Director Biographies

Sheila Regehr (Chairperson): Sheila is a founding member of the Basic Income Canada Network and former Executive Director of the National Council of Welfare. Her 29 years of federal public service spanned front-line work, policy analysis and development, international relations and senior management, with a focus on improving fairness and equality, and on gender and race in particular. She has policy expertise in areas of income security and taxation, such as child tax benefits, child support, maternity/parental benefits, pensions and social assistance. Her insight also comes from experiencing poverty as a young parent. Sheila is grateful, in her retirement, to have resources, time and health to do volunteer work and help care for twin grandsons.

Pierre Stevens (Treasurer): Pierre grew up in the Netherlands where he benefitted from a government-funded post-secondary education that would not have been possible otherwise. In Canada since 1973, he taught for 33 years, primarily as a Senior Instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University. He has been active in the Faculty Association, serving as an executive member, as treasurer and on the negotiation team. Pierre is guided by his belief that every human being has the right to a fair standard of living, and that as a society, as a community, we have an obligation to make this possible for all. As treasurer, he wants to support the Basic Income Canada Network in achieving its goals, especially eradicating poverty and securing fair income redistribution.

Jenna van Draanen, PhD (Executive member): Jenna recently obtained a PhD at the University of California Los Angeles and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. Most of her research and evaluation interest and experience are in the fields of mental health, addiction, and homelessness. Jenna became interested in the concept of basic income during her master’s degree and continues to advocate in both a personal and professional role for the alleviation of poverty and income security for all. Jenna has worked extensively on research projects with people who have lived experience of poverty, and is personally dedicated to creating a truly inclusive society.

Stephen Brown (Secretary): Steve is a Partner in Deloitte’s Consulting Practice and leads the Consumer Industry Practice. He was recently the Chair of the Board of Youth Challenge International, a Canadian-based NGO focused on global youth development. In both his paid and volunteer work he has increasingly come up against the topic of Basic Income and the opportunities and challenges brought about by automation, disruption and concentration of income/wealth. He recently addressed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology regarding the future of Manufacturing in Canada and he serves clients who are confronted by choices regarding robotics, artificial intelligence, wages, employee retention and workforce development on a daily basis. He hopes to help bring the voice of business to the discussions of Basic Income and act as an ambassador for the topic back into the business community. 

Stéphane Boisvert (Executive member): Stéphane Boisvert is a French-Canadian international speaker who works as as a Principal Engineer at the Canadian Digital Services. He was formerly Director of Technology for WordPress.com VIP. Stéphane has previously also been involved in politics, working for the Office of the Leader of the Opposition under Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. One subject close to Stéphane’s heart is mental health and he has spoken on this subject on various occasions. His lived experiences have pushed him to advocates for both a national pharmacare plan and a guaranteed minimum income program. Stéphane grew up in Ste-Anne, Manitoba and now lives with his partner in Ottawa.

Eleni Bakopanos: The Hon. Eleni Bakopanos has over 40 years experience in public service, including as a Member of Parliament (1993-2006), serving as Parliamentary Secretary for Justice and social economy portfolios and as Assistant Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. She is presently on the National Executive and Board of Directors of Equal Voice  holding the position of Treasurer as well as VP of A Voix Égales Quebec. EV is a multiparty not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote more women at every level of elected office. Eleni is ex-President of the Women’s Commission of the Liberal Party of Canada (Q), promoting policies such as social cohesion and inclusion, a guaranteed basic income, immigrant and women’s rights. She served as senior policy advisor to Quebec’s Premier and the Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities. Eleni recently held the position of Senior Director for Government Relations at her Alma mater, McGill University. Her extensive community activism began in the 1980's as a volunteer on several Boards, including Centraide Montreal (Executive member) and the Montreal Council of Women (VP).

Tara Kainer: Tara Kainer has lived experience of poverty as a single mom of three sons and has been advocating for rights and services for people living with low incomes for more than 25 years. Organizer/Educator with the Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC ) Office of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in Kingston, Ontario, she works on projects and campaigns to eliminate poverty, improve food security, create affordable housing, and advance income security for all. She has been a member of the Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee since it was established in November 2013.

Floyd Marinescu: Floyd Marinescu is CEO and co-founder of C4Media which produces InfoQ.com and the QCon conferences; Floyd is also an angel investor, author, and creator of the Toronto Entrepreneurs of Passion and Purpose  (TEPP). InfoQ.com currently recently reached over 1.5M unique visitors/month & QCon serves 7000 attendees world wide in SF, NY, London, Beijing, Shanghai, and Sao Paulo.  TEPP's FB group has over 5000 members. From Floyd’s perspective, a basic income will be a necessity for us to transition through the period of upcoming automation of jobs and begin to reverse the current path of extreme inequality and economic insecurity.  Even without these mega-trends, a basic income is the best idea to improve the ability of everyone to participate fully in democratic society, facilitate the circulation of money needed to make the economy more robust and humane, reduce a tremendous amount of suffering and empower the bottom half of society.

John Mills: John has been active in social justice areas for a number of years. He has lived all over Western Canada and has made Hamilton his home since 2011. His lived experience of poverty prompted him to become involved in working on behalf of the underprivileged in his community. He is an active volunteer serving on the Hamilton Basic Income Group, Chair of the Governance Committee for the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Legal Clinic, as President of Mood Menders Support Services, with the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction's ‘Speak Now' Speakers Bureau, as a coordinator of LivingProof (BI recipients speakers group in Hamilton), and the Campaign for Adequate Welfare and Disability Benefits. He speaks about the effects resulting from poverty including social isolation, mental health problems, housing precarity, transportation difficulties, and costs to society. He is also able to address all aspects of basic income as partial solutions to poverty.

John Rook, PhD: John is founding director of the Canadian Poverty Institute at Ambrose University in Calgary and currently Director of Programs & Strategic Initiatives at The Mustard Seed. He is past President and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, was previously CEO of Potential Place, Co-Executive Director of The Alex Community Health Centre, and CEO of The Salvation Army Community Services. John was an Associate Professor at McMaster, holds an adjunct faculty position at the University of Calgary, and lectures primarily in areas of poverty, mental illness and homelessness. He brought this experience and knowledge to his role as Chair of the National Council of Welfare (2007-2012) and the Alberta Interagency Council on Homelessness (2013-2014). 

Lorna Turnbull: Lorna is a professor and former dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. She is the author of Double Jeopardy: Motherwork and the Law and has been concerned with the economic impacts of caring for the past two decades. She is interested in whether policies that improve the inequality result in better outcomes for the carers and the children or adults receiving care. In particular she is interested in exploring basic income as a means to rectify inequality. She is the Chair of the board of Basic Income Manitoba/Revenu de Base Manitoba, and has presented at two NABIG conferences. 

Paul Vallée: Paul is a highly successful entrepreneur and a fluently bilingual Francophone. Paul began his career as a data scientist and systems architect, and then in 1997 founded Pythian which has become a global leader in data consulting and managed services, with 400 employees across offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. Paul is Pythian’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Through his work in the IT sector, Paul is witnessing first-hand the phenomenon of technological unemployment, which has led him to the cause of basic income. Paul’s business acumen was recognized in 2011 with an Ottawa Forty Under 40 award and, in 2014, the Trudeau Medal: this medal is the highest honour given by the Telfer School of Management to its University of Ottawa alumni, recognizing leadership, initiative and contributions to the business world, the community and the recipient’s alma mater. In addition to social equity, Paul’s other community interests include gender equity and immigration. 

Maria Wong: Maria represents the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, a 20-member collective. She became interested in a guaranteed livable income a few years ago during activist work to end violence against women and theorizing on women’s poverty through her frontline work. In addition to running the shelter Maria speaks and writes on social justice issues and has expertise in advocating structural change and in working through consensus membership and democratic practice.