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Guest Speakers

Opening Ceremony

Elder Little Brown Bear

Ernest W Matton, (Athehsa Niohkwá:rita:a) (Elder Little Brown Bear) – Is a highly respected Métis Elder, and  spiritual ambassador who blends Traditional teachings with mainstream information to provide holistic healing approaches for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members and professional disciplines.

He is both a sought-after seminar speaker and effective group facilitator an expert in the areas of Trauma/Addictions/Mental Wellbeing (Health), grief, suicide, conflict resolution, forgiveness, mediation, anger release, and Building Healthy Relationships.

He shares this expertise as a proud member of the Toronto East Health Network family. There, he is the, Director of Aboriginal Education, Programs, Culture and the Founder/Elder of the Accredited Leading Practice Aboriginal Healing Program a program he has spent the past nine years developing at Michael Garron Hospital Toronto East Health Network and Co Director and Co-Producer of Healing the Nation documentary and Conductor of the Bear’s Den All Nations Traditional Medicine Sweat Lodge.

He inspires bridging culture and professional disciplines in today’s hectic world, to assist people in finding what works.  Drawing from his academic background, vast work and personal life experiences, he focuses on what works to bring balance and inspiration to everyday life and makes wellness practices and spirituality simple. He says that “being Aboriginal is not a life style it is a way of life”.

He is a graduate of CANADORE COLLEGE and BROCK UNIVERSITY.

Opening Remarks

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The Honourable Sylvia Jones

Solicitor General of Ontario

Sylvia Jones has served as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon since 2007.

Currently, she serves as Solicitor General where her top focus is the safety and security of all Ontarians. In this role, Sylvia has championed numerous public safety initiatives, including:

  • The development of a provincially run animal welfare system with the toughest penalties in Canada for offenders.
  • New legislation governing Ontario’s police services to improve public safety, treat police fairly, and enhance oversight.
  • Leading the country with a $307 million anti-human trafficking strategy and accompanying legislation.
  • A landmark investment of $500 million into Ontario’s correctional system to hire over 500 additional staff and overhaul outdated infrastructure.

Prior to forming government, Sylvia served as the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition from September 2015 to May 2018, and held many critic responsibilities.

Sylvia has lived in Orangeville for over 30 years with her husband David. They are proud parents of two children.

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The Honourable Christine Elliott

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health

As a mother, lawyer, businesswoman, and entrepreneur, Christine Elliott knows how to bring people together. She knows the importance of balancing a family budget and how to manage a successful business.

Christine graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Laws degree. She then built a successful career in business and law, working first as an auditor at one of Canada’s largest banks. Christine later co-founded a law firm with her late husband Jim Flaherty, where she specialized in real estate, corporate law, and estate law. Christine has worked tirelessly to help businesses across the province expand and thrive.

Christine also used her business and legal expertise to pursue her commitment to public service.  Her pro bono legal work for charitable organizations gained her the recognition as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, the highest award with Rotary.  As well, Christine is a co-founder of the Abilities Centre in Whitby, a facility built with the vision of celebrating all people, regardless of ability. The centre has become a hub of its community, hosting various Parapan Am Games events in 2015.

In 2006, Christine was elected MPP. She has won five elections, and for nine years has served the people of Ontario at Queen’s Park, including six years as Deputy Leader of the PC Party.

In 2016, Christine became Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman, where she fought for better access to health care for all. She currently serves as the Deputy Premier of Ontario, Minister of Health, and is the MPP for Newmarket-Aurora.

Christine has triplet sons, John, Galen and Quinn.

The Honourable Michael Tibollo

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Prior to taking office, Minister Tibollo volunteered as a certified addictions counsellor and advocated for a bed-based therapeutic community in the City of Vaughan, seeking to support those struggling with mental health and addictions challenges.

Passionate about helping those faced with mental health and addictions challenges, Minister Tibollo is currently pursuing his PhD in Clinical Psychology with a focus on Addictions and Concurrent Disorders through the University of Southern California.

Minister Tibollo proudly serves the people of Ontario as the province’s very first Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and is looking forward to creating a connected system of care with comprehensive wrap-around services, so that every Ontarian can be fully supported in their journey towards mental wellness.

Wellness Instructors

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Evonne Sullivan

Yoga Instructor

Evonne Sullivan is a trauma-informed Yoga Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Speaker
specializing in mental health and addiction recovery. She is partnered with CAMH Foundation, teaching yoga, meditation and mindfulness for patients in treatment at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Through EvonneSullivan.com and her Yoga for Wellness and Recovery program, she works with various organizations and special events. As a person in long-term recovery, Evonne speaks openly about how mind-body practices have been fundamental in her ability to manage challenges with anxiety and depression.

Mike Dunn

Meditation

Michael Dunn has worked in the field of mental health for over 15 years and has served in a variety of positions ranging from street outreach to senior leadership. He is passionate about quality improvement, ethics in mental health care and working together with service recipients. Michael is also an avid meditator and has taught classes at the Jampa Ling Kadampa Buddhist Centre.