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About QCC

QCC is a Membership Association that recognizes its member’s contribution in the service to the public. We build pride of service through recognition events, showcasing member profiles, and revealing the positive contributions that public and non-profit services have made for people, communities and within our province.

Our membership is made up of those who work, volunteer or are retired from the Ontario Public Service, the Broader Public Service and the Non-Profit Sector.

QCC is committed to delivering value with programs and services that engage its membership. QCC offers access to recognition events, learning workshops and seminars, community gatherings, group travel and discounted products and services. We are transforming ourselves; building on 75 years of experience, while taking an entrepreneurial look to the future to become a modern, robust and valuable member organization.





Candys Ballanger-Michaud


Position: Former President and CEO of Workplace Safety North.

In 2017, Candys retired from Workplace Safety North (WSN), where she held the position as the inaugural President and CEO since its inception in 2009. Prior to joining WSN, Candys was the Northern Regional Director at Ontario Ministry of Labour, and held various senior positions in the OPS for over 28 years. Candys is a graduate of governance and administration at Queen’s University and a business major from Sheridan College.

Along with this education and her experience, the QCC benefits greatly from her not-for-profit sector expertise in governance.


Brian Miki

Vice Chair

Position: Manager, Service Ontario.

Brian is currently a manager with Government and Consumer Services in Toronto. He has been working for the OPS for over 30 years with a number of ministries including, CCR, Agriculture and Food, Transportation, Labour and Health. He has held positions in auditing, IT, Project Management and Service Management.

Brian has been on the QCC Board of Directors for 4 years, starting his third year as Secretary and Treasurer. In that time Brian has chaired the finance committee, overseeing several audits, crafted an IT strategy, and is currently supporting a website and IT renewal project with QCC.




Position: Active QCC Member Manager, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Harriett Grant is currently as Manager at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; she has been working in the Ontario Public Service for over 19 years in both central agency and line ministry program management roles.

Harriett holds a M.A. in Adult Education from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) with an emphasis on Organizational Development. She has led a number of change initiatives within the public sector and brings that expertise to her volunteer role on the QCC Board.


Stephen Wright

Past Chair

Position: Deputy Superintendent, Programs, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Stephen Wright is currently the Deputy Superintendent of Programs at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre. Stephen has been working in OPS for 34 years and is a past Ovation Award winner, an Eclipse Award winner and has received the Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal in addition to many other leadership awards.

In Stephen’s volunteer life he has been the Chair of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Chair of the Economic Development Committee for the city of Thunder Bay and was Vice Chair for the Northern Economic development council. Stephen is a family person and has been married for 31 years.

Stephen’s home town is Thunder Bay, and he is volunteering on the QCC Board of Directors because he wants to make the QCC more responsive to members’ needs


Robert Ceh

Governance Officer

Position: Manager, Financial Oversight and Reporting Unit (Children and Youth Services).

Robert is currently a manager with the Ministries of Children and Youth Services, and Community and Social Services. Robert has been working for the OPS for close to 20 years in program and financial capacities primarily with these two ministries. Prior to joining the OPS, Robert worked for many years in sales and marketing capacities in the construction industry.

Robert joined the QCC Board in 2016 and sits on the Finance and Affinity (Member Rewards) committees. He volunteers with the QCC to assist in the development of programs to support members, and also to help bring awareness of the QCC to active members.


Nick Perera


Position: Retired QCC member Former Manager at Ministry of the Attorney General

Nick has had a successful 34-year career in the Ontario Public Service working primarily with two ministries: the Ministry of the Attorney General where he worked in the Court Services Division and on the Civil Enforcement Project as well as with the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations (MCCR), with the Registration Division, the Business Division and the Northern Relocation Project. Nick has consulted with The World Bank, Washington DC on a legal and judicial reform project in Sri Lanka and served as executive director of Community Legal Services Niagara.

Nick’s volunteer career with QCC started in 2011 when he became a board member. He served as QCC’s secretary treasurer for two years, 2012-2014 and assumed the presidency in July 2014 for 2 years.

Nick has enjoyed his 34 years in the OPS and decided to volunteer for the QCC as he wanted to remain connected and help promote the OPS and QCC members.

Nick has enjoyed fulfilling assignments within the OPS over the years. I was also given the opportunity to work with the World Bank (thanks to Art Daniels who recommended me for this opportunity) in Sri Lanka (my country of birth). This assignment involved modernizing and streamlining the countries business registration process in order to encourage investment opportunities.

Some of Nick’s personal interests and hobbies include golf and travelling. He currently resides in Ajax, Ontario.

Kimberley Bates


Position: Kimberley brings wide-ranging experience in communications, marketing, change management, media, human resources, governance, membership and association experience and recognition and rewards. Experience within government and the private sector, Kimberley brings a wide range of perspectives, including volunteering in the college sector.

Will Stratton


Position: Will has extensive expertise in leading large transformations, developing revenue generation and growth strategies, and process improvement. He places a strong emphasis on customer experience with a special ability to develop creative solutions to complex problems. Formerly Will was with the Department of National Defence, and volunteers for the ‘Right to Play’ youth- to-youth program as well as initiating a program to give Syrian refugees a camp experience.

Michael Donsky


Position: Michael has over 20 years of experience as a commercial and civil litigator. His comprehensive practice and experience includes legal, human resources, change management and governance. He is an excellent negotiator with outstanding interpersonal skills.

Peter Hoy


Position: Former Manager of Business Transformation Projects – Regional and Corporate Services, Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Peter currently resides in Oakville and explains that he enjoys volunteering for the QCC Board because it gives him the opportunity to contribute his knowledge and experience to the QCC which has been gained from working 30 years in the OPS. Being a member of the QCC Board allows him to continue to fulfill his commitment to the value proposition of public service and recognition of the outstanding contributions made by public servants in Ontario.

Some of Peter’s personal interests and hobbies include: SUP (paddle board) competitions; coaching and mentoring in amateur sport; volunteering in the community, travel, and reading.

Some of his personal achievements or work related projects:

  • conceived of and initiated “OPS Spirit” in 2002 as a member of the Deputy Ministers Leadership Group
  • received a number of Amethyst Award nominations
  • recipient of numerous sport awards including a gold medal at the Canadian Canoe/Kayak Championships
  • biked across Canada.
Abby Katz Starr

Abby Katz Starr


Position: Abby Katz Starr has just retired from the Ontario Public Service as the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Seniors Policy and Programs Division of the
Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility.

Abby has an extensive background in seniors’ issues, beginning her career as a social worker with a gerontology focus working in both institutional as well as community settings.

Abby has been with the OPS for over 26 years in a variety of different ministries, including Ministry of Government Services, as the Director of Corporate Policy, the Ontario Women’s Directorate, Ministry of Community and Social Services (Child Abuse prevention), The Ministry of the Attorney General, in the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee/Family Justice Division, The Children’s Lawyer, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as the Registrar of the Heath Services and Health Professions Appeal and Review Boards as well as the Chief Operating Officer for the Health Boards Secretariat, and over a very public and high profile period, at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal as the Manager of Gaming Policy.

Abby has extensive experience in organizational leadership, regulatory policy, corporate governance, policy development as well as strategic and corporate planning and reporting. She is recognized for her leadership within and outside OPS for building consensus, and for achieving results on complex projects.

Lesley Brown

Executive Director

My favourite quote is: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust. I find this particularly fitting for the transformation that the QCC is going through. As we re-imagine the QCC, we are recognizing the traditions upon which this organization was built, while also seeing the possibilities for the future of the organization.

My Go-to Karaoke song is: The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Originally recorded by Solomon Linda with the Evening Birds, this song has been adapted by many artists including the Weavers and Jimmy Dorsey, and most notably played in the Lion King. It’s not my favourite song, but I sang it so often to put my daughter to sleep when she was a baby, that I know the lyrics fairly well.

The best piece of advice I've ever been given is: Stay calm and carry on. It has served me well many times.

My favorite word in the English language is: Interlocutor (a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation). I used it so many times when I was working at Essential Skills Ontario that I was ordered to pay $1.00 every time I said it. It’s still my favourite word, just a bit expensive to use too often.

Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous? No one famous that I know of, but there was a chimney sweep, a suffragette, and a female bar owner in the 1800’s, how cool is that?

My first job was: working for the CNE on the games. I worked at the one where people used a spray gun to hit a target to make their car reach the top, and one night all the players thought it was really funny to turn their spray guns on me!


Anna Shaw

Director of Business Development and Rewards Program

My first job was: as a cashier at Knob Hill Farms. It’s tough work when you work long shifts, standing on your feet, servicing a continuous stream of customers for minimum wage. I’m always appreciative and respectful of anyone in a service counter position because I’ve been there!

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is: from my father. You will have many paths to choose from in life. Choose one and move forward. Don’t look back, no regrets. Life is too short.

In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a: nurse. I’m constantly caring for the injured around me…half the time it’s me!

Cats, dogs or other? Dogs…but my 10 month old black lab puppy Winston is putting me through the wringer and testing my resolve! He is so lucky he’s so cute!

My Dream travel destination is: Italy. It may not seem so exciting but I want to live like a local and stay for a while.

Jennifer Cunningham

Senior Manager,Marketing Communications

My favourite quote is: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

My favorite word in the English language is: bamboozle. As in ‘Tom Sawyer bamboozled the neighborhood boys into doing it for him.' The word cracks me up and I love saying it!

My Dream travel destination is: Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas. I am also an avid cyclist and cycle touring is just starting to take off there. It is known as the land of the thousand hills or the Switzerland of Africa so I’d better start training now…

Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous? I am apparently distantly related to JC Penny on my mother’s side. More interesting to me though is my grandfather on my father’s side. My grandfather (b. 1867- d. 1952) met “Buffalo Bill” Cody in England at the end of the 19th century at one of his touring Wild West Shows. Yep – my grandfather – not great-grandfather - he was born the same year Canada became a country and was 75 when my Dad was born!

Cats, dogs or other? I’m definitely more of a dog person but I have liked a cat or two in my life. Right now though I am obsessed with miniature horses! They are so darn cute!

Patricia MacPherson

Manager, Member Services and Programming

In another life, I'm pretty sure I was Leslie Knope. (Leslie Knope is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. She is portrayed by Amy Poehler.)

Cats, dogs or other? Cats. I've always had a cat in my life.

My favourite quote is: “If you're old enough to critique what I put in your lunch, you're old enough to make it yourself. – @sarcasticmommy4”

The most important thing I learned before high school was: there is no such thing as luck. As a child I competed in cross-country ski races. Every Saturday we would spend the day practising and Sunday was race day. If I didn't train hard enough I didn't do well the next day. Also, spaghetti for breakfast on race day was my go-to meal. Complex carbs... how would a 10-year know this?

If I could invent a holiday, it would definitely involve lots of food, fireworks and music. A street party where all your neighbours bring food from their childhood.

Katherine Wright

Senior Executive Assistant

If I were a superhero, my superpower would be: to understand and speak all languages. Nothing is more compelling to me than the opportunity to widen my perspective, and nothing limits perspective more than the language that we have to understand the world. How would my understanding of humanity, and in relation, my understanding of myself change if I could speak all languages? I think it is a delicious question to ponder!

My favourite quote is: “Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” This quote is from Brene Brown, one of my favourite thinkers and writers. I think we all get caught up trying to manage the nitty gritty details of life, and this quote reminds me to loosen my hold on those bits and trust that by simply being there for my coworkers, friends, and family, the rest will come.

My favourite word in the English language is: Sonder - the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own. I’ve had that feeling many a time and remember feeling ecstatic when I learned that there is a word to describe it!

My dream travel destination is: Iceland. The landscape is stunning; somehow both harsh and ethereal. Landscapes that beautiful are invitations to remember how small we are, and also get lost in the magic of being alive in the world.

My first job was: Working the customer service desk at Zellers. I loved my shifts there; it was then that I first realized how much I enjoyed people-focused jobs.



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The Quarter Century Club (QCC) is changing its name to Applaud because it no longer reflects its new strategic direction. Instead, it is rooted in its history of recognizing 25 years of work in public service when the organization was part of the government. This change to Applaud officially marks a new stage where the organization is evolving its programming away from long service recognition to focus on a more comprehensive approach to acknowledging its members at every career stage and into retirement.

QCC expands its membership requirements beyond the Ontario Public Service to those in the Broader Public Service and Nonprofit at all stages of their life and career to recognize pride of service of the membership.  Developed a three year Strategic plan that honours the past while moving into the future.

Membership with the QCC is no longer automatic for those in the OPS and BPS upon reaching a service milestone, but rather those eligible can opt-in to become members.

The OPS/QCC Transfer Payment Agreement was restructured to strengthen the OPS/QCC, relationship with the QCC administering the long-service recognition program, on behalf of the Ontario Public Service to OPS employees who have achieved 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of continuous and cumulative service.

The QCC extended recognition to OPS employees to 15-year service members.

The OPS extended their recognition program to employees with 20, 30 and 35 plus years of service at each 5-year service milestone, adding to recognition for 25 years of service.

The Ontario Government dedicated funding to the Long Service Recognition Programming for Ontario Public Service employees. QCC invested in its membership programs by raising revenue through its Affinity programs and by voluntary participation of its members.

The QCC became an incorporated not-for-profit association.

Ontario Public Service (OPS) commissioned the Quarter Century Club (QCC) as a dedicated program within the Ontario Government to recognize OPS workers with many years of service.