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The Hidden Heroes of Public Service – Reflections and Learnings from a year of COVID-19

Event Date: Thursday, April 22nd, 2021
Event Time: 4.30-6.00pm

Steve Paikin

Host of The Agenda on TVO

Steve Paikin is the host of TVO’s flagship current affairs program, The Agenda with Steve Paikin, the gold standard for in depth of analysis and thoughtful debate in Canadian media. In more than 35 years in the business, Steve has built a sterling reputation as an eminently fair journalist, who has moderated federal and Ontario election debates. Earlier in his career, Steve worked at CBC News as an anchor and correspondent, a reporter for the Hamilton Spectator and CHFI radio, as well as radio and television stations in Boston. Steve has authored seven books including his latest, Bill Davis: Nation Builder, and Not So Bland After All, has produced several feature-length documentaries, and reported from two different war zones. In October 2013, Steve became an educational ambassador and was appointed Chancellor of Laurentian University in Sudbury. He was re-appointed in 2018. He is also a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. Steve has honorary degrees from Laurentian, Victoria University at the University of Toronto, McMaster University in Hamilton, and York University. He also has honorary diplomas from Humber, Centennial, and Mohawk Colleges. In December of 2013, Steve was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions as a journalist who engages, informs and educates viewers on a broad range of public policy issues, and was invested into the Order of Ontario in 2014.
Steve was born in Hamilton, Ontario and lives in Toronto.

The Hidden Heroes of Public Service – Reflections and Learnings from a year of COVID-19

Event Date: Thursday, April 22nd, 2021
Event Time: 4.30-6.00pm

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell is the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. As the representative of Her Majesty The Queen, Ms. Dowdeswell carries out constitutional and ceremonial duties and facilitates healthy citizen and community engagement.
Ms. Dowdeswell has served the public interest at all orders of government and in the private sector. She contributed globally as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. In Canada her diverse portfolios ranged from education and culture to environment and the management of complex public enquiries. She was the founding president and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, and later the president and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. She has served on the boards of Canadian and international corporate and non-profit organizations.
Since taking office in late 2014, Ms. Dowdeswell has challenged Ontarians to think deeply about their role not just as residents of a province, but as global citizens. Building resilience and sustainability through inclusive economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and social cohesion, as well as safeguarding democracy, has been the focus of her mandate.
Ms. Dowdeswell has a bachelor of science in home economics and teaching certificate from the University of Saskatchewan and a master of science in behavioural sciences from Utah State University. She is an officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and the recipient of numerous distinctions and fellowships. She holds 11 honorary doctorates.

Emily Tamfo

Sr. Product Manager, The Ontario Cabinet Office

Emily Tamfo specializes in managing products, leading projects, and creating the perfect messaging for target audiences. Emily has most recently worked as the Sr. Product Manager for, Ontario's source for COVID-19 information, within the Treasury Board Secretariat. Emily uses her communications expertise to lead multidisciplinary product teams to success and design the path forward to digital transformation. She is passionate about developing innovative solutions in safe, diverse, and inclusive spaces. Emily is also a fashion and lifestyle columnist, with work that has been featured in Elle Canada, The Kit and Refinery29.

Ron Kelusky

Chief Prevention Officer, ADM, Labour, Training and Skills Development

Ron Kelusky is Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). The CPO oversees the Prevention Office within the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and has a wide range of responsibilities, including:
• Working with Ontario's health and safety system partners to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
• Reporting to the Minister of Labour on the performance of Ontario's occupational health and safety system through an Annual Report
• Setting province-wide training and safety programs standards
• The establishment and implementation of a new provincial occupational health and safety strategy
Under the CPO’s leadership, the Prevention Office has supported workplaces in Ontario to implement health and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included working on cross government and industry committees and producing over 200 workplace guidance resources which have been viewed over one million times.
Prior to his appointment as CPO, Ron was President and CEO of Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA), a Health and Safety Association of the Ministry of Labour. Before joining PSHSA, Ron held senior positions within the private and not for profit sectors and in municipal government. Ron holds a Master of Business Administration, is a Certified Municipal Manager (CMM III) and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and Canadian Society of Safety Engineers.

Spencer Daniels

Senior Product Manager, TBS

Spencer is a senior product manager (and cofounder) at the Ontario Digital Service. For the last 15 years, he’s been working to make online products better for the people of Ontario. Across stints in IT, shared services and communications, his focus on elevating user needs has led him to centre of the Ontario Public Services’ digital government transformation efforts. From 2016-2019 his product team piloted Ontario’s Digital Service Standard during their Amethyst Award-winning overhaul of Ontario’s Environmental Registry. Since March 2020, he’s been focused on building and iterating on the province’s open source COVID-19 self-assessment, screening and vaccine booking tools. He believes that software, like people, is always a work in progress.

Barb Simmons

Director, Policy, Citizenship and Immigration Division & Office of Women’s Issues

Barb Simmons is currently the policy Director for both the Citizenship and Immigration Division and the Office of Women’s Issues at the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Barb has 30 years of experience in the Ontario Public Service and has held executive positions in a wide variety of sectors including post-secondary education, employment and training, adult developmental services, corrections, and labour market policy.

Barb has a degree in Fine Arts from York University, is married to Alison, and has two children, Annie and Alec, with whom she never gets to spend enough time.

Christopher Gonsalves

Director of Strategy and Delivery, MGCS (Supply Chain)

Christopher Gonsalves is the Director of Strategy and Delivery for Supply Chain Ontario, within Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, leading supply chain planning and operations as part of Ontario’s pandemic supply chain response.

Prior to this, he has played key leadership roles in the Ontario Government’s Supply Chain Centralization Initiative, and in enabling supply chain transformation and innovation procurement in the Broader Public Sector. Before joining the Ontario Public Service, Christopher spent approximately 10 years with Motorola Inc., holding progressive leadership roles supporting strategic transformation in manufacturing, logistics, procurement, quality and IT.

Christopher has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto, a Master of Business Administration from DePaul University’s Kellstadt School of Management in Chicago, Illinois, and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.