Our Team

Seniors Action Quebec is a non-profit organization that is run by volunteers and led by our board members. Our team and board members consist of the following people:

Walter Duszara, President

In his twenty plus years in education Walter Duszara taught Mathematics and Physics at the high school and CEGEP levels. He was principal of adult education centres and Director General of a school board. He also worked for the Ministry of Education for over twenty years as a curriculum specialist, department manager and senior management advisor. He has been to almost every corner of Quebec and worked with English-speaking, French-speaking, first nations and Inuit educators. He led a delegation of English-speaking Quebec educators to Europe on a Study Mission on Lifelong Learning. He is a former Adjunct Professor in the McGill Faculty of Education and past member of the Advisory Board on English Education. He has served on the Board and Executive Committee of the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC). For six years he was a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and chaired its Priority Setting Steering Committee. He was President and Executive Director of the Thomas More Institute. He continues to be a member of and to volunteer with various Ukrainian community organizations. He is a member of the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Montreal.

Richard Silver, Vice-President

Over the course of his career, Richard Silver worked in both the community and institutional sectors. After obtaining his undergraduate degree in social work from McGill University, Richard worked for Ville Marie Social Services Centre, Head and Hands and Project Genesis. After returning to McGill to obtain degrees in civil and common law, Richard practised as a lawyer in private practice, as a member of the political staff of Quebec’s Minister of Health and Social Services and as Director of Health and Social Services for Alliance Quebec. Subsequent to the completion of a Master’s degree in law at the Université de Sherbrooke, he acted as Director of Community Affairs for Canadian Jewish Congress (Quebec Region) before spending 16 years with the Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec. He retired as legal counsel of the Order in 2018. Richard has served on a number of boards of directors, including the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec, the Regie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, the Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators and the Association of Social Work Boards.

Diane Lemay, Secretary & Treasurer

Has resided in Longueuil since 1990. Retired from the Canadian Forces with 27 years of service. Diane holds a Certificate in Pastoral Ministries from College Andre Grasset, and has a BA with a major in Theology and a minor in Sociology. She is employed part-time as a Pastoral Animator in the Diocese of St Jean Longueuil. She served six years on the Board of Directors of the English-Speaking Catholic Council (ESCC), two years as President. She is also a member of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, and a Past Provincial President, and Past Sub-Convener of the National Community Life Standing Committee. While on the Board of Directors for the ESCC she attended seniors workshops sponsored by the ESCC. “As a senior myself, I am very interested in promoting healthy living for seniors, ensuring that seniors have adequate housing that fits their needs and finding ways and means to help isolated seniors in our communities.”

Mona Beck

Mona Beck is a graduate of McGill University’s Faculties of Nursing (BScN) and Education (MEd) and worked in the public health care system for over 40 years until her retirement in 2014.  For 14 years, she was a seniors’ Day Centre Coordinator and then became the Assistant Director of Nursing and Specialized Services for Jewish Eldercare and Maimonides Geriatric Centres. Mona also volunteered at the NDG Community Committee on Elder Abuse, eventually becoming the Chair for six-year period. She also serves on the Board and on various committees of the Alzheimer Society of Montreal. Since retiring, Mona Beck has worked as a course lecturer at CEGEP John Abbott College, providing nurses with Continuing Education courses. Since November 2017, she has also acted as the Local Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner (Ombudsperson) for CHSLD Bayview Inc.

Debbie Ford-Caron

Debbie Ford-Caron was raised in Kingston, Ontario where she graduated from college with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. She is married and raised her children in the Saguenay region where they both attended English School. Debbie Ford-Caron worked at the Arvida Kindergarten/ Jardin d’Enfants d’Arvida until her retirement in 2015.

Below are the list of community or provincial organizations that she has actively participated in, or currently occupies.

Finding ways to keep the seniors active and involved in her community during the pandemic has been a challenge. With the various webinars on numerous topics has engaged the seniors, reduced the isolation and has shown seniors a new way to learn and to connect with others using ZOOM.

Darla Fortune

Darla Fortune is an Associate Professor in the in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. Her research focuses on the inclusion of marginalized individuals, particularly within community leisure spaces and practices. She is interested in developing broader perspectives of inclusion and working toward enhancing experiences of belonging for individuals most at risk of being stigmatized and excluded. Darla’s recent work has focused on experiences of belonging for older adults in community spaces such as art hives, museums and community centres.

Linda Marion

Linda is a retired teacher. Her areas of expertise are:Seniors needs, and Health and Social Services. She has been and continues to be a volunteer caregiver of a 94-year old lady. She is the link between the local community organization in Abitibi West, “Neighbours”, and SAQ. She works closely with the local Health and Social Services committee and planned to become a member of local Table des aînés. She has volunteered at SAQ events. Board member since 2018.

Deirdre Shipton

After close to forty years in Nursing, Deidre retired and moved from Montreal to Harrington, QC, a community, of less than 700 people, a little north of Lachute. She soon found herself involved in the community and often as an advocate for unilingual English-speaking seniors, trying to access services in the healthcare sector. Her community involvement has given her the opportunity to work with some wonderful individuals and organizations, opportunities that she would not have had in the city. Her work with community seniors' groups has resulted in grants for the rebuilding of community centres in need of repair and the development of programs for seniors and caregivers.

She has been involved with numerous community organizations some of which include, Harrington Golden Age, La résidence de Lachute, Laurentian English Services Advisory Network - Argenteuil (LESAN-A), Comité régional pour l’accès aux services en langue anglaise (CRASLA), and Rouge Valley Days, a seniors' weekly wellness day program.

I thrive in this community's spirit with its people and beauty. I am privileged to serve individuals and groups with my healthcare background. And I so look forward to meeting and serving with the exceptional community of Seniors' Action Quebec.

Founder, Ruth Pelletier

Ruth Pelletier

Ruth began her working career back in the early 60’s working in Geriatrics at the Verdun Protestant Hospital now known as the Douglas Hospital. She also worked at the Mackay School for Deaf & Crippled Children. In the late 1960’s Ruth was a founding member of the Greater Montreal Anti-Poverty Coordinating Committee (GMAPCC).

For over 50 years Ruth has been an activist and advocate for the less fortunate. This included being a welfare & consumer advocate, spokesperson who presented a brief before the Senate Committee on Poverty. Ruth also formed two (2) citizen’s groups in Laval, Laval Citizen’s Advisory Council and Laval’s Association to Mold a Better Society (LAMBS). Her consumer work lead her expose consumer rights on radio programs that lead to employment opportunities as a broadcaster with CJAD, CFCF and CBC “Home Run” radio. For over 12 years Ruth worked at Alliance Quebec, with 7 years in Community Development, then 3 years as the Assistant to the Executive Director and then as Executive Director.

Following Alliance Quebec, Ruth became the E.D. of The Canadian Continence Foundation for 7 1/2 years. In this role she managed a 3 years Health Canada project that created the First Clinical Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Urinary Incontinence for Canada. Ruth also worked in Fundraising at Saint Nicholas Antiochian Church and for the Foundation Office of the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex totalling close to 5 years. As a volunteer Ruth served on the Executive of Chez Doris, NDG CC -Elder Abuse, Taste of the Nation and in 2012 Ruth was a founding member of Seniors Action Quebec. Currently Ruth is the Secretary of Kiwanis Lakeshore Montreal Club.

Ruth continues to organize conferences and special events. In her free time, she enjoys time with her 5 children, 8 grand children and her great-grandson, Charles.

Honorary Directors

  • Dr. Sheila Goldbloom
  • Hon. Clifford Lincoln
  • Mr. Casper Bloom