The Kids Are Not Alright: The Urgent Need for a National Dialogue to Invest in the Wellbeing of Canada’s Children11:30am-1:30pm | The Westin Calgary - 320 4th Avenue S.W. , Calgary
Canada is the 5th most prosperous nation in the world, but Canadian kids aren’t reaping the benefits. We rank 17th globally for the wellbeing of children, and drop to 27th place for child health and safety. We can and must do better: Canada’s future depends on it.
Canada’s 150th anniversary provides us with an opportunity reflect on progress made towards advancing the wellbeing of children, and to consider Alberta’s role in providing a strong public policy framework for our youngest citizens. As the only province in Canada to hold a Children’s Charter and Children First legislation, Alberta can play a leadership role to inspire all provinces and our federal government to act in the best interests of children. The provincial government’s most recent efforts on this front are commendable, including commitments to support children including the school nutrition pilot program and a $25/day child care program to support families.
After Children First's initial 2016 launch on the EC platform in Toronto, we are proud to bring this important discussion to Calgary. Join Sara L. Austin, Founder, President and CEO of Children First Canada alongside Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children's Services, and Bonnie Johnston, CEO at Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre. This discussion will be moderated by Tara Nelson, Executive Editor and Host of CTV Calgary 6pm News.
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Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre
Bonnie Johnston has dedicated her career to serving children and families. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, a position she has held since November 2012.
Bonnie began her career as a nurse in an Aboriginal community in northern Alberta and later had a variety of increasingly responsible roles in the health care field in Edmonton and Calgary, including Director of Child and Adolescent Health for the Calgary Health Region. In that role, she was responsible for pediatric inpatient and critical care health services at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and pediatric inpatient services at the Peter Lougheed Centre. She most recently served as the Chief Executive Officer for Calgary & Area Child and Family Services from 2002 to 2012, responsible for programs including Child Protection Services, Family Support for Children with Disabilities and Child Care Licensing and Subsidy. During 2012, Bonnie also served in the role as Acting Assistant Deputy Minister for the Child and Family Service Delivery Division, Ministry of Human Services.
Bonnie holds a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Nursing Degree from the University of Calgary. Her focus is on continuous improvement of outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families through collaboration, innovation and best practice.
Minister of Children's Services
Government of Alberta
Danielle Larivee was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as the Member for the constituency of Lesser Slave Lake on May 5, 2015. She was appointed Minister of Children's Services on January 19, 2017.
She previously served as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Service Alberta.
Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Ms. Larivee worked for over 17 years as a registered nurse with Alberta Health Services. During this time she also spent two years working in home care for the Driftpile First Nation and two years as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) instructor with Northern Lakes College.
An active member of her community, she served as treasurer for her local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) from 2013 to 2015, as chair of the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Wellness Advisory Committee from 2014 to 2015 and as president of local 315 of the United Nurses of Alberta from 2011 to 2015.
Ms. Larivee holds a bachelor of science in midwifery from the Midwives College of Utah and a Bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Alberta. She also is an alumnus of the TUXIS Parliament of Alberta.
Ms. Larivee, together with her three children, resides in Slave Lake, a place that she has called home for over 35 years, and community abundant with rivers and lakes that she enjoys kayaking whenever she has the opportunity.
Sara L. Austin
Founder, President & CEO
Children First Canada
Sara L. Austin, Founder and President/CEO of Children First Canada is the passionate visionary behind this national organization dedicated to the protection and empowerment of Canada's children. With over 20 years leadership experience in the non-profit/charitable sector, she has helped to change the lives of the world's most vulnerable children. You'll find her name on several "most powerful" lists, including the prestigious Top 25 Women of Influence and as a three-time winner of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women, in recognition of her global and national leadership for children. She has learned multiple languages, and is fluent in the parlance of diplomacy. Her work has taken her into the top circles of power at the United Nations, government corridors and boardrooms around the world.
Her leadership of a global campaign to protect children resulted in the UN General Assembly adopting a ground breaking international law which allows children or their advocates to file complaints against their government for violations of their rights. She drafted the protocol during her graduate studies at the University of Oxford, and her efforts culminated in April 2014, when Sara delivered a speech at the UN Headquarters in New York as the law went into effect. She has also shaped Canadian public policy efforts, including testifying before Senate and Parliamentary Committees on Canada's obligations under international law.
As a regular contributor to mainstream and social media, she also shapes public opinion on issues relating to the protection and empowerment of children. Sara's Opinion Editorials have been published in Canada's leading newspapers and she has been interviewed on major TV and radio networks such as CTV and CBC. Sara also has extensive board governance experience; she is currently a member of Dalhousie University's Board of Governors and the Alumni Association, Imagine Canada's Standards Council, and the Women's Executive Network (WXN) Advisory Council.
Anchor/Executive Editor, CTV Calgary 6pm.
Tara Nelson is a Canadian television journalist and news anchor, and most recently was the European bureau chief for Global Television Network's news division. In 2010, Nelson assumed the role as the anchor of the News at 6 at CTV Calgary, replacing Barb Higgins, who left the position after joining the mayoral race in Calgary.
Nelson previously worked as a reporter and anchor for CITV-DT in Edmonton, CHEK-DT in Victoria and CHAN-DT in Vancouver before joining Global National as a reporter. From 2005 to 2008, she served as the program's weekend anchor and primary weekday substitute anchor.
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