Meet our Board

The WSIB is an independent trust agency of the Ontario government operating at “arms-length” from the Ministry of Labour. Funded by employer premiums, we provide no-fault workplace injury and illness insurance for Ontarians.

We are governed by our Board of Directors as set out in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. Our Board consists of the Chair, the President and CEO, and seven to nine directors, who are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Board is responsible for our governance, setting strategic priorities, overseeing the achievement of objectives and managements’ overall performance.

Along with the Act, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (PDF) and the Board mandate (PDF) set out the Board’s responsibilities. These include:

Governance documents

Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer, Chair

Chair: May 17, 2020 - December 31, 2020

Member of BOD committees: Audit and Finance  - ex officio, Governance - Chair, IT Advisory Group , Health and Safety  - ex officio, Investment - ex officio

Elizabeth Witmer has served the Ontario public for 36 years, including 22 years as the Kitchener-Waterloo Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) and now Chair of the WSIB. As an MPP she also served as the Deputy Premier of Ontario, Minister of Labour, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Minister of Environment and Minister of Education.

Her leadership has been acknowledged with many awards such as the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals, the Social Work Doctors Award for her commitment to a just and caring society, the Kitchener-Waterloo Citizen of the Year Award and the Asthma Society of Canada Innovation in Public Policy Award.

Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Althouse College of Education and the Rotman Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) Program.

Mr. Tom Teahen, President & CEO

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO): February 1, 2016 - January 31, 2021
Member of BOD committees: Governance, Investment

Thomas Teahen has devoted most of his professional life to bringing together the interests of workers, employers and all Ontarians.

Thomas began his career as a labour and employment lawyer. After nearly a decade of practice, his interest in public service led him to Queen’s Park, where he served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Labour, and later the Minister of Education. In those roles, Thomas took a collaborative approach to a wide range of issues that are important to workers and employers across the province.

Thomas joined the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in 2010 as Chief of Corporate Services, leading seven business divisions.

In 2013, Thomas returned to government, this time as Chief of Staff to the Premier of Ontario. Thomas led the development of all critical elements of the Government’s mandate, including the province’s Fiscal Plan and Budget; and he forged strong relationships with key stakeholders across many sectors.

Thomas came back to the WSIB in 2016 as President and CEO, now leading one of the largest insurance organizations in North America, which delivers services to more than 5 million workers and 290,000 employers across Ontario.

A native of St. Marys, Ontario, Thomas has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario, and received his law degree from Queen’s University.

Jeffery A. Lang, Board Member

Member: October 31, 2019 – October 30, 2022 

Member of BOD committees: Health and Safety, Investment (Vice-Chair), Human Resources and Compensation

Mr. Lang is President and CEO of Jetfloat Ltd., a manufacturer of modular floating docking systems and platforms and Exi-Plast Custom Moulding Ltd., a contract plastics manufacturer with customers worldwide. 

He completed his undergraduate degree in Social Sciences and honours degree in Political Science at the University of Western Ontario, King’s University College. 

Mr. Lang is co-founder and Board Chair of the Canadian Economic Development Assistance for South Sudan and has held many past community roles, including Vice President of Ronald McDonald House Charities, President of Boys & Girls Club of London, Board Chair, Alzheimer Foundation of London, and Board Members of Pathways Skills Development and the London Food Bank. 

Mr. Lang is a proud fourth generation Londoner.

Leslie Lewis, Board Member

Member: May 9, 2019 - May 8, 2022

Member of BOD committees: Audit and Finance (Chair), Investment, Governance

Leslie Lewis is the Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis at PowerSchool Group, a portfolio company of Onex Corporation.  Prior to PowerSchool, Leslie was a Principal at Onex Corporation, one of the oldest and most successful private equity firms with total assets under management of $32 billion. Preceding Onex, Leslie was the Tax, Trade, and International Finance Policy Advisor to the Canadian Minister of Finance at the Government of Canada. Prior to her government service, Leslie was an investor at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and worked in investment banking as part of CIBC’s Mergers & Acquisitions group.

Leslie's career began as a Canadian national team athlete in kayaking and she holds a business degree from Acadia University.  Leslie’s community involvement includes serving as Co-Chair of the Investment Committee at Rise Asset Development and on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

Sean McFarling, Board Member

Member: February 27, 2020 – February 26, 2023

Member of BOD committees: Human Resources and Compensation, Health and Safety

Sean McFarling serves as General Counsel to the Labourers’ International Union of North America, Ontario Provincial District Council (“OPDC”) and LiUNA’s Central and Eastern Canada Organizing Fund (“CECOF”).  His practice focuses on providing strategic advice and overseeing the OPDC’s legal affairs across Ontario and CECOF’s legal matters across Central and Eastern Canada.

Sean is also on the roster of independent legal counsel to the Professional Engineers of Ontario where he provides educational and legal services to the PEO’s Registration and Discipline Committees.

Sean has dedicated his career to representing the hard working men and women of Ontario and he currently serves as LiUNA’s Vice President at the Ontario Federation of Labour. 

Helen Polatajko, Board Member

Member: December 12, 2019 – December 11, 2022

Member of BOD committees: Governance, Audit and Finance, Information Technology Advisory Group (Chair)

Helen Polatajko has over 35 years of executive experience in both the private and the public sectors, in Canada and the United States.  As a CIO, she was responsible for the overall strategic direction, organizational and digital transformation, and management of information technology functions while being a contributing member of company executive committees at CMHC, CIBC Mellon and BNY Mellon.

Helen has over 10 years experience serving as Chair and member on Risk, Audit and Governance Committees on the boards of CDSPI, York University, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the IESO.

She was featured on the cover of CIO Canada magazine for an article titled “Fusing Business and Technology”, and has served on the judging panel of the Canadian Information Productivity Awards.  Helen also served on the Canadian Advisory Board of the CIO Executive Council, and the Advisory Committee of the Conference Board of Canada, Council of CIOs. Helen has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Women in Computing, acknowledging her achievements and contributions to information services and technology. 

Helen received her education from The University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, attaining a Bachelor in Science in Mathematics and Psychology degree, and graduated from The Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Delaware. Helen has also received the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
 

Bruce Smith, Board Member

Member: October 31, 2019 – October 30, 2022

Member of BOD committees: Health and Safety, Human Resources and Compensation (Chair), Governance

Bruce is the Executive Director, Business Development & Strategic Support at Fanshawe College. Bruce is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Product Validation and oversees the business operations of Fanshawe’s subsidiary companies.

Prior to joining Fanshawe College, Bruce gained several years of senior management experience in the North American electricity distribution sector providing financial management advice and data collection services to water, electric and gas utilities.

Bruce had the honour of serving in the Ontario Legislature from 1995-1999 as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Middlesex & Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education & Training. During that time, Bruce served on the Policy Coordination sub-committee of Cabinet.  

Bruce is a past member of the Board of Directors for St. Joseph’s Health Care London, Ontario where he served on the Executive Committee and Chaired the Human Resources Committee of the Board.  

Bruce is also a past member of the Board of Governors for Fanshawe College, serving as Chair of the Board for two years as well as Chair of Colleges Ontario – the advocacy organization representing Ontario’s 24 colleges of applied arts and technology. 

Bruce has earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Western University, an Honour’s Degree in Environmental Studies (minor degree in Political Science) from the University of Waterloo, and earned his Diploma in Urban Design from Fanshawe College.

Karen Tam, Board Member

Member: October 31, 2019 – October 30, 2022

Member of BOD committees: Audit and Finance (Vice-Chair), Human Resources and Compensation

Karen is the CFO and Corporate Secretary at Choice Hotels Canada, Canada’s largest hotel franchisor. She was previously the CFO and Corporate Secretary of Global Risk Institute in Financial Services and the CFO of Toronto Financial Services Alliance, following roles in finance and operations with a range of private sector firms and professional consulting companies, including Morneau Shepell, Four Seasons Hotels, and KPMG LLP. 

Karen has more than 20 years' experience in finance, HR, governance, contract administration, and operations management. 

Karen is a CPA, CA and holds the CFA and US CPA designations. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen's University.

Lori Turik, Board Member

Member: June 20, 2019 - June 19, 2022

Member of BOD committees: Health and Safety Committee (Chair), Human Resources and Compensation Committee

Lori Turik is responsible for establishing the strategic, operational and financial management of the World Health Innovation Network (WIN) and the Supply Chain Advancement Network in Health (SCAN Health). She has extensive background providing strategic, business development, government and stakeholder relations and communications advice to public and private sector clients in her capacity as a Consultant. Her clients included the pharmaceutical industry, health care providers, not-for-profit associations and private businesses.

Lori is the former Executive Director of the Ivey International Centre of Health Innovation where she led the successful development of the Centre, its products and services and grew the Centre’s reputation both nationally and globally. Lori has served as Senior Vice President Government and Industry Relations at GS1 Canada, Vice President Public Policy for the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Health, Province of Ontario and as Director of Public Health Nursing Services, North York.

Lori has held appointments and has guest lectured at the University of Toronto, and York University. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from Queen's University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Lakehead University. Lori served as a member of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Board of Governors and has worked on numerous boards and government committees. She continues to be involved in various professional, community and health related organizations.

Bryce Walker, Board Member

Member: January 23, 2020 - January 22, 2023
Member of BOD committees: Governance (Vice-Chair), Human Resources and Compensation, Investment (Chair), Audit and Finance

Bryce Walker brings with him a wealth of experience in health care and education governance. He is currently Chair of Faithlife Financial. He is past Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan and past Chair of both Wilfrid Laurier University's Board of Governors and Grand River Hospital's Board of Directors.

Bryce Walker's professional experience includes his role as Senior Vice President of Group Benefits for Manulife Financial, from which he has retired. He has a Bachelor of Math degree from the University of Waterloo, is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds an ICD.D designation from Rotman School of Management.

Board committees

We have five board committees that support the Board of Directors in meeting its fiduciary duties. They are the Audit and Finance Committee, Governance Committee, Health and Safety Committee, Human Resources and Compensation Committee, Investment Committee. In addition, we have an Information Technology Advisor Group that reports to the Governance Committee. Each committee operates under a mandate that sets out its responsibilities.

Committees Frequency Current Members as per BOD Minutes
Audit and Finance (PDF)

At least quarterly

Leslie Lewis - Chair

Helen Polatajko 

Karen Tam - Vice-Chair

Bryce Walker
Elizabeth Witmer - ex officio

Governance (PDF)
 


 

At least quarterly

 

Elizabeth Witmer - Chair

Bryce Walker - Vice-Chair
Thomas Teahen

Leslie Lewis

Bruce Smith

Lori Turik

Helen Polatajko

IT Advisory Group (PDF)

At least twice yearly

Helen Polatajko - Chair

Elizabeth Witmer - ex officio

 

External Advisors:
Robert Merizzi
Baha Ohcebol

 

Health and Safety (PDF) At least quarterly

Lori Turik - Chair

Jeffery Lang

Sean McFarling

Bruce Smith
Elizabeth Witmer - ex officio

Human Resources and Compensation (PDF)

At least quarterly

Bruce Smith - Chair

Bryce Walker
Lori Turik

Karen Tam

Jeffery Lang

Sean McFarling
Elizabeth Witmer - ex officio

Investment (PDF) At least quarterly

Bryce Walker - Chair

Jeffery Lang - Vice-Chair
Elizabeth Witmer - ex officio

Thomas Teahen

Leslie Lewis

 

External Advisors:
Maureen Farrow
Peter Jarvis
Michael Whelan

Board of Directors (PDF) At the call of the Chair with a minimum of six meetings per year in accordance with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act

Elizabeth Witmer - Chair
Thomas Teahen

Jeffery Lang

Leslie Lewis

Helen Polatajko

Bruce Smith
Karen Tam
Lori Turik
Bryce Walker

Review our Board decisions

We’ve archived summaries of major resolutions and approvals made at our monthly Board meetings that may be of interest to you.