2017-2019 SOAR Board of Directors
Dan Abrahams (Vice President)
Dan Abrahams is a Vice-President of SOAR, and is employed as Manager, Trustee Services at the Law Society of Ontario. He has been at the Law Society since 2002, serving previously as Manager of the Compensation Fund, Senior Counsel to the Executive Director, Professional Regulation and Acting Manager of the Investigations Department. Dan was called to the Bar in 1991 after graduating from the University of Windsor and, prior to that, from the University of Toronto. He clerked for the Ontario Court of Appeal, and later worked in the litigation department at a large firm, then as a legal aid research lawyer. For eight years Dan was Senior Counsel and leader of the mediation group at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT). He has been a member of the Ontario Bar Association’s Public Sector Lawyers’ section executive since 2006, serving three terms as Section Chair. In addition to his work with SOAR and the OBA, Dan has been involved with numerous community and parent organizations. For instance, he currently serves on the boards of Social Planning Toronto (formerly the Toronto Social Planning Council), Ripple Refugee Project, Rezonance Baroque Ensemble and Ergo Theatre Arts Inc.
Susan Adams graduated with degrees in Economics and Law from the University of Western Ontario and an LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School. Susan articled at the WSIAT and, following her call to the bar, joined the Tribunal Counsel Office, followed by work on a variety of strategic projects in the Chair's Office as Executive Assistant to the Tribunal Director and Counsel, Special Projects. Presently, Susan is the Executive Director at the WSIAT.
Kwame Addo is the Director, Investigations & Conflict Resolution at the Office of the Ombudsman, City of Toronto. He is responsible for overseeing the investigation and review of complaints received from the public regarding the delivery of City services. Prior to joining the City Ombudsman, Kwame worked as an investigator for Ombudsman Ontario. Assigned to the Ombudsman's Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT) in June 2005, he acted as lead investigator on several high-profile SORT investigations, including Newborn Screening and the Special Investigations Unit.
Lori Coleman (Treasurer)
Lori Coleman is the Director of Operations at the Safety Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario. Previously, she served as the Director of Strategic Business Services at Social Justice Tribunals Ontario and prior to that as the Chief Operating Officer/Registrar at the Health Boards Secretariat. In these positions, Ms. Coleman has provided leadership to staff throughout periods of change and transition while ensuring that operational and business services were delivered in ways that integrated quality, efficiency and accountability. With a focus on modernization, she works to offset fiscal constraint by leveraging technology and electronic communications with a goal of increasing opportunities for access to justice. Ms. Coleman has volunteered on the planning committee for the SOAR annual conference since 2008 and has served on the SOAR Board of Directors since 2012.
Brian Cook (Vice-President)
Brian Cook was appointed as a Vice-Chair of the new Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in September 2008. A Vice-chair of the Tribunal adjudicates and mediates Applications brought under the Ontario Human Rights Code. From 1990 to 2008, he was a Vice-Chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT), adjudicating appeals from decisions of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. He holds an LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School in Alternative Dispute Resolution (2005). Brian has been a member of the Board of Directors of SOAR since 2009. He has participated as a coach in the SOAR Adjudicator Training program.
Keith is an experienced adjudicator presently with the Workplace Safety Insurance Appeals Tribunal, the Toronto Licensing Tribunal, and the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council. He has written a Conflict Resolution Guide, and co-edited the SOAR Manual for Ontario Adjudicators. Keith is presently serving his second stint on SOAR’s Board of Directors.
Avril Farlam serves as Vice-Chair of the Licence Appeal Tribunal (part-time), as a Deputy Judge of the Small Claims Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and Hearing Officer for the City of Windsor. Ms. Farlam previously served as Chair of the Canada Pension Plan/Old Age Security Administrative Review Tribunal and has practiced law since 1980. Ms. Farlam holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor Law School
Heather Gibbs (President)
Heather Gibbs is a lawyer with over 15 years of experience in administrative law, as an adjudicator, mediator, and counsel. She is currently Manager of Legal Services at Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario, and Counsel to the Environmental Review Tribunal. Ms. Gibbs was a Vice-Chair with the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal for close to a decade, and formerly with the Immigration and Refugee Board, and the Child and Family Services Review Board. Ms. Gibbs’ earlier work includes legal counsel to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Canada and Africa, and a lawyer in private practice. Ms. Gibbs is a graduate of the University of Ottawa Common Law program, and holds an undergraduate degree from Western University. Heather Gibbs is currently President of the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators (SOAR). Her volunteer activities for SOAR have included co-chairing the annual conference, the steering committee for the 2018 Leadership Forum, and collaborating with Osgoode PD as a decision-writing coach and panelist. Ms. Gibbs speaks English, French and Spanish.
Michael Gottheil is the Executive Chair of Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO), a cluster of eight adjudicative tribunals, with jurisdiction ranging from human rights, to residential tenancies, social benefits and disability support, compensation for victims of crime, special education and child and youth service oversight. He previously served as Chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and as Executive Chair of the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario, the province’s first tribunal cluster. Mr. Gottheil is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and began practicing law in 1987, specializing in labour, employment and human rights law. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and seminars, and has written widely on administrative law, institutional design and alternative models of adjudication. He is particularly interested in ways to create both organizational capacity and community partnerships in order to build a robust, accessible and equitable justice system. Recent access to justice initiatives Mr. Gottheil has been involved with include: Targeted Legal Services, a series of workshops jointly sponsored by SJTO and the Law Society of Upper Canada; Shared Steps, an online public legal information portal; Eviction Diversion, a project which aims to link vulnerable tenants with community supports, and a pilot to hold social assistance hearings out of the Rexdale Community Hub. Mr. Gottheil is a firm believer in the value of diversity. Through his personal journey as a person with a disability, and his professional perspectives, he has sought to explore and share the rich experiences that connect us all.
Sophie Martel is a bilingual Vice-chair with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Previously, she worked as a Vice-chair and as in-house counsel with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal and as an appointed Adjudicator with the Law Society Tribunal, Hearing Division. Sophie obtained an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa and her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto. She has been a member of the SOAR Board of Directors since 2013. She is also part of the faculty of the SOAR/Osgoode Certificate in Adjudication course where she coaches new adjudicators.
Elizabeth Nastasi (Secretary)
Liz Nastasi is a lawyer, dispute resolution practitioner and educator. Liz is currently Counsel with the Ministry of the Attorney General at the Safety Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunal Ontario (AABS-LAT). Prior to this she was Counsel with FSCO’s Legal Services Branch in the litigation group. She is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1996. Liz has extensive mediation and adjudication experience. For 7 years Liz was an Arbitrator and the Senior Arbitrator at FSCO, where she adjudicated and resolved over 1000 disputes. Liz was also a Mediator with the Ontario Human Rights Commission as well as Legal Counsel with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Liz was also a volunteer mediator in the criminal court as part of an Adult Justice Committee diversion program. Liz is a dedicated trainer, teacher, and coach. She has worked as a Dispute Resolution Educator with York University and delivered administrative law courses at Osgoode’s Professional Development LLM programs. Liz has also been teaching various courses in the paralegal program at George Brown College since 2010 including employment and human rights and tribunal practice and procedure. Most recently, she created Osgoode’s first online to help prepare foreign trained lawyers for their certification exam. Liz’s past employment highlights include family and insurance law. She was also a Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Housing and from 1997 to 2000 Liz worked overseas as an Immigration Consultant in Korea, where she acquired exceptional and impressive karaoke skills and a love for all things spicy.
Voy Stelmaszynski (Past President)
Voy Stelmaszynski is a former Solicitor at the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Prior to joining the Board, he was Legal Counsel to the Office of Adjudication, a Ministry of Labour agency responsible for employment standards and occupational health and safety appeals. He holds a Master's degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures (U of Toronto) and an LLB from the University of Windsor. He has spoken at a variety of conferences on employment standards, health and safety, privacy, accessibility and conflict of interest. Mr. Stelmaszynski is an executive member of the Public Sector Lawyers Section of the Ontario Bar Association and the board of directors of College Montrose Children's Place, a non-profit family resource centre. He continues to serve on several SOAR Committees: Education, SAMN, By-Law Review, as well as the annual SOAR Conference Planning Committee.
Janice Vauthier serves as Chair of the Health Professions and Health Services Appeal and Review Boards. She is a graduate of the University of Windsor Law School. Prior to joining the Health Boards, Ms. Vauthier practiced litigation in Northwestern Ontario. In addition to her private family practice, Ms. Vauthier had many years’ experience as an Ontario Legal Aid mediator in the Thunder Bay area. She has represented the private bar as a member of the Law Commission of Ontario Research Advisory Board. She has been active in the Ontario Bar Association for many years serving on Council and previously as an Executive member and Co-Chair of the OBA Institute between (2010 -2012). She is a member of the Society of Ontario Regulators and Adjudicators Conference Organizing Committee and is also an active community member, having chaired numerous organizations in Northwestern Ontario.