Board of Directors


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.

Jenna is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and the School of Public Health at the University of Washington, and her research focuses on the role of socioeconomic marginalization in mental health and substance use disorders. Jenna became interested in the concept of basic income while doing research in 2010 and continues to advocate in both a personal and professional role for the alleviation of poverty and income security for all. Jenna has worked extensively on research projects with people who have lived experience of poverty, and is personally dedicated to creating a truly inclusive society.

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.

Bio to come.

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.

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. Her research interests are in child and adolescent mental health, particularly the ability to self-regulate and 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 their return to mental health more challenging. Hannah is an adjunct professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta, and works with Little Warriors, an organization providing mental health services to young victims of child sexual abuse.

John has been active in social justice areas for a number of years. He has lived all over Western Canada and has made Hamilton his home since 2011. His lived experience of poverty prompted him to become involved in working on behalf of the underprivileged in his community. He is an active volunteer serving on the Hamilton Basic Income Group, Chair of the Governance Committee for the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Legal Clinic, as President of Mood Menders Support Services, with the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction’s ‘Speak Now’ Speakers Bureau, as a coordinator of LivingProof (BI recipients speakers group in Hamilton), and the Campaign for Adequate Welfare and Disability Benefits. He speaks about the effects resulting from poverty including social isolation, mental health problems, housing precarity, transportation difficulties, and costs to society. He is also able to address all aspects of basic income as partial solutions to poverty.

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-

Bio to come.

Bio to come.

Tara Kainer has lived experience of poverty as a single mom of three sons and has been advocating for rights and services for people living with low incomes for more than 25 years. Organizer/Educator with the Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC ) Office of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in Kingston, Ontario, she works on projects and campaigns to eliminate poverty, improve food security, create affordable housing, and advance income security for all. She has been a member of the Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee since it was established in November 2013.

The roots of Sameer’s interest in basic income emerged from his education in economics at both Cornell University and the University of Toronto. In law school, this led him to tax law and tax policy as a vehicle for prosperity and equality. He currently practices tax litigation. In 2018, Sameer presented on a UBI-FIT funding model to the North American Basic Income Congress (NABIG). He also continues to work on modeling a basic income that capitalizes on UBI-FIT efficiencies in order to make virtually every Canadian better off. In addition to his current role as a director of BICN, Sameer has previously served as the co-chair of Basic Income Toronto.