2020 will be a critical year across the globe in many respects. This year, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) is embarking on ambitious national projects to change the way Canadians view substance use and policy governing it. Our goal is to address stigma and discrimination; bring communities together to find common ground and shared meaning so that we can work together in addressing the opioid crisis; and help reform drug policies so that human rights, compassion, and public health principles become central.
To achieve these goals, we have made a number of key hires. Their combined expertise and experience will help us realize our vision for change rooted in social inclusion. We’re stronger together and committed more than ever to changing a broken system: Canada’s current drug laws based on prohibition.
Imane Tounsi, Program Coordinator
Imane Tounsi is the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition’s Program Coordinator. Imane brings to the team a wealth of over 10 years of international relations and operations management experience related to various international projects.
Prior to joining the CDPC, she was the Office Manager at the Australian embassy in Morocco, where she was an integral member of the team that established Australia’s first embassy in that country. In this role, Imane headed the development and execution of all elements of corporate and administrative policy to support the embassy’s core functions.
Her multidisciplinary background and language skills have allowed her to thrive in a wide range of sectors with international stakeholders such as UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI), UK’s Department for Transport (DfT), the British Embassy Rabat (BER), Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Known among her colleagues for her resilience and charisma, she has established herself as an effective problem solver whose skills are conducive to successful project delivery. Joining the CDPC, she hopes to contribute to positive social change by bringing an international lens to the role and helping realize the organization’s vision for drug policy grounded in public health principles, human rights, and social inclusion.
Angel Sealy, Public Engagement Manager
Angela Sealy joined the CDPC in November 2019 as the Public Engagement Manager. She hopes to use her extensive community engagement expertise to benefit the Coalition and communities it serves. Angela is recognized as a skilled relationship builder and communicator able to help diverse groups find common ground and shared meaning through conflict and adversity.
She believes in and initiates strategic change as a means of improving society and increasing health equity. Angela has earned a M.Ed in Adult Education, a certificate in Dialogue and Community Engagement, and a B.A. from the University of Victoria, where she majored in Psychology.
Before joining the CDPC, she worked as a counsellor in juvenile centres, an employee engagement specialist for the Provincial Housing Corporation, and then as an independent consultant where she provided facilitation and training service to organizations across Canada.
Outside of work, Angela enjoys travelling and spending time outdoors. Her favourite quote is from Nelson Mandela: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Nathaniel Canuel, Digital Media Producer
Nathaniel Canuel is the Digital Media Producer and an award-winning videographer with the CDPC. He specializes in digital storytelling and has been producing short films and documentaries since elementary school. He has combined his filmmaking skills with a passion for fundraising and positive social impact. For over a decade, Nathaniel was based in East Africa where he worked as a videographer and communications specialist in the non-profit/NGO sector, helping organizations create content to tell their stories in an impactful way. In 2015, Nathaniel joined UN-Habitat (United Nations agency for cities and slums) where he traveled internationally documenting the stories and successes of UN beneficiaries and grassroots organizations on the frontlines of positive social change.
Nathaniel is also co-founder of “Up With Hope,” a youth-led organization established in 2008 aimed at helping young leaders build physical space within informal settlements. Together with other youth activists, Nathaniel has made significant contributions to public space and waste management in the informal sector and has established numerous youth-led waste management facilities, social halls, IT centres, community gardens, soccer fields, and other income-generating projects.
Shay Vanderschaeghe, Stimulus 2020 Coordinator
Shay J. Vanderschaeghe is the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition’s Stimulus 2020 Coordinator. Shay was born in rural Manitoba and has lived her adult life in Alberta where she has been working and leading regional and provincial HIV and harm reduction organizations since 1993. During her 14 years as their Executive Director, Shay successfully transitioned Turning Point Society through an expansion of scope and name change, as well as diversified the organization’s funding base to include NightReach, The Women’s Program, and fee for service. Shay’s community work has included creating or supporting the creation of community-based non-profits, including the Central Alberta Pride Society, Safe Harbour Society, Central Alberta Rainbow Youth, and the Trans and Non-Binary Aid Society. She also volunteers in an executive position on the board of directors with the Community Legal Clinic.
During her work in Alberta’s non-profit sector Shay worked collaboratively to plan and implement all 13 Alberta harm reduction conferences, and then successfully coordinated the first-ever Stimulus 2018: Drugs, Policy and Practice conference in Canada while working for Streetworks. During her career, Shay has won the HIV Community Link Roger Leclerc Award and the Women of Excellence Award in Health.
Prior to joining the CDPC, Shay worked for Heritage Family Services in increasing their LGBTQ+ cultural capacity and creating Haven, the first group home for gender and/or sexually diverse youth in care in Canada. Haven reached its 100% occupancy within the first year. By joining the CDPC, she hopes to magnify the reach of the Stimulus national conference to include more people with lived experience and other advocates from frontier and rural communities to showcase their innovation, resilience, and relationship success.
In her time off, Shay enjoys off-grid camping, movies, social media, and international travel. Her favourite quote is, “All that is not given is lost,” from Hasari Pal. Shay works from her home office with her dog Lyric in Red Deer, Alberta.
Daniel Gates, Research Intern
Daniel Gates is studying a double degree of Law and International Relations at Monash University in Australia and is interning with the CDPC. He is assisting the team with background research required for the many initiatives that the Coalition organizes. Daniel is passionate about sensible drug policy reform and is keen to learn the strategies being adopted here in Canada and how they might be implemented back in Australia.
Before joining the CDPC Daniel was a law clerk at Cooper Hart Leggiero & Whitehead, an international asbestos litigation firm. There, he managed cases seeking compensation for Australian citizens exposed to asbestos products manufactured in the United States.
Daniel is also the co-founder of “Monash StreetLaw,” a student-run organisation established in early 2019 aimed at improving community knowledge of their rights and responsibilities. Along with other students, Daniel has led presentations on legal rights at homeless shelters, retirement homes, schools and community town halls, with a focus on improving awareness around rights when interacting with police, and the responsibilities that people owe to one another.