Board of Directors

The CCAAC Board of Directors strives to be regionally representative. Each member is connected with provincial or territorial advocacy organizations and networks and is chosen from the membership in that jurisdiction. By strengthening CCAAC’s links to established provincial/territorial child care advocacy organizations and networks, and developing new ones, CCAAC Board members facilitate a coordinated, pan-Canadian mobilization around child care advocacy initiatives.

Meet the CCAAC Board of Directors:

Shellie Bird is a mother and grandmother and came into child care advocacy by serving on the Board of Directors of her son’s child care centre. Shellie was an early childhood educator for more than twenty years working in the infants and toddlers program of Centretown Parents’ Cooperative Daycare, a non-profit centre in downtown Ottawa. She became active in her union as an advocate for early learning and child care and has led numerous campaigns to improve the working conditions of early childhood educators.  Today Shellie works for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers as the National Child Care Coordinator and she co-chairs the National Child Care Working Group of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Maria Cargnelli has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for 30 years. Located in British Columbia, she is the Program Supervisor of New Beginnings Young Parent Program and Abbotsford Child Care Resource and Referral.  Maria also teaches Early Childhood Education (diploma program) for the Delta School District. She is an active community member, as the Chair of the Abbotsford Early Childhood Committee, and sits on several local ECD boards.   As a Board Member of the British Columbia Coalition of Child Care Advocates, Maria is passionate about quality, affordable child care for all Canadian families.

Carolyn Ferns is the Public Policy and Government Relations Coordinator for the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. Carolyn has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies. Carolyn worked for over ten years at the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, where she co-authored the Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada series. She is a founding member of the grassroots collective Advocates for Progressive Childcare Policy.

Martha Friendly first encountered child care as a researcher on the US Head Start program in the 1960s. After immigrating to Canada in 1971 and becoming a parent and getting involved with the York University Co-operative Child Care Centre,  child care became an avocation rather than an abstract feminist issue. Ever since, Martha has been a child care policy researcher and a persistent activist in the struggle for universal high quality child care. She is executive director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, which she founded in the 1980s. Martha’s two biggest thrills in the last few years: becoming a grandmother of twin boys (who are lucky enough to go to excellent public child care in Toronto), and being awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree by Trent University.

Brianne Goertzen is on the Board of Directors of the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba, and is a mother of her young son, Jackson.  She was elected in a 2016 by-election to serve as a Trustee for the River East Transcona School Division in Manitoba. She also works as the Manitoba organizer for the Canadian Federation of Students-Manitoba.  In both these capacities, Brianne is a passionate advocate for students, and for high quality public education. Brianne holds a Masters of Arts in Sociology and her thesis focused on public policy.  She is a dedicated activist, serving on several community boards, including as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba steering committee.

Jamie Kass spent most of her career as an activist in pushing for universal inclusive high quality child care system. Jamie retired from paid employment in July 2016 without seeing her goals realized.  Starting as an educator of young children in a community based child care centre in Ottawa, Jamie focused on supporting the workforce through the strength of unionization. Jamie was a founding member of the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council, which operated between 2003 and 2013 to research and make recommendations with respect to child care human resource issues. The Council was forced to cease operating after the then Conservative federal government ended its funding support. Prior to her retirement, Jamie served as the Child Care Coordinator of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers where she focused on improving quality child care options for parents, especially parents with children with special needs through the CUPW Special Needs and Moving On projects.

Gilary Massa Machado is a proud Afro Latina Muslim with a long history of community activism. For the past ten years, Gilary has been engaged in the student movement, and also in the labour movement as the Equity Officer for CUPE Local1281. She is committed to creating spaces for marginalized peoples to battle on their own terms against injustice and oppression. Gilary has experienced first-hand the difficulties new mom’s can come up against when it comes to accessing maternity and parental leave, and she knows all about the scarcity of affordable quality child care.

Vicky Smallman is the parent of two kids under 10 and has consistently struggled finding quality child care arrangements to help her balance work and family responsibilities. She currently works as the National Director for Women’s and Human Rights for the Canadian Labour Congress. Before starting with the CLC, she worked for the Canadian Association of University Teachers and a variety of labour and social justice organizations. She has served on the board of her local community health centre and currently sits‎ on the board of Equal Voice.

Carissa Taylor is a Masters of Arts student in Social Justice and Equity Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario and is the National Graduate Caucus Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. At Brock, Carissa sat on a variety of committees, including the Racial Climate Taskforce, the Sexual Violence Prevention Committee, the Fair Trade Committee, and various committees of her union local, CUPE 4207. Carissa is Métis and moved to Ontario from Manitoba.  As an undergraduate at Manitoba’s Brandon University she served as the President of the Brandon University Students’ Union, in addition to sitting on the university Senate and Board of Governors.  She was also President of her union, Local 55601 of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

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