Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services :: Appendix 3: Panel Members & Contributors

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Office of the Chief Coroner

Publications & Reports

The Office of the Chief Coroner’s Death Review of the Youth Suicides at the Pikangikum First Nation

2006 – 2008



Appendix 3: The Psychiatry, Child Welfare and Death Review Panel Members and Contributing Authors

The Psychiatry, Child Welfare and Death Review Panel


Dr. Bert Lauwers

Deputy Chief Coroner – Investigations
Chair, Paediatric Death Review Committee

Dr. Bert Lauwers is currently the Deputy Chief Coroner-Investigations and Chair of the Paediatric Death Review Committee. Dr. Lauwers is a graduate of the University of Toronto Medical School and has a Fellowship in the College of Family Physicians. He is appointed as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Family Medicine at McMaster University. He is a former president of the Ontario Coroners Association.

In 2006, he became the Regional Supervising Coroner for Toronto-West. In January 2008, he was named the Associate Deputy Chief Coroner. He was appointed Deputy Chief Coroner - Investigations in September 2008 and led the Office of the Chief Coroner’s project to develop recommendations to the Inquiry into Paediatric Forensic Pathology (Goudge Inquiry). Dr. Lauwers produces annually, with an executive team, the Report of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and Deaths Under Five Committee. He has conducted dozens of inquests, most recently the Sara Carlin Inquest examining the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in youths, and the Jeffrey James Inquest, which reviewed the utilization of physical restraints in psychiatric patients.


Ms. Doris Hildebrandt

Office of the Chief Coroner

Doris is a graduate of the University of Toronto having majored in Commerce and Finance. She joined the Office of the Chief Coroner in 2002 following an 18-year career in the financial and investment industry. Doris was initiated at the Office of the Chief Coroner in the Pathology Department where she assisted in various administrative and post mortem operations, and ultimately became the first official Forensic Exhibit Technician. Doris was seconded to the Coroner’s Office in January of 2006 as the Administrative Coordinator to the Regional Supervising Coroner, Toronto West. She subsequently held the position of Executive Officer – Investigations from 2007 to 2010, where she was responsible for coordinating the Deaths Under Five Committee as well as performing the executive and medical coordinator duties for the Paediatric Death Review Committee. Doris currently holds the position of Executive Officer – Inquests and Special Projects.


Ms. Karen Bridgman-Acker, MSW, RSW

Child Welfare Specialist
Office of the Chief Coroner

Karen is a social worker and Child Welfare Specialist at the Office of Chief Coroner for Ontario. She has worked in the child welfare field in various roles for the past 20 years. Karen joined the coroner’s office in 2006 where she co-coordinates the child welfare case reviews for the Paediatric Death Review Committee. She is a member of the Deaths Under Five Committee and the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee and is the liaison between child welfare agencies and the Coroners’ Offices. She is a co-author of the Paediatric Death Review Committee’s Annual Report which is produced, presented and distributed publicly in June of each year.


Ms. Susan Abell

Child Welfare Consultant
Member of the Paediatric Death Review Committee

Susan has had a private practice providing management expertise and resources to a variety of organizations including a Children’s Mental Health Centre, a Community Living Agency, Children’s Aid Societies, and other child welfare programs. She has 17 years experience as an Executive Director of organizations serving families and children:

  • 1999-2003: Executive Director of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa
  • 1993-99: Executive Director of YOUTHLINK, a Toronto, Ontario, community-based youth serving agency providing mental health, residential and street based services.
  • 1986-93: Executive Director of Frontenac Children’s Aid Society, Kingston

Since 2003, Susan has been a member of the Ontario Coroner’s Office Paediatric Death Review Committee, which reviews child deaths, and in 2005, she served on the Coroner’s Domestic Violence Death Review Committee.

Previously, Susan assumed other leadership roles and front line social work positions in child welfare and education.

  • 1982-86: Department Head of the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society.
  • 1973-1982: Co-Coordinator of the Social Service Worker Program, Mohawk College, Hamilton.
  • 1966-73: Protection worker, foster care worker and protection supervisor for the Children’s Aid of Toronto.

Susan has had experience in serving on community Boards for many years. This has included; St. Lawrence College’s Child and Youth Worker Advisory Committee, the United Way/Centraide Canada, United Way Kingston and Ottawa. Currently she is involved with Northumberland County United Way and the Board of Port Hope Community Health Centre. Previously she was chair of the Port Hope Library Board and a Board member at Northumberland Services for Women.


Dr. Paul Links

Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide Studies
Keenan Research Centre
St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Paul Links is the incumbent of the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide Studies, University of Toronto, the first Chair in North America dedicated to suicide research, and is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Dr. Links is a former President for the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) and President of the Association for Research on Personality Disorders. He is also the Deputy Chief of Psychiatry of the St. Michael's Hospital's Mental Health Service.

Dr. Links is the Editor of the Journal of Personality Disorders. He has published over 100 articles in scientific journals and three books. As an investigator, he has received research grants from many agencies including Health and Welfare Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario. In October 2009, Dr. Links was awarded the CASP Research Award for outstanding contributions to the field of suicide research in Canada.

Dr. Links' clinical experience and expertise developed from working with both acutely suicidal and persistently suicidal individuals (those who face a life-and-death struggle on a daily basis and are at high risk of taking their own lives). He leads an active interdisciplinary group of researchers at the Suicide Studies Unit as Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair at St. Michael’s Hospital.


Dr. Richard Meen

Paediatric Psychiatrist
Kinark Child and Family Services

Dick Meen, Clinical Director of Kinark Child and Family Services, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. As Clinical Director, Dick is leading Kinark through Kinark’s Clinical Transformation Process. Dick has had an extensive history working within the area of Youth Justice and has a deep commitment to working with First Nations communities.


Dr. Peter Menzies

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Aboriginal Services

Peter is member of Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, and has spent the past ten years building culturally congruent mental health and addiction programs in partnership with both urban, rural and First Nations communities through his work at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is the organization’s first Aboriginal Clinic Head and is responsible for creating the organization’s Aboriginal Services Program providing support to communities across Ontario and nationally. Prior to joining CAMH, Peter worked for more than 20 years in a variety of front line and management positions at both Native and mainstream agencies. A skilled therapist and community developer, Peter has experience working with individuals and families in child welfare, family counselling, and income support programs and is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Peter received his undergraduate degree in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. He completed his Master of Social Work studies at Laurentian University and received his PhD from the University of Toronto. His thesis work focused on trauma and intergenerational trauma among First Nations peoples. He is an Assistant Professor at the Psychiatry Department at the University of Toronto. He is also an Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Social Work at Laurentian University. Peter regularly travels throughout northern Ontario providing assessment, capacity building and training support to health care workers in remote communities. His research interests include Aboriginal homelessness, intergenerational trauma, child welfare, suicide prevention, addiction and mental health needs. He has published numerous articles related to Aboriginal health issues and sits on a number of Aboriginal community boards and committees both at the local and national level.


Ms. Sabrina Squire, RN

Sabrina Squire graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with Distinction. She has worked as a Community Health Nurse throughout northern Ontario and Nunavut in First Nations and Inuit communities for three years. Sabrina is a member of the Labrador Métis Nation. As a former Crown Ward of the Department of Child Welfare, Sabrina has a particular affinity for working with and improving the health of at-risk aboriginal youth. Sabrina is currently a first year medical student at the University of Ottawa.


Dr. Cornelia Wieman

Department of Public Health Sciences

University of Toronto

Dr. Cornelia Wieman is Canada’s first female Aboriginal psychiatrist. From 1997-2005, she worked at a community mental health clinic based on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is both Co-Director of the Indigenous Health Research Development Program and Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is a co-investigator on several initiatives funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health including the National Network of Aboriginal Mental Health Research (NNAMHR) which she co-directs with Dr. Laurence Kirmayer. In 2007, she was appointed to CIHR’s Governing Council. She was a member of the Advisory Group on Suicide Prevention (2002-2003) that developed a framework document for the Assembly of First Nations and First Nations & Inuit Health Branch to address the issue of First Nations youth suicide. From 2002-2005, she served as Deputy Chair of Health Canada’s Research Ethics Board and currently serves as Chair of the Drug Utilization Evaluation Advisory Committee, First Nations & Inuit Health Branch. In 2006, she was appointed as a Member of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation’s Board of Directors. In 2007, she was appointed to the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Advisory Committee, part of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She was a 1998 recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, recognizing career achievement in the category of medicine.

Contributing Authors


Donald J. Auger
Executive Director
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care

Donald J. Auger is an Anishinabek (Ojibwe) from the Pays Plat First Nation on the north shore of Lake Superior. He was raised in Geraldton and has lived in northern Ontario all of his life. He worked in various health care facilities as an x-ray technician and taught in the x-ray technology at Cambrian College in Sudbury for ten years. He returned to school on a part time basis and acquired a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Laurentian University at Sudbury. Retiring from Cambrian College, he attended at Queen’s University, Kingston, where he received a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B.). After his call to the Bar of Ontario, Mr. Auger practised law in Thunder Bay, restricting his practice primarily to Aboriginal issues with individuals, corporate entities and First Nations of the Robinson Superior, Treaty # 3, and Nishnawbe Aski (Treaty # 9) areas in northwestern Ontario. Mr. Auger later assisted in the implementation of the Nishnawbe Aski Legal Services Corporation, an innovative, “one-stop shopping centre for legal services,” which provided legal, paralegal and legal aid services to the members of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation across northern Ontario. During this period Mr. Auger completed a Master’s degree (M.A.) in History at Lakehead University. Leaving the Legal Services Corporation after six years, he returned to full time studies at Osgoode Hall, York University (Faculty of Law) from which he graduated with the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence (D. Jur.) in 2001. Dr. Auger worked for Nishnawbe Aski Nation in various capacities for about ten years. For the past five years, Dr. Auger has been the Executive Director of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, a multi-service social services corporation which provides child welfare (Children’s Aid Society), mental health, health and addictions programs for Anishinabek people in the City and District of Thunder Bay.


Judy Finlay, PhD

Associate Professor
School of Child and Youth Care
Ryerson University
Co-Chair
Mamow Sha-way-gi-kay-win: North-South Partnership for Children

Judy Finlay, PhD is an Associate Professor, School of Child and Youth Care at Ryerson University. She is also Co-chair and founding member of Mamow Sha-way-gi-kay-win: North-South Partnership for Children and former Liaison for First Nations, Inuit and Métis at the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO. She is the former Child Advocate for the Province of Ontario (1991 – 2007).

Irwin Elman


Provincial Advocate

Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

Irwin Elman holds an extensive background as an educator, counsellor, youth worker, program manager, policy developer and child and youth advocate. In working with young people in our ‘systems’, he has carried out these roles with respect – borrowing from the courage and hope of the young people he served to create innovative approaches for youth in Ontario, Jamaica, Hungary, and Japan. For over 20 years, Irwin was the Manager of the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre in Toronto: a program of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. Later, he was the Director of Client Service at Central Toronto Youth Services: an innovative children’s mental health centre. As Ontario’s first independent Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Irwin works to partner with children and the youth in elevating their voices to create positive change. He is building an Office that is built upon a foundation rooted in the strength and wisdom of the children and youth it serves; an Office driven by the efforts of talented and passionate staff who, every day, strive to improve the lives of children and youth in Ontario.


Deborah Richardson

Assistant Deputy Minister
Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs

Over the years, Deborah Richardson has been on the forefront of Aboriginal Affairs, spearheading many wide-ranging initiatives benefiting Aboriginal youth, addressing poverty in the Far North and improving social conditions in Aboriginal communities. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Law from Carleton University. She completed her Bachelor of Laws at the University of Ottawa and was called to the Bar in 1996. Her distinguished career began in the finance industry where she worked in business banking before becoming Manager of Diversity for the Royal Bank of Canada.

Her foray into Aboriginal Affairs began as Executive Director of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto in 1999. She used her financial and operational expertise to build the Centre into one of the strongest Aboriginal organizations in Toronto. Much sought after for her operational experience, she then served as Director of Operations and Aboriginal Business Development for the OI Group of Companies. By 2004, Ms. Richardson was recruited into the public service as Associate Regional Director General for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. By 2007, she was appointed Regional Director General, leading the federal department's largest regional organization. In 2008, she was recognized as a Top Leader under 40 and selected for the Governor General in Leadership Program. In 2008, Deborah was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister for the Aboriginal Relationships and Ministerial Partnerships division of the new Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. In 2011, Deborah and her team won a prestigious public service award for their work in a pubic-private partnership initiative benefiting Aboriginal youth in the north. Deborah is a proud Mi'kmaq woman with strong ties to her home community of Pabineau First Nation. She lives with her partner Bob, and her daughters Jasmine and Fiona.