Heidi Illingworth is the full-time Executive Director of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime and has been employed at the Centre since 1999. Heidi holds a B.A. Honours in Law with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Carleton University. She has assisted many victims and survivors at various stages of the criminal justice system, met with Federal Ministers on issues of importance to crime victims and made presentations before numerous Parliamentary committees. She is currently a Part-Time Professor at Algonquin College in the Victimology Graduate Certificate Program and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association for Victim Assistance.
The centre also employs a part-time Director of Research and various students, as required.
Board of Directors
Marjean Fichtenberg, Chair
Marjean Fichtenberg is the mother of a murder victim. She has been an active victim’s advocate for 11 years. She is a member of Citizens United for Safety and Justice, the first victim’s advocacy group in Canada. Marjean is also a member of the Canadian Association of Victim Advocates (CAVA) Board. In 1996, she was instrumental in establishing a Victims Advisory Committee to Correctional Services Canada and the National Parole Board in the Pacific Region. The Victims Advisory Committee was one of the first in North America and the only one of its kind in Canada. She has given numerous presentations and workshops to various key players and groups in the Criminal Justice System.
Tom Stamatakis, Board Member
President, Canadian Police Association
Rosalie Turcotte, Board Member
Rosalie’s involvement with the CJS began following the murder of her eldest son, Ken, who was murdered in 1991 by a high school classmate. The offender is currently serving a life sentence for second degree murder. Rosalie is a founding member of the Victim’s Advisory Committee to the Pacific Region Correctional Service and National Parole Board.
Rosalie is a staunch advocate for advancing victim rights and is former Director and founding member of Caveat BC, a victim rights organization. She has worked on implementing a number of federal and provincial legislative changes in areas in which victim rights or increased victim participation in the system are impacted. She was also a member of CSC’s Citizen’s Advisory Committees at both Ferndale and Mission Institution for a number of years.
Rosalie is committed to the development of a fair and balanced justice system that acknowledges the harm done to victims and is responsive to their concerns. She believes in a CJS in which the victim’s needs and helping to re-build their lives are central to the entire process. Giving victims a greater voice and participation in the process will lead to an increased public awareness, understanding and respect for a system that is seen by many to be heavily weighted in favor of the offender. Making victim perspectives and needs central to a balanced CJS should also bring home the fact to offenders that they have an accountability both to their victims and to the communities that they will be returning to upon release.
Rosalie is very active in her community and in addition to her work in the CJS has been a volunteer with community policing in Mission, worked on the development of a skateboard park for Mission youth, was a director of the Abbotsford Judo Club for many years and is the current treasurer of the Mission Horse Club. Horses are a big part of her life and she is active in carriage driving and pleasure riding.
Rosalie was a Certified Dental assistant by profession for 29 years. She has been married for 30 years to husband John and was the mother to four children. A second son Shaun, was killed in a motor vehicle crash in 2005 at the age of 21. She has two surviving children David and Danielle both in their 20′s.
Susheel Gupta, LL.B., Board Member
Susheel Gupta was 12 years old when his mother was murdered by terrorists on board Air India Flight 182 as it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland. It was shortly after this tragedy that Sush decided to embark on a career to work within the criminal justice system so that he could do his part to try and ensure no other Canadian or child ever has to endure a similar tragedy. Most recently, he was a Federal Prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (formerly part of the Department of Justice). Currently, he is a Special Advisor to the Office of the CEO of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority working on issues of aviation security and terrorism.
He is also the Spokesperson and a member of the Executive for the Air India Victims Families Association and has been working with all the victims for the Air India Public Inquiry. He began his advocacy when he was 14. Increasingly, Sush has become involved actively in victims’ rights issues, services required for victims of crime and victims of tragedies in all forms and assisting in seeking out better laws to protect and serve Canadians.
Being both a victim of crime and terrorism as a child and a lawyer working in the criminal law field, Susheel brings a unique and well-equipped background and knowledge to these numerous issues.
Lois Isnana, Board Member
Lois was born and raised on the Pasqua First Nation, near Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, near the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley. Her father and his wife remain in her birth home; her mother died in 2009. Lois is the mother of four beautiful children and grandmother to one awesome granddaughter. Lois also has a lovely stepdaughter. She continues to reside on the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation in the home she and her husband Lloyd built surrounded by her supportive in-laws.
Lois achieved a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina in 2005. Although her undergraduate degree was not completed until 2005, Lois has worked in various capacities of the helping profession since 1992. Currently she works as a childcare counsellor in a women’s emergency shelter.
A band member from the same community, with a population of approximately 500, assaulted Lois’ husband Lloyd on June 16, 2006. Lloyd died from his injuries on June 22, 2006. After numerous and lengthy delays, the accused stood trial for manslaughter in January 2010. Four days into the slated two-week trial, the charge of manslaughter was stayed due to change in testimony of a witness. The accused was convicted of assault on another individual in the same incident and received time served. He walked out of the courthouse a free man. Lois and her family were left feeling shocked, devastated, and angry.
Almost since the time of her husband’s death, Lois has been determined to make a difference for other families who lost loved ones to violence. Lois and her family had to search for support in the aftermath of her husband’s death and feels there is so much work to be done for victims and their families. Lois strongly feels that something positive has to come out of this horrific tragedy that stunned this private family and showed them how unsafe their world was. Her future plans are undecided, but spending time with her family, along with furthering her education, are high priorities.
Lois is humbly honoured by this appointment to the Board of Directors for the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime. “Never did I think that in my lifetime would I be affected by crime in this manner. I would do anything to have my family all together again. But if I can bring some small bit of comforting information to someone, somewhere then in turn I feel comforted that my husband’s murder wasn’t for nothing.”
Arthur Lepp, Board Member
Arthur is a professionally employed salesperson, who in 2000 lost his only daughter, a single mother, to homicide at the hands of an ex-boyfriend. Arthur has been married for 32 years, has a 28-year-old son, and is raising his orphaned grandchild. The Lepp family awards an annual scholarship through the Independence through Education program at the School for unwed Mothers, where their daughter graduated in 1997.
Arthur immediately became active in victim advocacy in his community after experiencing many roadblocks in his struggle to access services for his grandchild. He served on a parent advisory committee for special needs children for 2 years with the local school district. He served on the board of directors of Manitoba Organization of Victim Advocates for three years, and was instrumental in collaborating with a local service agency to find an appropriate meeting place for victim support gatherings.
He joined CAVA, Canadian Association for Victim Assistance, in 2004, recognizing the value of acknowledging and supporting the victim assistance community and the work they do. He is active in a Voice of Resilience support group through the Mennonite Central Committee. Most recently, he’s been elected to the Board of Directors of CAVA.
Arthur has served on the organizing committee for National Victims of Crime Awareness Week for the past two years. He is a committed advocate for enhancing services for victims of crime. Arthur is also very active in his church community, seeking support from his peers to guide him through this life changing experience. He also serves in several volunteer capacities in his local community. He has a deep desire to pay it forward, for those that are to follow.
Carolyn Solomon, Board Member
Carolyn Solomon’s son Kevin was murdered in 1997 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, by a federal parolee. The parolee also shot Kevin’s friend to death and a month later killed another young man in a botched armed robbery of a gas station where the victim worked. The offender was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years. Mrs. Solomon and the two other families sued Correctional Service of Canada, the National Parole Board and the John Howard Society, winning an out of court settlement.
Over the years, Carolyn has actively advocated for the increased rights of victims in the Canadian corrections and parole system. Most recently, she has been involved with the newly formed Victims Advisory Committee to the Correctional Service of Canada and the National Parole Board in the Ontario Region. She has done presentations at colleges and to the OPP in Espanola. She is also a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee, Sudbury parole office.
Carolyn has been married to James for 45 years and her son and daughter-in-law also live in Sudbury.
J. Scott Kenney, Board Member
J. Scott Kenney is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His interests include law and criminal justice, deviance, victimology, the sociology of health, social theory, social psychology and emotions. His prior research includes studies of gender, self, coping and agency among families of homicide victims; reviews of the unintended consequences inherent in clients’ encounters with victim service programs; and analysis of the interactional dynamics of restorative justice sessions. He is currently involved in studies of “illegitimate pain,” the sociology of genealogy, as well as conducting research on the construction of meaning among contemporary Freemasons.