September 2015

Addiction Recovery: Overcoming Stigma and Celebrating Success

11:30am-1:30pm | One King West Hotel - 1 King Street West, Toronto

Substance abuse affects millions of Canadians, whether directly or indirectly. It costs our society billions of dollars per year. It causes harms to individuals, families and communities. It is a matter worthy of public discussion, policy debate, and political action.

The good news is that substance abuse is preventable and treatable, and recovery is a reality for many. This means that, with the right treatments and supports, Canadians who suffer from this brain disorder can move beyond addiction and take back their place in their family, at their workplace, and within their community. But in order for this to happen, as a society we need to move beyond the stigma that currently exists around alcohol and drug abuse.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse is proud to bring to the Economic Club four noteworthy Canadians to enhance our collective understanding of substance use disorders – including the scientific research angle, as well as personal journeys from addiction to recovery.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Member Pricing:
Individual seat: $89 +HST
Table (seats 10): $800 +HST

Guest Pricing:
Individual: $110 +HST
Table (seats 10): $990 +HST

- Lunch will be served -

Addiction Recovery: Overcoming Stigma and Celebrating Success

Ann Dowsett Johnston

Founding Director
Faces and Voices of Recovery Canada

Ann Dowsett Johnston

Ann Dowsett Johnston is the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, named one of the top 10 books of 2013 by the Washington Post and recipient of the American Alcoholism Research Media Award.

Winner of five gold National Magazine Awards, Ann is also the recipient of a Southam Journalism Fellowship and the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy.

A seasoned journalist, she spent most of her career at Maclean’s magazine, where she was best known as the chief architect of the annual university rankings and the annual Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. Columnist, writer and editor, she has shaped a broad range of dynamic publications over a 30-year career.

Ann is also a founding director of Faces and Voices of Recovery Canada, and the co-founder of the National Roundtable on Girls, Women and Alcohol.

A graduate of Queen’s University and a former Vice-Principal of McGill University, Ann was given a
Transforming Lives Award by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health this spring. Ann lives in

Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino, FCAHS

President, Vice-Chancellor, Professor of Psychology
University of Guelph

Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino, FCAHS

Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino has led a distinguished academic career and is an internationally-recognized and widely-published researcher and scholar with more than 100 publications.

Prior to assuming leadership of the University of Guelph, Dr. Vaccarino became principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2007 and vice-president at the University of Toronto for a five-year team, and was reappointed in 2012.

He has also served as executive vice-president (programs) and vice-president (research) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and as vice-president and director of research, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, both in Toronto.

His contributions to the scientific community have been recognized at the highest levels, including major awards and recognitions from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CCNP), and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). In 2004, he served as the principal editor of the World Health Organization’s “Neuroscience of Psychoactive Substance Use and Dependence” report, the first comprehensive report published by the WHO focused on the biology of substance dependence. Dr. Vaccarino is frequently invited to speak at major international conferences on these topics.

Dr. Vaccarino holds a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, and an MSc and a PhD in psychology from McGill University. He received postdoctoral training at the Scripps and Salk Institutes in California.

Leanne M. Lewis

Chair - Board of Directors
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

Leanne M. Lewis

Leanne Lewis is a passionate community advocate for parents, families and youth affected by substance abuse. She brings significant governance and community experience and has studied not-for-profit governance at the Institute of Corporate Directors and the fundamentals of governance at Queen's School of Business.

Ms. Lewis has been a respected member of the CCSA Board since 2011. In her new role as Chairperson of the Board of Directors, she chairs the Executive Committee and is an ex-officio member of all Board committees. Outside of CCSA, she is the president-elect of HOPE (Helping Other Parents Everywhere), a support and self-help group for parents of at-risk youth. She also volunteers with a restorative justice youth program at Peacebuilders in Toronto.

Ms. Lewis holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto. She was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Medal for community service in September 2012.

Michael Bryant

Ishkonigan Inc.

Michael Bryant

Michael Bryant began his recovery from alcoholism in 2006 while serving as the Attorney General of Ontario. He served as Member of Provincial Parliament for mid-town Toronto from 1999-2009, and as a Cabinet Minister for six years. As Attorney General, he overhauled the Ontario Human Rights System, re-established both the Police Complaints Commission and the Law Reform Commission, and legislated paralegals as a regulated profession in Ontario.

He is the Chair of the Public Accounting Council of Ontario, and serves on the boards of the Pine River Institute,an adolescent addiction treatment centre, as well as John Howard Society Ontario. Michael does consulting work for First Nations at Ishkonigan with former National Chief Phil Fontaine, O.C.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, he has written and shared extensively across Canada about his own recovery. In 2012 Bryant authored the #1 Canadian Bestseller, 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy and Hope, published by Viking Press (Penguin Random House) in Canada and the U.S.

Rita Notarandrea, M.H.Sc., C.H.E

Chief Executive Officer (interim)
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

Rita Notarandrea, M.H.Sc., C.H.E

Rita Notarandrea, M.H.Sc, C.H.E, was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) through a Governor in Council appointment on July 28, 2015. Ms. Notarandrea works with all levels of government as well as the not-for-profit and private sectors to ensure that addiction is recognized as a health issue, that it remains on the national agenda for action and that collective efforts are galvanized to reduce alcohol- and drug-related harms on the health of Canadians.

Before being appointed CEO, Ms. Notarandrea held the position of interim CEO for a 10-month period, and Deputy CEO for eight years. As the Deputy CEO, Ms. Notarandrea was accountable for the overall operations of CCSA. This position entailed establishing strategic and operational goals and ensuring that CCSA remained responsive to environmental trends and had the strategies and processes in place to deliver on the mission and vision of the organization and to assess performance and achievements.

CCSA has successfully led many first-ever national initiatives for Canada, including an overarching national action plan on substance abuse, a national alcohol strategy, a national workforce strategy for professionals working in the field and a national youth drug prevention strategy. These strategies represent new ways of thinking and working together to deliver practical and tangible results for Canadians, harnessing collective action for collective impact.

Prior to joining CCSA, Ms. Notarandrea enjoyed more than 22 years of leadership success in the healthcare sector. She held a number of senior positions with major health service organizations, such as the Royal Ottawa Hospital, a 207-bed psychiatric hospital, where she was Chief Operating Officer. Her expertise lies in moving from strategy to action and her accomplishments in this area relate to her leadership role in innovative approaches such as developing and implementing an innovative long-term care facility targeted specifically at those with mental illness; redeveloping the hospital through a public–private partnership; and developing new programs and services related to a renewed vision for the hospital.

Ms. Notarandrea holds an Honours B.A. in Psychology from Carleton University and a Masters in Health Sciences from the University of Toronto. She also holds a Certified Health Executive designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

Sheldon Kennedy

Respect Group Inc.

Sheldon Kennedy

Sheldon Kennedy skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career, but is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five-year period while a teenager under his care.

Sheldon has become an inspiration to millions of abuse survivors around the world and a committed, outspoken child advocate. His life story was made into an award-winning movie, he has appeared on Oprah, ABC’s Nightline, W-5, and The Fifth Estate, and he was named Canada’s newsmaker of the year in 1997.

In 1998, Sheldon in-line skated across Canada to raise awareness of child abuse and donated all $1.2 million in proceeds from the skate to the Canadian Red Cross – Respect ED program. In 2006, Sheldon wrote “Why I Didn’t Say Anything,” a riveting account of the many psychological impacts of abuse.

He has received several awards for his tireless work, including the Scotiabank Humanitarian Award, an Honourary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of the Fraser Valley, the Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Beyond Borders Media Award, 2012 Calgary Citizen of the year and the 2014 David Foster Foundation Humanitarian Award. Sheldon has influenced changes in Canadian law and has taken his message to the International Olympic Committee and the US Senate.

Sheldon serves on the Board of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, the first of it's kind in Canada, offering full wrap-around services for victims of child abuse. Sheldon continues to influence social change through Respect Group, the company he co-founded that provides empowering on-line education for the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment in youth serving organizations, schools and the workplace.

Our Sponsors

Telus Interac Green Shield Canada