The Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council (HIPC) is funded by the federal government, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is sponsored by the City of Hamilton.
The HIPC Council is led by a Chair and Co-Chair and consists of key local community leaders. Members of HIPC are from many sectors in Hamilton, including housing, health, employment, education, language training, research, settlement services, local government, businesses, community-based organizations and media.
Dean, Centre for Community Partnerships & Experiential Learning, Mohawk College
Chair, Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council
Jim leads Mohawk College’s strategic commitment to postsecondary access, partnership development at the community level, and work integrated and experiential learning. He oversees programs and services for newcomers, the innovative City School initiatives, Employment Ontario initiatives, and School College Work programming. In the community, Jim serves as the Chair of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, is a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Syrian Refugees, and is the Co-Chair of the SCWI Golden Horseshoe Regional Planning team.
Le Réseau en Immigration francophone for Central and Southwest Region Ontario
M Alain Dobi is the Manager of Le Réseau en Immigration francophone for Central and Southwest Region Ontario. He holds a Masters in Social Work from Laval University and a graduate diploma in Public Administration from ENAP. Alain is very involved in the Francophone community and in immigrants settlement issues. He was a member of the National Francophone Immigration Table and the Joint Committee IRCC-FMC from 2013 to 2016. In 2015, he was the co-chair of the Experts Group on Francophone Immigration established by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.
Superintendent of Student Achievement, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB)
A Hamiltonian born and raised, Bill Torrens is a Superintendent of Student Achievement at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) with responsibilities that include English as a Second Language (ESL) programming upto grade 12. Bill has worked extensively in the area of ESL programming as a classroom teacher, consultant, school administrator and now superintendent. Through this work, Bill has demonstrated a commitment to building and maintaining strong partnerships with settlement agencies to support the needs of newcomers to Hamilton.
Paramedic Superintendent, Hamilton Paramedic Service
Brent has been a Paramedic Superintendent with the Hamilton Paramedic Service since 2012. His major responsibilities include being the Service’s community initiative representative, managing and expanding the Community Paramedicine Program, and delivering continuing medical education to the paramedic staff. Brent has an extensive frontline clinical background working in both the air and land ambulance environment. In 2009, he stepped away from his clinical work to complete a double Master's degree in Public Health and Health Management at the UNSW, in Australia. Brent is passionate about contributing to the overall health improvement of all our residents in the City.
Chukky was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He immigrated to Canada at the age of 16 and is a recent graduate of McMaster University. Chukky currently serves as the President of McMaster Student Union. He is an avid academic, researcher, and poet. Chukky volunteers with Empowerment Squared, and the Hamilton Youth poets, supporting young Hamiltonians to improve their literacy skills and learning experience, and all round development.
Executive Director, Wesley Urban Ministries
Daljit Garry is the Executive Director of Wesley Urban Ministries, a multi service agency in Hamilton, Ontario that supports the homeless, refugees, families, seniors, and at-risk children and youth. Daljit has worked in family and children services for more than two decades and has previously been Wesley’s director of family and children’s programs. Daljit has supported many community planning processes locally including housing and homelessness and those in the early years sector. Throughout these roles, Daljit has maintained a long standing commitment to helping those in need in our community and working with diverse communities.
Executive Director, Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre
Denise Brooks is the Executive Director of Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre and has served in that role for the past 20 years. She has a strong commitment to the inner city and to addressing poverty, inequity, racism and social exclusion through building knowledge, changing public policy and encouraging transformative action. With a background in organizational change, policy development and governance, she has worked with a wide cross-section of organizations and Boards in helping them improve their strategic and governance platforms. Denise was awarded both the Queen’s Golden Jubliee Medal and the Queen’s Diamond Jubliee Medal.
CEO, YWCA Hamilton
Denise Christopherson is a skilled and respected advocate whose passion for social justice, equity for women, and diversity have contributed to the goal of equality for women and girls. Denise’s commitment to marginalized and vulnerable women and their families is evidenced by all she does. As CEO, YWCA Hamilton, Denise is a dynamic leader who builds relationships within the non-profit sector and broader community. Denise is an active volunteer in Hamilton and has been the recipient of a number of accolades in recognition for her tireless advocacy for women’s issues.
Deputy Chief, Hamilton Police Service
Deputy Chief Dan Kinsella is responsible for Community Policing and directs the operations of the Service’s three Patrol Divisions, Investigative Services and Community Mobilization. Deputy Kinsella is active in the community and is the current past president of the John Howard Society of Hamilton-Burlington. He also has been a Board member with Banyan Community Services and Hamilton Police Service’s in-house charity, Project Concern. He is a recipient of the Canadian Order of Merit for Police Forces and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Executive Director, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton (SPRC)
Don Jaffray is Executive Director of the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton. He has specialized in policy matters concerned with social justice and equity, citizen participation in public policy decision-making, social indicators of community change and the integration of community service and planning systems. He has long term experience in designing and implementing community development projects for the SPRC and a variety of public and voluntary sector partners in Hamilton. His expertise also includes management practice in the non-profit sector, strategic planning, program evaluation and social research design and data analysis.
Grace Maciak currently holds a Case Management position with the Community and Emergency Services Division, City of Hamilton. She has an extensive work experience in Human Services and Education. Grace attended McMaster University to pursue an education in Social Work, Psychology and Leadership and Management Studies. She is a member of the Advisory Committee for Immigrants and Refugees. and is committed to the principles of partnership and collaboration to bring positive change and improve lives.
Huyen Dam is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University. Her research interest focuses on immigrant health and immigration broadly. Huyen has served on HIPC since 2011 and is currently a member of the Research and Evaluation Working Group. Her experience arriving as a young refugee has shaped her academic and professional life in Hamilton. Her work in the community and research reflects her passion for helping newcomers and immigrants find safety, identity, belonging, and home in Canada.
Executive Director, Immigrants Working Centre (IWC)
Ines Rios is the Executive Director of the Immigrants Working Centre (IWC). Ines has collaborated with allies ito empower newcomers to create conditions that foster settlement, skills development and access to work in Canada. Ines holds a degree in Mass Communications and Adult Education from the University of Santiago, Chile; is a graduate of the Maytree Foundation’s Leaders for Change Program; and holds a certificate in Management and Leadership from the Schulich School of Business, York University. She is a proud recipient of the 125th Confederation of Canada Medal and the Canadian Governors General, Golden Jubilee Medal.
Manager of Community Initiatives, City of Hamilton
John supports staff and a diverse community portfolio that includes the 25-year Hamilton Community Vision, Age-Friendly Hamilton, Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council and the City’s first Urban Indigenous Strategy. He is a respected municipal expert on public engagement and community strategic planning. He has presented at various seminars such as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Creative City Network of Canada (CCNC). John is a professional project manager with a Master’s degree in Development Studies. He is a director and treasurer at the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.
Executive Director, Workforce Planning Hamilton (WPH)
Judy is Executive Director of the Workforce Planning Hamilton and oversees a range of research projects and other partnerships that address labour market and skills development issues that bridge the gap between workforce supply and demand. Judy is a member of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force for Workforce Development, the Skills Development Flagship for the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction and is the past chair of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council. She is active in the community and volunteers as a Board member for Community Information Hamilton and the Community Centre for Media Arts.
President and CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
Keanin is the President & CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. Celebrating its 172nd anniversary and representing 1,000 members that employ 75,000 people, under Keanin's leadership the Chamber has remained the authoritative Voice of Hamilton Business. Prior to the Chamber, Keanin was Chief Operating Officer of Innovation Factory, Hamilton's Regional Innovation Centre, and a lawyer at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and the College of William & Mary School of Law. He serves as the Board Chair of Supercrawl and proudly lives with his wife and two children in Hamilton's lower city.
Program & Policy Advisor, Immigration Strategy, City of Hamilton
Layla Abdulrahim-Moore is the Working Group Coordinator for the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council. She holds an honours Commerce degree from McMaster University and has dedicated her career to focus on newcomer projects. Layla volunteers on local boards including: founding member and former chair of Global Hamilton Connect, chair of HIVEX 2015 Conference, Hamilton HIVE young professional board of directors, Hamilton Engagement Committee, and the Welcoming Communities task force at Mohawk College. She has been awarded the 40 under 40 Young Professionals Award in 2016 and nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction award.
Executive Director, Empowerment Squared
Leo Johnson spent eight years in refugee camps, after fleeing Liberia, and arrived in Canada in 2006 as a refugee. While studying political science at McMaster University, he founded Empowerment Squared, a charitable organization that promotes access to education, life long learning and educational projects in Liberia. He received the Albert Lager Prize for Student Initiative and was a semi-finalist in CBC’s Next Great Prime Minister Competition. He also received the YMCA Peace Medal, Gandhi Peace Award, World Citizenship Award and has been recognized among the top 75 immigrants in Canada. Leo was also named in Hamilton Spectator’s Top 40 under 40.
Social Service Worker/Housing Worker, Hamilton Housing Help Centre
From El Salvador, Lil Acevedo is a Social Service Worker and a Housing Worker for the Hamilton Housing Help Centre. She is also a singer and a songwriter. Lil came to Canada in 2004 and has been a tireless advocate for affordable housing and social Justice. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and Past Director of the Hamilton Hispanic girls Choir. Lil is very knowledgeable about newcomer and new immigrant issues, helping to develope new strategies to improve life for newcomers in Hamilton.
Senior Manager, YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford
As the Senior Regional Manager of the Employment & Immigrant Services department for the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford, Lily has developed and implemented programs for new immigrants over the past 7 years. Through these programs, the YMCA has served over annually 8,000 new immigrants of all immigration categories, including international students. As a member of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, she has developed numerous collaborative initiatives with community partners. Lily has a Master’s of Science and a Bachelor of Education.
Superintendent of Education, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB)
Sandie Pizzuti was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She attended schools within the HWCDSB, from there attended the University of Western Ontario where she graduated with an Honours Degree in English/ French, then went on to complete her Masters in English at the University of Windsor and her Bachelors of Education at the University of Toronto. Sandie has been in education for 27 years, and has had various leadership positions, now serving in her 3rd year of Superindentency. Sandie is married to her husband John for 27 years, has 2 sons aged 21 and 24.
Sarah Jama is a community organizer and was the 2016/17 president of the McMaster Womanists. She has organized a number of events in Hamilton on racism, such as the Rise Up: Rally against Police Brutality, and Hamilton’s first Anti-Racism Action Initiative. She served a two year term as the Ontario Director of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students, and founded Maccess at McMaster University. Sarah was named by the CBC as one of Hamilton’s top five most interesting people of 2016. She is currently a Community Engagement Liaison in the office of Councillor Matthew Green, and an Outreach Coordinator in the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.
Project Lead, Economic Development Division, City of Hamilton
Sarah Wayland is the Project Lead for Global Hamilton in the Economic Development Division in the City of Hamilton. A dual US-Canadian citizen, she earned her PhD in political science from the University of Maryland. Sarah also owns her own consulting business focusing on various social issues, and she has conducted research for various government and nongovernmental organizations, including Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Government of Ontario, Region of Peel, Maytree, Metcalf Foundation, and Community Foundations of Canada. From 2005 to 2014, she served on the board of directors of Immigrant Women’s Centre, including as Secretary and President.
Branch Manager, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
Sharon Reichheld is currently RBC Branch Manager of the Locke and Main location. Sharon has been a member of RBC for the past 29 years where she has held various roles in both Business and Personal banking. Sharon plays a very active role in her community in various ways. She is a member of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, a Guide/Pathfinder leader, Co-chair of the Parent Council at Mount Hope School and a member of two BIA’s. RBC provides many ways for Sharon to continue her love of community involvement and she has been recognized for her dedication to helping others.
Director of Immigration Program and Services, College Boréal
Suzanne Bélanger-Fontaine is the Director of Immigration Program and Services at College Boréal, one of the two francophone community colleges in Ontario. The College has been central in welcoming francophone immigrants and currently has 7 immigration centres in the province, where they provide services ranging from settlement to language training to employability. Prior to joining College Boreal, Suzanne was a public servant for nearly thirty years. Before leaving the government, she was the Ontario representative of the Commissioner of official languages of Canada for five years. Her claim to fame is to have lived, worked or played in all 10 provinces and 3 territories.
Program Manager, Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI)
Yohana Otite is a Program Manager at HCCI where she oversees programs like DiverseCity onBoard, Advantage Diversity and other community engagement initiatives. Yohana has experience in the non-profit and private sectors both in Canada and Ethiopia. She has a Master’s Degree and B.Ed. As a communications professional and community activator, she has been involved in Hamilton in the settlement sector and youth development. She is also a board member at Neighbour to Neighbour and a committee member of the City of Hamilton Advisory Committee for Immigrants and Refugees.
Manager, Mobile Teams, Good Shepherd HOMES Program
Zenaida came to Hamilton with her family as a refugee from El Salvador in the early 1990's. Her childhood and life experiences have fostered a passion to provide support to those in need. Zenaida currently has the honour to volunteer as the Chair for the City of Hamilton Immigrants and Refugees Advisory Committee. She leads the organization of the annual Multicultural Wellness Fair and participates in other volunteer opportunities. In her professional life Zenaida works as one on the managers for the Good Shepherd HOMES Program. Zenaida is humbled for the opportunity to pursue her passions in her current roles.
- Lil Acevedo, Housing Worker, Housing Help Centre
- John Ariyo, Manager, Community Initiatives, Community and Emergency Services Department, City of Hamilton
- Suzanne Brown, Director, Neighbourhood and Community Initiatives, Community and Emergency Services Department, City of Hamilton
- Denise Christopherson, CEO, YWCA Hamilton
- Jim Commerford, President & CEO, YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford
- Huyen Dam, PhD Candidate, McMaster University
- Laurie Davidson, Regional Vice President, Greater Hamilton, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
- Alain Dobi, Coordonnateur du Reseau de soutiena l'immigration francophone
- Lorraine Hamilton, Project Manager, Immigrant Services and Programs, Collège Boréal
- Don Jaffray, Executive Director, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
- Richard Koroscil, President & CEO, Korlon Strategic Services
- Lily Lumsden, Senior Regional Manager, Employment, Training & Settlement, YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford
- Kirsten Maxwell, Policy and Program Specialist, Housing Services Division, Community Services Department, City of Hamilton
- Heather Moffat, Vice Principal of System Programs, Vincent Massey Site, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board
- Yohana Otite, Program Manager/Community Activator, Diversecity Onboard, Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion
- Sandra Pizzuti, Superintendent of Education, Hamilton-Wentworth District Catholic School Board
- Ines Rios, Executive Director, Immigrants Working Centre
- Barry Smith, Vice-Principal of Community and International Education Services, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board
- Judy Travis, Executive Director, Workforce Planning Hamilton
- Jim Vanderveken (Chair), Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies, Mohawk College
- Sarah Wayland, Project Lead, Global Hamilton, Economic Development Division, Planning and Economic Development Department, City of Hamilton
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