Council members lead the Society and lend their voices and unique insights to decisions that impact Nova Scotia’s legal profession.
Council includes 21 voting members who are elected lawyers from across the province, as well as five appointed public representatives.
Read Carrie’s Bio
Carrie Ricker is the Society’s President for 2019-2020. She is a sole practitioner based in Halifax and provides strategic direction, risk management and legal advice to corporate, public sector and individual clients in relation to areas including health law, employment law, business law, privacy and confidentiality, and intellectual property law.
Carrie commenced her career as a litigation associate with Stewart McKelvey, and spent nearly a decade as Senior Legal Counsel to the Capital District Health Authority, Atlantic Canada’s largest health authority. Prior to her sole practice, she was a partner with Carpenters Ricker. She has also served as an Instructor with the Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry. Carrie has appeared before the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia; the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal; the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island; and numerous boards and tribunals including the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Board, the Criminal Code Review Board and the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board.
Carrie was nominated for Second Vice-President for the 2018-2019 Council year by the Society’s Governance and Nominating Committee and was acclaimed to the position in February 2018. In September 2018, following the elevation of the Honourable Justice John Bodurtha to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court Bench, Carrie ascended to First Vice-President for the 2018-2019 Council year. From 2015 to 2018, Carrie served on the Society’s Legal Services Regulation Solo & Small Firm Working Group. She currently serves on the Executive, Finance, Governance & Nominating and Gender Equity Committees.
Carrie has also served as a National Council voting member of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) for Nova Scotia and as an executive member of the Nova Scotia branch the CBA. She received the CBA Nova Scotia Zoe Odei Young Lawyers Award.
Her community service includes serving as a member and now as Chair of the Board of Directors for Shakespeare By The Sea. Carrie also volunteers with the Nova Scotia Artists’ Legal Information Society and has served as a mentor with the Society as well as the Dalhousie Association of Women and the Law.
Carrie received her undergraduate arts degree at St. Thomas University and law degree at the University of New Brunswick. She was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 2001 and to the Prince Edward Island Bar in 2014.
Jim Rossiter QC
Read Jim’s Bio
Jim Rossiter QC is Legal Counsel with the Department of Justice (Canada), Environment Legal Services. Following his Call to the Bar in 1999, Jim was an associate with Wickwire Holm in Halifax until 2006. Prior to his legal career, Jim worked as a journalist.
Jim was appointed Second Vice-President by Council at the recommendation of the Governance & Nominating Committee in November 2018 for the remainder of the 2018-2019 Council Year to fill the vacancy left by the Honourable Justice John Bodurtha’s appointment to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court Bench. Jim is the Vice-Chair of the Society’s Code of Professional Conduct Committee and also sits as a member of the Executive, Finance, Governance & Nominating and Complaints Investigations Committee.
An active member of the legal community, Jim served as President of the Canadian Bar Association (Nova Scotia Branch) from 2010-2011, prior to which he sat as a member on the branch’s Executive Committee for eight years. He has also served as National Chair of the Young Lawyer’s Section of the CBA as well as a member of the board of directors for the National CBA office. Jim is a former President of the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, a position he held from 2015-2017, and a former Chair and trustee of Dalhousie Legal Aid Service. Jim has volunteered as a mentor to law students and young lawyers in metro Halifax through the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association mentorship program.
Jim frequently presents at conferences in the areas of media and environmental law. In 2006, he published his book, Law of Publication Bans, Private Hearings and Sealing Orders with Carswell.
Since beginning his tenure with Justice, Jim has received the Parks Canada Agency CEO Award of Excellence (in recognition of extraordinary contribution to fostering a culture of conservation through work on the establishment of Rouge National Urban Park) and the Department of Justice (Canada) Peer Appreciation Award, for “work and commitment to client service excellence on the Franklin Expedition” (discovery of the wreck of HMS Erebus in the Northwest Passage). He is also a recipient of the 2014 CBA-NS Distinguished Service Award and the 2005 Zöe Odei Young Lawyers Award. In 2018 he received his Queen’s Counsel designation.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University and an LL.B from Dalhousie University with a Certificate Specialization in Marine Law.
Tuma Young QC
Read Tuma’s Bio
Tuma T. W. Young QC is Mi’kmaq, and grew up in a traditional manner on the Malagawatch First Nation. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Mi’kmaq Studies from the University College of Cape Breton; a Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia; a Master of Laws in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy from the University of Arizona; and is presently enrolled in the JSD program at the University of Arizona. Tuma was called to the Bar in June 2001, becoming the first Mi’kmaq speaking lawyer in Nova Scotia.
Tuma was nominated for Second Vice-President for the 2019-2020 Council year by the Society’s Governance and Nominating Committee and was acclaimed to the position in February 2019. He was previously a Member At-Large of Council and was elected to the position in both 2015 and 2017. Tuma currently sits on the Executive, Finance, Governance & Nominating and Complaints Investigations Committees, as well as the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Working Group. Until his ascension to Second Vice-President, he was a member of the Society’s Code of Professional Conduct Committee and the Racial Equity Committee.
Currently, he works as an Assistant Professor in Indigenous Studies/Political Science at Cape Breton University. Tuma’s primary research area is the analysis of L’nu worldview to see how traditional concepts of governance can be used in contemporary institution development. He also researches Two-Spiritedness (gay/ lesbian/ bisexual/ transgendered) and community-based health and social research. In August 2017, Tuma was qualified as an expert witness on L’nuk Laws and Decolonizing Perspectives as part of his testimony at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
At CBU, Tuma has a pro bono law clinic for students, staff and community members where he provides free initial advice and, if necessary, referrals to outside lawyers. He also has a private Wills & Estates practice for a number of First Nations communities.
Tuma serves as co-Chair of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s TRC Calls to Action Advisory Committee, which is charged with developing a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action #27 and #28.
Tuma spends the rest of his free time with his partner Nicolaas and working on his photography portfolio.
Tilly Pillay QC
Read Tilly’s Bio
Tilly Pillay QC joined the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society as Executive Director in January 2018. Previously, she was Executive Director of Legal Services for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, where she also served as Acting Deputy Minister for 16 months in 2015-2016.
Tilly’s extensive volunteer involvement with the Society goes back more than a decade. She served as a member of Council in Halifax District from 2007 to 2009 and was elected to Council again as Second Vice-President in 2012, ultimately serving as President for the 2014-2015 Council term.
During her time on the Society’s Executive Committee, Tilly led the Society’s transforming legal regulation initiative as Chair of the Entity Regulation and then the Legal Services Regulation Steering Committees.
She was appointed in March 2017 to represent NSBS on the Council of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
Through her years as a Society volunteer, Tilly chaired the Gender Equity and Professional Standards (Family Law) Committees, also serving on the Credentials, Finance, Governance and Nominating, Professional Responsibility Policies and Procedures, and Department of Justice Liaison Committees.
After completing her undergraduate education at Dalhousie University, Tilly earned two Masters of Arts degrees from Cambridge University and the University of Toronto, then completed her LLB at Dalhousie Law School in 1989. Upon her call to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1990, she worked for five years as a staff lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid. In 1995, she joined the Nova Scotia Department of Justice and held varying positions as a solicitor and as a litigator, completing extensive management and leadership training. Tilly is functionally bilingual.
Her community work has included serving on boards for Bryony House, a transition house shelter, and the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, as well as the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (now known as the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia). With her ESL training certificate, she has also volunteered as an English language teacher with Saint Mary’s University to assist international students. She has authored numerous papers for presentation at CLE conferences and published a Handbook for Lawyers relating to the Nova Scotia Maintenance Enforcement Program.
Members of Council
Cape Breton District
Read Jillian’s Bio
Jillian Barrington is an associate lawyer with Sheldon Nathanson Barristers & Solicitors Inc. and has been with the firm since her first year of law school. Her areas of practice include criminal, family, employment, property, and wills and estates. Since being called to the Bar in 2011, she has had the opportunity to work not only in the private law sector but has also had the opportunity to work as a Per Diem Crown and as a contract lawyer for the Department of Justice.
Jillian was first elected to Council in 2015. She is currently a member of the Complaints Investigations Committee and the Professional Standards (Family Law) Committee. She previously served as Vice-Chair of the Credentials Committee and Chair of the Legal Services Regulation Solo & Small Firm Working Group.
Also a long-time volunteer in the community, she has been involved with the Dalhousie Pro Bono Society, Cape Breton Transition House and the Halifax Winter Shelter. Some of her current involvement includes sitting on the Cape Breton Craft and Design Board and as Vice Chair of the Elizabeth Fry Society Board.
Jillian is also an active member of the Cape Breton Barristers’ Society and has been since returning to Cape Breton to practice. She has served on numerous planning committees for various events such as the Bench and Bar dinners, the Law Day Mock Trials and yearly social activities. Jillian has also worked actively with the Cape Breton Barristers’ Society on implementing an annual CPD conference, which has been held locally for the past number of years.
Cape Breton District
Read Shane’s Bio
Shane Russell is a Senior Crown Attorney with the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service in Sydney.
He joined Council in October 2017 as the representative for the Cape Breton District and was acclaimed to the position again in 2019. Shane has been a member of the Society’s Provincial Court Liaison Committee since 2015, the In-House and Government Lawyers Working Group since 2017 and the Gender Equity Committee since 2019
Called to the Bar in 2004, Shane has been extensively involved in the prosecution of many complex and high profile criminal cases. He has specialized training and experience relating to drug and alcohol impaired driving offences, and played an active role in the Domestic Violence Court Pilot Project in Sydney and in the Early Resolution/File Ownership Court Project.
Shane has presented at many professional conferences and educational sessions, including the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges National Education Conference, the Public Prosecution Service Education Conference and the Canadian Bar Association.
Shane is the current President of both the Cape Breton Barristers’ Society and the Vice-President of the Nova Scotia Crown Attorney’s Association. He has been an assigned mentor to newly hired Crown Attorneys in Cape Breton, and has been involved in various community fundraising projects, including Loaves and Fishes, Cape Breton food banks, Autism Society, IWK and Cops Against Cancer.
Ellen R. Burke
Read Ellen’s Bio
Ellen Burke is a Partner with Patterson Law’s litigation group and is based in New Glasgow, where her practice focuses on criminal litigation and family court matters. She was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 2009.
Ellen first joined Council as the representative for the Central District in July 2016, stepping up to fill the vacancy left by Frank E. DeMont QC when he ascended to Second Vice-President. She was reelected in 2017 and was acclaimed to the position in 2019 for the 2019-2021 Council term. She currently serves on the Society’s Finance Committee and the Professional Standards (Family) Committee.
Ellen is a member of the Canadian Bar Association and the investment committee of Northern Opportunities Business Limited, which is part of CBDC. She also contributes to a monthly column in the Pictou County Advocate.
Ellen’s community service includes her appointment as Election Commission with Elections Nova Scotia, her involvement with the Rotary Club of New Glasgow, as well as the board of directors Big Brothers, Big Sisters Canada and the Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River Provincial Liberal Association. She previously served as the Secretary of the Cumberland Federal Liberal Riding Association and as a board member for Central Nova Women’s Centre and as a member of the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce.
J. Patrick Young
Read Patrick’s Bio
J. Patrick Young is a Senior Crown Attorney with the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service in Pictou. He was called to the Bar in Nova Scotia in 2010, having previously been admitted to the PEI Bar in 2006 and Alberta in 2007, and has appeared in all levels of Court in the province.
Patrick was elected to Council in 2019 to represent the Central District. He has been a member of the Society’s Law Professional Standards (Criminal) Committee since 2013, and the Governance and Nominating Committee since 2016. He has also served on the Executive of the Pictou County Barristers’ Society since 2011, and in 2017 he became its President. He currently sits as Co-Chair of the PPS Education Committee.
Patrick regularly presents to Crown Attorneys at conferences and education workshops, various police agencies, and public groups on the subject of criminal law and justice.
Patrick and his wife, Melanie, a lawyer in a busy private practice, have two children. He coaches their baseball teams, serves on their school’s Parent Advisory Committee, and volunteers at their school breakfast program.
Read Josie’s Bio
Josie McKinney is a Crown Attorney for the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service in Halifax. Upon her admission to both the Nova Scotia Bar and the Ontario Bar in 2007, until 2010, Josie worked as a Staff Lawyer for the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic, providing a range of legal services for low income Indigenous people (criminal defence, tenant rights, criminal injuries compensation, and Indian Residential School Settlement claims) and supervised law students enrolled at the Clinic. Since joining the PPS in 2011, Josie spent her first 7 years in Yarmouth and Shelburne before moving to Halifax in April 2018.
Josie was elected to Council in 2019 to represent the Halifax District. She has been a member of the Society’s Racial Equity Committee since 2015 and became co-Chair in January 2019.
From 2016 to present, Josie has been a member of the PPS Employment Equity and Diversity Committee. Recently, she co-wrote a new PPS policy on Fair Treatment of Indigenous Peoples in the Criminal Justice System and led the training of all NS Crown Attorneys on the policy. She is currently a member of the CBA Sexual Harassment Working Group and, in the past, served as a Crown representative on the Tri-County Sexual Assault Response Team.
From 2012 to 2014, Josie was a volunteer with Project LEAD, which aims to give knowledge and decision-making skills to youth at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system. Josie has also provided educational sessions to children in grades P-12 on Mi’kmaq history/culture and residential schools.
Josie has delivered various CLE presentations to lawyers and other professionals on issues of cultural competency, in NS and NB. She has mentored law students and high school students and has supervised articling students.
Sheree L. Conlon QC
Read Sheree’s Bio
Sheree Conlon QC is a partner at Stewart McKelvey’s Halifax office, and has been in private practice since her Nova Scotia Bar admission in 1997. Her litigation practice has always been varied and currently, Sheree practises in the areas of commercial and civil litigation and insurance defence. Her clients include insurers, corporations, manufacturers, banks, receivers, and individuals with varied litigation needs.
Sheree was first elected to Council as a Representative for the Halifax District in 2015, and was re-elected in both 2017 and 2019. She has served as Chair of the Gender Equity Committee since 2015 and currently sits as a member of the Governance & Nominating Committee. She was previously a member of the Professional Responsibility Policies and Procedures Committee.
An active member of the legal community, Sheree has volunteered with the CBA – Nova Scotia Branch as Chair of both its Equity Committee and Executive Committee. In addition to acting as both a formal and informal mentor to articled clerks and associates within her firm, Sheree has been part-time faculty at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, teaching Civil Trial Practice, and is currently on the Regional Advisory Committee of The Advocates’ Society.
In her local community, Sheree was a member of the Executive and later the President of the Metro Community Housing Association, a non-profit organization which works closely with the local hospitals and the Department of Community Services to provide support to people living with mental illness. Sheree has also been on the Board of the Discovery Centre since 2013, as they completed their capital campaign and opened their new home on the Halifax waterfront in 2017. She is also on the Board of the Atlantic Tennis Centre where they are in the midst of their capital campaign to build a new tennis facility in partnership with Tennis Canada with a dual mission to provide high competition training to youth in Atlantic Canada and improve the accessibility of the sport and the facility to all community members.
Read Deanna’s Bio
Deanna Frappier QC is counsel with the Department of Justice Canada in the Tax Law Services section of the Atlantic Regional Office. Her practice primarily involves advisory and litigation services in the area of tax collections and bankruptcy and insolvency. After graduating from Dalhousie Law School and being called to the Bar in 1998, Deanna practised insurance/personal injury law in Halifax and later moved to practising in-house with a pension benefits/human resources consulting firm. She has been with the Department of Justice Canada since 2003 and has appeared before the courts in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island as well as the Tax Court of Canada and the Federal Court.
Elected to Council as a representative for the Halifax District in 2017 and re-elected in 2019, Deanna’s involvement with the Society dates back to 2000, having served as Chair of the Race Relations Committee (now the Racial Equity Committee), as member of the Task Force on Professional Civility, the Nominating Committee, the Bench/Bar Committee on Unrepresented Litigants, among several others. Today, she serves as a member of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Compensation Committee and the Bar Examination Screeners. She also sits as Chair of the Legal Services Regulation In-House and Government Lawyers Working Group.
Deanna is active in her community as Team Manager for the Chebucto Atom B Green minor hockey team and as Registrar for the Halifax Hurricanes Lacrosse Association. She has served on the board of directors for UNICEF Canada and for the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre. Deanna is a past member of the Nova Scotia Insurance Women’s Association and the Advisory Council for the Indigenous Blacks & Mi’kmaq Initiative at Dalhousie Law School. She was a recipient of the Mayor’s Canadian Navy Centennial Pin recognizing 100+ hours volunteering in the community and exemplifying close and enduring relationship between Halifax and the Canadian Navy.
Read Michelle’s Bio
Michelle Kelly is a partner in the Halifax office of Cox & Palmer. Called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 2004, Michelle’s practice focuses primarily on insurance defence work, as well as commercial litigation and property litigation, including expropriation work. She has appeared at all levels of court in Nova Scotia, consistently appears in front of the NSUARB and has been involved in many mediations and commercial arbitrations.
Michelle was elected to Council in 2019 as a District Representative for Halifax. She currently serves on the Gender Equity Committee, the Professional Responsibility Policies & Procedures Committee and the Supreme Court Liaison Committee.
Michelle was appointed to the Nova Scotia Advisory Council for the Status of Women in 2014 and currently sits as their President. She is also the Chair of The Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Advisory Councils on the Status of Women. The Coalition consists of advisory bodies from across the country dedicated to advancing women’s issues within their individual regions but who come together in the interest of women on a national level. Michelle is also a board member of the Jamaican Cultural Association of Nova Scotia.
Michelle has been consistently recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading practitioner in Personal Injury and as a leading practitioner in Insurance Law by the publication The Best Lawyers in Canada.
Andrew S. Nickerson QC
Read Andrew’s Bio
Andrew Nickerson QC practises with Nickerson Jacquard Fraser Barristers | Solicitors, a full-service law firm in Yarmouth. Andrew was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1978 and received his Queen’s Counsel appointment in 1997.
Andrew was elected to Council in 2015 to represent the Southwestern District and was reelected for in both 2015 and 2017. Upon the recommendation of the Governance & Nominating Committee to fill a vacancy left in the Southwestern District, Andrew was appointed to Council in 2019 for his third and final term. He currently serves on the Society’s Governance and Nominating Committee, the Distinguished Service Award Committee and the Finance Committee.
Andrew is recognized for his work in corporate law, business acquisitions, business financing, commercial law, fisheries law and taxation, and is often called on to handle real estate transactions. He also regularly handles a wide variety of civil litigation cases, many of which are related to commercial matters, construction or shareholder disputes.
Representing some of Western Nova Scotia’s leading companies, Andrew also regularly performs agency work for several Halifax law firms. He has substantial international experience and has managed legal matters for clients doing business in Africa and Southeast Asia and supervised litigation in the United States and the United Kingdom. Andrew regularly appears before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court and the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada.
From 2006 to 2013, Andrew served as a member of the Canada Pension Plan Review Tribunal. Since 2014, he has been a Small Claims Court Adjudicator sitting in Yarmouth, Shelburne Digby and Annapolis Royal.
Read David’s Bio
David Hirtleis a sole practitioner with Hirtle Legal Services Inc. in Lunenburg. His areas of practice include civil litigation, family law, criminal law, real estate, and estates and trusts. He was previously employed with Power, Dempsey Cooper & Leefe in Bridgewater. He was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1998.
David joined Council in July 2017 as the acclaimed byelection candidate for the Southwestern District for the 2017-2019 Council term. He was acclaimed to the position again in 2019. David currently serves on the Credentials Committee and the Trust Account Regulations Working Group. He was previously a member of the Professional Standards (Criminal) Committee.
David is an active volunteer in the legal community, his home community of Lunenburg and in the province. He has been a member of the Lunenburg County Barristers’ Association since 1998 and currently serves as President, a post which he has held since 2012. Since 2013, David has sat as a non-voting member of the CBA Nova Scotia Council. He is a past active member of the Lunenburg & District Volunteer Fire Department and is now an Honorary member. Since 2013 David has served as a member of the advisory board for CNIB Nova Scotia.
Member at Large
Read Jack’s Bio
Jack Townsend is a lawyer with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice. Prior to joining the Department in February 2019, Jack practiced with Cox & Palmer in Halifax for eight years. He is a civil litigator with experience in administrative law, insurance/personal injury defence, health law, and commercial litigation. He has appeared before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, the Utility and Review Board, and other administrative tribunals. Jack was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 2011.
Jack was elected to Council as a Member At-Large in 2019. He currently sits as a member of the Society’s Gender Equity Committee and the Complaints Investigation Commitee. Jack volunteers as a mentor for the NSBS Pride Mentorship Program, as well as a judge and workshop facilitator for the mooting program at Dalhousie Law School. He frequently volunteers his time for OUTLaw, a 2SLGBTQIA law student society and acted as pro bono counsel in their intervention in the NSBS v. TWU proceedings before the Court of Appeal.
Jack is the Chair of the CBA-NS Equity Committee and he sits on the CBA-NS Branch Executive, Professional Development Committee, and Nominations Committee. He also sits as a member of the Nova Scotia Judicial Advisory Committee, which reviews applications for federal judicial appointments and makes recommendations to the Minister of Justice.
Jack chaired the CBA-NS Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity from 2016 to 2018. In that capacity, he helped to organize the CBA-NS/NSBS Pride Week Reception, as well as the joint CBA-NS/NSBS entry in the Halifax Pride Parade.
Cheryl A. Canning QC
Member at Large
Read Cheryl’s Bio
Cheryl Canning QC is co-Managing Partner and a member of the litigation team at Burchells LLP in Halifax, where her practice focuses on insurance-related work in the areas of personal injury, property damage, construction and professional liability. Cheryl was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1998 and also holds membership with the Law Society of PEI.
Initially elected to Council as a Member At-Large in 2017 and re-elected to the position in 2019, Cheryl is the Chair of the Credentials Committee, having served as a member of the committee from 2004 through 2013. She is also a member of the Society’s Fitness to Practise Committee.
Before joining Council in June 2017, Cheryl has volunteered in various capacities both at the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia (LIANS) continuously over the past 16 years. She previously served on a number of LIANS committees including as Chair of the LIANS Board, and as a member of the LAP Committee, Governance Committee, Nominating Committee, Claims Review Committee and Investment Committee.
Cheryl has also been an active volunteer with the CBA, including serving as the Atlantic Representative and later the Chair of the CBA Wellness Subcommittee, as well as the Chair of the CBA Insurance Section. She is currently a member of the Advocates’ Society and Canadian Defence Lawyers. Since 2016, Cheryl has been named to the Best Lawyers list in the area of Insurance Law. Through her firm’s membership, Cheryl has been involved in various capacities with The ARC Group Canada, a national network of insurance defence firms, including serving as President. Cheryl also presents at wellness conferences and workshops for insurance professionals on issues such as legal updates, claims investigation and fraud.
Cheryl is an enthusiastic community member, having managed minor hockey teams and volunteered at the Banook Canoe Club. Over the years she has also dedicated her time to the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, the Kidney Foundation and Athletics Nova Scotia.
Member at Large
Read Melanie’s Bio
Melanie Petrunia is a partner at Nijhawan McMillan Petrunia, a feminist litigation boutique in Halifax, where she practices civil, commercial and tax litigation. Called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 2007, she began her legal career at Stewart McKelvey before joining the federal Department of Justice, Tax Law Services, where she spent eight years practicing tax litigation. During that time, Melanie appeared in the Tax Court of Canada in locations throughout Canada, the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal. She joined her current firm after a brief period as a sole practitioner. Melanie also serves as a part-time member of the Social Security Tribunal of Canada and a member of the Review Board under the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act.
Melanie was elected to Council in 2019 as a Member At-Large. She currently serves on the Credentials Committee and the Racial Equity Committee.
Melanie co-taught a course on the administration of the Income Tax Act at Schulich School of Law and has also coached the Schulich team at the Donald D. G. Bowman Moot Court competition for many years. She is a member of the Canadian Tax Foundation and is frequently asked to speak on current issues in tax litigation. Melanie has been actively involved with the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association previously serving as Chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Section.
Melanie has served as a board member with many community organizations including Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Khyber Institute of Contemporary Art and Women’s Wellness Within. She’s also a parent to three wild and wonderful children who always keep her busy.
Read Bryan’s Bio
Bryan Darrell, P. Eng, FEIC of Halifax was appointed as a Public Representative on Council in 2019 and also currently serves on the Governance & Nominating Committee.
A professional engineer, Bryan is the Director of Health Project Services for the Province of Nova Scotia, where he oversees the development, planning and delivery of major provincial health care projects. He is recognized nationally as an expert in health care infrastructure management. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Acadia University, a Diploma in Engineering from Saint Mary’s University and a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from the Technical College of Nova Scotia (TUNS).
Bryan brings vast board and governance experience to the Society, having served as both a Councillor and President of Engineers Nova Scotia, as board member of the Capital District Health Authority, as Chair of the Dalhousie Legal Aid board, as Treasurer of the Halifax Community Investment Fund and the St. Margaret’s Sailing Club, among others. From 2008 to 2018, he sat on the National Research Council’s Standing Committee on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
An active community member, Bryan volunteers with local organizations such as Feed Nova Scotia, Hope Blooms, Ride for Cancer and Harbour Swim.
Read Natalie’s Bio
Natalie Borden of Dartmouth was appointed as a Public Representative on Council in 2015 and also currently serves on the Society’s Complaints Investigation Committee. She is a former Chair of the Credentials Committee and also served on the Governance and Nominating Committee.
A pharmacist and administrator, Natalie has extensive management and leadership experience with the Department of Health and Wellness, where she has worked since 2008. In her current post as Program Director, Drug Information System (DIS), she is responsible for program operations including strategy and planning, budget, human resources, vendor management, stakeholder engagement and technical oversight, and also supports audit and privacy processes. Her duties also involve liaising with licensing bodies and advocacy groups provincially and nationally, and with other provinces on drug information system issues. Previously, she served as the Department’s Manager, Drug Utilization Review – leading the development and implementation of generic pricing reform – and as Manager, Business Solutions.
Upon graduating from the Dalhousie University College of Pharmacy in 1994, Natalie worked as a pharmacist until joining Medavie Blue Cross in Moncton in 2001. There, she was a senior pharmacy services consultant prior to becoming the Manager, Pharmacy and Travel Operations. She facilitated Medavie’s Managing Change Workshops and managed the operations of the Special Authorization Unit, Drug Adjudication Policy and Claims System, among other responsibilities. She also consulted with Towers Perrin.
Natalie is an accomplished instructor and mentor, currently with the Nova Scotia Community College’s African Nova Scotian Student Tutoring Program and as a lab demonstrator with the Dalhousie University College of Pharmacy. She is an assessor for the College of Pharmacy’s Examining Board of Canada Pharmacy Technician National Qualifying Exam. Extracurricular activities also include speaking engagements and serving as a Simulated Patient at the Dalhousie Learning Resource Centre.
Read Peggy’s Bio
Peggy Gates-Hammond of Halifax joined the Finance Committee in 2015 and was appointed to Council as a Public Representative in 2016. She served on the Executive Committee from 2016 to 2019 and continues to serve on the Finance Committee.
Peggy received her degree in commerce from Saint Mary’s University and is trained as a Chartered Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner and a Trust and Estate Planner. She completed in-depth income tax training through the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, and was certified as a Family Council Facilitator by the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise. Peggy retired in 2019 with more than three decades of tax, estate and succession planning experience. Before her retirement, Peggy was the Director of Tax Planning at BMO Wealth Management where she worked collaboratively with BMO colleagues, external legal, tax and insurance advisors.
Peggy brings a wealth of committee and community involvement to her position on Council. She is a former member of the Atlantic Chapter of the Women’s Presidents Organization and served on the Advisory Board for the Dalhousie University Centre for Family Business and Regional Prosperity. Peggy was also a member of the Executive Committee for the Atlantic Chapter of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Canada, and the Membership Committee at the Institute for Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia. She is a former Governor of the Canadian Tax Foundation, and has volunteered with the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia.
With her unique combination of interpersonal skills, training to guide families through the emotional and technical aspects of wealth planning, and her experience in distilling complex issues and formulating appropriate strategies to deal with them, Peggy is well equipped to serve as a good listener and a rational and knowledgeable contributor to Council.
Read Michelle’s Bio
Michelle Ward of Westville was appointed as Public Representative on Council in September 2017.
Michelle is the Executive Director of the Kids First Association, which offers programs and services to children and families in Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough counties. Managing an organization of over 30 staff and overseeing the policy development, budget management, funding relations, community outreach and other operational tasks, Michelle brings 20 years of leadership experience to her position on Council. Through her tenure as Executive Director of Kids First, she has formed excellent working relationships with local partners, provincial departments and federal funders, and has demonstrated a strong understanding of the social determinants of health, diversity and social inclusion. In addition to her work with Kids First, Michelle also works as a clinical therapist for Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia, where she provides telephone grief support for individuals across the North Eastern region of the province.
Michelle has served on a number of committees relevant to her profession. She currently serves as Chair of the Nova Scotia Association of Family Resource Programs and as Chair for Pictou County Early Years Network. She previously served as the Chair for Pictou County Partners for Children and Youth. Michelle also serves on committees for North East Network for Children and Youth, Antigonish Early Years, Guysborough Early Years, Quality Improvement and Safety Team, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Northern Network and many others.
Michelle has also shown extensive involvement within her community. She served as a member of the board of directors for the Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre, and of the Student Advisory Committee for Highland Consolidated Middle School. From 2011-2015 she was the secretary of the Westville and Area Minor Hockey Association. Additionally, Michelle has volunteered with the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, Catholic Children’s Aid Society and United Church Emergency Refugee Relief.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts from St. Francis Xavier University, as well as a Bachelor of Social Work from Dalhousie University. Michelle is a Registered Social Worker with the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers.
With her keen interest in law, Michelle believes that her experience of working within systems designed to support vulnerable populations will add an important perspective to Council.
Dr. Rod Wilson
Read Rod’s Bio
Dr. Rod Wilson, BScN., MD., CCFP, MHA of Halifax was appointed a Public Representative on Council in September 2017. He serves on the Complaints Investigation Committee.
Dr Wilson is currently a Physician Advisor with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness and a part-time Family Physician at the North End Community Health Centre in Halifax. He started his career in health care as a nurse providing care to Indigenous communities in northern Ontario and the Northwest Territories before entering medicine. After graduating from McMaster Medical school in 1992, he continued to work with Indigenous populations in Labrador, Ontario and Yukon before coming to Halifax in 1997. Since that time, he has practised in various emergency rooms and family practice offices.
Dr. Wilson has held a variety of leadership roles, including President of the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (CPSNS) from 2004 to 2006 and subsequently as Deputy Registrar for Complaints and Investigations at CPSNS until 2012. From 2012 to 2017, he was the Executive Director of the North End Community Health Centre.
Dr. Wilson is a volunteer board member and vice chair of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. He is also a passionate supporter of Shelter Nova Scotia.