Proud Presenting Sponsor: Blockchain Learning Group Inc.


2019 Organizing Committee

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CHAMI AKMEEMANA, CEO Blockchain Learning Group & Blockscale Solutions

 

Chami Akmeemana is the CEO of Blockchain Learning Group and Blockscale Solutions. He is a Blockchain and AI Specialist. He pursued a Ph.D. in Bioceramic Engineering at Queen Mary, University of London, until deciding to forgo an academic career in favor of Law Enforcement. In 2002, he joined London’s Metropolitan Police.


Chami has had 4 successful exits over the last decade and is passionate about the intersection of technology, business and social good. His experience includes serving as Director of Regulatory and Government Affairs at ConsenSys Inc; Fintech Advisor to the Ontario Securities Commission; Managing Director, Fintech and Blockchain at the Global Risk Institute; and Regulatory Advisor to the Republic of Liberland.


Chami is also the Chairman of the Blockchain Association Australia and an Advisory Board member of doc.ai.

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BRUCE RIVERS, Executive Director, Covenant House Toronto

As Executive Director of Covenant House Toronto, Canada’s largest agency dedicated to serving at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth, Bruce Rivers ensures the agency provides these youth with the support they need and deserve.  Covenant House offers the widest range of programs and supports to youth 16 24, including comprehensive services to victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.  The agency also educates and advocates for change by influencing public policy and delivering prevention and awareness programs. 


Previously, Bruce served as Chief Executive Officer for Community Living Toronto, the largest organization of its kind in Canada, supporting individuals who have an intellectual disability, through a budget of $60 million.  As former Executive Director of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, where he presided for 15 years, Bruce was responsible for directing one of the largest child welfare agencies in North America. 


In 2004, Bruce was seconded to Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services, as Executive Director to the then newly formed Child Welfare Secretariat and assumed responsibility as the designated Director of Child Welfare for Ontario.  In addition, Bruce has been appointed to support various government initiatives, most recently Ontario’s Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness. 


Bruce is the former President of the Child Welfare League of Canada, and at an international level, is the past President for the International Forum for Child Welfare.  In 2018, Bruce was reappointed as Adjunct Professor in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.  Currently, Bruce sits as a part-time appointee to the Independent Judicial Advisory Committee for the Province of Ontario/Greater Toronto Area.


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CHRISTINA BARTHA, MSW, RSW: Executive Director of the Brain and Mental Health Program at the Hospital for Sick Children

Christina Bartha is the Executive Director of the Brain and Mental Health Program at the Hospital for Sick Children, the programs of Psychiatry, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Adolescent Medicine, the Medical Psychiatry Alliance, Telelink, The Departments of Social Work and Psychology, and in the community, the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health.    


Christina is a graduate of Western University with both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work, and obtained a Masters of Social Work and Diploma in Research Methods at the University of Toronto.   She has taken numerous leadership courses from both the Shulich and Rotman Schools of Business at York and the University of Toronto.   


An experienced clinician and senior leader since 1987,  Christina has led clinical mental health programs and transformative processes to enhance service delivery to populations across the lifespan, including children and youth, adults and geriatric populations as well as programs for vulnerable populations with developmental disabilities and autism.   For 20 years at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Christina played a leadership role in the redevelopment of their Queen St site, as well as an ambitious agenda to redesign services with the client at the centre of care.  She was instrumental in improving access to innovative services for children and youth with mental health, developmental disabilities and concurrent disorders. 

Christina joined the SickKids hospital team in November 2016 to lead the newly formed Brain and Mental Health Program, and in February 2017, assumed the role of Executive Director of the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health.  Christina brings a passion for integrating clinical care with research and the academic mandate and a commitment to achieving measureable results that enhance patient and family centred care.  The SickKids integration with SickKids CCMH provides an exciting opportunity for two organizations to collaborate to leverage collective opportunities and overcome historical challenges in the field.  


Over her career, Christina has contributed to peer reviewed publications, authored a book for parents involved in complex custody disputes, co-authored patient and family information materials, and been a champion of student education and professional mentorship.  


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BARBARA FALLON, Professor; Canada Research Chair in Child Welfare; Associate Dean of Research; Ph.D.

Research Focus

The collection and sharing of reliable, valid national and provincial data to provide an evidence-based understanding of the trajectories of children and families in the child welfare system.

Research Relevance

Despite repeated calls for systematic evaluation, services to maltreated children and their families in Canada continue to be driven by perceptions about need, not by evidence of service effectiveness. Notwithstanding a lack of research, child welfare services are one of the fastest growing social service delivery sectors in Canada.

We now know instances of maltreatment can have a longstanding impact not only on children and their families but on communities as a whole. Studies have shown young people who have been abused or neglected can experience a host of physical, mental and behavioural challenges, as well as struggle to form bonds with others and are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs.

Although child welfare services are one of the fastest growing social service delivery sectors in Canada, we still suffer from a dearth of evidence about what works best to help children and families.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Barbara Fallon has worked to bridge that knowledge gap by collecting reliable national, provincial and First Nations’ child welfare data across Canada and mining it with innovative statistical techniques to help policymakers determine what works and is needed to best help children based on evidence, not perceptions. 

Her research has helped front-line child welfare workers and policymakers understand the use of risk assessments in child protection investigations and opportunities for early intervention and prevention for children at risk of maltreatment. Findings from Dr. Fallon’s studies have also contributed to the implementation of key policy initiatives in child welfare including differential response models and specialized intimate partner violence teams. 


A significant element of Dr. Fallon’s program of research is The Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS), and the Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (OIS). Dr. Fallon is the Principal Investigator of the OIS-2018 and the CIS-2019. The studies will provide a comprehensive description of the needs of children and families identified to the child welfare system allowing for evidence-based improvements to policy and practice. The CIS-2019 the study and the First Nations Incidence Study (FNIS-2019) is led by the Assembly of First Nations and will include a two year longitudinal follow up. This will allow the researchers to capture data about the longer term outcomes for investigated children – data that has not been collected by any other Canadian study to date. 


Child welfare practitioners, policy advisors, and administrators need a clear picture of current service delivery practices in order to improve the safety and support of children and their families. Dr. Fallon’s research findings are based on clinical information gathered by child protection workers and supervisors working in Ontario and across Canada and provides answers to questions that members from the child welfare community ask: What types of risks exist for certain families and children? How often do different types of maltreatments occur? How do child protection workers respond to suspected harm? What happens to children and families once maltreatment is suspected or assessed? 


With her team, Dr. Fallon is working to create a culture of knowledge exchange within the child welfare field. Having readily accessible and relevant data based on actual child welfare practices allows frontline workers, managers, and policy makers to effectively evaluate service and policy options and to determine next best steps. As information flows, effective practices are identified, more questions are generated, and families and children are better cared for and supported as a result.  


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JEAN DESGAGNE

Jean is a seasoned C-suite executive in Risk Management, Change and Transformational Leadership, Innovation, Platforms, Technology, Operations, Finance and Data & Analytics with an emphasis on managing for tomorrow — within large multinational financial institutions, exchanges and market infrastructures.  He is a current and past Board Member for regulated financial companies, industry associations, universities and not-for-profit organizations.  He serves on the Boards of CPA Ontario, Junior Achievement of Central Ontario, chairs the Deans Advisory Board (Toronto) for the Telfer School of Management and sits on the Boards of and advised several start ups.


He recently left the TMX where he held a number of senior roles including President & CEO, Global Solutions, Insights & Analytics Strategies, and President & CEO, Global Enterprise Services.  Previously, he was President & CEO, Canadian Depository for Securities, Senior Vice President, Trading Risk Services at TD Bank and has held increasingly senior positions at leading firms including Bank of Montreal, Union Bank of Switzerland (Canada) and Price Waterhouse in areas including risk management, treasury operations, technology, trading support and management consulting.


He is passionate about child welfare and children’s mental health and works with a number of organizations in that space.