National Board of Directors

CNIB is governed by a National Board of Directors, made up of some of Canada's brightest minds and most successful industry leaders, with a variety of diverse backgrounds in the corporate, medical and public sectors. Most importantly, each member of our board is a dedicated advocate for the rights of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted, and many members are living with blindness or significant sight loss themselves.​


Board of Directors:

Departed Board members September 2017

Ronald J. Kruzeniski, Q.C.

Ronald Kruzeniski

Ronald Kruzeniski was admitted to the Bar in 1973 and has been in private practice for 16 years. He was previously the Chair of the Human Rights Commission from 1983 to 1989, Assistant Deputy Minister of Labour and appointed Public Guardian and Trustee.

Ron has been involved in various senior volunteer roles over the years, including at The Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, CBA National Elder Law Section, Public Legal Education Association; the Legal Aid Commission of Saskatchewan; the Law Society of Saskatchewan; Regina Separate School Board; Campion College Board of Regents; Regina Public Library Board; and Saskatchewan School Trustees Association.

Ron is a recipient of the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal (1998), the Commemorative Medal for the Queen's Golden Jubilee (2002) and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2005). ​​

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John Matheson​

John Matheson​

John Matheson is the Immediate Past Chair of CNIB's National Board of Directors, and former Chair of the Finance and Risk Management Committee and the Investment Committee. John is also a member of the Governance Committee at CNIB.

John's career in public accounting spanned four decades, during which time he held senior partnership roles at KPMG, and also served on its Board of Directors. John was involved with CNIB for 10 years throughout his career, and during this time became very familiar with the organization, staff, volunteers and the work CNIB does in serving people who live with vision loss. It was a natural fit for John to volunteer his time and expertise.

John's past community work includes volunteering for GO Transit, where he served on the Board of Directors and Governance and Compensation Committee, and past Chair of Knox College. He was also on the Board of Directors of the Commercial & Industrial Development Corp of Ottawa Carleton for 10 years, with two years as Chair.

John is former Chair of the Board at the St. George's Golf& Country Club, and chairing two RBC Canadian Open Tournaments. John is an active member of his church and is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal.

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Daniel Huang

Daniel became a client of CNIB in 1999 after a car accident that left him legally blind. In 2001, he began volunteering with CNIB as a peer counsellor. Since 2004, Daniel has been involved as a director on both the regional (Northern B.C. and Victoria) and divisional (B.C.-Yukon) boards of directors. Currently, Daniel is serving on the National Board's Community-Based Support Committee and a member of the Vancouver Island Regional Board.

Professionally, Daniel began his career as an Account Manager with HSBC Canada where he managed a portfolio of 70 commercial clients with $40 million in commercial operating and term loans. In 2004, he returned to university to obtain his graduate degree, Master of Arts (Disability Management), with a focus on human rights and the duty to accommodate in employment, specifically for persons with disabilities.

Currently, Daniel is working for the B.C. public service as a policy analyst on income and disability assistance.

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Dr. Allan Foster Cruess

Dr Allan Cruess

A member of CNIB's National Board of Directors since 2014, Dr. Alan Cruess is one of Canada's leading minds in the field of ophthalmologic clinical research. As Professor and former Head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Dalhousie University, Dr. Cruess' research focuses on the pursuit of new therapies for eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

A strong believer that every Canadian deserves access to early medical intervention that could save their sight, Dr. Cruess has devoted much of his professional life to providing eye care to those who may not otherwise be able to access it. From 1995 to 2003, he served on CNIB's Eye Van mobile eye care unit, travelling to remote regions of Northern Ontario to provide free eye exams to individuals who may have limited access to this kind of hands-on, preventative care. He was also a key member of a diabetic retinopathy screening program for the Cree people of Western James Bay in Northern Ontario from 1996 to 2003.

For his incredible medical outreach work and the groundbreaking strides he's made in the treatment of eye disease, Dr. Cruess has been honoured with a number of awards, including the Bayer Award for Innovation, Science for a Better Life. 

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Tanya Packer

Tanya Packer

​Dr. Tanya Packer joined the CNIB National Board of Directors in 2015. She is a professor and researcher in the School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Tanya's research work focuses on ways to improve the health and participation of people with long-term conditions, including design and testing of self-management interventions, health education and policy reform. Tanya is a licensed occupational therapist in the province of Nova Scotia and is actively involved in professional organizations at both provincial and national levels. She is co-chair of the Occupational Therapy Low Vision Network, a national network of occupational therapists supported by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT).

Tanya brings strong international experience to CNIB's Board of Directors, having worked for the Association for the Blind of Western Australia and the Centre for Research into Disability and Society in Perth, Western Australia. 

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Gabriel (Gabe) Hayos

Gabe Hayos

Gabriel (Gabe) Hayos understands the challenges of vision loss, and brings to the board a broad range of business and financial experience, as well as experience on other not-for-profit boards. He has served on CNIB's Finance and Risk Committee and Audit Committee for the past three years.

Gabe is Vice President of Taxation of the Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada). He has nearly 40 years of tax experience in a broad range of areas, with a primary focus on international tax and mergers and acquisitions.

Elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 2009, he is a past Governor of the Canadian Tax Foundation and a Director on its executive committee. Gabe has been recognized as one of Canada's leading tax advisors by International Tax Review and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada/Canadian Bar Association Joint Committee of Taxation. Prior to joining CPA Canada, Gabe was Partner at KPMG.

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Glenn Hildebrand

Glenn Hildebrand

Glenn Hildebrand first became involved with CNIB in the late 1980s as a volunteer member of the Westman Advisory Board in Brandon, Manitoba. He later reconnected with CNIB in 2011 as a board member in Manitoba prior to becoming chair in 2013. In 2016, Glenn was elected chair of CNIB's Council of Chairs. He joined CNIB's National Board of Directors in 2014 and also serves on the organization's Governance Committee.

Glenn is principal consultant at G R Hildebrand Consulting Group Inc., a communication, public relations and management consultancy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has worked in the communications and public relations field since 1980 with a variety of organizations in both the public and private sectors. He holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, specializing in Public Relations and Communications Management.

Glenn is a strong believer in giving back to the community through philanthropy, volunteerism and sharing his skills and talents for the betterment of others. In addition to serving on CNIB's National Board of Directors, he is Vice President of the Winnipeg Press Club, Vice President of the Foundation for Registered Nurses of Manitoba, and is a member of the Advisory Committee of Buy-a-Net Malaria Prevention Group.

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Heather MacKenzie

Heather_MacKenzie

Heather MacKenzie sits on CNIB's National Governance Committee and the National Board of Directors and is also a mentor on CNIB's National Youth Council.Heather is a graduate of UBC (B.A. Hons.) and Dalhousie Law School (LL.B.). Heather has been a member of the Law Society of British Columbia and the Canadian Bar Association since 1992, and is a member of International Ombudsman Association. Previously, Heather practiced law as a civil litigator specializing in employment law, insurance law, and human rights issues.

Continuing in the field of human rights law and policy development, Heather founded The Integrity Group in 1996, assisting em​ployers in all industries and sectors to create and maintain workplaces that are free from harassment, discrimination, workplace bullying, and violence. Heather is active in creating and maintaining respectful workplaces across Canada.

Heather has been actively involved in numerous community and volunteer activities, focusing on improving the lives of persons with disabilities and youth at risk. Heather is co-founder of The Cinderella Project and served as Vice-Chair for the North Shore Advisory Committee on Disability Issues. Heather is a regular presenter at conferences on legal and human rights and is a contributor to the Globe and Mail's "Nine to Five" series. Heather was the recipient of a 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the category of Community Champion. Originally from Montreal, Heather lives in Vancouver with her husband and two children. 

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James (Jim) Maher

James Maher

James Maher, QC joined the National Board of Directors in 2014 and is the current chair of the Governance Committee. He has been involved with CNIB for almost 40 years, both as a client and volunteer. James joined the Newfoundland and Labrador Division Board in the 1980s and was its chair for three years. He also served on various board committees, including Client Services; Public Education; and Government Relations and Advocacy; as well as serving on the National Library Board.

James is the recipient of the CNIB Newfoundland and Labrador Holly Award for volunteer services and named CNIB Ambassador of the Year in Newfoundland and Labrador for his work in public outreach.

James is a graduate of Memorial University (BA) and the University of Western Ontario (LLB). In 1985, he was called to the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador and practiced law with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for more than 30 years in the areas of criminal law, labour and human rights. James was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2010.

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Jean-Claude Provost

Jean-Claude Provost

Jean-Claude Provost currently serves on CNIB's National Board of Directors and previously served on CNIB's Library and Québec Division Boards of Directors. He chaired the Institut Nazareth & Louis-Braille (INLB), one of Quebec's largest rehabilitation centres. He also served on Industry Canada's Minister Advisory Committee on Technology.

In his professional career, Jean-Claude spent nine years with Bell Canada, and 17 years with CGI, where he currently works in the telephony infrastructure arena as an integrator for international call centre bids and implementations.

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Jonathan Spencer

Jonathan Spencer is a CPA who has been involved in the non-profit sector throughout his career as an officer, board member and volunteer. Jonathan welcomes the opportunity to use his financial and governance experience to support CNIB's mandate. Jonathan's involvement with CNIB began as a volunteer reader, where he learned to appreciate the challenges people who are blind and partially sighted face in accessing information. Recently, with a parent experiencing macular degeneration, Jonathan has seen the tremendous support and resources CNIB provides to blind and partially sighted Canadians, increasingly a part of our aging population.

A former partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and senior advisor to the Province of Ontario, Jonathan has been involved in the reform of tax and trade policy and directed Ontario's recycling program for electronics.

Jonathan currently works out of the Centre for Social Innovation. He holds a Masters Certificate in Public Management from Schulich and a Certificate in Non-Profit Governance from Rotman. He is a member of CNIB's Audit Committee, serves on the board of SmartCommute (North Toronto Vaughan) and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

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Kevin Burns

Kevin Burns' first contact with CNIB was through the CNIB Library in 2002 as the publisher of Jane Poulson's autobiography, "The Doctor Will Not See You Now". The late Dr. Poulson was Canada's first blind physician and her book was the first Canadian commercially published book to be released in print and all accessible formats on the same day.

Kevin eventually joined the library board, where he served for eight years, including during the transition to CELA (Centre for Equitable Library Access).

He is an Ottawa-based author and editor of non-fiction books, and, when the opportunity arises, is also a freelance producer of radio documentaries for CBC. He brings an extensive background of working with different kinds of community boards of all sizes to CNIB. His focus continues to be on organizational development, especially in the areas of mission, programming and governance. Kevin looks forward to working with CNIB as it enters its second century of life-changing service, creativity, enterprise, commitment, research and leadership.​

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Laura Dunne

Laura Dunne.jpg

Laura Dunne became involved with CNIB in 2010 as member of the CNIB's Finance & Risk Committee.  She served as a member of the CNIB's Reading Re-Imagined special committee.  She also partners with the Chairman of the Board and the CEO to provide board oversight on matters pertaining to leadership structure, succession, and compensation.

Laura's management career includes a decade in professional services with a global human capital consulting firm where she was retained by executive management and boards of Canadian, U.S., and international clients.  Her assignments included human resources strategy, organization and process design, organization and board compensation, and talent management. Laura has held a series of senior corporate roles including leading the human resources functions for Canadian Tire Corporation and Indigo Books & Music.  Laura is passionate about aligning business strategy, organization design, work processes, and organization culture. 

Laura is currently a Managing Partner at Arlington Partners International a global firm specializing in executive search, talent management, and board advisory services.

Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.  She is also a graduate and valedictorian of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Laura is passionate about community and education serving on Toronto school councils and community development boards.  Laura resides in Toronto with her husband and three children.

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Margaret "Mag gie" Lee Grant

Maggie became a client at CNIB when she suddenly lost her sight in 2000.  CNIB's staff helped her adapt and provided valuable mobility and orientation training. Wanting to give back, she joined CNIB - Manitoba Division's Government Relations and Advocacy Committee in 2012.  She has also served on the "Dine in the Dark" organizing committee and volunteered at other events to raise funds and awareness for CNIB. In 2017, Maggie joined CNIB's National Board and Manitoba Board.

Before losing her sight, Maggie worked at the University of Manitoba in the library acquisitions department.  She currently works part-time in marketing at her family's dental practice. She also does occasional voice-over work and public speaking engagements. In recent years, Maggie has expanded her role in advocacy. She was appointed to the City of Winnipeg's Access Advisory Committee in 2016.

Maggie has a lifelong passion for volunteering and has been an active community member since childhood.   She has previously volunteered at Folklorama, the United Way and the Multicultural Grants and Advisory Council.  She continues to volunteer for various not-for-profit organizations including the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre, Salvation Army and Rotary International.   She was named a Rick Hansen Difference Maker in 2012.  In 2014, Maggie was the recipient of a City of Winnipeg Community Service Award. 

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Mahes Wickramasinghe​

Mahes WickramasingheAs the parent of a child who is blind, Mahes Wickramasinghe has been involved with CNIB for many years, joining the National Board in 2014. He is Chief Strategy Officer at Canadian Tire Corporation, where he drives development and execution of strategic planning and new business opportunities. Mahes began his career as a Chartered Accountant in Sri Lanka. He was a partner at Arthur Andersen and has worked as a senior executive at CIBC, Rogers Communications and Bell Aliant.

With decades of service across a variety of industries, Mahes has had an international career advising corporations on strategic matters. He has managed complex acquisitions and restructurings and has also led functions in operations, technology, data and finance. Mahes brings his expertise in the areas of finance, audit and risk to the National Board. He is also involved in supporting his church community in his home town in Sri Lanka.

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Penny Hartin

Penny Hartin has been involved with CNIB since a young child and has utilized numerous CNIB services over the years.  Penny worked for CNIB for many years starting as a Counsellor at the CNIB Lake Joseph Centre in the mid seventies while in University; then working for CNIB as a District Manager trainee in Sudbury, as District Manager in Sault Ste Marie and Kelowna BC, Central Ontario and Executive Director of New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario Divisions before moving to an international role with CNIB and then joining the World Blind Union as their CEO in 2006. As CEO of the WBU, Penny worked with our members worldwide, including the CNIB, to represent the needs and views of blind and partially sighted persons at the global level, including the United Nations and its agencies.

As a long-time client of the CNIB and a former staff member for over twenty-five years, Penny has a keen interest in helping CNIB fulfil its role as one of the pre-eminent organizations supporting and representing blind and partially sighted persons in Canada and worldwide. It is Penny's hope that her Canadian and international experience will be helpful in supporting the important role that CNIB plays.

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Robert (Bob) Fenton

Robert (Bob) Fenton joined CNIB's National Board of Directors in 2016, having been a CNIB client since birth.

Bob has worked as a lawyer since 1994, and currently serves as legal counsel to the Chief of Police of the Calgary Police Service. Bob brings experience working in both government and private sector environments, and specializes in human rights, law of policing, administrative law, commercial law and civil litigation.

He joined the board to help enhance the quality of CNIB's services and to provide advice and direction on how to best advance the interests of people who are blind or partially sighted.

In 2012, Bob was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. The medal honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. In addition to his role on the Board of Directors, Bob is president of the Canadian Blind Sports Association and serves as both an advisor to the president, and member of the executive board of the Intern​ational Blind Sports Federation.​

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Robert Penner

Robert Penner

Robert Penner is current Treasurer of CNIB's National Board of Directors, and Chair of CNIB's National Finance and Risk Management Committee. He also served on the Pension and Investment Committee, as Chair of CNIB's National Audit Committee, as well as on the Alberta Northwest Territories Divisional Advisory Board.

Robert's career in accounting has spanned almost four decades. He is a former senior tax partner with KMPG and qualified as a graduate member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Since retiring, Robert serves on the boards of a number of companies. He has also volunteered for other organizations, including the United Way of Calgary, Fort Calgary Society and spent seven years as Director and Treasurer of the Glen Lake Minor Hockey Club.

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Victoria Nolan

Victoria Nolan

Victoria Nolan has always been drawn to the field of education. Her diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 18 did not stop her plans to become a teacher. She completed a master's degree in Child Study and Education and has used her experiences living with a disability to support special education students at the Toronto District School Board for the past 17 years.

Victoria's involvement with CNIB has also focused on education, particularly raising public awareness about the use of guide dogs and the laws that protect guide dog users.

Victoria is a Paralympic athlete who has competed on the Canadian National Rowing Team in five World Championships and three Paralympic Games. In addition, she is an author and motivational speaker, sharing the story of how turning to sport helped her to overcome the fear and hopelessness she initially felt with her diagnosis.

Victoria is also involved in raising awareness of ParaSport and making physical activity more accessible to people with disabilities. She has worked with PHE Canada, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Right to Play in making physical activity more inclusive.

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DEPARTING BOARD MEMBERS SEPTEMBER 2017

Lucille Roch

Lucille Roch

Originally from Manitoba, Lucille Roch joined CNIB's Governance Committee in 2010. Her interest in the organization was sparked as her father's vision deteriorated and he found the support and services he needed through CNIB.

Lucille has served in the Ontario Public Service as a senior policy analyst and was later appointed Assistant Deputy Minister in several ministries including Community and Social Services, Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, and Children and Youth Services.

She was appointed Deputy Minister in 2005, initially in the Ministry of Culture, then the Ministry of Community and Social Services. She was also Deputy Minister responsible for the Office of Francophone Affairs.

Lucille retired in 2009 and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trillium Foundation in June 2010. She is a former board member of the Stratford Summer Music Festival and is currently Director of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.

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The Honourable Dr. Asha Seth​, Senator

Asha Seth

The Honourable Dr. Asha Seth has worked tirelessly to promote the wellbeing and rights of Canadians with vision loss. As a senator, Dr. Seth lobbied to officially recognize May as National Vision Health Month and help raise the profile of eye health across the country. She is also a committed philanthropist, supporting CNIB's children's services through fundraising and personal giving.

In January 2012, the Honourable Dr. Seth was appointed to the Senate, making her the first female Indo-Canadian Senator in Canada. By profession, Senator Seth is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist in family practice, in Toronto.

In the Senate, the Honourable Dr. Seth championed health issues affecting Canadians by creating the National Vision Health Month campaign and by fighting to improve the lives of mothers and children through initiatives like International Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Week. She has been a member of the National Finance Committee; Internal Economy Committee; the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee; and the Committee of Aboriginal Affairs.

The Honourable Dr. Asha Seth continues her work as an advocate of the blind and partially sighted as a key member of the National Board of Directors at CNIB.

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Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai

Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai

Canada's first blind cancer researcher, Dr. Sukhai is currently Head of the Variant Investigation Group within the Advanced Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at the University Health Network. Prior to this, Dr. Sukhai completed his Ph.D. in cancer biology at the University of Toronto, as well as two post-doctoral fellowships in genomics and drug discovery.

Outside his distinguished research and teaching career, Dr. Sukhai has been an active volunteer with the International Association of Lions Clubs, the Let's Talk Science Partnership Program, the University of Toronto and the National Educational Association of Disabled Students.

Dr. Sukhai has held numerous executive volunteer leadership positions at local, regional, national and international levels, and currently serves as Chair of the National Taskforce on the Experience of Graduate Students with Disabilities, a Canada-wide multi-stakeholder effort to understand the barriers and challenges faced by graduate students with disabilities.

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