Board of Directors

Steve Horvath

Steve Horvath


Steve Horvath previously worked as the President and CEO of the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada. Prior to this, Steve held the position of President and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, Canada’s only national resource for the advancement of workplace health and safety. Steve has held senior executive positions with companies in the technology, manufacturing and service sectors including responsibilities as President and CEO of multi-national companies.

For more than 25 years, he has held and currently holds a number of Directorships on public and private sector Boards and global technical committees, including Chairing committees at the International Labour Organization (ILO) and World Health Organization (WHO), Director on the Board of Governors of Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences and past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services.

Elisabeth Ballerman

Elizabeth Ballermann

Vice Chair

Elisabeth Ballermann was previously acclaimed as the Secretary-Treasurer of National Union of Public and General Employees at its June 2016 Convention. She has been a labour activist most of her working life. From 1995 to 2016, Elisabeth was President of Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), the NUPGE Component that represents over 24,000 health professionals in more than 200 occupations. In 2003, under her leadership, her home union, HSAA, joined NUPGE and the House of Labour, and has become a highly respected participant in Alberta’s labour and progressive communities.

In addition to fulfilling the mandate of advocating for excellent wages, benefits, workplace safety, general working conditions and work-life balance for union members, she has been a staunch advocate for social justice and the public health system. Elisabeth served as a Vice-President of both the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) and NUPGE, as well as a board member of the Parkland Institute, Friends of Medicare (Alberta), and Public Interest Alberta (PIA). She has been the co-chair of the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) for almost 10 years. Elisabeth earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy in 1980 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1991, both from the University of Alberta. Her work has been recognized with several awards, including the Alberta
Centennial Medal, the Alberta Federation of Labour’s International Women’s Day Award (2008) and May Day Solidarity (2016) Award, and the 2016 PIA Public Interest Award. In October 2015, Elisabeth was appointed to the Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy by Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley.

Desiree Norwegian

Desiree Norwegian


Desiree Norwegian is a member of Liidlii Kue First Nation, she is part of the Dene clan, meaning the land of the people from North West Territories. Desiree graduated from Algoma University with a Bachelors in Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting. With Desiree’s strong determination and drive she next went on to obtain a Certified Management Accountants designation now being called a Chartered Professional Accountant designation.

Desiree has worked in senior level accounting positions for the Municipality of Wawa and in the Energy Sector for Brookfield Renewable Power and Plasco Energy Group. Working in these roles has given Desiree the skills to take on her next big adventure, the purchase of Abraflex 2004 Ltd in early January 2016.

Desiree was also voted in as a board member for the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business along with Workplace Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute.

Abraflex 2004 Ltd. vision is to be a leading local indigenous company supporting the nuclear industry. Abraflex is the exclusive supplier of the Mark IIIB plastic suits to Bruce Power and also fabricates custom and standard decontamination tenting for the nuclear industry. Abraflex as of January 25, 2019 is the first indigenous company to receive a Nuclear Waste Substance license.

Mario Micelli Updated

Mario Miceli

​Vice Treasurer

Mario Miceli worked 30 years in the insurance industry leading innovative projects and working with world renowned experts in the area of disability management. He is recognized for innovation with brain injury management and the development of an enhanced disability management model to be utilized on a $3B insurance portfolio. Working within an evidence-based model to ensure gold standard treatment for injury management he was at the forefront of customer support for injured parties.

Mario currently runs a consultant company and his other roles include, Diabetes Canada Advocacy Chair for BC/Yukon and on the Steering Committee of Cities Changing Diabetes Vancouver.

Normand Cote

Normand Côté

Board Member

Normand Côté is an executive with 38 years of banking and consulting experience in both line banking and various staff functions. His last position at BMO Financial Group (Bank of Montreal) was as head of employee relations and he had the dual challenge of protecting the legal and legislative rights of both employees and the bank across North America and abroad. He managed teams in Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and Milwaukee. Normand is a certified ADR mediator and labour arbitrator and a professionally trained executive coach. He also possesses extensive experience in commercial and personal lending, staffing, training and compensation.

He played a leading role for over 20 years at the Canadian Bankers Association by representing the banking industry and all federally regulated employers at numerous parliamentary and senatorial committee hearings and at the United Nations’ International Labour Organization in
Geneva acting as the Canadian employer spokesperson, delegation head and employer chair for all 180 member-states.

He currently is an executive providing consulting support to executives going through career transition or requiring executive coaching for the firm of
Optimum Talent. Some of his current and past activities, include: Chairman of the Canadian
Employers Council, Member of the Advisory Board to the Canadian Minister of Labour, Ministerial appointee as governor of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, Board of Directors – Safe Communities Canada.

Manobhiram Nellutla


Board Member

Manu Nellutla is the Executive Director at Actsafe Safety Association. He is a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist (CCPE) and also a CMHA Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor (CPHSA). He has Post-Graduate degrees in Physiotherapy (with specialization in Musculoskeletal and Sports), Education, Ergonomics (with specialization in Human Factors) and Business Administration.

Apart from being a speaker in various conferences, he has also been a speaker at TEDx event. He was previously COO at Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC and before that Senior Lecturer and Head of Department at University of Rwanda.

Manu has been recognized for his efforts to introduce ergonomics in school curriculum in Rwanda and was also a technical team member for drafting OHS legislation for Rwanda.

KellyWhitt Williams

Kelly Williams-Whitt

Board Member

Kelly Williams-Whitt is a Professor in the Dhillon School of Business at the University of Lethbridge, and a Labour Mediator and Arbitrator. She is a former registered nurse, with an MBA and a PhD in human resource management and labour relations. Dr. Williams-Whitt teaches courses in labour relations, labour and employment law, human resources management, and workplace health management. 

Kelly is an active researcher and works with scientists from around the world to conduct studies in occupational health and return-to-work after illness or injury.  Her work is published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and she has authored numerous books and book chapters on work disability and labour and employment law. Dr. Williams-Whitt is the chair of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) Southern Alberta chapter and former president of CIRA national. She also holds an appointment with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (Labour Program) as an adjudicator for cases falling under Part III of the Canada Labour Code. She sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Workplace Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute. Kelly earned her NDip from the Foothills Hospital School of Nursing, and an MBA and PhD in Human Resources and Labour Relations from the University of Calgary. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Tyler Amell

Tyler Amell

Board Member

Dr. Tyler Amell is an internationally recognized thought leader on the topic of workplace health and productivity. He is an advisor on strategic and integrated workplace health and productivity to employers, insurance companies, third party administrators, and health and well-being service providers. He has presented at over 150 conferences and published numerous scientific papers and reports.

In the past, Tyler has also served on the Executive Board of Directors of the San Francisco-based Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), and the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health (CARWH). He is the past CEO of a Human Resources Technology Company, past Vice President and Partner at a global Human Resources Consulting and Technology firm, and past Vice President of a large Healthcare Company.

Dr. Tyler Amell is a former instructor at Queen’s University and the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Ottawa. Tyler earned his PhD in Rehabilitation Medicine from the University of Alberta, a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Medicine from Queen’s University and a Baccalaureate degree from the University of Ottawa. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys skiing, hiking, biking, and golf.

Gerry LeBlanc

Gerry LeBlanc

Board Member

Gerry LeBlanc has been involved with the labour movement in Canada for nearly four decades. All that time was spent as a local union activist or employee of the United Steelworkers (USW).

After working in the mining industry in western Canada for twenty years he moved to Toronto to coordinate the Steelworkers Toronto Area Council’s injured Workers Program. This program assisted USW members dealing with workplace injury or illness in areas such as: all levels of appeals with the compensation system, return to work and labour market re-entry.

In 2012 he moved to the USW national office to head up the Health, Safety and Environment Department.

Gerry has also been involved in international solidarity work in health and safety as well as
environmental justice. He has been attending the UN climate changes talks since 2007. He has been involved in health and safety projects with labour and community partners in South America and Southern Africa including serving as a consultant to an occupational health and safety training centre in Maputo, Mozambique from 1993-1995.​

Jennifer Christian

Jennifer Christian

Board Member

Dr. Jennifer Christian is an internationally-known thought leader and advocate for improving health and functional outcomes and for preventing needless work disability in healthcare, workers’ compensation, and disability benefits systems. Jennifer is board-certified in occupational medicine with medical and public health degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle.

She is a Fellow of the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine and chairs its Work Fitness & Disability Section. Jennifer is President of Webility Corporation. She also founded the award-winning 60 Summits Project, a nonprofit initiative to propagate the work disability prevention model. It produced 20 multi-stakeholder events in two Canadian provinces and 12 states in the United States.

Julie Philippe

Julie Philippe​

Board Member

Julie joined Canada Post in April 2017 and in September 2017 was appointed General Manager of Total Compensation. She is responsible for developing the long term direction and policy framework for the Compensation, Pension, Benefits and Disability and Wellness Management Programs across Canada Post. She is an experienced Human Resources Executive, with more than 35 years of progressive human resources experience in the public sector and a respected and recognized leader in the area of total compensation.
Julie is a bilingual Certified Human Resources Leader.  She has earned certificates in Human Resources Management from Algonquin College and Consulting Skills from the University of Ottawa.​

Nina Hansen

Nina Hansen

Board Member

Nina Hansen is the Occupational Health and Safety Director for the BC Federation of Labour, a role that includes working with various stakeholders—governments, regulatory bodies, unions, employers, advocates, non-profit/community organizations, and working people—to promote law, policy and program development for healthier and safer work for British Columbians.

Nina is the chair of the labour caucus on the Workers Compensation Board Policy and Practice Consultative Committee, sits on the Board of Directors for AgSafe BC, and is a member of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Bottom Line Conference planning committee. Prior to joining the BCFED, Nina worked for over 16 years as an occupational health and safety representative and workers advocate.​​

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