Erika Shaker, National Office Director
Erika has been at the CCPA since early 1997 as director of the Education Project. Originally established to monitor corporate involvement in public education, it broadened its focus—with help from a dedicated circle of research associates--to include standardized testing, social justice and anti-racism education in schools, Aboriginal education, school finance, child care and early childhood education, tuition and user fees, technology, surveillance and privacy, the arts, and community-based education. The Project has produced a series of reports, books, commentaries and, since 2000, the quarterly magazine "Our Schools / Our Selves" (founded in 1988).
Erika has a BA in History from McGill University and an MA in English (critical literary analysis) from the University of Guelph. Prior to coming to the CCPA, she worked in Washington DC researching the corporatization of childhood, and was one of the founders of UNPLUG (which became the now-defunct Center for Commercial-Free Public Education). She spends far too much time on social media.
Rick Telfer, Director of Operations and Development
Rick joined the CCPA national office in 2018 and is responsible for the development and implementation of administrative systems relating to finances and human resources. He also provides administrative and governance support to the CCPA’s Board of Directors.
Before his arrival, Rick worked at the national office of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) as its Researcher and, previously, as IT and Digital Services Co-ordinator. Rick has been involved in the student and labour movements for 20 years, including as Ontario National Executive Representative of the CFS, Executive Director of the University of Toronto Students’ Union, and a vice-president of his former Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) local union, among other roles. Rick has also held public office as a trustee of the Toronto District School Board.
In his spare time, Rick writes about social justice issues and participates in Ottawa’s performing arts scene as both a producer and performer. Rick completed his BA and MA degrees, in sociology, at the University of Western Ontario where he also worked as an adjunct professor teaching research methodology to senior undergraduate students.
Melanie Allison, Accounting Officer
Melanie has been with the CCPA National Office since 2002 after having worked for 12 years as a front line caregiver with the Children’s Aid Society and lifeskills coach with adults dealing with mental health issues. It’s with great pleasure that she now uses her skills in accounting at the CCPA. Being part of an organization that works to strengthen the social net of Canadians keeps her connected to the values and goals perpetuated through her years of work within the social services.
Outside of the office she can often be found on a tennis court or in a yoga studio, where she’s currently completing her hatha yoga teacher training.
Anskia Gingras, Donor Database Administrator
Anskia, our Development and Database Officer, has had various roles with CCPA since 1999. She currently oversees the maintenance of our database and works with the team in the development department.
Very proud to be a part of one of Canada’s leading progressive policy organizations, Anskia has enjoyed helping our individual supporter base grow to a strong 12,000 supporters.
In addition to a strong sense of social justice, Anskia’s compassion and passion for helping orphaned children has led her to become an advocate for an orphanage in Quito, Ecuador, where she and her husband recently volunteered.
In her spare time—when not glued to the computer screen, social media vying for her attention—she plays referee to her son and stepson and battles the ever-growing stacks of her beloved books which are crowding her family out of the house.
Trish Hennessy, Director, Think Upstream
Trish is the Director of the Think Upstream project and a senior communications strategist with the CCPA National Office.
She is focused on social determinants health, sustainable development goals, income inequality, decent work, an inclusive economy, and wellbeing budgeting.
Trish was the founding director of the CCPA Ontario and co-founded the Ontario Living Wage Network. She was the founding director of the CCPA National Office's growing gap project, which began in 2006. Trish was a former newspaper journalist, originally from Saskatchewan but she now lives in Toronto. She has a B.A. Sociology from Queen's University, a B.S.W. from Carleton University, and an M.A. in Sociology from OISE/University of Toronto
Patrick Hoban, Development Assistant
Patrick joined the CCPA's development department in 2019, working on gift processing and database support. He graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2010 with an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in International Studies and Modern Languages, working in development, membership, and administration at Canada's NDP prior to joining the CCPA.
Committed to social and environmental justice, Patrick has been active in his local food co-op, labour unions, and community LGBTQ health organzations. With a passion for languages, he's studied French, Spanish, and American Sign Language. Patrick loves cats and enjoys urban gardening, swimming, the outdoors, and rock climbing.
Katie Loftus, Senior Development Officer
Katie came to the CCPA in 2013 as Development Officer with the mandate to establish a Legacy Giving program and establish closer relationships with our most generous supporters. She gets great satisfaction out of working with people who have the generosity to plan ahead in order to help ensure that the CCPA remains one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates for generations to come.
Prior to that, Katie spent nine years with the David Suzuki Foundation establishing the Foundation’s successful Legacy Giving program and working with major donors.
Katie has a B.A. English Degree from McMaster University, completed her B.A. Honours English Degree from University of Ottawa and tagged on a Corporate Communications Diploma from Seneca College.
Katie is inspired by nature and can be found outside as much as possible including a daily bike commute to work. She is kept young at heart by her two daughters, family adventures; and the goofy antics of a new addition to the family – a chocolate lab puppy named Ginger. Katie also loves spontaneous encounters with new people, new places and new food.
David Macdonald, Senior Economist
David joined the CCPA as its Senior Ottawa Economist in 2011, although he has been a long time contributor as a research associate. Since 2008, he has coordinated the Alternative Federal Budget, which takes a fresh look at the federal budget from a progressive perspective. David has also written on a variety of topics, from Canada's real estate bubble to Aboriginal income inequality, and he is a regular media commentator on national policy issues.
David received his BA from the University of Windsor and his MA from the University of Guelph, both in Philosophy. Follow David on Twitter.
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Senior Researcher
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood is a senior researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His work focuses on the social and economic dimensions of Canada's shift toward a zero-carbon economy, including the necessity of a just transition for vulnerable workers and communities across the country. He is a contributor to the CCPA's Trade and Investment Research Project and Alternative Federal Budget.
Hadrian holds a MA in Political Economy from Carleton University and a BA in Communications from Western University. He lives and works in Ottawa.
Jason Moores, Senior Development Officer
Jason is often the first voice or line of communication for the National Office—manning the reception line and general email box. He also works closely with the development department, and provides assistance to staff and CCPA supporters.
Jason aims to keep fit walking his tireless Standard Schnauzer or playing tennis on one of the courts around the city.
Alyssa O'Dell, Media and Public Relations Officer
Alyssa joined the CCPA in 2017 as media and public relations officer. Previously, she worked as a journalist and Press Gallery member on Parliament Hill, where she gained deep insight into public policy development and advocacy as editor of Canada’s only news service focused exclusively on federal lobbying. Originally from British Columbia’s Okanagan region and always a West Coaster at heart, Alyssa’s obsession for finding innovative ways to relay complex information has also been fed by a background in academic communications. She holds a Bachelor’s of Journalism from Carleton University.
In her spare time, Alyssa can be found hiking and biking through the Ottawa Valley, debating advances in theoretical physics with friends and trying valiantly to keep her urban garden alive.
Email Alyssa at alyssa[at]policyalternatives[dot]ca.
Katie Raso, Senior Editor
Katie (she/they) is the Senior Editor of the Monitor and Behind the Numbers. Prior to joining the CCPA team, she worked with a variety of organizations including Canadian Doctors for Medicare in Toronto and Media Democracy Days in Vancouver.
Katie holds a BA Honours in Communication and Dialogue and a MA in Communication with a focus on political economy, both from Simon Fraser University. She has published research on a variety of topics including representations of protest movements in mainstream media and disability rights in the age of precarious employment.
When she is not replacing hyphens with em dashes, Katie keeps busy volunteering as a communications advisor and board member for several progressive organizations in Ontario, playing roller derby, and turning her kitten into an internet celebrity.
Tim Scarth, Senior Graphic Designer
Tim Scarth is the CCPA's Senior Graphic Designer and is responsible for the design and layout of the the CCPA's national magazine, the Monitor, as well as the printed materials produced by the National, Nova Scotia and Ontario offices.
Tim has a degree in English and a diploma in Art History. Outside of work he enjoys reading, photography, and dogs.
Katherine Scott, Senior Economist
Katherine serves as the director for the CCPA's gender equality and public policy work. She has worked in the community sector as a researcher, writer and advocate over the past 20 years, writing on a range of issues from social policy to inequality to funding for nonprofits. She is passionate about research that speaks to the aspirations of communities and supports collective action for change.
She has served as Vice President of Research at the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) for several years and, more recently, produced research and analysis for organizations such as Prosper Canada, Volunteer Canada, Capacity Canada, Pathways to Education Canada, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Katherine lives in Ottawa with her family. She holds degrees in political science from Queen’s University and York University.
Scott Sinclair, Founding Director, Trade and Investment Research Project
Scott is the Founding Director of the CCPA’s Trade and Investment Research Project. This project, which brings together researchers from twenty Canadian NGOs and trade unions, has gained national and international recognition for its studies critical of corporate-driven globalization. Scott retired from his role as Director of TIRP in January 2021.
Scott has written numerous books, chapters, and monographs including Facing the Facts: A Guide to the GATS Debate (with Jim Grieshaber-Otto); Atlantica: Myths and Reality (with John Jacobs) and Putting Health First: Canadian Health Care Reform, Trade Treaties and Foreign Policy (with Matthew Sanger), a background study prepared for the Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada. Prior to joining CCPA, Scott was a senior trade policy advisor with the Government of British Columbia.
Scott has a BA in political science from UPEI and an MA in political science from York University. He lives with his family in rural Prince Edward Island and in his spare time enjoys walking and bird watching.
Arushana Sunderaeson, Development Assistant (Events and Engagement)
Arushana joined the CCPA National team in 2019 and is responsible for supporting the Development department in various capacities including processing donations. Prior to joining the CCPA, she worked in political offices and the non-profit sector for over five years.
Arushana has an undergraduate degree in Political Science with a minor in Media Studies from Brock University and is a recent graduate from Western University. She has experience in fund development, event management, communication, policy and public affairs. She has volunteered with various organizations including YWCA Canada, North York Women’s Shelter and Social Planning Toronto. She is proud to call herself a feminist and is passionate about helping others. In her free time, she loves volunteering at local women’s shelters, kickboxing and yoga, hanging out with family and friends, and patiently waiting for her favourite hometown hockey team Toronto Maple Leafs to win a cup (since 1994, the year she was born). Go Leafs Go!!
Letisha Toop, Administrative Assistant
Letisha joined the CCPA in 2014 to work in the development department providing administrative support and processing annual donations. Prior to joining the CCPA, she worked as the communications and policy assistant at 25One Community. She graduated from Carleton University in 2013 with a BA Honours in Human Rights. Letisha currently sits on the board of the Young Non Profit Professionals Network of Ottawa, an organization dedicated to engaging and supporting young workers in the local non profit sector. In her free time, she loves to cook and enjoys running and exploring Ottawa.
Stuart Trew, Senior Researcher
Stuart joined the CCPA in 2014 as Editor of the Monitor magazine and has produced number of CCPA publications including The Harper Record: 2009-2015 (with Teresa Healy), Making Sense of the CETA (with Scott Sinclair and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood), and the 2016 Lorimer anthology, The TPP and Canada: A Citizen's Guide (with Scott Sinclair). He took on the role of Director of the CCPA's Trade and Investment Research Project in February 2021.
Stuart has a BA in journalism and political science and a MA in political economy from Carleton University. Between 2006 and 2014, he was a trade researcher and campaigner with the Council of Canadians. In 2009, he co-founded the Trade Justice Network, which continues to bring together labour, environmental, student, human rights and other social justice groups to contest neoliberal trade rules and propose progressive alternatives.