’s work has included varied positions: Assistant Executive Director of the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre of Winnipeg, 1984-89; Secretary Treasurer of the Ontario Métis and Non Status Association, 1980-82; Correctional Officer and Probation Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Corrections, 1973-78; service with the Royal Canadian Navy in Halifax, 1966-68. He has an Administrative Management Diploma from the Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology. Currently, Damon is an active volunteer on several Boards of Directors, including: Co-Chair, National Urban Indigenous Coalitions Council (NUICC); Winnipeg Police Board (appointed by the Province of Manitoba); Median Credit Union; Ndinawe; Chair, Circle of Life Thunderbird House; Treasurer, Indigenous Seniors Resource Centre.

Board