COPA is a legally incorporated non-profit organization. It is guided by a province-wide volunteer Board of Directors with provincial representation
The Executive Director collaborates closely with our Board and with our team of kind, dedicated and talented people at our main offices in Toronto and around the province.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS (2019–2020)
Johanne Bégin President (East): Johanne is Principal at a French-language school in Ottawa. She has been a COPA Facilitator and Trainer for close to 20 years and active on the Board of Directors for many years.
Mireille Salem Treasurer (West): Mireille is Autonomous Community Worker.
Marie-Chantal Desrosiers Secretary (East): Marie Chantal is the principal of an French language school in Ottawa.
Blandine Karire (South): Blandine has a temporary position of social worker in schools within the Public Viamonde School Council and she has a permanent position as bilingual cases in the Ontario support program for people with disabilities (ODSP) with the Department of children's services and social and community services.
Yollande Dweme M. Pitta (South): Yollande is social worker, she works in economic development and education.
Renée DelaRosbil (North): Renée is social worker at Victoria Center in Sault Saint Marie.
Lynn Hadley (West): Lynn is francophone settlement worker in schools at Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara.
IN THE MEMORY OF THE COFOUNDER: Lisa Weintraub
Lisa has been a social justice activist since 1979. A proud feminist, she has worked in the field of violence against women and children since 1981, when the movement was embryonic in Canada.
She co-founded a number of organizations, including COPA, the Montreal Assault Prevention Centre, and the province of Quebec’s Coalition of CAP Projects (Le Projet ESPACE), the Regroupement des organismes ESPACE du Québec (ROEQ). Lisa was active in COPA, although she was proud that all three organizations continue to flourish!
Lisa was the Director of Programming and later a Consultant at the Francophone Community Health Centre in Hamilton and Niagara Region for over a decade (1992 - 2002). She was a significant contributor to the design, development and growth of that agency, and to the development of its wide-ranging multi-disciplinary services, including, uniquely, violence prevention education for children, women and newcomers.
As Coordinator of the University of Toronto’s Health Promotion Summer School for close to a decade, she also played an important role in the planning and implementation of this annual high-quality provincial professional development event, working closely with Francophone, Anglophone and Indigenous curriculum committees to plan and execute a rich and high-quality program.
Lisa was the mother of two adult sons, who, along with her partner, Robert, have been significant contributors to anti-violence work, providing personal and professional support throughout the decades.
Randa Meshki, MSW. is the Executive Director of COPA
Randa has been with COPA for 23 years. Randa’s primary role at COPA for the last decade has been as our Director of Provincial Coordination of the Francophone Network of Settlement Workers in Schools, a program funded by IRCC. She was one of the first people trained in COPA programme. She is one of COPA’s most experienced Trainers’ Trainer, delivering and co-coordinating COPA’s assault prevention education programming throughout the province and across the country throughout the decades.
Randa believes that COPA's vision and mission complete her personal principles - not only with regard to children’s rights but with respect to all marginalized groups in society – a vision fundamental to COPA. Its logo, Tools not Rules, sums up COPA’s concept of empowerment - restoring the rebalance of social power in society and highlighting respect for human rights.
Randa is also proud that COPA puts theory into practice in its workplace, ensuring that even its representatives work and live in a safe, equitable and inclusive environment and feel that their diverse needs are respected and encouraged.
Mohini Athia is COPA’s Director of Special Initiatives. She helps develop and coordinate programming, resource and projects outside of COPA’s traditional services offered in French. As part of this role, she is Lead on COPA’s multiple initiatives supporting Indigenous families.
Mohini is currently on leave as a secondary school teacher at the Toronto District School Board. Her longtime commitment to social justice aligns with COPA’s unique approach to human rights and the right for all to be safe, strong and free.
Sofia Bohdanowicz is called on at COPA to realize her many creative capacities helping the agency promote its unique approach.
Sofia is a Filmmaker graphic artist and communications specialist offering her talents to COPA. She contributes significantly to the development, production and promotion of COPA’s multimedia resources that support children’s - and human - rights.
Sofia loves the fact that she is making an important contribution to nurturing the right to be safe, strong and free for all.
Deb St. Amant’s father was Métis and her mother is Ojibwe. She was the first and, thus far the only Indigenous person elected to ETFO’s provincial executive and in 2016 was made the first and only Indigenous Honorary Life Member of ETFO.
Deb has been a governor of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and has served on the Canadian Teachers’ Federation’s Aboriginal Issues Committee. In 2011, she represented Canadian Teachers of Aboriginal ancestry at Education International in Cape Town, South Africa.
After 30 years of teaching French, she retired in 2012. Deb still enjoys guest speaking about Indigenous issues and other equity themes. In 2014, Deb wrote a book aimed at teacher candidates, called First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Success.
Deb is an integral part of the COPA team and has been Lead Indigenous Consultant on COPA’s resource for educators called Joining the Circle.
Deb offers professional development sessions to parents, educators and community members so that they can learn more about Joining the Circle, A Circle of Caring and other COPA educational resources.
FREELANCE TEAM AND ASSOCIATES
Liane Bellemare Alessi has worked with COPA since 2005 as a copy editor and translator. She is an integral part of our team, and has throughout these years ensured that the quality of our work is excellent. She has dedicated herself to ensuring that COPA’s vision and mandate are beautifully articulated. Her attention to detail and generosity of spirit is precious.
Liane is a long-time advocate for people with intellectual challenges and physical handicaps. The work she does for COPA aligns closely with this work, and her vision of social change. She has developed a high regard and deep respect for COPA’s work and is very happy to be part of COPA’s team of freelancers.
Irene Angelopoulos and Christopher Felske are Toronto-based multi-media artists. They paint, draw, animate, illustrate, and sculpt, to create worlds distinctly flavoured with their pop-aesthetic. They've worked on projects with diverse clients such as Discovery Channel for Sharkweek, TIFF digiPlayspace, and COPA, for whom they've designed the popular Capsule Family series and have animated and illustrated a number of installments.
Founded in 2001, Endless Films is a boutique, multilingual full service video production company. Endless has worked closely with COPA for many years, helping create unique and appealing film resources that are used around the world. In particular, Endless has helped create and develop COPA’s array of Capsule Family characters, which are found in a number of our educational resources. Endless’ tremendous creative capacity and remarkable dedication to vision and detail has allowed COPA to provide very special tools that are very much in demand.
Michael Schmid is an Information Technology consultant and Web Developer specializing in security, server administration, development and CMS customization and deployment. His preferred clients are NGOs and other organizations that exist primarily for the betterment of society and awareness of important social issues.
Michael has been acting as a consultant for COPA for many years, ensuring that COPA’s digital resources are functional and accessible. Michael is a key member of our team and given COPA’s strong online presence, we are grateful for his tremendous expertise, collaborative nature and generosity.
Socialtech is a creative partnership between designers, developers, writers and educators committed to brining technology to life. Socialtech has worked closely with COPA for many years, helping develop unique educational online resources, including our very own COPA website and our unique site for youth, Change Our World which offers a variety of online resources — including a new tool for youth on cyberbullying.
Socialtech also worked with COPA to develop our app, Emotichrome which allows young people to express emotions in healthy ways.
Socialtech brings long-time understanding of COPA’s vision and mission as its founder and CEO was trained as a COPA facilitator over two decades ago. Their dedication to ensuring that COPA’s online work be meaningful, useful and beautiful has enabled us to broaden our reach and ensure a quality of work that we can be very proud of.
Thistle Printing Limited is a full-service, unionized commercial printing company that has been printing for labour and non-profit organizations since 1931. It is FSC® Certified and committed to producing the highest quality print products with the least possible impact on the environment. COPA depends entirely on Thistle for this quality, range of services and its remarkable customer service. We simply could not produce the high quality resources we distribute if not for them and their dedication to excellence. We are proud to work with a unionized and environmentally conscious company, too.