TORONTO ON--(Marketwired - June 08, 2016) - Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (Boost CYAC) announced the election of a new Chairman and four new board members at its annual meeting, including The Honourable Peter MacKay.

Trent Mell, President and Head of Mining at PearTree Securities Inc., was elected as the new Chairperson. Former Federal Cabinet Minister, Peter MacKay, and current board member, Daniela DeGasperis, were each elected to the position of Vice Chair.

Also newly elected to the board are Sybil E. Veenman, who is a director of Iamgold Corporation and previously served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Barrick Gold; Mel D'Souza, Vice President, Treasury Operations at Manulife; and Inspector Pauline Gray of Toronto Police Service.

Mr. Mell is succeeding Laurence C. Murray, who has been a director for eight years and served as Chairman for the past two years. The board expressed its appreciation to Mr. Murray for leading the organization following its groundbreaking transition to the CYAC model. Mr. Murray was named Past Chair in order to facilitate a smooth transition.

"In addition to being one of the country's largest Child & Youth Advocacy Centres, Boost CYAC is a leader in best practices on prevention, intervention and treatment of child abuse cases," said Mell. "It is tragic that so many children, youth and caregivers turn to Boost CYAC for help and we are fortunate to have a dedicated team. With the addition of Peter to the Board, we have added leadership, passion and subject-matter experience that we will leverage to keep kids safe."

"As a Crown Prosecutor early in my career, I am all too familiar with the challenges in dealing with the tragic consequences of sexual and physical abuse of children," said Peter MacKay. "This is a cause that I championed as Minister of Justice and I strongly believe much more needs to be done as a society to protect our children. Our work is not done."

Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre is a community partnership model that brings together community and government agencies to provide a coordinated response to young victims of sexual and physical abuse. By bringing all professionals involved in child abuse cases under one roof, Boost CYAC delivers a coordinated, seamless, interdisciplinary response to child abuse victims in Toronto and has served as a successful model for other organizations across Canada and around the world.

Passing the torch
Boost CYAC would like to thank the following outgoing directors for their contribution: Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins, Toronto Police Service; Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo, University of Toronto, Bryn MacPherson, University of Toronto; and Thomas Rowe, Blake, Cassels & Graydon.

"We are extremely grateful to our outgoing board members Joanna, Jonathan, Bryn and Tom for the many years they have dedicated in service to Boost CYAC. Their experience and passion have made our organization better and stronger. They have helped us move forward in meaningful ways to help create the best CYAC possible," said Karyn Kennedy, President & CEO of Boost CYAC. "We will miss their contributions and we look forward to the energy and fresh perspectives of the incoming board."

A complete list of Boost CYAC directors is provided below and brief biographies are available at

About Boost CYAC
Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (Boost CYAC) is an organization that for 34 years has provided services to children, youth and their families to prevent child maltreatment and intervene when abuse takes place. The only one of its kind in Toronto, Boost CYAC provides a creative community response to child abuse investigations. A partnership among local and government agencies, it brings together all of the professionals involved in child abuse investigations and recovery support with the goal of providing seamless, interdisciplinary response to children and youth when they disclose abuse and to their families. In addition to housing Toronto's only child & youth advocacy centre, Boost CYAC offers a number of direct services including: primary prevention, public education, trauma assessment and therapy, Internet child exploitation counselling referral and court preparation for child witnesses.

Boost CYAC's Board of Directors:

Executive Committee

  • Chairperson - Trent Mell, PearTree Securities
  • Vice Chair - Peter MacKay, Baker & McKenzie
  • Vice Chair - Daniela De Gasperis
  • Treasurer - Lucy Iacovelli, KPMG
  • Secretary - Tamara Costa, Blake, Cassels & Graydon
  • Past Chair - Laurence C. Murray, KPMG


  • Mel D'Souza, Manulife
  • Mark Daniel, Corporate Director
  • Pauline Grey, Toronto Police Service
  • Mary Juric, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto
  • Mahesh Prajapat, Children's Aid Society of Toronto
  • Sybil E. Veenman, Corporate Director

(Board members affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.)

Contact Information:

Lindsay Jolie
Director of Communications & Community Relations
(416) 560-7568