Vladimir Putin

The role of retirement communities in the lives of Ontarians - today, tomorrow and in the years to come.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.

Putting Seniors First


Michael Lavallée

Chief Executive Officer, Seasons Retirement Communities; Board Chair, Ontario Retirement Communities Association

Michael Lavallée joined Seasons in 2009 as the COO where he launched the Seasons operating platform and brand. Promoted to CEO in 2018, Mr. Lavallée has continued to strengthen the Seasons brand and integrate new assets into the platform. A noted expert and accomplished speaker on the Canadian Seniors Housing sector, Mr. Lavallée has successfully advocated for resident qualify of life and care. He holds the ICD.D designation and is the Board Chair of the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA). ORCA is a voluntary non-profit association that advocates for seniors’ issues and influences governmental policy and regulation development. Prior to joining Seasons Retirement Communities, Mr. Lavallée was Vice President of Operations at Chartwell Retirement Residences. He received his BA from Bishops University.

Dr. Samir Sinha, MD, DPhil FRCPC Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health System

Dr. Samir Sinha is a passionate and respected advocate for the needs of older adults. Dr. Sinha currently serves as the Director of Geriatrics of the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto, the Peter and Shelagh Godsoe Chair in Geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Director of Health Policy Research at the National Institute on Ageing at Ryerson University. He is also an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A Rhodes Scholar, after completing his undergraduate medical studies at the University of Western Ontario, he obtained a Masters in Medical History and a Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Ageing. He has pursued his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto and in Geriatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Sinha's breadth of international training and expertise in health policy and the delivery of services related to the care of the elderly have made him a highly regarded expert in the care of older adults. In 2012 he was appointed by the Government of Ontario to serve as the expert lead of Ontario's Seniors Strategy and he is now working on the development of a National Seniors Strategy. In 2014, Canada’s Maclean’s Magazine proclaimed him to be one of Canada’s 50 most influential people and its most compelling voice for the elderly.

Beyond Canada, Dr. Sinha is a Fellow of the American Geriatrics Society and a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. Dr. Sinha has further consulted and advised hospitals and health authorities in Britain, China, Iceland, Singapore, St. Kitts and Nevis, Taiwan and the United States on the implementation and administration of unique, integrated and innovative models of geriatric care that reduce disease burden, improve access and capacity and ultimately promote health.

John Wright Partner, DART C-Suite Communicators

John co-founded DART in 2017— and leads a team of high-level insight specialists and seasoned communicators who partner with the C-Suite, Executive leadership, or the Board to advance and protect crucial interests, brands, assets and reputations requiring vital intelligence and pivotal communication strategies.

Differentiated by its C-Suite peer-level bench strength, DART consultants are smart, strategic thinkers who bring experienced fresh-eyes to tough communications assignments knowing the right questions to ask, the internal and external audiences to heed, and the tools and tempo to deliver actionable solutions and accountability.

Together, the DART team discreetly and seamlessly fills the gaps in existing resources by either doing the work needed or by providing advice and counsel. DART consultants are C-Suite confidants who bring integrity, honesty, ideation and trustworthy sound-boarding to every assignment.

While best known and respected as a national pollster and commentator with three national best-selling books on what Canadians think, John’s expertise goes well beyond crunching numbers—including the demographics of a growing and aging population. With over 30 years working with leaders in every sector and on most every top-drawer public affairs issue, he combines his intimate understanding of the public with unparalleled experience to provide perspective and guidance to the C-Suite and Board on high-stakes strategic communications and change management  challenges.

DART provides C-Suite Strategic Communications, Crisis Communications, Media Training, Media Engagement, and Financial Communications. Learn more at www.dartincom.ca or contact John at 416-919-2101.

Introductory Remarks:

Cathy Hecimovich

Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Retirement Communities Association

Cathy Hecimovich joined the Ontario Retirement Communities Association as Chief Executive Officer in 2018, bringing more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in home and community care to the role. Cathy continues to cultivate partnerships across acute, primary, long-term and community care in order to promote greater access, autonomy and choice for seniors as they pursue the best possible options to meet their individual care needs and preferences.

Cathy holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Physiotherapy and a Masters in Education. She is an Assistant Professor at McMaster University with the DeGroote School of Business and the School of Rehabilitation Sciences. Cathy is a graduate of the Advanced Healthcare Leadership Program through the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, is a Certified Healthcare Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders.


Jane Taber Vice-President of Public Affairs, NATIONAL Public Relations

Jane Taber is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who spent her career covering Parliament Hill, and most recently Queen’s Park.

During her tenure on Parliament Hill, Jane covered the Mulroney Progressive Conservatives, the Chretien Liberals and the Harper Conservatives. In 2015, she moved to Toronto to cover the Wynne Liberals and the Ontario legislature.

She’s spent more hours than she can count on campaign buses and planes following the leaders during election bids. She’s covered leadership contests, and all of the important issues of the day. Her network of contacts, political and influential Canadians, is vast.

All of these issues and events were covered both in print (as a reporter at the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and for 14 years at The Globe and Mail) and also on television and radio.

From 2005 to 2011, Jane was the co-host of CTV’s Question Period and interviewed all the main political players of the day on the hour-long broadcast. She was also the fill-in host on Mike Duffy Live and Power Play on CTV’s News Channel. Jane filled in, too, on CTV’s morning show, Canada AM.

Before joining CTV’s Question Period, Jane was a regular contributor to CBC’s At Issue panel with Peter Mansbridge.

As Vice President of Public Affairs at NATIONAL’s Toronto office since September 2016, she brings her wealth of experience to the Firm, her colleagues and her clients.