CAPSA Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Anthony Esposti

Anthony Esposti leads the team at CAPSA as its CEO.  A senior professional, with over 25 years experience in the Canadian corporate banking field, Anthony also possesses extensive experience at senior levels of volunteer Boards of Directors in the not-for profit sector. 

As a person with lived experience with an alcohol use disorder, Anthony brings his life’s experience to frame his work at CAPSA.  This experience serves to inform the work that CAPSA performs and lends context to the need to address stigma, regarding substance use disorders, to address the well-being of all Canadians.

Gord Garner

Gord Garner is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA), and the chair of the annual Recovery Day Ottawa event. He is a national public speaker and trainer on Systemic Stigma and Person First Language. He is living well with his own substance use disorder and is a retired past Certified Canadian Addiction Counselor. He is dedicated to removing barriers, to enabling policy, academic research, and people with personal experience with Substance Use Health issues to make system level changes. He believes that all policy and regulations need reviewing under the concept of increased life security and Substance Use Health outcomes using an All People All Pathways™ model. All of his work is informed by his 38 years of active addiction and by those who helped him. He believes compassion is a practice and he is practicing.

Laurèl Craib-Laurin

Laurèl Craib-Laurin is a fluently bilingual, highly motivated and experienced government relations specialist. Having worked on Parliament Hill for 13 years in the political arena, Laurèl’s knowledge of the workings and tactics of government are extensive and profound. After leaving federal politics, Laurèl made the jump into advocacy and government relations. First to a tier one lobby firm, and then onto Engineers Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Global Automakers of Canada, the Canadian Association of Optometrists and president and owner of Agora Consulting. She has developed and delivered specialized advocacy training workshops across the country, offered strategic advice to a wide variety of councils, as well as participated in operational planning for large and small NGOs. As well as having served as the staff leads on Political Action Committees, and Ethics Committees, Laurèl currently serves as Lead Advocacy Advisor to the Ottawa Festivals Board and CEO. Other volunteer activities include co-chair of the Bell Walk for Kids, Committee Member at Brain Injury Association of Canada, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, and the Relay for Life Ottawa.

Laurèl has held a part time position as professor, for over 16 years, at Algonquin College in Ottawa. She has taught courses such as; Politics and Public Administration, Diversity, Aboriginal Justice and Youth in Conflict with the Law.

Laurèl attended the University of Ottawa and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, she attended John Abbott College where she pursued studies in Police Technology, and at Dawson College at the faculty of Sociology.

Laurèl is married and has 2 daughters. Laurèl has a deep passion for the outdoors, where she loves camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening and swimming.

Laurèl has lived experience of substance use disorder, and is proud to be living in long term recovery.

Chris McGarrity

Chris McGarrity is a finance professional having held senior roles in publicly traded and privately owned companies in the Ottawa area for the past 25 years. His passion to innovate and extensive knowledge of business practices has led to many successful department transformations and system implementations. He has showcased several of these best practice initiatives in presentations delivered at annual national finance conferences.

As a long time resident of the Ottawa area, Chris has held many volunteer positions for not for profit organizations. An avid fitness enthusiast, Chis’ life-long involvement in amateur sports has developed a strong need and desire to give back to the community. He continues to be inspired by the acts of kindness and spirit of generosity he witnesses from others in these organizations.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. Chris and his wife Cathy have three children.

Patrick Dion

Patrick Dion is a leading government relations professional, recognized for helping clients solve strategic issues and enhancing their reputation and brand with federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Mr. Dion’s expertise, enhanced by his strong belief that business and volunteerism are indivisible, has earned him the trust of Canada’s most respected business leaders.

Mr. Dion was appointed as Ontario’s representative as an inaugural director of the board of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, serving the board for nine years and four years as vice-chair, and chaired the Human Resources Committee, Audit and Finance Committee, Investment Committee, and Governance and Nominating Committee.

Patrick has become a recognized voice for mental health and wellness, frequently invited to speak on the reform of Canada’s mental health system. He was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee for his service to Canada, received The Royal Ottawa Leader in Mental Health Award, Ontario Medical Association Community Service Award, and was invested into the Order of Ottawa. In 2020, Nipissing University conferred upon Patrick the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa for his leadership in the field of mental health and substance use disorder.

Patrick was recruited by Ontario’s Minister of Health to serve on the advisory group guiding the Government of Ontario’s review of its mental health and addictions system and has chaired the Champlain LHIN’s Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Committee on Improving Consumer Flow. Mr. Dion is chair of the board of Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association, a member of Carleton University board of governors, and a director of the board of the Canadian Film Institute.

Mr. Dion’s journey to being recognized as a well-respected and active member of Ottawa’s business community led to him receiving the Ottawa Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award, its annual list of top young business leaders in Ottawa.

He graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Electrical Engineering Science. Patrick also completed the Directors Education Program (DEP) at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Patrick is a father of two and lives in Ottawa with his wife Raylene Lang-Dion.

Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley has been president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE since 1990. He also serves as First Vice-president of CUPE Ontario and is a regional vice-president representing Ontario on CUPE’s national executive board.

He is a co-author of a number of articles, the latest, Sacrificed: Ontario Healthcare Workers in the Time of Covid-19 will be published in New Solutions, A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy in November. Michael has lived experience with substance use disorder and is living happily in long term recovery.

Angela Slobodian

Angela Slobodian is the Acting Director of Wellness at the Ottawa Police Service. As a registered nurse she has worked in hospitals and in public health. In 1994 she moved from her native Nova Scotia to Belleville, Ontario to begin work as an Occupational Health Nurse at a global telecommunications company. This began her interest and passion into occupational health. She completed her diploma in Occupational Health Nursing and received her certification in 2002. Her family moved to Ottawa where she continued working with the telecommunications company. At the time when she left the company Angela was Director of North American Health Operations. She began with Ottawa Police in 2009 as the Manager of Health, Safety and Lifestyles. As a nurse she has always had a commitment to health promotion and illness prevention. When the opportunity came to lead the development of a Wellness program at Ottawa Police, she was pleased to take the lead. With a recent organizational change, she now has the Health and Safety team reporting to her as well as 2 Sergeants who are responsible for the development of the Peer Support and Resiliency program. As a member of the Community Addiction Peer Support Association role, and recently becoming Vice-Chair, she sees the importance of reinforcing the stigma reduction language surrounding mental health and addiction within her workplace and in the community.

Deirdre Hendrick

As Office Manager, Deirdre leads the administrative team in KPMG’s Ottawa and Kanata offices, with a combined workforce of more than 230 staff. She works closely with the Office Managing Partner while collaborating with nine other KPMG office managers across Eastern Canada. She has more than 20 years of service with the firm and has held a management position for the past 10 years. In addition to serving as Office Manager, Deirdre works with KPMG’s Community Leader Committee and Youth Services Bureau, the firm’s community partner of choice in the national capital region. She also volunteers with Nepean Sailing Club at its annual Easter Seals event.

Yvon Lemire

Yvon Lemire brings over thirty years of experience in the field of addictions treatment, as clinician, program director and since 2013 as Executive Director of Maison Fraternité a francophone residential addictions treatment facility for clients with addiction and mental health issues located in Ottawa and serving the entire province of Ontario.

From 2001 to 2011, Yvon was Director of the Addiction and Mental Health Services of the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, where he co-founded the Comité interprovincial du jeu, a unique model of collaboration between addiction service providers and the gaming industry. Two noteworthy accomplishments of this group were making the Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline available in Quebec and providing clients with problem gambling issues with the possibility of doing self-exclusions with their counsellors at a treatment facility, without having to revisit a gambling facility to do so.

Mr. Lemire entered the field of addictions treatment as a clinician in 1986, soon after graduating from St-Paul University with a Master’s degree in counselling. Since then, he has worked for a the Addictions Research Foundation, now the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, managed a private sector EAP program for Corporate Health Consultants and managed the EAP program for Family Services Ottawa.
Prior to returning to full-time studies, Mr. Lemire worked in a variety of positions including the Federal Public Service, Canada World Youth, l’Association canadienne française de l’Ontario and la Commission scolaire du Témiscamingue.

Yvon is currently on the Board of the Responsible Gambling Council of Canada. He was also Board Chair of Action Logement/Action Housing in Ottawa for 4 years and was a Board member of the Réseau des services en santé en Français de l’Est de l’Ontario for 5 years. He recently retired from the Board of the Fondation de santé des collines/Des Collines Health Foundation and is an active member of the Wakefield Cemetery Board.
Yvon currently lives in beautiful Wakefield, Quebec with his wife Dawn, numerous cats, deer, an owl, a wild turkey and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, such as snowshoeing and boating on the Gatineau River.

Dr. Keith Wilson

Dr. Keith Wilson is retired after 30 years of practice as a hospital-based clinical psychologist in Winnipeg and Ottawa. An active researcher, Keith has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters, mostly related to the psychological aspects of chronic illness, disability, and palliative care. Keith has received numerous awards for this work, including the “Member of the Year Award” from the Canadian Psychological Association. Keith has lived experience of substance use disorder, and is proud to be living in long term recovery.


Zahra Alysha 

Zahra Alysha Wells is a bilingual psychotherapist who is passionate about promoting empowerment and wellness of others through community engagement and education. She has volunteered with several organizations in the community including the Distress Centre of Ottawa, Ottawa Victim Services and Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (Forensic Services). In addition to her roles with Community Addictions Peer Support Association, Zahra also volunteers with the Social Welfare Board of Canada providing support to families living in severe poverty, and who struggle with mental health and substance use concerns. Currently, Zahra works with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Emergency Hospital Outreach team. Prior to this, she gained expertise in addiction counselling from positions with Montfort Renaissance Inc., the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. Zahra is a uOttawa alumnus, who holds an honors degree in Psychology, and diploma in Addiction Studies from McMaster University to expand her knowledge and understanding in the field of substance use disorders. Her future aspirations are to obtain her MSW in order to become an addictions social worker.


Marlo Taylor

Marlo Taylor is President of Gage Communications Inc., a full-service Canadian communications firm. Marlo has more than 19 years’ experience in public relations and communications, providing senior-level counsel to healthcare-related clients. Marlo’s primary experience extends across the pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare technology sectors.

In addition to strategic communications planning and execution, Marlo has also helped her clients navigate complex industry issues and mitigate crisis. She is an engaged and creative partner, at her best working as an extension of her clients’ teams.

Marlo has developed a framework called VOICE to help clients think through and activate powerful traditional and online advocacy campaigns that engage key stakeholders and decision makers in the process of positive and productive change.

In addition to her work with CAPSA, Marlo is a board member of the CSHP Research and Education Foundation, working to help promote pharmacist-led research in Canada. She is also a board member of One Spark whose mission is to provide barrier-free opportunities for women experiencing violence to generate income through entrepreneurship.

Marlo is a graduate of Queen’s University, has a certificate in graphic design from Lambton College and holds a post-graduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College.


Rick Blute

Rick Blute a retired Professor of Mathematics from the University Of Ottawa. In his 24 years at UO, he held a number of administrative posts, including Vice-Dean, President Of the Professors Union and Chair of the CAUT Defence Fund. He loves teaching and enjoy the challenge of teaching advanced mathematics to classes both large and small. He has lived experience of substance use disorder, and is proud to be living in long term recovery.

Papa Ladjiké Diouf 

Papa Ladjiké Diouf is a registered psychotherapist and clinical supervisor with CRPO. He studied psychology and sociology with certificates of specialization in various issues with a basis in trauma. He has been working for 15 years as a psychotherapist, including 7 years as a clinical supervisor and trainer/teacher. He has worked in several environments (Africa and Canada) and with different clients on various issues (trauma, migration, SUDs, and concurrent disorders, etc.). He is a clinical director in substance use disorders and mental health treatment for Le CAP (francophone agency in Ottawa).

Peter Irving 

Born and raised in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and received Bachelor of Arts at the University of Victoria in 1985, Peter began working in banking before starting a career in the Federal Government in 1989. He accepted a position as a public service manager in Ottawa in 2002. Peter has been in recovery from substance use disorder since 2010 thanks to help from the medical community, treatment centres, peer support, his family, friends, employer, and the kindness of countless others. He is grateful for the privilege of serving on the CAPSA board.

John Weiler 

A mathematician at heart and by education, Mr. Weiler is a renowned problem solver. For the last decade of his career and for 15 years since, John helped create, develop, promote, and perform the discipline of Independent Reviews. Through those efforts, John Weiler firmly established himself as a leading expert, national and internationally, in assessing large and complex organizations, programs, and projects. “Semi-retired” from his career in Information Technology which included stretches with the European Space Agency, Lockheed Martin, and Monenco Agra, John continues to perform Independent Reviews of major initiatives in the public and private sectors. John is proud to identify as an individual in recovery from alcohol addiction.

Glenn Brimacombe

Mr. Brimacombe is the Director, Policy and Public Affairs at the Canadian Psychological Association. Previously, he was chief executive officer of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) and the Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO), and Vice-president, Strategic Partnerships and Priorities at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).

With over 30 years’ experience in the health sector, Mr. Brimacombe has focused on a range of strategic policy issues related to the organization, management, financing and delivery of health care, in addition to the federal role in research, innovation and commercialization. In different capacities, he has also identified, developed, and nurtured a number of strategic alliances and partnerships.

Mr. Brimacombe has an Honour’s and Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Ottawa. In his spare time, Glenn enjoys time with his family, keeping active through sport and playing music in a local band.