Board of Directors
Justin is a lawyer with over a decade experience in the energy sector starting with being a Senior Policy Advisor for the Ontario Minister of Energy and then as the Ontario Policy Lead for the Canadian Wind Energy Association and then Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs at the Electricity Distributors Association. Since 2019, he has been the Executive Director of Energy Storage Canada, a not-for-profit organization and the only national trade association in Canada dedicated solely to the growth and market development of the country’s energy storage sector as a means of accelerating the realization of Canada’s ongoing energy transition and Net Zero goals through advocacy, education, collaboration, and research.
Justin holds a Honours BA in Economics & Political Science from the University of Toronto as well as a Law Degree from the University of Western. He was called to the bar in 2004.
Justin has been a member of the Board of Directors at the York Region Children’s Aid Society since February 2019 and currently serves as Chair of the Board. Additionally, Justin is a member of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-racism Committee as well as a member of the Governance Committee.
Melissa Froio has been a teacher with the York Catholic District School Board since 2007. Melissa is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and holds a Master’s Degree in Education. In 2018 she was appointed chaplain, a role which enabled her to mentor students while working as a faith ambassador for the school and greater community. In 2022 she was hired to run the high school program at Rose of Sharon – York Academy, an agency which supports young mothers. She has experience in the areas of grief counselling, suicide prevention and mental health and wellness. Melissa is interested in creating community relationships, where she organizes fundraisers, charitable events, and student driven initiatives for the betterment of society. Melissa continues to advocate for marginalized youth.
Melissa has been a member of the York Region CAS Board of Directors since June 2020. She is a current member of the Governance Committee of the Board. Melissa is also a director on York Region Children’s Fund Board.
Treasurer and Immediate Past Chair of the Board
Tahir Shafiq P.Eng, FEC is a senior manager with 20 years of experience in business development, engineering and governance. He is skilled in developing national and global strategic business plans for multinational high-tech companies and has managed various international teams and strategic partnerships. He has been serving on several regional and national not-for-profit organizations’ boards since 2009. Tahir has received special awards from the Ontario and the Canadian Governments and Professional Engineers of Ontario, recognizing his commitment to community service. He holds an MBA from Adelphi University in New York, specialized training in International Business at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona and holds a Master in Management Sciences and Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees from the University of the Punjab, Lahore. Tahir is a designated Professional Engineer, as well as a Fellow of Engineers Canada.
Tahir joined the York Region CAS Board of Directors in February 2015 and is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board.
Susan Bird is a chartered director having achieved the ICD.D designation from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. She is a graduate of York University with a major in economics. She holds the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation and is a Fellow of the ISCEBS. Susan serves on several not for profit boards as a director and chair. Susan is considered an expert in governance and educates those involved in the governance of programs in the financial services and health care sectors.
Susan joined the York Region CAS Board of Directors in January 2017 and is the Secretary to the Board, the Chair of the Risk Oversight Committee, and a member of the Board Finance Committee.
Susan is the Chair of the York Region Children’s Fund Board of Directors.
Chanice McAnuff is a first-voice advocate, with lived experience in the Child Welfare system. Chanice is currently the Executive Director of Ontario for Youth in Care Canada, Founder and CEO of Project Outsiders (a youth-led, registered not-for-profit organization for youth in care), and she sits on numerous committees including the Youth for Change committee for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS), Child Welfare Political Action Committee, and more. In her work, Chanice continues to engage with youth throughout York Region. Among many other things, she has experience in consulting, event coordinating, project management, public speaking, and team building.
As a Board member for York Region Children’s Aid Society, she hopes to assist in governing the organization in a new direction that ensures better outcomes for youth aging out of care by amplifying youth voices within the Board.
Chanice joined the York Region CAS Board of Directors in November 2020 and is a current member of the Risk Oversight Committee.
David Gren is currently a Superintendent & Advanced Care Paramedic with Toronto Paramedic Services where he has worked for over a decade as a frontline first responder. His passion for family and child welfare stems from years of experience responding to crises in marginalized and underserved communities. David has served on multiple leadership committees within the field of paramedicine and currently sits on committees with the Southlake Foundation and the Town of Aurora.
David is an MPH candidate at the University of Waterloo and is completing professional training in not-for-profit management at Western University. He holds a BAHSc from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and completed his clinical training in paramedicine at Durham College and Centennial College.
David joined the YRCAS Board of Directors in March 2023 and is a member of the Governance Committee.
Francesca Loffreda is a Peer Mentor for Blue Door Support Services’ INNclusion Program – a program providing supportive housing for up to 4 2SLGBTQ+ youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness in York Region. Francesca has 4 years’ experience working with homeless children, youth and families at Blue Door. They moved to Canada from Italy in 2015 to study Child and Youth Care at Georgian College, specializing on human rights issues pertaining to the 2SLGBTQ+ community. In 2017, Francesca co-created GenderLens, the first and only Italian association aimed at supporting families to better support their gender variant and nonbinary children from a positive, person-centered approach. Francesca continues to support this project, advocating and educating about gender diversity and fluidity.
Francesca joined the YRCAS Board of Directors in October 2022
Kelly West is an experienced non-profit leader who brings a history of service excellence and a commitment to fostering a strong and positive work culture in the developmental services sector. She is the Vice President of Community Services at Kerry’s Place Autism Services responsible for system planning and leadership with the Ontario Autism Program, complex special needs strategy and provincial and federal service sector planning for persons with ASD.
Kelly holds a B.Soc.Sc. with a concentration in Criminology from the University of Ottawa, Bachelor of Social Work degree and Master of Social Work degree from York University and an Executive Master of Business Administration degree.
Kelly joined the YRCAS Board of Directors in September 2022 and is a member of the Governance Committee.
Lauren Lé Blanc
Lauren is a non-profit strategic operations director and a high conflict family mediator primarily supporting families involved with child welfare. Child protection is dear to her heart as she is a former crown ward of the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. She is a resilient, passionate individual with a strong background in understanding child, youth/ family complexities with the ability to pair current best practices to better guide desired individual, community & organizational outcomes. Lauren is a co-founder for Generation Seven Community Support Services, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing long term educational & transitional supports to youth exiting the child welfare system, as well youth that have been sexually exploited or exposed to human trafficking. Lauren formally served as a director at the Ontario Association of Child & Youth Care fighting for provincial legislation changes for children & youth. She continues to amplify the voices of children and youth within the Canadian child welfare system to ensure that they have better outcomes. At the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies Lauren sits on the provincial roundtable for 2slgbtq youth involved with the child welfare system. She also serves on the youth action committee with One Vision One Voice which addresses the overrepresentation and experiences of disparities faced by African Canadians that encounter the child welfare system. Lauren attended Queens University Smiths school of business, York University & the University of Toronto she studied Family mediation, project management, Risk management and Strategic planning. She is a highly certified individual in non-profit operations, mental health, human trafficking, lean six sigma, Crisis resolution, agile, change management and policy development and evaluation. Lauren is a continuous learner who is currently enrolled at the university of Calgary taking a part-time 2-year certificate in professional management specializing in strategic management.
Board Member and Officer at Large
Richard Kinch is a graduate of Western Ontario and recently retired from the Johnson & Johnson Family of companies where he held senior positions in a number of fields including Sales, Marketing, and Human Resources. Richard’s last position was Managing Director, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. For the past 10 years as a business consultant, he has focused on the areas of Executive Development, Team Building, and Strategic Planning. Richard has volunteered on a number of not-for-profit Boards, his most recent as Chair of CHATS (Community and Home Assistance to Seniors) in York Region. He is currently volunteering with the Youth Justice Commission in York Region as part of Project Springboard.
Richard joined the York Region CAS Board of Directors in May 2015 and is a current member of the Risk Oversight and the Governance Committees of the Board.
Riyaz Abdulrasul is a finance leader with over 25 years of experience working in the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Riyaz is a Chartered Professional Accountant/C.M.A. and currently holds the position of V.P. Finance & Technology at Canadian Mental Health Association York and South Simcoe. Other most recent positions were held at Southlake Regional Health Centre and Mackenzie Health. Riyaz previously held a position in the Board of Directors at Southlake Academic Family Health Team. His executive interests include strategic planning, performance improvement, corporate governance, fiscal accountability, change management, and the impact of social determinants of health.
Riyaz joined the YRCAS Board of Directors in September 2022 and is a member of the Finance Committee.
Dr. Suman Budhwani received her PhD from the Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation at the University of Toronto in Health Services Research, with a specialization in Outcomes and Evaluation. She has worked on a variety of research, evaluation, performance measurement and quality improvement projects in the health care sector over the last 15 years including in the areas of data analytics, digital health, virtual care, palliative care, cancer care, health equity, community engagement and service integration. She is passionate about community wellbeing and is excited about the opportunity to contribute to the York Region Community as a Board Member with York Region Children’s Aid Society.
Suman joined the YRCAS Board of Directors in January 2023 and is also a member of the Risk Oversight Committee.
Thushyan Kayilas is Senior Director of Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at LifeWorks. In this role, he is responsible for driving the organization’s global DEI strategy and governance across North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. Prior to joining LifeWorks, Thushyan lived and worked internationally with various institutions, including: Hewlett Packard, the United Nations, and the Government of Canada.
Thushyan holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University; Master of Science in Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University; and Juris Doctorate (JD) in Common Law from the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law.
Thushyan joined the YRCAS Board of Directors in October 2022 and is a member of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-racism (IDEA) Committee.
Tim Flemming is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments. Tim is also the President of Flemming & Associates Ltd, specializing in consulting in the areas of process improvement and solution implementation. Tim has held various senior positions with Sears Canada since 1998, including Senior Vice President of Procurement, National Financial Manager, and Director, Internal Audit. Tim is a graduate of economics from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Chartered Professional Accountant. Tim has volunteered with a number of youth and sport initiatives within York Region for over 20 years.
Tim joined the York Region CAS Board of Directors in December 2015 and is a current member of the Finance Committee of the Board.
Chief Executive Officer
Director, Legal Services
Director of Child, Youth and Family Wellbeing
Director, People and Culture
Chief Financial Officer