Brenda Edwards is Chair of the BC Review Board and was previously an Alternate Chairperson of the Board.
Ms. Edwards graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1989 and was called to the bar of British Columbia in 1990. She practised law as legal counsel in the Ministry of Attorney General (as it was then called) from 1990 to 1997 providing solicitor’s advice and acting as counsel on behalf of the Province at all levels of court, including appearing as legal counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada on the Delgamuukw Aboriginal land title case. In 1997 she was appointed as an Assistant Deputy Minister and Legal Counsel in the Office of the Premier, where she provided legal advice to the Premier and to Cabinet.
In 1999 she was appointed as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Crown Corporations Secretariat in the Ministry of Finance. In 2006, Ms. Edwards returned to the practice of law as legal counsel in the Office of the Chief Judge where she provided legal, strategic and policy advice to the Chief Judge and the Executive of the Court including assisting in developing policies and practices for specialized courts such as the First Nations Court in New Westminster, Domestic Violence Court and Victoria’s Integrated Court. In 2008, she was appointed as a Judicial Justice of the Court presiding over bail hearings, determining applications for search warrants and hearing Traffic and bylaw matters. In 2010, she began sitting as a Judicial Justice in Victoria’s Integrated Court working with the resident judge of that court. Today, she is retired from the court but continues to adjudicate matters for five administrative law tribunals. Ms. Edwards is a Board member of the Victoria Women’s Transition House.
Ingrid Friesen is a retired Barrister and Solicitor. She was employed as a Crown counsel for 12 1/2 years and was retained as ad hoc Crown counsel for another 20 years. She acted as Special Prosecutor on a number of cases where there were perceived conflicts of interest involving government employees. She was also retained on numerous cases as defence counsel and civil counsel. Ms. Friesen taught criminal law at UBC to law students seeking to practice law in British Columbia. Ms. Friesen obtained a Bachelor of Arts from UBC in Political Science and a Law degree from the University of Western Ontario. Ms. Friesen has served on the BC Review Board as Alternate Chair since 2015.
John James Threlfall retired as a British Columbia provincial court judge in December 2017. As a judge he served the court as the Administrative Judge in the Okanagan, an Associate Chief Judge and as the Acting Chief Judge. He also chaired the Judicial Council of British Columbia. As a Judge, he was active in the Canadian Association of Provincial Court judges and served that organization as both civil and compensation chairs.
Prior to his appointment to the Provincial Court Bench he was a partner in Harris Campbell Threlfall O’Neill. His practice included ad hoc prosecutions for both the Provincial government and the Federal Department of Justice and criminal and civil defence work. He represented a number of professional associations and a number of police associations. He also represented the provincial government in Child Protection Cases. Judge Threlfall served as a research officer with the Law Reform Commission of Canada
Active in his community, Judge Threlfall has worked to incorporate the Village of Belcarra as an appointed and elected aldermen. Judge Threlfall holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba and a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School. He has been called to the bars of British Columbia, Manitoba and the Yukon. Currently, he also works as an Adjudicator under the Police Act for the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner.
James Deitch retired from the BC Ministry of Attorney General in 2019 having spent the last 12 years of his legal career working on policy issues. Prior to that, he worked in management with the Legal Services Society in Vancouver for 8 years. He came to British Columbia in 1998 after spending 14 years as a criminal defence lawyer in private practice in Toronto. Mr. Deitch has taught as a sessional instructor at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, presented at various Continuing Legal Education Programs in Ontario and British Columbia, as well as being an instructor at the Bar Admission Course in Toronto. He co-authored a chapter on Legal Aid in the publication ‘Barristers and Solicitors in Practice’ from Lexis Nexis. Mr. Deitch holds his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History from Glendon College, his Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University, and his Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in April 1984, and in British Columbia in May 1999.
Michelle Lawrence is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria’s Faculty Law and the Director of the Access to Justice Centre for Excellence. She previously practiced law as a litigation partner at a national law firm. Dr. Lawrence holds graduate degrees in law and criminology, including a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in Criminology from Simon Fraser University. She completed her doctoral work as a Trudeau Scholar.
Steven Boorne is a Lawyer with HHBG Lawyers. Mr. Boorne has practiced administrative law for more than 25 years in B.C., Alberta and Ontario. He specializes in professional regulation, labour and employment, and human rights law. Mr. Boorne holds a Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from McGill University.
In November 2021, Paul Singh was appointed as a board member and alternate chair of the BC Review Board.
Mr. Singh holds a bachelor of science degree in neuropsychology and a law degree from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University. He was called to the bars of Ontario and British Columbia in 2004.
From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Singh was a civil litigator in private practice in British Columbia. From 2010 to 2018, he was counsel and later senior counsel with the Department of Justice Canada in the Vancouver office where he practiced civil litigation, administrative law, constitutional law, and human rights law.
From 2018 to 2022, Mr. Singh served a four-year appointment as a tribunal member with the BC Human Rights Tribunal, where he adjudicated and mediated human rights complaints under the BC Human Rights Code. While at the Tribunal, he completed his mediator training at Harvard Law School’s program on negotiation in 2019 and was appointed acting chair of the Tribunal in 2021.
Currently, Mr. Singh is serving an appointment as a tribunal member with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal where he adjudicates and mediates human rights complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act. He is also serving an appointment as chair of the BC Mental Health Review Board which conducts hearings under the Mental Health Act for patients admitted by physicians and detained involuntarily in provincial mental health facilities. Mr. Singh has served on the board of directors of the BC Council of Administrative Tribunals and is on the Canadian Bar Association’s national executive committee on dispute resolution. He also serves as a roster mediator for the Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada.
In November of 2021 Aamna Afsar was appointed as an alternate chair of the BC Review Board. Prior to joining the BC Review Board, she was a bilingual member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). She was a manager with the IRB’s Refugee Protection Division (RPD) Quality Centre where she developed curriculum and training for RPD members to enhance the quality of adjudication of gender related claims, including developing training around trauma informed practice, intersectionality, and cultural sensitivity. Prior to joining the IRB, Ms. Afsar was Crown Counsel with BC Prosecution Service for over thirteen years, prosecuting under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. She has appeared before both the Provincial Court and British Columbia Supreme Court, conducting prosecutions of varied complexity. The bulk of her career was spent prosecuting in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, including four years in the Downtown Community Court where, with the great assistance of service providers, she worked towards solutions that addressed the underlying causes of criminality, including mental illness, substance abuse and poverty. In July of 2022 Ms. Afsar was appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia as a part-time Judicial Justice.
Joanna Nefs is the CEO of AIDE Canada, a national initiative focused on delivering information and resources to the Canadian autism and/or intellectual disability community. Previously Ms. Nefs worked with the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform, and as an Assistant Crown Attorney with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. She has held positions relating to mental health law and disability advocacy at the United Nations Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and at Osgoode Hall Law School. Ms. Nefs was the Founder and Executive Director of Fair Change Community Legal Clinic. She holds a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Master’s Degree in Public Policy, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from York University.
Jonathan Chaplan is a retired lawyer with over 35 years experience as a lawyer, mediator, facilitator, restorative justice practitioner, trainer and manager. Most recently Mr. Chaplan was the Regional Director General for the British Columbia Regional Office of the Federal Department of Justice.
After his call to the bar, Mr. Chaplan was in private practice as a criminal defence counsel for over 10 years, following which he worked in the field of restorative justice. In his 20 years with the Federal Department of Justice he held multiple roles as a dispute resolution practitioner, a lawyer and a manager. Mr. Chaplan holds a Master of Law (Dispute Resolution) from Osgoode Hall Law School and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Constance was born in England and his family moved to South Africa when he was age 8. He received his medical degree at the University of Cape Town Medical School in 1967. After a year of practice, he left South Africa and travelled for a year.
He has a wide range of clinical experience with various cultures, diverse working conditions in different jurisdictions and institutions. He practiced in Sydney, Australia and London, UK prior to coming to Canada in 1972. He practiced in Edmonton and spent several years in the NWT, part of which was working with the Dogrib band (now the Dene Nation) and Inuit peoples as a Medical Officer with NWT Health services. In 1975 he settled in Vancouver and was a Medical Health Officer with the Provincial, Federal and City Public Health Departments. He was involved with the community in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
In 1979 he established a solo General Practice, and for ten years was at the forefront of the HIV epidemic and was a founding member of AIDS Vancouver. He became a specialist psychiatrist and FRCP in 1993, with a private practice and an appointment with Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services. He was appointed to the B.C. Review Board in 2007. Since his retirement from YFPS and private practice, he has continued to be an active and involved member of the Review Board.
Dr. Stevenson is certified as a Forensic Psychiatrist with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is a consultant with Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services of BC (YFPS) and is the Regional Clinical Director of the YFPS Lower Mainland Outpatient Clinics in Vancouver and Langley. Dr. Stevenson is an Associate Clinical Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. He obtained a Bachelor of Science and his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Calgary. He was a Certificant of the College of Family Physicians of Canada during his earlier years as a family physician, prior to obtaining his Fellowship in Psychiatry from the University of British Columbia. He has been a member of the BC Review Board since 1985.
Dr. Linda Grasswick received her Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of British Columbia. Upon completion of her residency in Psychiatry at Dalhousie University, she pursued further studies in Forensic Psychiatry in Ottawa and Brockville, Ontario. She has worked as a consultant psychiatrist for the Correctional Service of Canada. She has worked in the youth and adult forensic systems in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. She has been a part-time psychiatric member of the BC Review Board since 2007. Currently, Dr. Grasswick works as a sleep disorders consultant for the Kelowna, Vernon, and Penticton Sleep Clinics. She continues to have a private psychiatric practice.
Dr. Jeanette Smith is a forensic psychiatrist. She obtained her medical degree from the University of London, completed her postgraduate medical training in the UK and was employed as a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in Bristol. She has worked as a forensic psychiatrist in British Columbia since 1997, initially for the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission and more recently in private practice. She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Todd Tomita is a UBC Clinical Associate Professor and former Program Director of the UBC Forensic Psychiatry Training Program. Dr. Tomita works with the Correctional Service of Canada as the Regional Psychiatrist and Chief, Psychiatric Services at the Regional Treatment Centre (Pacific). He is part of a private forensic practice, Broadway Forensic Group, in Vancouver. Dr. Tomita holds specialty certification in Psychiatry and subspecialty certification in Forensic Psychiatry with the Royal College of Canada and maintains certification with the American Board of Addiction Medicine. He completed his forensic psychiatry training at the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, and UBC.
Dr. Sam Iskander is a Forensic Psychiatrist for the Correctional Service of Canada and holds staff privileges at the Vancouver General Hospital. He is also a Clinical Instructor for the University of BC. Previously, Dr. Iskander was a Psychiatrist for the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital and the VGH Psychiatric Assessment Unit. He holds his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Toronto, a Master of Science in Pathology from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Iskander is certified as a subspecialist in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Dr. Sandi Culo is a psychiatrist with subspecialty qualifications in both forensic and geriatric psychiatry. Dr. Culo has worked in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals, private practice, rehabilitation centres, community mental health clinics, and nursing homes. At present Dr. Culo divides her time between Vancouver and Edmonton working in adult mental health and in forensics. Dr. Culo started her career as an Occupational Therapist before attending medical school at the University of Alberta. She completed her residency training in Toronto and went on to do subspecialty training in the USA.
Dr. O’Shaughnessy obtained his M.D. in 1974, residency training at UBC and Yale University and a Fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry at Yale University. He served as Clinical Director of B.C. Youth Forensic Services from 1981 to 2005 where he initiated forensic assessments and treatment programs and established research collaborations and teaching clinics. From 2005 he established civil forensic teaching clinics at UBC.
From 1986 to 2012 he served as Division Head, Forensic Psychiatry at UBC and taught courses in Forensic Psychiatry, Law and Ethics as well as conducting clinical teaching through 2019. He served on many committees with AAPL and became president in 2002.
Paul Janke is an experienced forensic psychiatrist who has held various leadership positions at Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services, including the position of Regional Clinical Director, for over 20 years, during which time he has also served on the Executive Council of Youth Forensic Services. He is a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Janke has made presentations in the field of forensic psychiatry at conferences and workshops in British Columbia, across Canada and in the US. He has conducted forensic assessments and appeared as an expert forensic psychiatric witness in both criminal and civil trials. In his private practice he has been involved in a wide range of cases encompassing all aspects of psychiatry.
Dr. Kolchak is a fully qualified psychiatrist licensed to practice Medicine and Psychiatry in the Province of British Columbia and Ontario. He completed his General Psychiatry training at McMaster University in 2009 where he also undertook additional training in the area of Forensic Psychiatry. Dr. Kolchak holds subspecialty and specialty qualifications with Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in General Psychiatry as well as Forensic Psychiatry. In addition, he is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry. In this role he routinely provides clinical training to medical students, General Psychiatry residents and Forensic Psychiatry Residents. Dr. Kolchak regularly conducts private assessments outside of his hospital practice. He is also appointed as a psychiatrist member to the Yukon Review Board.
In his current role, Dr. Kolchak routinely provides treatment to people with complex and at times treatment resistant psychiatric disorders with multiple comorbidities complicated by violence in forensic or general psychiatric settings.
Dr. Robert Lacroix is a forensic psychiatrist who completed medical training at the University of Alberta, psychiatry residency at the University of British Columbia, and forensic psychiatry subspecialty training at the University of California, San Francisco. He has experience in treating and providing assessments on mentally disordered offenders, including individuals found Unfit to Stand Trial, Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder, and those in a correctional setting.
Dr George Wiehahn has been practicing general adult and forensic Psychiatry in British Columbia since 2004, when he moved from South-Africa to Kamloops. He delivered psychiatric care to a broad spectrum of patients, including the persistently and severely mentally ill, psychosocial rehabilitation, as well as mental health patients in conflict with the legal system. He worked in hospital, correctional and community settings. He is affiliated with the University of British Columbia where he offers clinical teaching to medical students of all levels. He was also the Medical Director of the Forensic Psychiatric Services from 2016-2020, as well as the Person in Charge for the BC Review Board from 2018-2021, situated at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam.
Mike Stefanelli is a Psychiatrist with the Kelowna Youth Forensic Outpatient Clinic and the Prince George Youth Forensic Outpatient Clinic. He has previously worked in various aspects of psychiatry and with the mental health teams in Vancouver and Dawson Creek. Dr. Stefanelli has been active in his community through his involvement with Boy Scouts. He is a member in good standing with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, and Doctors of BC. Dr. Stefanelli holds a Doctorate in Medicine and Psychiatry from the University of British Columbia and completed a Fellowship in Adolescent Psychiatry with the Children’s and Women’s Health Centre.
Dr. Kim Polowek is a Criminologist and Associate Professor with the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley. Dr. Polowek is also a Board Member in the Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board and a Board Member with the British Columbia Review Board. Previously she was a Board member of the Parole Board of Canada, a Director of Research and a Probation Officer with the Ministry of Attorney General. Active in her community, Dr. Polowek is a Board Member with Police Judo, a Research Director with Odd Squad Productions Society and an Ethics Board Member with the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Previously she was a Board Member of the Port Moody Police Board and Keys Housing and Health Solutions. Dr. Polowek holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology, a Master of Arts in Criminology and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Psychology from Simon Fraser University.
Paula Cayley is a self-employed Consultant. Her areas of interest include mental health/psychiatry and organizational wellness. Ms. Cayley recently served as a public representative on discipline panels for the Law Society of British Columbia. As an executive leader, Ms. Cayley has previously held the positions of President and CEO of PPC Canada/Interlock and Chief Social Worker at The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. Active in her community, she has volunteered with the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog programme, Lions Gate Hospital, Palliative Care, the BC Mental Illness and Addictions Task Force and the BC Canadian Bar Association. Ms. Cayley holds her Bachelor of Arts (Sociology), and Bachelor of Social Work from McMaster University and her Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Alan Markwart is currently Acting Deputy Representative for Children and Youth for the BC Representative for Children and Youth and has worked at that office since 2016. Mr. Markwart is also an Adjunct Professor with the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. In 2013, he retired as Assistant Deputy Minster from the Ministry of Children and Family Development where he had responsibility for several services, including youth justice and youth forensic psychiatric services, child and youth mental health, and services to children and youth with special needs. Mr. Markwart has more than 40 years of experience in youth justice as a youth probation officer, director of a youth custody centre, policy director, national project leader and executive leader. He is recognized as a provincial and national expert and leader in youth justice who has helped to shape the evolution of youth justice legislation, programs and services for the past 30 years. Mr. Markwart is particularly recognized for his work in community-based alternatives to custody and de-institutionalization. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence from RCY, a BC Community Achievement Award, a Premier’s Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, Corrections Exemplary Service Awards and a Spirit of John Howard Award. Mr. Markwart holds a Master of Arts in Criminology from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelor of Arts and Teaching Certificate from the University of British Columbia, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the Justice Institute of BC.
Dr. Lynda Murdoch has been a Registered Psychologist since 2004. She currently practices in a forensic psychiatric clinic serving youth and in a multidisciplinary health clinic. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Simon Fraser University in 2002. Prior to becoming a psychologist, Dr. Murdoch was a litigation lawyer, primarily in family law. She received her law degree from the University of British Columbia in 1991 and served as a law clerk with the British Columbia Appeal Court. In addition to the BC Review Board, Dr. Murdoch served on the Yukon Review Board from 2014-2017.
Jeremy Berland worked in the child welfare field for over 30 years as social worker, field manager and senior executive. He was responsible for a number of legislative and policy initiatives including the Child, Family and Community Service Act, the Adoption Act, community consultations on foster care, secure care, regulation of social service professions and devolution of services. Prior to his retirement from the BC Public Service in 2013, he was Deputy Representative for Children and Youth and previously had served as Provincial Director of Child Welfare and Assistant Deputy Minister for Regional Operations.
Penny Acton is an Instructor at Vancouver Community College and a Mental Health and Addictions Clinician with Vancouver Coastal Health. Previously, Ms. Acton was a Program Coordinator at Providence Health Care and an Investigator with the Representative for Children and Youth. She has worked in the social services field for over 20 years in various residential and community-based treatment programs. Ms. Acton is a registered Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria.
Dominic Flanagan has more than 30 years experience in the housing and health sectors which includes the front-line delivery of services as well as senior executive roles. He has been responsible for the development, implementation and operation of new supportive housing programs for marginalized and vulnerable populations. At BC Housing, in partnership with the non-profit sector and the health care system, he led the development of a range of housing programs across the province. He has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Nottingham, UK and a Masters in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University.
Doug LePard, O.O.M., is the Principal of Doug LePard Consulting, providing services in the criminal justice sector to police, government, the BC Legislative Assembly, law firms, and private businesses. He is also a member of the Mental Health Review Board. After 35 years of service, he retired as a Deputy Chief in the Vancouver Police Department, then served for several years as the Chief of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police. He holds a B.A. in Criminology and an M.A. (with distinction) in Criminal Justice. He has authored/co-authored articles, book chapters and major reports on a variety of policing issues, about which he has presented locally, nationally and internationally. He was previously appointed by the Director of Police Services to the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Study Committee for the Surrey Police Department.
Pat Golding is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and was the Manager, Forensic Review Board Services with the Provincial Health Services Authority’s Forensic Psychiatric Hospital. He has held numerous positions with the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital including Interim Director of Access, Discharge and Clinical Risk and Manager for the Forensic Review Board Services. Mr. Golding holds an Advanced Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing from Douglas College and a Psychiatric Nursing Diploma from the Brandon Mental Health Center School of Nursing.