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Appointee Biographies

Assessment Review Board (Tribunals Ontario)


Ken Bednarek was general counsel for Ombudsman for National Defence and Canadian Forces. Mr. Bednarek previously held positions as Senior Litigation Advisor to the Attorney General with the Department of Justice advising on all litigation of national importance and as senior legal and policy advisor with several federal departments and Ontario ministries. He has been a consultant to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance and to the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario. Mr. Bednarek has over 25 years’ experience as a legal contributor in all areas of law and has been a legal editor of tax law for publication. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree from University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Laws degree from University of Toronto, and a Master of Arts in English Literature from University of Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.


Dirk VanderBent has over 30 years experience as a lawyer, mediator, and administrative tribunal adjudicator. After practicing as a litigation lawyer, he has held positions as: mediator and arbitrator in Ontario's no-fault insurance dispute resolution system; Senior Manager, Office of the Chief Justice (Ontario Court of Justice); and Vice Chair (Ontario's Environmental Review Tribunal) and (Board of Negotiation). He is currently a Vice Chair at Ontario's Assessment Review Board. His professional qualifications include: Bachelor of Mathematics (University of Waterloo), LL.B (Osgoode Hall Law School), Certificate in Advanced Mediation Skills (Ryerson University), and Certificate in Advanced Arbitration Skills (Arbitration and Mediation Institute).


Christopher Voutsinas has over 25 years of real estate private equity and investment management experience. Mr. Voutsinas was most recently Board Chair of Infrastructure Ontario, and a board member and member of the Investment and Real Estate Committee of Waterfront Toronto. Mr. Voutsinas has held senior leadership roles at prominent institutions including SEDCO Capital (Managing Director, Head of International Investment, London), Deutsche Bank (Managing Director, Head of Real Estate Asset Management, London), Goldman Sachs (Executive Director, Principal Investment Area, New York and London), and AT&T Resource Management (Portfolio Manager, Basking Ridge). Christopher’s investment expertise and professional experience includes strategy development, building and managing high performance teams, designing and implementing investment policies & procedures, due diligence, transaction structuring, investment and business plan execution (including value-add initiatives, repositioning, and realizations/exits), joint ventures, and relationship management. Christopher holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business, an M.S. from M.I.T., and a Bachelor of Architecture from McGill University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Christopher recently completed the ICD – Rotman Directors Education Program (DEP).


Sara Mintz is the Alternate Executive Chair of Tribunals Ontario, and the Associate Chair of the Licence Appeal Tribunal, Child and Family Services Review Board, and Custody Review Board. Ms. Mintz joined Tribunals Ontario as a part-time member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and CFSRB/CRB in 2019. She was appointed the Associate Chair of the CICB and successfully led the Board’s wind-down. Prior to joining Tribunals Ontario on a full-time basis, Ms. Mintz was a sought after matrimonial lawyer, providing her strategic insights and skilled advocacy to clients for nearly two decades. A graduate of the concurrent business and law program at the Richard Ivey School of Business and the Faculty of Law at Western University, Ms. Mintz has written and presented on a variety of issues at professional seminars. She is an active volunteer with charitable organizations. In her spare time, Ms. Mintz enjoys playing and watching sports, and has a fondness for animals.


is a Paralegal and Law Clerk Instructor with Trios College and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Ms. Awoleri's community involvement has included presenting seminars and workshops on family law issues and includes serving as a Women's Coordinator with Centre of Life Church. She holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Alberta and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2006. Ms. Awoleri has been a part-time member of the Assessment Review Board since 2014.


Dan Weagant has been a member of the Assessment Review Board since 2010. He also served one year as a member of the Board of Negotiation, from 2019 to 2020. Registered with the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) since 1989, he has served as a member of the OALA Examining Board (1991 through 1998) and currently serves as a Reviewer in the OALA Professional Development Program. A former Member and Chair of the St. Thomas Committee of Adjustment, Mr. Weagant has also served his community as a Board Director and President of Family and Children’s Services of St. Thomas and Elgin County and as a member of the W.S. Morrison School Council.


Carly Stringer holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from the University of King’s College in Halifax; a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Ottawa; and a Master of Arts degree from Carleton University. She is a lawyer with over a decade of experience, having commenced her practice at a top-tier national law firm in Toronto before relocating to her hometown of Timmins. Ms. Stringer owned and operated Stringer Law Professional Corporation in Timmins, focusing her practice on municipal, commercial and employment matters. Ms. Stringer has previously completed a prestigious clerkship at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, assisting judges with a range of commercial and municipal law cases.


Paul Brennan is a Toronto-based lawyer with over two decades of experience in professional regulation, investigations and decision writing at a health regulatory college and the Law Society of Ontario. He volunteered for several years as a youth soccer coach in two York Region communities. Paul holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Queen's University.


Anita Lovrich is a lawyer and a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Ms. Lovrich holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts with highest distinction in Philosophy and English from York University. She has a background in regulatory and administrative law and has worked as a senior policy advisor in the area of professional regulation. Ms. Lovrich is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.


enjoyed a long career in public service included serving as a citizenship judge and a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board. Her volunteerism in the service of various communities and organizations is extensive and included Christian Children's Fund and Global Relief Fund. As a member of the Armenian Canadian Community, Ms. Okhovati has contributed to the Canadian Council of Churches through Montreal's Armenian Diocese and has served as a member of the parish council of the Armenian Church in Mississauga. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature.


Pierre R. Lavigne is a member of the Bar of Ontario and the Bar of Quebec, with a practice in administrative law, litigation, and class actions. His Ottawa based practice has experience in the areas of medical and governmental malpractice, design of compensation systems, alternative dispute resolution, actuarial issues, consent and capacity issues, insurance, and municipal law. He has appeared at all levels of provincial and federal courts up to the Supreme Court of Canada. He has been a sessional lecturer in Insurance and Municipal Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa.


Sam Moini is a former General/Operations Manager for HPM Taxi Ltd., and former President of Toronto Taxi Fleet Association. His community involvement has included serving as Martial Arts Instructor for Beaches I.T.F. Taekwon-Do.


Nicole Gajraj is an accomplished public servant, having worked with the Centre of Forensic Sciences as a Senior Forensic Scientist. Following this, Ms Gajraj conducted investigations under the provisions of The Law Society Act with the Law Society of Ontario's Professional Regulations Department. Most recently, her work has focused on combating human trafficking for five Police Services in Grey and Bruce County. Ms Gajraj holds a Master in Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Justice System Administration (GradDIP). She has testified as an expert witness at all levels of Court in Ontario and has been a visiting Instructor with the Ontario Police College. Her community involvement has included being a Director with Crime Stoppers and a member of The Blue Mountains Arts and Culture Council. Ms Gajraj is a proud advocate for the LGBTQ community.


Gulzar Ladhani has a Masters of Law, specializing in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School. This complements her business and law degrees. Her past law practice experience focused on corporate and personal tax planning. Gulzar loves giving back and is very active in the community, currently being the Chair of the Board of Directors of Centre for Skills Development, Burlington, and on the Board of Directors of CarePoint Health, Mississauga. She also mentors young directors for the Fora Network’s Girls on Board program. Gulzar is a past board member of the Mississauga Halton LHIN and the Aga Khan Conciliation and Arbitration Board of Ontario as well as the Oakville Children’s Choir and Oakville Ice Expression.


Leo Demarce serves as a member (part-time) for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, owner of Saje Salon + Spa Inc., owner of Blackie’s Corner Ltd, and a self-employed independent business analyst consultant.


Bernard Trottier has been a consultant and advisor for clients across multiple sectors, with a focus on business strategy and digital transformation. Recently he was a Managing Partner for Gartner Inc., a global IT research and advisory firm. He served as Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, which included Parliamentary Secretary roles for Foreign Affairs and la Francophonie, as well as for Public Works and Government Services. He has been a community volunteer for Etobicoke sports leagues and served on the board of the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra. He is fluent in French and English.


Phillip Richardson is an experienced property development and operations advisor with considerable experience in the valuation of commercial properties. Having worked in Ontario for most of my career, I am very familiar with the system of property taxation. As a very experienced mediator and negotiator, I provide the skilled adjudication of property valuation disputes in a sophisticated and empathetic manner. I am a published author on such topics as Negotiation ("Negotiate Your Adversary Into Your Ally") and a recognized authority on the subject. My wife and I are very family centric and have seven adult children with whom we maintain excellent relationships. We are lay ministers with St. Luke's Anglican Church for the provision of communion to shut ins. I look forward to providing the benefit of my adjudication skills and property knowledge for the benefit of all Ontarians.


Karin Howard is a member of the Ontario Bar with private practice, and government tax law experience. She practiced commercial law with a Canadian firm overseas. Teaching experience includes negotiation, legal research, evidence, bankruptcy, administrative law and commercial crime. On Ottawa City Council, Ms. Howard worked with municipal budgets, priorities, and government relations. She implemented accountability, ethics, and performance measurement. Committee experience includes hospital, planning, policy, audit, and library board, plus leadership in local organizations. She was elected three times to an international business council, a school board, and has managed an import business. She holds a BSc, JD, and has completed LLM courses and a draft thesis on accountability.


Rob Sampson is Managing Director at Ceres BioSystems Limited, President of White Label Consulting Limited, a former Councillor for The Town of The Blue Mountains (2018-2022), and a former Member of Provincial Parliament for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (1995-2003). His community involvement has included serving as Chair of Select Committee to Review Corrections Canada for Corrections Canada.


Mike Chopowick is a not-for-profit association executive with leadership experience in membership services, corporate communications, advocacy and governance support for several industry associations in the electricity distribution, waste management, racing and property management sectors. Mike has also served in policy and communications advisory roles in the Ontario government for the Ministries of Finance and Northern Development & Mines. Mike is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) through the Canadian Society of Association Executives and holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental & Resource Management from the University of Toronto.


James Rhodes is a lawyer that has been practicing for almost 22 years. He graduated with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Toronto and subsequently went on to pursue a law degree that was granted in 1998 from University of Manitoba. His articling was completed at the Tax Court of Canada and he was called to the Ontario bar in 1999. James Rhodes has worked at the accounting firms of KMPG and PwC, and then worked for the Federal Department of Justice representing the government. Subsequently, he worked as a sole proprietor and then worked at Miller Thomson developing a tax dispute practice. Currently, he works as a sole proprietor under the name TaxationLawyers representing individuals, corporations, and municipal entities across Canada at the audit, appeals, and before the Tax Court of Canada and Federal Court of Appeal.


Sean Weir was CEO of Canada’s largest national law firm from 2000 to July 1, 2018. In his legal practice, Mr. Weir advised financial institutions, corporations and major pension funds. Active in his community, Mr. Weir served as an elected Councillor of the Town of Oakville, a director of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and a Director and Chair of Oakville Hydro. Mr. Weir was named a “Diversity Champion” by Women of Influence Magazine, received the Lexpert Zenith Managing Partner Award for Corporate Social Responsibility and was listed in the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada.