The Council is the 21-member governing body and board of directors that manages and administers College affairs. The Council is composed of:
- Seven social workers who are members of the College and who are elected by the members of the College in accordance with the bylaws.
- Seven social service workers who are members of the College and who are elected by the members of the College in accordance with the bylaws.
- Seven persons who are appointed by the Ontario Government.
The College’s primary duty is to serve and protect the public interest while promoting high standards of practice for the professions. At the same time the College encourages a robust interactive relationship with members, stakeholders and the public. To steer and guide these processes, Council’s primary governance function is policy development. The policies developed by Council provide direction to the College and to staff.
Council regularly engages in a strategic planning process. View the current Strategic Map
Council meetings are open to the public. Dates are announced on this website and highlights from each meeting are published on the website and in our Perspective newsletter.
Sharmaarke Abdullahi – Public Member
Sharmaarke Abdullahi has over 12 years of work experience in the policy, youth and community development field. He currently works for the City of Ottawa as a business consultant with Crime Prevention Ottawa. Prior to joining the City of Ottawa, Mr. Abdullahi worked for seven years at Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre as a program coordinator and a community house coordinator. He has also worked as a part-time lecturer in the Social Service Worker Program at Algonquin College. Mr. Abdullahi has served on various community boards and advisory committees in Ottawa including the Board of Directors of the Friends of University of Hargeisa School of Social Work Committee, which is a partnership with Carleton University School of Social Work and is a member of the United Way Ottawa Strong Neighbourhoods priorities goals committee, to name a few. Mr. Abdullahi holds a bachelor of arts degree from Carleton University and a master of research degree in public policy from the Queen Mary University, London. Mr. Abdullahi is committed to community-based work, believing that this is how and where real change happens.
Amanda Bettencourt – Elected Social Service Worker
Amanda Bettencourt is a 26-year-old recent social service worker graduate from Mohawk College, and a new mom to a beautiful little girl age 14 months. She has just started as a family access worker with YWCA Hamilton. Prior to this Amanda was working as a peer tutor while she attended Mohawk College, and went on to cover a medical leave at her last placement: The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. Amanda seized the opportunity to become an OCSWSSW Council member as she believes in promoting registration with the college to fellow social service workers and hopes to advocate for policy-level change which will result in greater opportunities for registered social service workers.
Greg Clarke – Elected Social Service Worker
Greg Clarke, RSSW, has worked in community mental health and addictions for over 25 years. He is the Past President of the Crisis Workers Society of Ontario. Greg is currently the Mental Health/Addictions Case Manager for the Scarborough Academic Family Health Team as well as a coordinator for the Responsible Gambling Council of Ontario. Greg provides training sessions, seminars and workshops for various agencies and organizations including the Bridge Program that provides training for foreign-trained mental health professionals. He has served two terms as Vice-President and was elected to Council in May 2008.
Linda Danson Smyth – Elected Social Worker
Linda Danson Smyth holds a master’s of social work from McGill University, and she has been a social worker for over 30 years. In Montreal she worked in family services, child protection and supervised social work students from McGill. Linda also taught courses at Concordia and McGill Universities, and she has had a private practice. Linda currently works part time for The Ottawa/ Pembroke Champlain Community Care Access as a staff therapist. She has been a guest lecturer at Algonquin College. She is the Vice-President of the Renfrew and District Food Bank. She has two adult sons and lives in the Ottawa Valley with her husband.
Angèle Desormeau – Elected Social Service Worker
Angèle Desormeau graduated with a BA in psychology from the University of Ottawa in 1985 and also received a diploma in addictions studies from McMaster University in 1993. From 1986 to 1990 she worked in child protection at North Cochrane Family Services in Cochrane (including child protection, youth group programs and foster care). From 1990 until 2006 she worked as an addictions counsellor at South Cochrane Addictions Services in assessment, case management and community treatment. Starting in 2000 she added the roles Problem Gambling Community Awareness Coordinator and Clinical Supervisor to her work. She worked in a supervisory capacity for a period of five years. On April 1, 2006 she accepted the position of Executive Director at South Cochrane Addictions Services. Angèle is an active member with many community/district/regional working groups and committees including, but not limited to: Cochrane District Addiction and Mental Health Systems Group (co-chair position since the fall of 2015), Cochrane District Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee, Timmins Health Link, Community Mobilization Timmins (co-chair position) and the North East LHIN Housing Expert Panel.
Lisa Foster – Public Member
Lisa Foster is the Executive Director of Community Living, Thunder Bay. Ms. Foster is also the Director of Organizational Development and Innovation, Adult Services and was the former Director of Organizational Development and Innovation with Community Living Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie. She holds a developmental services worker diploma from Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology as well as a bachelor of arts degree in English from Algoma University.
Rose-Marie Fraser – Elected Social Worker
Rose-Marie Fraser is a social worker who is currently a practice leader at The University Health Network. She is the Research Chair for the Ontario Caregiver Coalition. She has diverse experience in research, forensics, mental health, family resources, community and policy at the Ministry of Community and Social Services. She is cross appointed with Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto and prides herself on remaining involved with many grassroots organizations to advocate for social justice. Rose-Marie was first elected to Council in 2011.
Judy Gardner – Elected Social Service Worker
Judy Gardner graduated with honours from the Social Service Work Diploma Program at Centennial College in 2013, and is currently an Addictions and Community Service Work Diploma Program instructor. Judy has over 10 years of frontline professional experience supporting adults with developmental disabilities. Her diverse educational background includes administration, criminology and early childhood studies. Judy was first elected to Council in 2013.
Shelley Hale – Elected Social Service Worker
Shelley is a registered social worker with over 20 years of experience in the field of mental health. She holds dual certificates of registration as a social service worker and as a social worker. She is currently the Director of Patient Care Services for the Royal Ottawa Operational Stress Injury Clinic at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. Shelley’s previous clinical work experiences were all community based and her administrative career at The Royal has led her to complete a certificate in program management through the University of British Columbia and a Green Belt in addition to her social work studies.
David Hodgson – Public Member
David Hodgson is a senior associate with SEG Management Consultants and President of Regulation Dynamics. He specializes in regulatory affairs and has provided consulting services to several regulatory bodies in Ontario and other provinces in the areas of strategic planning, governance, organization restructuring and government relations. Prior to his consulting career, he was the Registrar and CEO of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) for 10 years. During this time he served a term as President of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario and the Canadian Alliance of Regulators of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Also, David was Registrar and CEO of the Ontario Architects Association, the regulatory body for architects. He came to the regulatory field after holding several senior positions in the Ontario Ministry of Housing, including Executive Director of Building Programs.
Thomas Horn – Elected Social Worker
Thomas Horn is employed as a clinical social worker in a provincial forensic psychiatry program and maintains a part-time private practice. He recently passed the certification examination of the American Board of Forensic Social Workers, and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers through the National Association of Social Workers, also in the U.S. Tom has earned an undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology, a master’s degree in social work, a master of science degree in criminology and criminal justice, and he is currently a PhD student in social work at Memorial University. He holds the rank of Assistant Professor (p/t) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, and is a regular sessional instructor in the MSW for working professionals program through the University of Windsor.
Frances Keogh – Elected Social Worker
Frances Keogh is currently employed on a part-time basis as a counsellor with Family Service Thames Valley Employee Assistance Program, in London. She has worked in employment assistance programs for the past 16 years. Her previous clinical experience has been in child welfare, in/outpatient mental health services and community work and outreach. She has been employed by not-for-profit organizations, health and welfare departments, and community agencies. She has worked in Ireland, Britain and Canada during the past 30 years.
Mukesh Kowlessar – Elected Social Service Worker
Mukesh Kowlessar previously served on the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) Council from its inception until 2013. During this time he served on the Executive Committee and as College President for four years. Mr. Kowlessar recently retired as a program manager for the City of London. He has over 30 years of leadership experience in the municipal and provincial sectors in social services. Mr. Kowlessar is currently an adjudicator with the Landlord and Tenant Board and is also a consultant in strategic planning. Prior to his retirement, Mr. Kowlessar worked within the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) on the Social Services Solution Modernization Project in leading change management to Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program offices. He holds certificates in mediation – alternate dispute resolution and executive management from Western University; certification in crisis and critical incident stress management and a social service worker diploma from Fanshawe College.
Sue-Ellen Merritt – Elected Social Service Worker
Sue-Ellen Merritt graduated with honours from Niagara College’s Social Service Worker Program in 1996. She has served on the Niagara College Social Service Worker Advisory Board for 15 years, and was Chair of the Board’s Legislation Sub-Committee. Currently retired, Sue-Ellen was employed for 20 years by Niagara Health System, Mental Health and Addictions, where she provided direct client support and held the positions of Smoking Cessation Coordinator and Gambling Coordinator. Sue-Ellen was also a small business manager for 15 years for a privately owned natural gas company, and served as an elected official for Township West Lincoln from 2003-14. Prior to 2003, she served as Chair of the Township’s Committee of Adjustment for 10 years. Sue-Ellen was a OCSWSSW Council member from 2000-2010, during which she was elected to the Executive Committee for those same years and held a Vice-President position from 2001-2010.
Lily Oddie – Public Member
Prior to becoming a member of the Canada Immigration and Refugee Board, Dr. Lily Oddie was Coordinator of Employee Services at Orlick Industries, Hamilton, an elected member of the Ontario Provincial Legislature, Executive Director with YWCA of St. Catharines, Manager of Direct Services with the Hamilton-Wentworth John Howard Society, Director of McMaster University’s Centre for Continuing Education, and Coordinator, Institutional Research and Evaluation, Athabasca University. She earned her honours bachelor of arts in psychology from Dalhousie University and her master’s and doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Alberta. Lily was appointed to Council in September 2008.
Donald Panton – Elected Social Worker
Donald Panton, RSW, obtained a combined bachelor in gerontology and religious studies, and a bachelor of social work from McMaster University. He has certificates in palliative care, disaster chaplaincy, and spiritual care. Donald has been working as a health care aide at Hamilton Health Sciences since 1994, and was recently appointed as a casual part-time social worker in the Nursing Resource Team. Prior to this position, he worked as a health care aide at Brantwood Life Care and was a part-time lecturer (fashion/clothing and textiles) at the University of West Indies in Jamaica. Donald currently volunteers as a church elder, adult Sabbath School teacher and treasurer at Hamilton East SDA Church, and as a disaster preparedness chaplain for Ontario Conference SDA Church. Donald has also served in various positions on the Unit Council of the Oncology unit, Grandview Adventist Academy school board, to name a few.
Sophia Ruddock – Public Member
Sophia Ruddock was called to the Ontario bar in 1995 and has over 18 years of experience appearing before various administrative tribunals and agencies. She has practised in the areas of human rights, administrative law, health law and labour law. Currently, she acts as in-house counsel for an association, focusing on professional regulation.
Lisa Seburn – Elected Social Worker
Lisa Seburn is a graduate of the Honours Bachelor of Social Work Program (University of Western Ontario 2000), as well as the Master of Social Work Program (Lakehead University 2004). She has been employed as a social worker/team leader at St. Joseph’s Care Group (SJCG) in Thunder Bay for 15 years in adult mental health. She also was the SJCG Professional Practice Leader for Social Work for three years. Prior to this, Lisa worked as a social worker in children’s mental health in London. While completing her social work training, Lisa was employed as a health record manager.
Déirdre Smith – Public Member
Déirdre Smith is the Manager of the Standards of Practice and Education unit of the Ontario College of Teachers where she has led the collaborative development of the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession and the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession. Smith has also coordinated the policy development of over 350 Additional Qualification (AQ) course guidelines and programs for teacher and leadership education. Smith has presented nationally and internationally on many topics including educational leadership, ethical practice, ethical standards and standards of practice. She has been published in the areas of cases, teacher education, leadership, inclusive education and ethics. Her experience as a professional facilitator, school principal, education consultant, special education administrator, teacher educator, youth counselor and classroom teacher inform her work in policy development, teacher education, leadership formation, professional learning and organizational development.
Beatrice Traub-Werner – Elected Social Worker
Beatrice Traub-Werner was Director of Education at TAPE for 12 years, a position from which she resigned in the summer of 2012. Currently, she is Dean of Continuing Studies at the Adler Professional School and the Academic Instructor for the Bridge Training Program for Internationally Trained Psychologists and Allied Mental Health Professionals, a CIC-funded program provided by the Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto. Upon completion of her master of social work at the University of Toronto, Beatrice worked as a clinical social worker before becoming Admissions Coordinator and Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. Beatrice was elected to Council in May 2008.