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Board of Directors

Samuel Schwisberg
Chair, OCC
Chair of Membership and Governance Committee

Sam has been a member of OCC for 3 years. He has been a caregiver since 1990, when his wife was diagnosed with MS. She has been in a wheelchair since 1992. Sam’s legal experience includes serving as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at the Canadian Red Cross. His areas of expertise include corporate and commercial law, the law of charities and not-for-profits, and the governance of charities and not-for-profits. He currently also teaches Business Law at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business. Sam is currently chairing the OCC Membership & Governance Working Group/Committee.

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Lauren Bates
Co-Chair, OCC
Chair, Research & Advocacy Committee

Lauren has been a Member of OCC since 2018, and joined the Board in 2020. She brings over 30 years of experience in policy analysis and development to OCC. Her background as a lawyer gives her a strong understanding of legislative and policy frameworks, while her history of community connections grounds her in the lived experience of law and policy, particularly among vulnerable and marginalized communities. 

While at the Ontario Human Rights Commission, she championed and led a major project on the human rights of family caregivers (“The Cost of Caring”). At the Law Commission of Ontario, she led law reform projects on ageing, disability, legal capacity, and the end of life that were designed to include the experiences of caregivers. As Director of Policy at Wellesley Institute, she supported projects that centered the under-examined experiences of culturally, linguistically and ethnically diverse older adults and their family caregivers. In her own life, she has provided care and support to several family members. Lauren says, “I know well that much of our society rests on the invaluable but all-too-frequently taken-for-granted efforts of family caregivers, and that it is a role that brings both joy and difficulty. I also understand that the struggle of women for equality is deeply entwined with the recognition of and support for family caregiving.”


Cheryl Perera,

Past Chair

Cheryl has been a member of OCC for 8 years. She also represents OCSA (Ontario Community Support Services Association) on the Coalition. As well, she has chaired the Awareness & Communications Working Group/Committee at OCC, and the Partnership Working Group. Cheryl joined Skylark in January 2018 as Senior Director of System Services and Complex Special Needs. In this role, Cheryl oversees a 30 million dollar budget and multiple system navigation services for both the children's mental health sector and developmental services sector. Prior to this, Cheryl worked at VHA Home HealthCare and was responsible for overseeing and building VHA’s charitable programs province-wide. These programs are dedicated to serving those who are most vulnerable and marginalized in our community. Cheryl holds an MSW from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Schulich. The skills she brings to OCC include business development, strategic planning, marketing and partnership building.

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Daniel Nowoselski

Chair, Awareness & Communications Commitee

Member, Research & Advocacy Committee


Daniel currently serves on both the Research & Advocacy and the Awareness & Communications Committees at OCC. He is currently working as the Advocacy Manager (Hospice Palliative Care) for the Canadian Cancer Society, where he is responsible for, among other things, supporting their advocacy work regarding palliative care, financial supports for people with cancer, and supports for caregivers.

Before taking the position at the Canadian Cancer Society, he spent eight years in various MPP and Ministers’ offices in the Ontario government and managed and worked on a variety of political campaigns. He believes this experience, where he worked closely with a variety of volunteers and limited resources to affect change, will serve him well as a board member for the OCC.  

Lastly, and most importantly, Daniel said “I am passionate about this work because of the losses I have experienced and because of my loved ones with chronic illnesses. The work the OCC does is personal to me and I have a deep personal commitment to seeing the OCC fulfill its goals.”

Dana MacMillan

Dana is the Director of Services at Wesway, a not-for-profit respite organization that supports family caregivers living in Thunder Bay or in a rural or remote community in Northern Ontario. Dana has been working in the respite field for over 30 years and has focused on creating responsive respite services for family caregivers who are supporting individuals with challenging care needs from birth to senior years. She firmly believes that caregivers are the true experts in relation to their care and is committed to ensuring that services are shaped to meet the unique needs and preferences of family caregivers. Dana is also a founding member of the International Short Break Association (ISBA), an organization that provides a platform for knowledge exchange, courses of action and working practices within the field of short breaks (respite) worldwide. 

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Rose-Marie Fraser
Vice Chair, Research & Advocacy Committee

Rose-Marie has been a member of OCC for over 6 years. She has served as a Vice Chair of the OCC Research & Advocacy Working Group/Committee for the past 2 years. She has also brought her experience to many external committees in her roles as a part-time Social Worker on a Medical Oncology Team at the University Health Network and a Professional Practice Leader. Rose-Marie believes “nothing has impacted my life more than being a caregiver to a family member with a mental health diagnosis, a daughter who has had a heart transplant and caring for an ageing family member with early-onset dementia."

Patricia (Patti) Lennox
Membership & Governance Committee

Patti has been with the OCC for 7+ years. Now retired, she chairs the Successful Aging Advisory Committee of United Way East Ontario-Lanark. LC-SAAC is a partnership of donors, interested citizens, service providers, organization representatives, coalition members, business leaders, government, labour, educators and other funders. The purpose of the committee is to provide leadership, direction and support to United Way and agencies related to seniors and ageing through the development of resources, partnerships, alliances, projects and initiatives within and across sectors. The priority goal is: "Seniors are able to stay in their homes and remain engaged in the community, and all caregivers feel supported. This can be done by reducing the factors that lead to isolation and vulnerability while respecting seniors’ independence and by establishing caregiver support strategies." Prior to retirement, Patti spent 20 years in health care with VON and Community and Primary Health Care. Her primary focus has been caregivers and caregiver support. As well, Patti served as School Board Trustee for five years at the Upper Canada District School Board.

Liana Sikharulidze
Chair, Partnership Committee

Liana has been a member of OCC for 6 years. She is a Registered Nurse and brings over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Liana is currently the Executive Director at Qualicare North York and Toronto, where she is responsible for overall operations and business development.. Liana is passionate about senior care delivery,   caregivers and palliative care.  In 2016 she became a full-time caregiver to her grandparents, who both had Dementia / Alzheimers. Liana ended up being a constant advocate and navigator for her grandparent's health. As a result of her personal and professional engagements, she has developed a strong understanding of healthcare challenges from the perspectives of both caregivers and clients. Liana says ”I am very passionate about making an impact in our healthcare system. I understand what caregivers and clients are going through, and am committed to the OCC values and vision”.

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