North West LHIN Board of Directors

Ontario is improving the health care system to give patients better connected care, focused on their needs.

On June 6, 2019 the Government of Ontario proclaimed the Connecting Care Act, 2019 to formally establish Ontario Health as a Crown agency in support of the eventual consolidation of LHINs and six provincial agencies into Ontario Health. This follows the cross-appointment of the board members of Ontario Health as board members for LHINs and these agencies.

In alignment with this, the subsections from LHSIA that required LHINs to hold public board meetings were repealed. Existing legislation for the other agencies, as well as new legislation governing Ontario Health, do not require board meetings be made public.

To ensure a consistent approach for those agencies that will be integrated into Ontario Health, LHIN board meetings will no longer be public.

The LHIN and Ontario Health boards recognize the need to engage Ontarians in continually improving their health care system. Ontario Health is determining a plan for public engagement to ensure openness and transparency.

You will continue to have access to the care you need and the health care providers you have built relationships with.

Home care continues as before and there are no changes to long-term care home placement.

Our patient services and contacts will remain unchanged until further notice.

For more information about how Ontario is improving the health care system, visit or contact Service Ontario Health INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (TTY 1-800-387-5559).


Gil Labine

Gil Labine, Board Chair

Gil Labine was appointed for a three-year term to the Board of Directors of the North West LHIN in November 2014. Gil, a resident of Thunder Bay, is a lawyer conducting a general practice in the fields of criminal, family, and civil law as a partner in the firm Atwood Labine Shaw. The long time Thunder Bay criminal lawyer, is deeply committed to the improvement of health care in Northern Ontario. He has served as President and Director of William Creighton Youth Services, Director with the Canadian Mental Health Association and member of the Board of Directors of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

He notes that, "I have great respect for what the LHIN, in partnership with health service providers and other organizations, is doing to transform the health care system in this region. We all know that there are significant challenges that remain, but we're on the right path and I'm honoured to be part of the team."

Gil brings a wealth of experience from outside health care, including membership in the Criminal Law Association and the Thunder Bay Law Association, as well as nine years on the Board of Lakehead University. He says he enjoys working with other like-minded people to bring about important change, and has clear goals for his time on the North West LHIN Board.

 Cathy Farrell

Cathy Farrell, Vice Chair

Cathy Farrell was appointed for a second three-year term which expires on April 23, 2019. Cathy, a resident of Thunder Bay, was initially appointed to the Board of Directors of the North West LHIN in 2013. She is a registered social worker who has spent her career helping children and people with disabilities find the care they need.

Cathy brings to the board excellent skills in leadership, strategic planning and governance. She has been actively engaged in leadership roles with numerous community organizations and boards, including Communities Together for Children, Lakehead Association for Community Living, Residential Placement Advisory Committees, school councils and community groups. She has extensive professional experience related to child welfare and developmental services. Her professional background gives her a useful perspective on how to improve the delivery of health care.

"I am a big believer in giving people choice when it comes to care," she says. "I also believe in the power of changing systems. What we are doing here at the LHIN is extremely transformative, and it is going to improve health outcomes for people in Northwestern Ontario."

Cathy currently operates North of Superior Adoption Services and consults regularly with the Thunder Bay Family Network. She was the founding Executive Director of Wesway, a respite care organization that supports families and caregivers in their own homes, and she has also managed Children's Clinical Services and the Fair Start Program at Thunder Bay District Health Unit. She serves as the Vice-President of Branch Affairs with the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Cathy sees her role on the LHIN Board as helping to provide a strong health care system in the North.

"I am a big believer in public health and helping people improve the wellness choices they make. As we continue to improve the care people receive in their communities, I hope we can also build an overall culture of good health."

She serves as the Vice-President of Branch Affairs with the Ontario Association of Social Workers.


 beatrice metzler    

Beatrice Metzler, Board Member

Appointed on March 1 to the North West LHIN Board of Directors, 2017 for a three-year term, Beatrice Metzler’s professional career involved research and consulting projects throughout Northwestern Ontario where she developed a foundation of knowledge and understanding of socio-economic factors affecting the region and its future. Her career included small business consulting, project management, and identifying and coordinating training for Northwestern Ontario’s industrial trades. She also held the position of Adjudicator with the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, presiding over hearings, and advancing sound decision-making and objectivity in cases that were presented before her. Beatrice served her community in the public health and public education sectors, where she demonstrated outstanding commitment to sound governance and strategic leadership. She was an elected Trustee to the Lakehead Board of Education, serving six years, including the positions of Vice-Chair, Audit Chair and Budget Chair. She was also appointed to the Thunder Bay District Board of Health, a position she held for eight years. Beatrice is a graduate of Lakehead University and resides in Thunder Bay. “As a member of the North West LHIN Board of Directors, I look forward to doing my part to help shape a healthier Northwestern Ontario community. I believe it’s essential to develop sustainable health services without compromising quality, services that the average person can reasonably access.”

 cindy jarvela    

Cindy Jarvela, Board Member

Appointed to the North West LHIN Board of Directors on March 8, 2017 for a three-year term, Cindy Jarvela, a resident of Thunder Bay, has spent more than 35 years in health care and administration. She has an extensive background in nursing, having held numerous positions including Registered Nurse, Nursing Supervisor and Director of Nursing in various organizations throughout Thunder Bay. She was the Administrator of a long-term care home and supportive housing program. Cindy is a graduate of Lakehead University with an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and also holds an Administrator’s Certification from the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS). She’s also certified as a Lean Facilitator. Cindy has served on the North West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) Board of Directors, OANHSS Board of Directors and has also served as Regional Chair for OANHSS. In addition, she served on several advisory committees related to long-term care and housing and home and community care. “I am committed to improving systems in health care delivery and see my involvement on the North West LHIN Board as a great opportunity to continue contributing to health care planning and funding for communities across the Northwest region,” says Cindy.

 dorothy piccinin    

Dorothy Piccinin, Board Member

Dorothy Piccinin, a resident of Thunder Bay since 1969, was appointed to the North West LHIN Board of Directors on March 1, 2017 for a three-year term. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, a Bachelor of Sociology and a Master’s in Community College Education. She became a faculty member of Confederation College in 1969 until her retirement in 2005. While at Confederation College, Dorothy was a Professor in the Applied Arts and Health Sciences Division, and acted as the coordinator of the General Arts and Science Program, as well as Acting Chair of the division. In addition, Dorothy developed the Pre-health Sciences Program, and in retirement developed the curriculum for Interprofessional Education in the Health and Human Services. She also has experience using alternate delivery methodologies to provide education to outlying regions, and has experience serving in several volunteer capacities, including as a long-time Board Member and Chair for the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 10 years as a volunteer at Shelter House through her church, as well as volunteer work at St. Joseph’s Hospice through Hospice Northwest. “I believe that if you want something to happen, then you have to get involved. Since universal health care is important to me, I wanted to be involved with a board that can make a difference by continuing to make that a reality,” says Dorothy. “My role on the LHIN Board means that I can take an active role in ensuring that health care in Northwestern Ontario will meet the needs of each and every person who lives here.”


carol neff

Carol Neff, Board Member

Appointed on December 7, 2016 for a three-year term, Carol Neff is a resident of Thunder Bay and has enjoyed a long career as a passionate leader in the community support services sector.

She served for nine years on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Community Support Association during an era of significant growth, change and opportunity. She has championed innovative health care solutions on numerous steering committees, networks and task groups, including the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Provincial Alzheimer Group, the North West LHIN Steering Committee for the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Services for Seniors, and the North West LHIN City of Thunder Bay Integrated District Network Health Link Steering Committee. She also co-chaired the North West Community Support Services Network for fifteen years.

“As a grandparent, I believe deeply in the need for a sustainable system of quality health care for our future generations,” says Carol. “I welcome the opportunity to offer my skills and experience in service to the LHIN Board and the communities of Northwestern Ontario.”

With degrees in Nursing and Education, the broad scope of Carol’s professional background ranges from pediatric nursing to children’s developmental services and respite care for adults with disabilities and seniors with chronic health conditions. For 27 years, Carol worked in leadership roles at Wesway, retiring as Corporate Development Manager in 2014.


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