Board of directors

Canada’s National Child Care Advocacy Coalition

Shellie Bird (she/hers)

Shellie Bird works for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) as the National Child Care Coordinator. Shellie’s work involves coordinating research, member needs assessment and to work with community partners to develop projects that support postal workers with their child care needs. Shellie worked in the early learning and child care sector for over 20 years and was active within the Canadian labour movement advocating for a national early learning and child care system, and workplace and government policies that support working people to better balance work and family life. Shellie is a mother and a grandmother and continues her advocacy work for high quality early learning and child care to support children and their families.

Dr. Susan Cake (she/they)

Dr. Susan Cake is an assistant professor in human resources and labour relations. Susan has been with Alberta’s Athabasca University since 2020. Prior to joining AU, Susan was a worker advocate specializing in the areas of Occupational Health and Safety, Workers’ Compensation Systems, and pensions. Susan’s current research interests include union relevance and renewal, government workplace policy and regulations, and child care. Susan serves as the Chair of Child Care Now Alberta. Her family are forever grateful to all the child care advocates who came before to make family leaves and quality child care possible

Sue Delanoy (she/hers)

Sue Delanoy has spent 32 years as a community based advocate for women, children and youth, tirelessly encouraging and supporting innovations for better, more and high quality services, especially for the early years.  She has been involved specifically in varying capacities with the Early Childhood movement for over 30 years. Her previous positions include National director for Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, Children’s advocate for Communities for Children in Saskatoon, Executive Director for the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association, and most recently the Executive Director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan.  She has been on several boards, and was named a children’s champion by the Saskatoon Preschool Foundation, Child Friendly Saskatoon, and awarded an honorary diploma by Saskatchewan Polytechnic for her contributions to services for youth and family. While all of these achievements are noteworthy, Sue always states her most important role is that of Mom, and Grandma to Jase, Jules and Ava. 

Carolyn Ferns (she/hers)  

Carolyn Ferns is Public Policy and Government Relations Coordinator for the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. Prior to taking up her current positions. Carolyn worked for more than ten years at the Childcare Resource and Research Unit where she co-authored the Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada series. Carolyn has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies. She is the mom of a six-year old who is lucky to have a school-aged child care space. 

Martha Friendly (she/hers)

Martha Friendly is the executive director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit which she founded in the 1980s. A social science researcher by education, she first encountered early childhood education and child care as a researcher on the US Head Start program in the 1960s. After immigrating to Canada in 1971 and becoming a parent at the York University Co-operative Child Care Centre, child care became a personal avocation as well as a key feminist issue. Ever since, Martha has been a child care policy researcher and a persistent activist in the struggle for universal high quality child care – locally, provincially and Canada-wide. Her two biggest thrills in the last 10 years: becoming a grandmother of twin boys (who were lucky enough to go to excellent public child care in Toronto), and still being part of the Canadian child care movement when the federal government finally began to put in place the child care system we’ve been advocating for 50 years.

Brianne Goertzen (she/hers) 

Brianne Goertzen is on the Board of Directors of the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba, and is a mother to her young son Jackson. She serves as a School Trustee for River East Transcona School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She currently works as the Political Communications Officer – Prairie Region for the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Previously, she worked as the Provincial Director for the Manitoba Health Coalition and Manitoba Organizer with the Canadian Federation of Students. Brianne is a passionate advocate for strong public services, including health care, education and child care. She is a dedicated organizer, researcher, and activist, serving on several community boards including serving as the Vice-Chair of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba steering committee.

Patrice Gordon (she/hers)

Patrice Gordon is a Jamaican who emigrated to Canada to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education in 2013. She currently resides in the beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador with her two teenage daughters, Paris and Imani. Patrice has always had a passion for the caring and nurturing of young minds, and is fascinated by their growth and development in the early years. Since moving to Canada, and being employed in private early childhood centres, as well as operating her own Family Day-home, she has observed how undervalued Early Childhood Educators are. Gordon is currently a steering committee member of Child Care Now (Newfoundland Labrador) and is looking forward to highlighting the importance of the role ECEs play in the success of our country.

Sharon Gregson (she/hers) 

Sharon Gregson is the provincial spokesperson for the successful $10aDay Child Care campaign working with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC. She was twice elected as a Trustee to the Vancouver Board of Education. Sharon is a feminist with a demonstrated history of working across sectors with stakeholders, including non-traditional allies, in child care public policy. She is skilled in campaign strategy and campaigning, government and stakeholder relations, and in working with traditional and social media.She was nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction award in 2018 and Business in Vancouver (BIV) listed her in the Power 50 in Vancouver in 2022 – and one of the top 500 most influential leaders in British Columbia. She is a past Director of the Early Years at a large unionized agency in East Vancouver managing human resources and child care operations, and she co-chaired the Vancouver Joint Childcare Council of public partners and non-governmental organizations. Sharon is an ethical vegan and supporter of credit unions!

Jamie Kass (she/hers)

Jamie Kass spent most of her career as an activist in pushing for a universal inclusive high quality child care system. Jamie retired from paid employment in July 2016 without seeing her goals realized. Starting as an educator of young children in a community based child care centre in Ottawa, Jamie focused on supporting the workforce through the strength of unionization. Jamie was a founding member of the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council, which operated between 2003 and 2013 to research and make recommendations with respect to child care human resource issues. The Council was forced to cease operating after the then Conservative federal government ended its funding support. Prior to her retirement, Jamie served as the Child Care Coordinator of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers where she focused on improving quality child care options for parents, especially parents with children with special needs through the CUPW Special Needs and Moving On projects.

Patsy McKinney (she/hers) 

Patsy McKinney is Mi’kmaq from Dalhousie New Brunswick and her family is connected to Eel River Bar First Nation. She has served as Executive Director of Under One Sky since 2008. Patsy holds a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies. She served as Chair of the National Aboriginal Head Start Council (NAHSC) for 4 years. Was a part of the Executive Committee of the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) Atlantic Research Centre, UNB and the UAKN National Network Council. She sits on the Board of the National Association of Friendship Centers (NAFC), is a Life Time Member of the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council (NBAPC) and is a member of the UNB Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre Council of Elders. On June 3rd , 2019, she was appointed to the Federal Expert Panel on Early Learning and Childcare Data Research. With over 40 years experience working with and for urban Indigenous organizations (Provincial and Federal) She brings a strong urban Indigenous perspective.

Tracey Ramsey (she/hers)

Tracey Ramsey is the Director of Unifor’s women’s department after serving two years as union organizer with Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union. She is a former Member of Parliament who represented the riding of Essex (Ontario) from 2015 to 2019. A mother of two sons and former autoworker for Ford Canada at Unifor Local 200, she is a passionate advocate for universally accessible and inclusive child care available to all including those who work non-standard hours.

Amber Rehill (she/hers) 

Amber Rehill is a Registered Nurse at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a mother of three young children. She is the creator and project lead for an Employer Sponsored Child Care research project at IWK Health which is currently studying the relationship between recruitment and retention of employees with non-traditional hours and schedules and accessibility to appropriate childcare options. This work led her to connect with and join both the provincial steering committee of Child Care Now Nova Scotia and the national board for Child Care Now. Through work and personal experience, she understands the difficulties our childcare system is currently facing, and strives to bring her passion, knowledge, and experience to Child Care Now as a continued member of the Board of Directors to bring about transformative, evidence based, and much needed change to all those in the sector from Directors, ECEs, parents, and children. In her spare time, Amber enjoys spending time with family and friends, getting outside for walks with her children and two dogs, and discovering new music and movies. 

Leila Sarangi (she/they)

Leila Sarangi is the National Director of Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty, and Senior Director, Strategy and Innovation at Family Service Toronto. Her work includes fostering a culture of advocacy and social action in the community social services sector through research, education, policy development, campaign and community building activities. Leila’s experience spans 25 years of building campaigns, programs and services advocating for poverty reduction, and within an intersectional anti-oppression feminist framework.

Diana Sarosi (she/hers) 

Diana Sarosi is the manager of Oxfam’s women’s rights policy and advocacy team. She is a long-standing feminist advocate, with over 15 experience working with non-governmental organizations in Canada and throughout Southeast Asia. At Oxfam Canada, she is advancing policy files related to economic inequality, gender budgeting, humanitarian assistance, peace and security, aid and foreign policy, and women’s leadership, all with an emphasis on feminist approaches, targeting the Canadian government and multilateral fora. She is an ongoing analyst and commentator on Canada’s federal budget. Diana previously worked for the Nobel Women’s Initiative and grassroots organizations throughout Southeast Asia. She lived five years in Thailand and founded an NGO working to protect human rights defenders. She is also a steering committee member of the Women, Peace and Security Network Canada. Diana holds degrees in Political Science and Conflict Resolution and has published several reports, articles and op-eds. 

Vicky Smallman (she/hers)  

Vicky Smallman is the National Director of the Human Rights Department for the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). A long-time activist on gender equality and human rights issues, Vicky spent more than a decade in the academic labour movement, working primarily with contract academic staff, before joining the CLC in 2010. She leads a team responsible for the labour movement’s policy, advocacy and campaign work on women’s and human rights, anti-racism, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, Indigenous and disability justice. Vicky has served on the boards of directors of a number of national and Ottawa organizations, including Equal Voice, Child Care Now, and the Somerset West Community Health Centre. She is also a Community Research Associate at Western University’s Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children. She has researched and written about academic labour issues, activism and women in Canadian politics.