Article Index


Board of Directors

Our board is comprised of seniors, individuals from organizations that serve or represent seniors, service providers, including police, individuals in government, and academics. The board is nominated from the membership once a year and meets monthly. As a working board, members serve on one or more special committees.

For any inquiry, contact 

  • CNPEA co-Chairs: Kathy Majowski and Sandra Hirst
  • CNPEA Executive Director: Bénédicte Schoepflin


Board of Directors

Claire Checkland, Stittsville, Ontario
Claire is a passionate, results-oriented health advocate with 20 years of experience in government and stakeholder relations and policy analysis for national not-for-profit health organizations including the Canadian AIDS Society, Canadian Cancer Society and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She is currently the Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health where she has helped the organization achieve sustainability and grow their membership to more than 2,000 individuals and organizations. Claire has a successful track record engaging varied stakeholders in progress towards common health and social goals and has an ability to identify and implement new, innovative approaches to organizational priority issues. She is adept at facilitating the establishment of sustained, meaningful relationships with community, stakeholders and government officials. Claire has an undergraduate-honours degree in Psychology as well as a Diploma of Social Sciences. She lives in Stittsville, Ontario with her husband and two sons. 

Meghan Derkach, Vernon, British Columbia
Meghan is currently Secretary of the Boardmeghan derkach 2019
Meghan completed her BSW with a Specialization in Aging in 2014 and is currently enrolled in a health focused MSW program through the University of Waterloo. Her passion includes age-friendly community development, aging-in-place initiatives, and rural supports. Meghan is the Executive Director at Cherryville Community Food & Resources and has committed to increasing resources and supports to seniors within her rural community including a meal program, social check-ins, system navigation supports, transportation, among others. Meghan has been part of the CNPEA as secretary of the Board for two years and has valued her time with such a large-scale initiative of addressing elder abuse through provincial/territorial and national policy development, and believes it is vital to protect older persons so they can age safely with dignity and respect.

Andrew Elinesky, Toronto, Ontario andrewelinesky 2020

Andrew is currently Treasurer of the Board
 An accountant by training, Andrew brings financial, senior leadership experience and broad-based corporate and commercial knowledge. As an active leader in establishing long-term strategies and the execution of supporting initiatives, he is a trusted project manager in both international and domestic settings, with an interest in governance. Most recently, Andrew was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at a NYSE/TSX-listed public company. Andrew is a strong believer in advancing the rights and wellness of all, particularly older adults and looks forward to supporting the CNPEA.

Marta Hajek, Toronto, Ontariomartahajek sep2019 crop
As Executive Director for Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario, Marta has been working diligently with the Ontario government to build a stronger presence in the community; to advance the priorities of the ON Strategy and to build sustainable partnerships with agencies and other stakeholders. In the end, all EAPO strategic approaches aim towards improving the quality of life, for the most vulnerable Canadians, helping build community capacity to address the growing complexity of needs of vulnerable at-risk older adults or providing supports to their families and caregivers. Marta is currently serving her 3rd term appointment to the Ontario Securities Commission’s Senior Experts Advisory Committee. 

Kelly Heisz, St.John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
KellyHeiszKelly is the Executive Director of SeniorsNL. She is a Graduate of Memorial University with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education. Her career for the past 25 years has been concentrated in the non-profit sector, focusing on community engagement and capacity building that affect change at the grass-roots level regarding quality of life and well-being for all citizens. SeniorsNL has been a lead organization in working on issues impacting seniors, utilizing hundreds of volunteers, all levels of community partners to do this. The Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse is one of the crowning achievements of the organization.

Sandra Hirst, Calgary, Alberta
Sandra is currently co-Chair of the Boardsandra hirst sept2019
Sandra P. Hirst RN, PhD, GNC(C) has held a number of leadership positions in gerontology including president of the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association; president of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, and president of the Alberta Association of Gerontology. Sandra has completed a three-year appointment from the Prime Minister to sit on the National Seniors Council. She currently sits on the Board of the IFA. Her areas of research and related scholarship focus on abuse and neglect of older adults, and the experiences of older adults who reside in long term care facilities. In 2012, she received the Jeanne Mance Award from the Canadian Nurses Association, the highest honour that a registered nurse can receive from her peers.

Denise Lemire, Orléans, Ontariophoto denise lemire 2020
Having obtained a masters degree in Sociology from the University of Ottawa, Denise Lemire has carried out and directed a multitude of research projects in the fields of health, social services and education. For the last 30 years, Denise has been active in the world of the francophonie, as a researcher, consultant, E.D., Board member, and volunteer at large. For the last 17 years, Denise has managed grants for several organizations. Denise has co-coordinated the 2017 Older Adults Summit (Sommet des aînés 2017) with FAAFC (Fédération des aînées et aînés francophones du Canada); managed 5 workshops on Elder Abuse across Ontario; participated to the development of a provincial network of French-speaking elder abuse stakeholders in 2019 and participated in the recommendation of a White Paper on the Francophone seniors in Ontario (2019). She is Secretary-Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Association des membres individuels de la FARFO (AMI-FARFO)(Association of Individual Members of FARFO). As a consultant, she works with the Center Pauline-Charron (Ottawa, Vanier sector) in the creation of a social food service enterprise and other projects targeting Francophone seniors in the community. She is a member of the Seniors Table of the City of Ottawa since September 2019 and of the Advisory Committee of the Collegial Center of Expertise in Gerontology at Cégep de Drummondville (Centre collégial d’expertise en gérontologie du Cégep de Drummondville) in the creation of a serious game aimed at preventing and countering bullying in private residences for seniors.

Kathy Majowski, West Saint Paul, Manitoba kathymajowski dec2020

Kathy is currently co-Chair of the Board
Kathy is a degree-prepared nurse who began her career in health care in 1999. In that time she has worked in various roles, including nurse, support worker, staff educator, clinical and classroom instructor, educational program developer, community case coordinator, and subject matter expert. Kathy’s career in nursing has included experience in acute and long-term care facilities, as well as work in a northern Manitoban community where the nursing station functioned as both a clinic and trauma stabilization centre. Her commitment to health care and willingness to take on responsibilities that went beyond bedside nursing has helped Kathy develop skills that include curriculum development and delivery, building new and improving existing organizational policies/procedures, and proficiency with computer programs dedicated to presentation, design, and data tracking. Although caring for seniors has always been a part of Kathy’s career, her role as the Staff Educator in a long-term care facility brought her a greater awareness of some of the issues that seniors face, and prompted her to seek out a role with the CNPEA.

Lisa Manuel, Toronto, Ontariolisa manuel 2018
Lisa has been working in the social services field for over 25 years. Her first and continuing passion is working with seniors. She has worked in a variety of capacities as a staff person doing outreach and providing counselling supports to older people experiencing abuse.  She has also worked as a manager supporting a team who provides prevention and intervention supports in this area, developing new programming such as an elder abuse consultation team and a safe haven for older people experiencing abuse (Pat's Place). Lisa is interested in deepening connections between the domestic violence and elder abuse fields and has worked at this intersection as a manager.  As a trained researcher, she has participated on several research initiatives in elder abuse. As a senior Director of programs, she has a solid experience interacting with government officials and elected MPPs to advocate for the need for a comprehensive funded approach to working with community dwelling older adults who experience abuse.

Michele Markham, Edmonton, Albertamichelemarkham profilepic
Michele Markham is a Registered Social Worker with the Alberta College of Social Workers and holds a Bachelor Degree in Human Service Administration. For the past six years she has worked at Sage Seniors Association in Edmonton as the Manager of the Seniors’ Safe House, a shelter for older adults needing safety from abuse. Michele participates on the management committee of the Seniors Protection Partnership, is a member of the Diverse Voices conference planning committee and co-chair of the Elder Abuse Consultation Team. In addition to working at Sage, Michele is a member of the MacEwan University School of Social Work Advisory Council, is a Public Member of the Mental Health Review Panel, and is past Chair of the Board of Directors of the George Spady Society. In addition to working in the field of social work for nearly 30 years, she has more than 20 years of experience with Board Governance and has facilitated numerous board development workshops as part of the Board Development program with the Alberta Government.

Suzette Montreuil, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Suzette is currently the executive director of the NWT Seniors’ Society, based in Yellowknife but serving older adults across the NWT. Under her leadership, the NWTSS has led research on living income for seniors and lobbied for a Seniors’ Strategy as the population 60+ is the fastest growing segment of the NWT. Her work includes doing two day workshops called Creating Safe Communities for Older Adults. It is based on the It’s Not Right program developed by the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children at the UWO. She has facilitated this workshop in 9 different NWT communities and offered shorter versions on request. This included the translation of It’s Not Right into SAHTÚǪT’ĮNE YATĮ by working with local elders who spoke the language. Suzette also coordinates the work of the NWT Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. This includes conference calls to review group activity and discuss any new initiatives. NWTSS was awarded funding by New Horizons for Seniors program for a national level project called Collaborating for Inclusion of Older Adults. This four-year project has allowed the hiring of community facilitators in 10 communities in the NWT with the aim of decreasing social isolation of elders at risk through community activities that gather elders. Prior to this, Suzette worked as an occupational therapist for 30 years including doing travel clinics in the NWT and Nunavut.

Greg Noseworthy, St John's, Newfoundlandgregnoseworthy profilepic 2020
Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Greg Noseworthy has always taken an approach to understanding and addressing senior and elder issues within NL. While at law school and preparing for his eventual call to the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador, Greg directed his energy to seniors issues within the law. Since then he has maintained a focussed law practice in senior issues, primarily by preventing elder abuse in the legal and non-legal worlds. This also includes his full-time work with a non-profit access to justice group that allows him to work with retired groups, 50+ clubs, and other senior and elder focussed organisations across Newfoundland and Labrador. Even as 28 year old Greg is quick to note that everyone in society focus on this issue as it is the only form of discrimination, prejudice, and abuse that affects all persons regardless of race, religion, sexuality, or other characteristics. With this mindset, Greg continues to actively participate in all opportunities to prevent elder abuse. This includes working with Seniors NL, the NL Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and participating in government reviews of the provincial Adult Protection Act, among other committees and organisations. As a young man in one of the oldest provinces in the country, Greg recognises the needs of an aging population. Whether it be the physical, mental, emotional, financial, or other unique needs of the elder population, Greg has consistently geared his career to finding ways to make “golden years” truly golden.

Weiguo Zhang, Mississauga, Ontarioweiguozhang
Weiguo is a social demographer who received his Ph.D. in Development Studies at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands, in 1998. From 1997 to 2000, he worked as a lecturer and social scientist at the Post-Graduate Diploma Program in Population and Sustainable Development, sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund, at the University of Botswana. Weiguo has been conducting research on aging and care in China in the past 10 years, and has recently started to engage in research and community service on Chinese immigrants in Canada. His research on elder abuse among Chinese immigrant families, using a participatory action research,  together with Chinese senior associations and service providers in Mississauga can bridge local communities, service providers, research institutions, and policy makers in addressing research and practice on understanding and preventing mistreatment of older adults.

Honorary member
Elizabeth Podnieks, Toronto, OntarioScreen Shot 2015 03 06 at 10.45.23 AM
Elizabeth is one of the founding members of three key organizations in this area: Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA), CNPEA~RCPMTA, and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA). She has served on the Executive for all three bodies and has actively promoted the value of Networks at all levels.

She was the architect of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) in 2003 and Chair of the WEAAD Steering Committee.

For nearly a quarter century, Elizabeth has conducted research and published extensively in the area of abuse and neglect, as well as having supported the efforts of others. She has presented at numerous conferences, workshops, scientific and educational meetings at both the national and international level.

She received the Order of Canada for her work in the area of abuse prevention, including the first Canadian incidence study in 1989. On June 14th, 2012, she also received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of her lifetime commitment and efforts. Elizabeth was recently elected honorary director of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. (United States)

She has been the source of passion and imagination on numerous initiatives in this area. She generated the project "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) in Cyberspace" working with national and international partners to harness social media in raising awareness of senior abuse.

Elizabeth received the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) National Rosalie Wolf Award 2013 and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA)International Rosalie Wolf Award for 2013, becoming the first person to be the recipient of two Rosalie Wolf awards in the same year.


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