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Appointee Biographies

Death Investigation Oversight Council


The Honourable Edward Then is currently a member of the Ontario Review Board. He served as a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice for 30 years from 1989 to 2019. From 2007 to 2013 he was the Regional Senior Justice for Toronto with supervisory authority over 90 judges. He obtained an Honours B.A. (1966), M.A. (1967) and a Bachelor of Laws (1970) all from the University of Toronto. He served as counsel in the Ministry of the Attorney General as a member of the Crown Law Office (Criminal) which is responsible for appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada and also for Special Prosecutions involving white collar crime and police misconduct. In 1982 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. From 1985 until his appointment to the Supreme Court of Ontario he was the Director of the Crown Law Office. He is also the author of numerous articles on civil and criminal law and a frequent speaker in continued legal education programs for both lawyers and judges.


Dr. Fiona Smaill is Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University. She is a Medical Microbiologist for the Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program and a consultant in Infectious Diseases and Infection Control at Hamilton Health Sciences. Dr. Smaill has her MB, ChB from the University of Otago, New Zealand, completed her residencies in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology at McMaster University and has her MSc in Clinical Epidemiology. Bio French


Barbara Collins is a Registered Nurse with an MBA from Queen’s University, and over 40 years of progressive leadership experience in all clinical and support service areas in acute care. Barbara was appointed the President and CEO of Humber River Hospital (HRH) in July 2016. In her previous role as COO, she served as the Senior Executive for HRH’s redevelopment project, leading the design, construction and activation of HRH’s Wilson Site, North America’s first fully digital hospital. Previous Board experience includes member and Vice-Chair of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board, and a member and then Chair of Booth Centennial Linen Services. She currently sits as a member of the HealthPRO Board of Directors and a member of the Board of the Meadows Long Term Care Home.


Michael S. Pollanen is Professor and Vice-Chair (Global Health) of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, and the Chief Forensic Pathologist and a Deputy Chief Coroner for Ontario. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a PhD (1995), an MD (1999) and completed his residency in 2003. Professor Pollanen's main academic focus is the application of forensic medicine to Global Health, by training forensic pathologists and strengthening forensic capacity in the Global South. He has been involved in case work or training missions in: Algeria, Bermuda, Cambodia, Central African Republic, East Timor, Egypt, Haiti, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Palestine, Thailand, Uganda and Uzbekistan. His current research interest is Nodding Syndrome in Uganda. He has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Professor Pollanen is a member of the forensic advisory board of the International Committee of the Red Cross and is a Past President of the International Association of Forensic Science (2014-17). He is a Founder of Forensic Pathology in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. His professional duties include supervising and directing the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, conducting medicolegal autopsies, testifying in court, and leading academic activities in forensic pathology at the University of Toronto.


In March 2014, Dr. Dirk Huyer was appointed Chief Coroner for Ontario. Dr. Huyer received his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1986. He has served as a coroner in Ontario since 1992 and served as Regional Supervising Coroner for the Regions of Peel and Halton as well as the Counties of Simcoe and Wellington. He has been involved in more than 5,000 coroner's investigations. Dr. Huyer has specific expertise in the medical evaluation of child maltreatment and has worked with the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Program at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Huyer is the Chair of both the Deaths Under Five and Pediatric Death Review Committees of the Office of the Chief Coroner. He is also an Assistant Professor with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto.


Syed Zaki Ahmed is the Chief of Staff at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. He is an Internist and Intensivist by training and is still involved in full-time clinical activities. He has a special interest in social justice and equality.


Michael Recht is an Undertaker, Removals and Ritual Director at Steeles Memorial Chapel. He is also currently the Director of Greyhound – Hill Inc., which offers printing services. Since 1992, Michael has volunteered at various Synagogues across the GTA, oftentimes helping with the day-to-day operations and numerous fundraising campaigns.


Dr. Sekyi-Otu is a registered physician in the province of Ontario, a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and a member in good standing of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for 23 years. He has completed Clinical Fellowships in Adult Reconstructive Joint Replacement Surgery and Sports Medicine. Dr. Sekyi-Otu is a practicing orthopaedic surgeon in Brampton at the William Osler Health Centre and a lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. His community interests include mentoring at-risk youth, encouraging diversity in medicine and advocating for healthcare access and equity.


Jason Clouston is a lawyer called to the Bar in the Provinces of Ontario and Manitoba. He has practiced with both the Provincial and Federal Crown offices. He currently is the Crown Attorney in the District of Kenora. A father of six children, he has always maintained involvement in the community by volunteering for many non-profit organizations and boards with an emphasis in education which include schools, libraries and childcare centres. He identifies as Anglo-Metis.


Catherine Rhinelander joined the Ministry of the Attorney General as an Assistant Crown Attorney in 2007. In 2016, Catherine was seconded to the joint inquiry team representing Ontario at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). As part of the team, Catherine reviewed past prosecution files and death investigations where the lost loved one was identified as an Indigenous female.


Lucille is a retired Vice-President and Chief Nursing executive of acute care hospitals in the Sudbury, Ottawa and Georgian Bay areas. As a Registered Nurse with a BScN and Master’s in program management and administration she has over 40 years of health care experience. Lucille was accountable for quality performance of clinical programs and stewardship of nursing professional practice. A proud francophone from Northern Ontario (Sudbury), Lucille experienced and contributed to the promotion and development of health care services in a French environment while in her position of Vice President Clinical programs and Chief Nursing executive at Hôpital Montfort, Ottawa. With an interest for continuous improvement in services associated with community wellness and health promotion Lucille continues to serve, as a community representative, on DIOC.


Rebecca Hildyard is a senior manager of forensic services for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She is a former Operational Due Diligence Analyst for Albourne Partners (Canada) Limited, and a former manager of financial crime for Deloitte LLP.


Heather Arthur is retired from her role as Vice-President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive at the Cornwall Community Hospital (2004-2019). She has more than 30 years of administrative and clinical experience in healthcare. She participated on various regional committees and led regional initiatives related to clinical services in the acute healthcare system in various roles of nursing, laboratory and pathology services, diagnostic services, patient experience, and quality and risk. Heather previously had experience with pre-hospital emergency care as the Chief of the Cornwall Emergency Medical Services. Throughout her expansive career, Heather was committed to instilling quality in the many innovative and transformative projects within the organizations where she worked. She was a Board member of the Nursing Leadership Network and was the Chair of the St. Lawrence College/Laurentian University Health Sciences Advisory Committee.


Erin has over 20 years of policy and program experience in the Ontario Public Service, including over 14 years within senior leadership. She brings strong knowledge of Ontario’s complex suite of human services from policy, design and delivery perspectives, and is a believer in continuous improvement and challenging the status quo. Erin is known for her commitment to partnership and collaboration to find solutions in an ever-evolving environment and brings a positive team approach to every task. Erin is currently the Associate Deputy Minister, Long-Term Care (LTC) Policy and Pandemic Response. Prior to joining the Ministry of Long-Term Care, Erin was the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, Social, Education and Children’s Policy in Cabinet Office and prior to that, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Social Policy Development in the (former) Ministry of Community and Social Services. Erin holds a Masters degree in Industrial Relations and a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from the University of Toronto.


Christine terSteege is a Public Safety Professor at Sheridan College and Program Coordinator of the Investigations program. She formerly served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Parole Board and was a Police Constable with Peel Regional Police. She holds a BA in Criminal Justice and Public Policy from University of Guelph, and a master’s degree from Penn State University in Homeland Security.


Michael Amato is a former Police Officer with the York Regional Police. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree with the University of Toronto.