Board of Directors
The society is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and the Executive Director. The Board of Directors is recruited from the membership and consists of individuals with a wide range of professional and practical experience. The board meets ten times per year and separate executive meetings are held ten times per year.
President – Eric B. Clavier
Eric B. Clavier is a trust and estate litigation lawyer at Fasken in Vancouver. After completing his studies at the University of Pretoria, Eric was called to the South African Bar in 2000. He practiced as a barrister in the Republic of South Africa for 12 years, gaining extensive trial and motion experience, and appeared at all levels of court, including various appearances in the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa. After moving to Canada, Eric completed the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s NCA examinations in 2013. Following truncated articles at Fasken in 2014, Eric was called to the Bar in British Columbia in 2014, now appearing regularly before the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
Eric’s practice involves assisting clients with contentious matters related to wills, trusts, undue influence and incapacity claims, committeeship applications, unjust enrichment claims, breach of fiduciary duties cases, abuse of powers of attorney claims, breach of trust claims, and passing of accounts. Eric is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the CBABC’s Wills & Trusts Section; the CBABC’s Elder Law Section, and The Advocates Society. He is the President of the Board of Directors of Seniors First BC, the Chair of the CBA National Elder Law Section, and the former co-Chair of the CBABC Elder Law Section. Eric has given presentations on various topics, including powers of attorney, joint tenancy, and corporate shares on disability, and recently started teaching Trusts as an Adjunct Professor at the Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia.
Vice President – Margaret Ostrowski Q.C.
Margaret Ostrowski, Q.C. served as the full time as the Chair of the Mental Health Review Board of B.C. for approximately seven years, a board that conducts more than 700 mental health hearings per year. She was also an Independent Adjudicator for the Correctional Service of Canada Fraser Valley Institute (BC Women’s prison) and currently volunteers at Immigration Services of BC and the Access Pro Bono Aboriginal Law Clinic. She has practised law in BC for 35 years and been a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Employment Standards Tribunal, Health Professions Review Board, Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal, Crime Victims Assistance Appeal Tribunal, Financial Services Tribunal. She was President of the Canadian Bar Association of BC in 2000 and a Bencher of the Law Society of B.C. from 2002 to 2006 when she was appointed to the Immigration and Refugee Board. Ms. Ostrowski was the recipient of the 2009 YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Business and the Professions and was the national CBA Touchstone Award winner in 2007 for her accomplishments in promoting equality in the Canadian legal profession. Active in her community, she was the Vice-President of the BC Council of Administrative Tribunals and the Justice Education Society. Ms. Ostrowski held an Advanced Commercial Mediation Certificate and a Family Law Mediation Certificate and was a BC Registered Psychologist. She was the initiator and chair of the working group that founded the CBA Women Lawyers Forum.
Secretary – Christine Jones
Christine Jones was born in Vancouver. She has enjoyed a 25-year nursing career starting at Burnaby Hospital and then moving on to Surrey Memorial Hospital. During this time she provided care predominantly for elders whilst acting as a front line advocate for resident-centred care. Christine returned to school and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology. Remaining with Fraser Health, she has recently changed careers and is now working in Health Protection as a Licensing Officer. In this role, she is able to continue her dedication in ensuring that care for our most vulnerable populations is safe and dignified. Within her community, Christine was instrumental in developing a school-based program to serve families facing barriers in supporting their children’s literacy development. Away from work, Christine enjoys time with family and friends, hiking the trails, and travelling.
Tracie Janzen calls Northern BC home! She completed her Bachelor of Social Work Degree at the University of Northern BC in 2014. Tracie is currently practicing in the North East of BC, with the Northern Health Authority. She has a working understanding of Primary Care, Long Term Care, and Geriatric Outreach Services. Tracie’s work includes functional assessments to determine capabilities, as well as responding to elder abuse, neglect and self-neglect. Before her Social Work career, Tracie worked in BC’s Northern Interior, with Community Living Services, for 17 years, for individuals living with Developmental Disabilities. This work provided Tracie with a wealth of foundational community experience, which promoted an understanding of the need for community resource networking. Tracie presently volunteers with the local Better at Home organization, as an Advisory Committee Member. As well, she volunteers as a Board Member for the South Peace Hospice Palliative Care Society.
Janice Young is a Registered Nurse practicing in the Fraser Health Region as a Nurse Clinician in Older Adult Programing and in the area of Mental Health and Substance use. She has a long and distinguished career in nursing going back some 47 years.
Edward Macaulay is an experienced estate litigation lawyer. In addition to his more than two decades of work representing clients in estate issues, Mr. Macaulay is a prolific writer of legal materials, for members of the legal profession as well as for a general audience. He is a former co-chair of the Elder Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.
Gloria Gutman founded SFU’s Gerontology Research Centre and Gerontology Department. Currently, she’s the immediate Past-President of the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse, Vice-President of the International Longevity Centre-Canada, a member of the Research Management Committee Canadian Frailty Network, and a Board Member of the International Society for Gerontechnology. Her research and publications address elder abuse, seniors housing, long term care, health promotion, disaster preparedness, and gerontechnology.
Andrea Rolls lives in Port Moody and had a career with provincial government, including the Corrections Branch and Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division. A focus on responding to family violence, inter-agency protocol development and restorative justice, led her to see the essential role of community to make justice accessible and service delivery effective. One of the best experiences in this regard was to work on practices and training to implement Section 3 of the Adult Guardianship Act. In retirement Andrea has served on the board of the BC Law Institute and Canadian Centre for Elder Law, 2010 to 2019, chairing the advisory committee for the Older Women’s Dialogue Project. This addressed structural barriers impacting the lives of older women in the Lower Mainland and resulted in new tools, policy recommendations and promising practices. Andrea currently enjoys her faith community and engaging with a growing number of grandchildren.
Chelsea Belyk is a CPA with over 10 years’ experience in providing services to not for profit organizations and charities. She also served as Treasurer on the boards of the Port Moody Arts Centre and St John’s Anglican Church. Chelsea has close ties with Seniors First BC as she was on the board from 2012-2015 and subsequently provided financial consulting services to the organization from 2015 until 2019. Since 2019 she has been full time with her 2 kids, ages 4 and 2. She wished to join the board of Seniors First due to her long history with the organization and love for the mission and staff. Aside from accounting, she loves hiking, canoeing, baking, gardening, and spending time with her family. She recently relocated back from the Kootenays to Vancouver Island.
Kevin Smith is a retired lawyer and consultant. He is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and earned a Master of Law in Elder Law degree from the Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson University in Florida. Kevin is a retired member of the BC and Ontario Bar and had worked as a poverty law (legal aid clinic) lawyer for thirty years in Ontario. He was the President of the Board of Directors of the housing cooperative he lived in. For the last 15 years he was in Ontario, he was Co-Director of Osgoode’s Parkdale Intensive Program in Poverty Law. After moving to BC, he worked for eight years as a staff lawyer with Seniors First BC. Kevin helped set up the Seniors First Wills Clinics around the lower mainland, the Access Pro Bono (APB) Wills Clinic at the Vancouver Courthouse, serves as the review counsel and trainer at the APB Wills Clinic, and is Probate Duty Counsel with APB at that courthouse. As a consultant he conducted a feasibility study for SFBC on a possible travelling wills clinic for BC. He is assisting APB in setting up an online service for creating wills, powers of attorney and representation agreements. He has also assisted with numerous publications for seniors with People’s Law School, including a handbook for attorneys under a power of attorney.
Honorary Lifetime Directors
Penny Bain (LLM) is a retired member of the BC Law Society and a former Executive Director of Seniors First BC. Her career was largely in management of legal services and legal policy development (Legal Services Society of BC) and management of not-for-profits addressing violence against vulnerable persons (BC Institute Against Family Violence and CEAS). In retirement, she serves as the Secretary of the Board of CEAS and the Vice-Chair of the Board of WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women). She is also active in the Liberal Party of Canada and serves on the Executive of the Vancouver Quadra Electoral District Association.
Mrs. Schmalz has been working on behalf of seniors since 1982 and is co-founder of British Columbia Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support (Seniors First BC). Among her many community service roles, she has served on the Surrey Mayor’s Task Force for Seniors since its inception in 2008 and subsequently the Surrey Seniors Advisory and Accessibility Committee. Mrs. Schmalz is also a writer, producer and actor, developing numerous resource tools, teaching materials and videos related to elder advocacy.
While delivering a legal information counselling service on the North Shore in the 1980s, Pearl McKenzie developed educational materials about legal issues that affect seniors, writing “Guide to Legal Issues in Elder Abuse Intervention” in 1992. Pearl was a member of the BC Task Force on Family Violence (report 1992) and the Advisory Committee to the Federal Panel on Violence Against Women (1993) and, during this period, worked with senior citizen counsellors and health and social services workers throughout BC to develop a community response to problems of isolation and lack of services so often linked to abuse and neglect. This same group of people went on to found BC CEAS and Pearl volunteered her time to be the first executive director. She was a member of the joint government/community working committee which drafted recommendations for new adult guardianship legislation in BC; helped to implement Part 3, which safeguards the rights of adults who are abused and neglected; and develop a provincial policy framework for designated agencies and police working together. Living in the Comox Valley, Pearl volunteers with a local wildlife rehabilitation centre, serves on a local residents association and an area advisory planning commission and enjoys retirement.