Interim Steering CommitteeAt a national meeting of stakeholders and partners at York University on October 28, 2009 an interim steering committee was formed to guide efforts to ensure that FIRA would continue as an entity after FIRA's initial project ended on December 31, 2009 . Since then the interim steering committee has developed a proposal for FIRA's second phase, and is currently pursuing funding for new projects. The interim steering committee will guide the development of new projects until such time as a Board of Directors can be put in place.
Members of the Interim Steering Committee:
Stuart Shanker (chair), York University
Jean-Marc Belanger, Université de Moncton
Noah Boakey-Yiadom, Young Potential Fathers Initiative
David Este, University of Calgary
John Hoffman, FIRA Communications Coordinator
Clarence Lochhead, Vanier Institute of the Family
David Long, King's University College
Fernand Lozier, Public Health Agency of Canada (retired)
Tim Paquette, Children's Aid Society, Ottawa-Carleton
Francine de Montigny, Université du Québec en Outaouais
Carol Crill Russell, Invest in Kids
David Sheftel, BC Council for Families
Eleanor Wint. Dalhousie University
Steering Committee of FIRA's Community University Research Alliance Project 2004 - 2009
Kerry Daly (Co-Chair, University Research) is Associate Dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, and one of the founding directors of the Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. He received his PhD in Sociology from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. His current research interests focus on the way that families negotiate and navigate time pressures in their lives, the changing meaning of fatherhood, and the challenges families face in trying to harmonize their work and family life. He is editor of Minding the Time in Family Experience: Emerging Issues and Perspectives (Elsevier Science Press, 2001) and author of Families and Time: Keeping Pace in a Hurried Culture (Sage, 1996). He is married and is a father to two teenaged children (16 and 18) living at home.
Ed Bader, M.A., R.F.T., (Co-Chair, Community). Ed is Project Coordinator of FOCUS ON FATHERS, an educational program for fathers ofd young children in York Region. This program is co-sponsored by Catholic Community Services of York Region and the Regional Municipality of York. In addition, he teaches in the Counselling and Psychotherapy Five Weekend Learning Program for family physicians, sponsored by the Working with Families Institute of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Ed's interest in fatherhood is based on his own experience as the father of Daniel and Beth Ann, and now as the grandfather of Christian (6). In 1974, as Family Life Education Director for the Family Service Association of Toronto, Ed developed and coordinated a sixteen-year longitudinal study of the impact of premarriage courses. From 1978 to 1997, he taught in the Pre-and Post-Natal Program at the Flemingdon Health Centre in Don Mills. In 1994, he and Dr. Edward Osborne held a total of eight focus groups for fathers from different ethnic groups, teen fathers, fathers attending pre-natal classes, and fathers in programs at two social service agencies. Ed was Consultant for Rosalie Hall's Program for Fathers in 1995. In 1999, he and Noel Cooper, a former Family Life Education Coordinator, established FOCUS ON FATHERS for fathers of children under six years of age. Mr Bader is the co-leader of FIRA's New Fathers Cluster.
Joel Brody began his career in the private sector where he held management positions in retailing and marketing with several major national and international corporations. Joel returned to the University of Toronto to study psychology, with a focus on child development. He coordinated several research and evaluation studies in the area of child development and parenting at The Hospital for Sick Children. He was co-founder and director of The Parenting Alliance, a coalition of parents, community social service providers and university-based researchers dedicated to identifying, developing and disseminating evidence-based parenting programs, tools and supports. With his focus on "knowledge entrepreneurship," Joel has an interest in creating innovative solutions to pressing social challenges. Joel became a father for the first time in February 2002.
Annie Devault holds a Ph.D. in psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, with a specialization in community psychology. She is a full time professor in social work at the Université du Québec en Outaouais since 1997. Her main interests pertain to promotion and prevention in mental and public health. Annie has been doing research on fatherhood for the past 6 years in particular relating to intervention toward fathers and their children. Currently, she is member of the scientific committee "Prospère". She leads FIRA's Young Fathers Cluster.
Gilles Forget has been working in the public health domain for the last 20 years. He is presently a scientific consultant for the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, working for the Public Health Department of Montreal and associated researcher at the Groupe de recherche et d'action sur la victimisation des enfants. His interest in father involvement started many years ago while working on a teenage pregnancy prevention program into which he tried to enhance the procreative consciousness of young males. More recently, he joined a team of researchers and practitioners implementing and evaluating a community based fathers' involvement program. He coordinated the first national symposium on the place and role of the fathers held in Montreal in November 2000. He is presently working on a descriptive study of Quebec's fathers and on the dissemination of the training session «Changing fathers, evolving practices». He has a Masters degree in Communication Arts.
Linda Hawkins serves as Coordinator of FIRA's CURA project, and is the Executive Director for the Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being (CFWW), an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Guelph. Linda's previous research and advocacy work has been on diverse topics on gender and work, women's career paths, gender and development, and special projects to promote trades and technologies. Her work with government, educators, and industry has included research on the quality of work-life in area workplaces, scans of organizational practices for managing absenteeism and work-life policies in the manufacturing sector. Linda's interest in father involvement arises naturally from her focus on gender, families and workplaces, and from curiousity about the reasons why people make the decisions they do.
John Hoffman, who serves as primary contact and communications coordinator for FIRA, is Canada’s leading popular writer on the subject of fatherhood. After a career as a bluegrass musician, John became a stay-home father after his second child was born in 1988. Shortly thereafter he began writing for Great Expectations and Today’s Parent magazines. Now he has written close to fifty articles on fatherhood as well six educational booklets for fathers including Hands On Dad, Involved Fathers and Daddy, Come Play with Me. John has looked at fatherhood from every possible angle: prenatal, adjustment to parenthood, early childhood and post-divorce. His work has appeared in Today’s Parent, Reader’s Digest, The Toronto Sun, Great Expectations, Today’s Parent Newborn, and Transitions. John’s perspective on fatherhood was greatly influenced by his eight years as a stay-home, primary caregiver father. He believes that the keys to positive involved fatherhood are an understanding of the needs of children, the development of strong father/child relationships, and effective partnerships between fathers and mothers. John has also become commentator on fatherhood and parenting issues having spoken at conferences also on television and radio. He is currently a monthly columnist and regular contributor to Today’s Parent Magazine and is a charter member of the Father Involvement Initiative-Ontario Network. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario.
Edward Kruk earned his B.A. (Sociology and Psychology) and M.S.W. degrees from the University of Toronto, and Ph.D. in Social Policy and Social Work from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he studied as a National Welfare Fellow. He was previously on faculty at the University of Calgary and has 25 years of direct practice and community work experience as a professional social worker. His social work experience includes family mediation (private practice), marital and family therapy (Catholic Family Services, Calgary), medical social work (Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh), school social work (Metro Separate School Board, Toronto), child welfare (Metro and Catholic Children's Aid Societies, Toronto), and welfare rights work. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of direct social work practice, family policy and practice, family transition (divorce and remarriage), mediation and gender issues. He has numerous publications in social work, family therapy, conflict resolution, men's studies, and socio-legal journals, and is the author of Divorce and Disengagement: Patterns of Fatherhood Within and Beyond Marriage and editor of Mediation and Conflict Resolution in Social Work and the Human Services. He is currently conducting research in the areas of divorce outcomes, family mediation models, deconstructing professional practice in divorce, and the development of professional identity among social work students. He leads FIRA's Separated and Divorced Fathers Cluster.
Fernand Lozier has been working for Health Canada and more recently with the Public Health Agency of Canada for over 30 years. During that time he has worked at the local, provincial and national levels. His experience has spanned policy development, operations and general management in relation to health promotion and population health projects and program management. One of his responsibilities with the Public Health Agency of Canada has been the development and implementation of the multi-pronged Ontario Region Father Involvement Initiative. He has provided assistance and liaison with the development of father involvement initiatives and activities at the provincial and national levels and played a central role insetting up the consultations which led to the establishment of FIRA. Fernand also helped to initiate the Father Involvement in Education Institutions Action Group, which conducted an assessment of father involvement content in Canadian post secondary programs in social work, nursing and psychology. Fernand has 3 university degrees including a Masters in Education.
Ted McNeill Ph.D., R.S.W. is the Director of Social Work and Acting Director of Child Life at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. In addition, he teaches part-time at the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. Ted’s interest in fatherhood stems from his own experiences as a father and from his involvement with fathers who have a child with a chronic health condition. He has an appreciation – both personally and professionally – of the importance of positive father involvement. He has been involved in a number of research studies related to the experiences of fathers who have a child with a chronic health condition. In his academic work, he is seeking to understand the range of issues that fathers face today and the best ways to help those fathers who may need some help. Ted is particularly interested in issues related to gender identity, social obstacles to effective fathering and the ways that mothers and fathers can positively co-construct their parenting roles. He is the leader of FIRA's Fathers of Children with Special Needs Cluster.
Dr. Jessica Ball (University of Victoria) is conducting a program of research funded by SSHRC-MCRI, SSHRC-CURA, HRDC, and the Human Early Learning Partnership (B.C.) on Indigenous children's development in family and community contexts in Canada and internationally. She is leading the Indigenous Fathers Cluster.
Rachel Epstein, the leader for the gay fathers cluster, coordinates the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Parenting Network, Family Service Association of Toronto. She is a doctoral candidate at York University with more than twenty years experience in community-based research and development. She plays a key role in the development of community organizing around LGBT parenting in Toronto and has been involved in research, education, advocacy and organizing around these issues for approximately 12 years. Her work has been published in journals, as book chapters and in community publications. She leads FIRA's Gay/Bi/Queer Fathers Cluster.
Dave Este is an Associate Professor and the current Associate Dean (Research and Partnerships) at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. His teaching and research interests include social work practice with immigrants and refugees, management of human service organizations, qualitative research methods, and mental health. He is currently involved in a number of research projects including the New Canadian Children and Youth Study and the Racism, Violence, and Health Study, which is examining how racism and other forms of violence impact the health and well-being of African Canadians in Toronto, Halifax, and Calgary. He leads FIRA's Immigrant Fathers Cluster.
Ron George is a Hereditary Chief of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Mr. George became involved in Native politics first as a Board member of the B.C. Association of Non-Status Indians (BCANSI) in 1970, then as founding Vice-President of its successor, the United Native Nations (UNN), from 1976 to 1978, and elected as President of the UNN from 1985 to 1991.
In 1991, he was elected National President of the Native Council of Canada (NCC), which represents the interests of the majority of Aboriginal peoples in Canada-those who do not live on reserves. In the course of his career, Mr. George has been involved in virtually every aspect of the struggle for justice by Aboriginal peoples in Canada. He was instrumental in the development of Aboriginal-run community services in B.C., in areas of housing, child welfare, youth employment, economic development, and justice. He played a key role in cross-country and international campaigns to successfully include Aboriginal rights in the Constitution in 1981. Mr. George participated in the lobby on Parliament Hill to successfully end discrimination against woman in the Indian Act in 1985 and in 1992, he led the team that successfully negotiated the right to self-government for all Aboriginal peoples in the Charlottetown Accord. Mr. George has been particularly active in the housing sector, serving as President of the B.C. Native Housing Corporation when it became one of the largest and most innovative Native-run housing agencies in the country. Throughout his political career, Mr. George has consistently reached out to those who have felt excluded. As President of the Native Council of Canada, he led a cross-country caravan of grass-roots people to Ottawa to protest program cuts and to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of the World’s Indigenous People. In the negotiations leading to the Charlottetown Accord, he opened up the NCC’s delegation to representatives from labour, women’s issues, poverty, environmental, ethnocultural and linguistic minority groups.
A central theme of Mr. George’s work has been the need for healing at both the individual and political level in Canadian society. He has extensive experience conducting cross-cultural workshops, as well as lecturing at colleges and universities on the need for relations amongst Canadians to be based on equality and a full respect for differences. He serves as aboriginal advisor to FIRA's Indigenous Fathers Cluster.