Toronto - The Consumers Council of Canada, the country’s leading organization devoted to protecting consumers' ability to exercise their rights and responsibilities in the marketplace, has chosen Aubrey LeBlanc as its new president for 2012-13.
LeBlanc, vice president of the Council in 2011-12, is principal of his own building and residential consultancy, which provides strategic planning, government relations, negotiation and dispute resolution, crisis management, research and policy analysis, training and association management.
For a decade, LeBlanc was chief executive officer and registrar of the Ontario New Home Warranty Program (now TARION). He also served as director of the branch in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing responsible for the Ontario Building Code and Chief Building Official for Ontario.
"Few things are more important to consumers than owning and maintaining a home," LeBlanc said. "I look forward to bringing my expertise in this area to the aid of Canada's consumers."
"Many housing issues concern homeowners and renters alike today, including opportunities to conserve and save on energy, make successful home improvements, get good value for home purchases and finance them fairly and safely," he said. "Consumer organizations and governments alike have their eyes on the hot condominium markets in Canada's cities and see the need for reforms in that sector of the housing market. Owners and renters both have a stake in this."
LeBlanc succeeds Don Mercer, who will serve as vice president of the Council in 2012-13, act as chair of the Council's Financial Services Committee and work closely with LeBlanc on policies at the federal government level affecting consumers. Mercer retired in 2007 from Competition Bureau Canada, where over a long career he had served as head of both the Bureau's Ontario and Pacific Regions.
"I am delighted to place the Council in the good hands of Aubrey LeBlanc," said Mercer. "Aubrey has experience upon which Canada’s consumers can rely. I am pleased to remain on the board to support his efforts. The Council is committed to attracting the expertise and new ideas essential in the role of representing Canada's consumers."
In addition to LeBlanc's and Mercer's appointments, Howard Deane was re-elected treasurer of the Council and Agni Shah was re-affirmed as Secretary.
Deane is owner of Acme Metric Company Ltd., a Greater Toronto Area based consultancy in social media, web analytics, knowledge management and search engine optimization, and is a chartered accountant and former chief knowledge officer of KPMG Canada.
Shah is the Council's representative to the Standards Council of Canada and has taught package development and pharmaceuticals quality assurance at Seneca College and at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. He worked for more than 20 years in the pharmaceuticals industry in quality assurance, systems administration and regulatory affairs and is experienced with quality assurance in food and pharmaceutical products.
A new board of directors, including LeBlanc, Mercer, Deane and Shah, was chosen by the Council's annual general meeting June 14 in Toronto, including three new appointments, Chris Ballard, Dennis Hogarth and Bonnie Mcilmoyl.
"We are very excited to welcome new board members who bring our organization superior expertise in key areas important to the success of the Council, from public affairs, governance and the law to important issue areas, including protection of the vulnerable and cyber security and privacy," said LeBlanc. "Our new board understands the cutting-edge consumer rights issues of today’s economy."
Ballard is an experienced communications and public affairs executive with a background that includes public affairs, strategic planning, business development and project management. He has been president of CSB Communications Inc., a small consulting firm, since 1989 and has worked in consumer advocacy and consumer affairs. He was a founding board member of the Consumers Council of Canada and a past executive director of the Consumer's Association of Canada (Ontario).
Ballard is an honourary lifetime member of the Public Affairs Association of Canada and served in various capacities, including President. During the past 15 years, he has worked closely with numerous First Nation communities across Canada's far north, in business development, governance and sustainability. He is an elected member of the Council of the Town of Aurora, Ontario.
Dennis Hogarth has been a pioneer and leader in the innovative uses of digital information in large organizations and in the management of the associated risks. Dennis has more than 38 years of experience working with KPMG, including 27 years working in international leadership positions as a Partner. While at KPMG, he headed the computer audit and audit automation initiatives of the Canadian firm, he formed and led KPMG's first global technology group from the firm's international headquarters in The Netherlands, and worked for KPMG International as a Partner in KPMG's U.S. firm, where he formed and led a global team devoted to the assessment and mitigation of risks associated with the emerging uses of IT, focusing on cross-border personal data privacy and client confidentiality issues. Hogarth's primary focus for the past decade has been in the area of Information Risk Management, concentrating on emerging issues surrounding Personal Data Privacy, Information Risks, IT Security and Data Governance. In addition, he currently serves as Treasurer of the Port Hope Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, a Trustee of the Capitol Theatre Endowment Trust Foundation and as a member of both the Risk and Audit Committees for the Port Hope Community Health Center.
Bonnie Mcilmoyl started her legal career in the Vancouver office of McCarthy Tetrault. She joined the in-house legal group at KPMG LLP in Toronto. She quickly became involved with KPMG International, assisting the international organization in negotiating global membership agreements and knowledge sharing/data privacy projects. While at KPMG, she assumed increasing responsibilities in managing acquisitions and divestitures of various practices, both global and national in scope, as well as developing template legal documents and related guidance for the professional audit and tax partners at the firms. Bonnie was also appointed as an Associate Partner of the Canadian firm. In 2006, she joined DuPont Canada. As the manager of the six-person Canadian legal team, she introduced process improvement projects, as well as supporting DuPont's varied businesses in Canada. After a trip to Uganda with Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief board members in 2008, her life took an exciting turn, when she decided to move to Uganda as a volunteer in CPAR's Uganda program. CPAR's efforts are focused in northern Uganda, formerly a region plagued by the rebel group LRA, and works in partnership with communities to build healthy communities. At CPAR Uganda, she led the organization's proposal efforts, as well as managing CPAR's food security and livelihood projects in northern Uganda. In managing programs, she was responsible for overseeing implementation of donor-funded projects, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of such projects.
Since returning to Canada in 2010, Mcilmoyl has practiced in association with Cognition LLP, an innovative and leading "virtual" law firm.
Returning to the Council’s board of directors are: Dolly Gerrior, Heather Nicolson-Morrison, Dr. Elizabeth Nielsen and Venkat S. Somasundaram.
Gerrior is a project manager for the non-profit industry, and has focused on youth issues. She helped develop the Council's youth network, has advised on middle school policies and involved in promoting employment training to at-risk youth. She has been a member of the Consumers Advisory Council of Ontario’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority and has served as a public representative on the Children's Advisory Committee for Advertising Standards Canada. She has developed and assisted on a number of research projects for the Council including the feasibility of a national consumer assembly, energy efficiency in the building code, and a comparison of new home warranty programs across Canada.
Nicolson-Morrison is the Executive Director of the Toronto Central Palliative Care Network and prior to that was chief executive officer of the Ontario Home Respiratory Service Association. She has also held the position of Executive Director to the Ontario Funeral Services Association (OFSA) and was the ED/COO to the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA). She was senior policy advisor and acting Executive Administrator (Chief of Staff) to two Ontario cabinet ministers.
Nielsen has been involved in improving the safety of products since the late 1970s. As a Canadian government scientist, regulator, policy analyst and senior executive, she has been responsible for investigating and testing consumer products and radiation emitting devices for compliance with safety regulations and standards. She holds a Doctorate Degree in Chemical and Material Sciences. She has held various executive positions in Health Canada’s Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch and the Health Products and Food Branch, where she was responsible for the development, renewal and implementation of policies, regulations and legislation related to the safety of consumer, industrial and medical products under the Hazardous Products Act, (HPA), the Food and Drugs Act, and the Radiation Emitting Devices Act. As the former Director-General of the Office of Regulatory and International Affairs for Health Canada's Health Products and Food Branch, she was also involved in the implementation of trade agreements related to food, drugs and medical devices.
Somasundaram is a Senior Associate in PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Practice. He has broad functional experience in operations, supply chain, marketing and strategy in diverse industries on a number of large scale projects. He is a mechanical engineer as well as an MBA graduate from the Schulich School of Business, York University with a focus in Business Sustainability and Strategic Management. He has technical and commercial expertise concerning both developing (South Asia) and developed economies (North America).
"The Council thanks Gail Campbell, Joan Huzar and Anne McConnell, who are retiring from the board after years of service to the Council," said LeBlanc. "They made a major commitment that deserves the thanks of the public."
Ken Whitehurst continues as executive director of the Council. Whitehurst is a former manager for Canada of United Press International, vice president and general manager of Standard Broadcast news, director of media services for Global Strategy Financial Inc. and editor-in-chief of Metroland North Media.