Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

July 11, 2011 13:44 ET

The Government of Canada Announces the Appointment of Five Members to the National Council of Welfare

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 11, 2011) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced the appointment of five members to the National Council of Welfare on June 23, 2011.

"These individuals bring leadership, experience and expertise to the Council," said Minister Finley. "Their dedication and sense of community have given them a strong appreciation for the challenges many Canadians face every day."

The National Council of Welfare, which was created in 1969, advises the Minister on the needs and problems of low-income Canadians, and on social and related programs and policies that affect their welfare. To this end, the Council communicates directly with the Minister, informs and influences public opinion through widely disseminated reports, and provides a vehicle through which people concerned with the problems of low-income Canadians can make their views known to the Government.

For more information on the Council, please visit

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.



John Simpson

With thirty years of experience in policy development, research, training and community development, Mr. Simpson led the development of the Northwest Territories Apprenticeship Support Materials project, which resulted in the creation of kindergarten to grade 12 reading comprehension, math and science study materials now used across Canada. Mr. Simpson is a strong advocate of community upgrading and literacy programming.

Mr. Simpson's professional experience includes working as President of Genesis Group, Director of Policy and Programs for Aurora College, and Yellowknife Campus Program Development Coordinator of Arctic College.

Mr. Simpson holds a Master of Arts degree (Community Leadership: Education) from Regis University and a Bachelor' of Arts in Native Studies and Political Science from Trent University.

Norma McColeman

Throughout her career, Ms. McColeman has touched the lives of many people in her community by assisting victims of family violence and advocating on their behalf. She has helped countless youth develop their employability and make informed life choices. She has also worked with terminally ill patients and their families. As a guest speaker at numerous events, Ms. McColeman has led sessions on such topics as self-esteem, life skills and personal wellness.

Ms. McColeman's professional experience includes working as Outreach Coordinator at East Prince Family Violence Prevention Services and as Team Leader of the East Prince Youth Development Centre. She also represented Summerside as a municipal councillor for 10 years.

A graduate of Holland College, Ms. McColeman continued to hone her skills by undertaking specialized professional development and training. She holds several diplomas in areas such as counselling, conflict resolution and life skills management.

Patricia Ryan

Ms. Ryan has held several positions in health services at both the district and provincial levels, which has allowed her to participate in solutions-focused initiatives around the issues of food, homelessness, economic development and under-employment. Volunteering in the community gave her the opportunity to work with many people through crisis intervention services and through developing and implementing public awareness campaigns.

Ms. Ryan has held the positions of Project Manager for the Nova Scotia Department of Health; Coordinator of the Community Health Boards, Pictou County Health Authority; Coordinator of the Community Health Centres for Youth, Public Health and Primary Health Care; Public Relations Consultant for non-profit agencies, including Pictou County Help Line, Summer Street Industries, the Tobacco Reduction Strategy Committee, and Family Caregivers.

Ms. Ryan holds a Master of Public Administration from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Arts from Cape Breton University, and a Public Relations Diploma from Humber College.

Robert Adams

Mr. Adams is a part-time professor at Durham College and Executive Director at Durham Mental Health Services. He was also a Special Services Officer at the Ministry of Community and Social Services Ontario along with other positions within Children's Services at Metropolitan Toronto Community Living.

Mr. Adams holds certificates from Durham College in Advanced Resolution/Mediation, Practicum Resolution/Mediation and Dispute Resolution/Mediation. Mr. Adams is currently working toward obtaining his Bachelor in Psychology from the University of Waterloo.

Sherwood Armbruster

Throughout his career, Mr. Armbruster has worked in his community by mentoring youth, supporting people at risk, and helping individuals overcome their addictions. He has helped those who have experienced poverty and homelessness.

Mr. Armbruster has held the positions of Operations/Community Relations Director for the Siloam Mission, Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Winnipeg and Team Leader for Macdonald Youth Services.

Mr. Armbruster holds a Bachelor of Laws as well as a Bachelor of Arts, Political Studies, both from the University of Manitoba.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations Office
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

    Ann Matejicka
    Director of Communications
    Office of Minister Finley