Board of Directors

    Don Giesbrecht

    Don Giesbrecht is CEO of the CCCF . Prior to adding the title of CEO, he was President of the CCCF since March 2006.  He was appointed to the Federal Government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Child Care Spaces in September 2007.  He has also been working with the CCCF on diversifying its funding and revenue base and as such, has been very active in its fund development work. Prior to his work at the CCCF, Don was President of the Manitoba Child Care Association, Canada’s largest provincial early childhood professional association.

    Graduating with a BA (Hons) from the University of Manitoba in 1990, Don first worked in early childhood programs in 1991 and became an Executive Director in 1996. He has been at ACC, which provides quality care and education for over 200 children ages 1 ½ to 12 years old, since 2005. His current work at the community level includes working on a broad-based community governance model for early learning programs in the St. James community in Winnipeg. Don is married with two very active children and actively volunteers as a coach of his children’s various sports teams.

    Marni Flaherty

    Marni is the C.E.O. of Today’s Family Early Learning and Child Care in Hamilton and Burlington. She is a recipient of the Ontario Premiers Award for her work and dedication in the social services sector. Marni is known locally, provincially and nationally for her commitment to early learning and child care.

    Marni is an active participant in numerous community initiatives designed to improve the lives of children. Her many professional and voluntary community activities include:  9 years on the board of United Way of Greater Burlington and Hamilton, former member of the McMaster Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Committee, board member of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton, member of the Best Start Network, co-chair of the Parent and Family Engagement Committee, board president of the Home Child Care Association of Ontario (HCCAO), member of the Ontario Early Years Centres Provincial Network, and member of the Quality Early Learning Network.

    Marni is also a Registered Early Childhood Educator. She has fashioned a remarkable career and a lasting legacy for families and children.

    Linda Skinner

    Linda has been the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the CCCF since 2006. Prior to Linda’s appointment to the Board, she represented the Home Child Care Association of Ontario on CCCF’s Member Council. Linda is a member of the Business Planning Committee that oversees the financial health of the organization.

    Linda has worked in the child care field for over 25 years. Her expertise is in the management of family child care agencies. Linda was the Manager of the largest municipal home child care program in Ontario for fifteen years. Linda used this expertise as a Consultant to programs in Ontario and also in Alberta. Linda believes in the Canadian Child Care Federation as the voice for early learning in this country.

    Christine MacLeod

    Christine began her child care career as a licensed family child care provider 27 years ago. Currently Christine is the Family Child Care Coordinator for training at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.  She also facilitates the “Good Beginnings: Professional Development Skills for Family Child Care Providers” and teaches the Child Development component of the Family Child Care Certificate Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

    Christine has held many positions on the board of the BC Family Child Care Association, has represented family child care on numerous committees and was a ministerial appointment to Provincial Child Care Council.  She has been a board member of the CCCF since 2005.

    Christine was awarded the “Spotlight on Child Care Award” regionally for making a positive difference in the lives of children and their families and has received the Prime Ministers Award of Excellence and the BC Provincial Award of Excellence.

    She truly believes in a quality environment for children that will prepare them for life and their future opportunities, working closely with families to enable them is a responsibility not to be taken for granted.  Christine believes early learning and child care has a huge impact and she strives to advocate for the family child care profession.


    Cynthia Dempsey

    Cynthia has been in sector since 1998. She has worked as an educator, assistant director and as director for the since 2007. She is currently the director of Garderie l’Enfant Magique Inc in Campbellton, NB, which is  a 55 space francophone child care centre for children 2 months to twelve years of age.

    Since 2002, Cynthia has been highly involved in the regional and provincial movement of the early learning and child care sector in New Brunswick. She has been a member of the executive board of the provincial child care association, ECCENB/SEPENB, for 8 years and has been in the role of secretary and provincial president for 2 years.

    Cynthia was a facilitator for Invest in Kids/Investir dans l’enfance and is a trained facilitator for Each Child Matters/Chaque Enfant Compte (English facilitator) as well as for Quality Inclusion Measurement Tools (QIMT) (Francophone facilitator).

    She was New Brunswick’s CCCF Member Council representative to the CCCF for 5 years before becoming a CCCF board member in 2012.

    In her spare time she enjoys camping, kayaking, and really anything that takes her outside and into nature.

    Cynthia has an Early Childhood Diploma from the Institute of Early Childhood Education and Developmental Services, Truro, Nova Scotia as well as Child Psychology Diploma- Stratford Career Institute, Toronto, ON

    Taya Whitehead

    Taya Whitehead has been an Early Childhood Educator for the past 17 years.  She completed her initial ECE training in 1998 at Selkirk College in Castlegar, British Columbia.  Following her ECE training, she completed a Diploma in Human Services and a BA in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria.  Taya is currently completing a Master’s degree from Athabasca University.

    Her experience is broad, ranging from Group and Infant/Toddler Care to the Supported Child Development Program. For the past eight years, Taya has been an instructor in the ECCE program at Selkirk College.  She is the past-president of the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia and volunteers her time in a variety of other capacities locally and provincially.  Taya has also been an active member of the $10/day Child Care Plan Advisory Committee.

    Taya is a wife and mother of three children, she lives in the rural Kootenay region of British Columbia.  She feels that we are at a pivotal point in history where there is opportunity to make great strides in advancing our sector.  Taya is a passionate, “big picture” thinker that commits herself wholly to projects that I she is involved in.

    Joan Arruda,  BAA, RECE, AECEO.C

    Joan Arruda has been CEO of Family Day Care Services since 2004.  With 23 child care centres, 39 extended day and school age programs, 5 Ontario Early Years Centers, home child care and Special Needs Resourcing staff, Family Day is truly a multi-faceted organization which provides a broad range of services for children and their families living in the GTA, York Region and Peel Region.  The agency is committed to Family Centred Practice and works with the evidence based curriculum HighScope™ which is further supported by staff training in Hanen – Learning Language & Loving It™, High Five®, ABC and Beyond™ and ELECT/ELF.

    Joan has worked for many years as a Director and Teacher in the field of Early Learning and Care with experience in child care and family support programs, as a practitioner and as an administrator.  Joan’s background includes teaching the continuing education ECE diploma and post-diploma administration certificate program at Seneca College and working in the multi-service sector as an Executive Director of a community-based agency providing settlement and family support services.

    With her many years of experience in early learning and care, Joan has been an active contributor at several provincial and regional tables, most recently as a member of the Ministry of Education’s Early Years Implementation Advisory Group.  Joan Co-Chairs the Peel Children and Youth Initiative (PCYI) and the Quality Early Learning Network (QELN) and is a board member of the Home Child Care Association of Ontario.

    Christie Scarlett

    Christie Scarlett officially began her career in Early Childhood over 20 years ago and had been dedicated to ensuring quality care and programming for children since. She has received most of her education through Mount Royal University where she obtained her Early Childhood Care and Education Diploma as well as her Children’s Mental Health Certificate. Christie’s background focused on Family Resource and was involved with Public Interest Alberta. For the last 11 years, she has worked with Churchill Park Family Care Society in Calgary, Alberta in a variety of settings. Currently, she is the Director of Operations overseeing the operations of Churchill Park’s programs. Since she has been in this role she has been driven to coach and mentor managers of Churchill Park’s programs, participated on School Age Care Directors Association (SACDA), Alberta Family Child Care Association (AFCCA), Alberta Child Care Association (ACCA), ACCA Conference Committee, Early Childhood Mapping Coalition, Healthy Eating Environments in Child Care Provincial Advisory.

    As much as Christie enjoys being involved in the Early Childhood community in Alberta, she enjoys nothing more than spending time with her 2 beautiful daughters where she is actively involved in their schooling, activities, and own child care arrangements.

    Linda Cottes

    Linda Cottes is the Senior Vice President for the YMCA of Greater Toronto.  Linda provides strategic leadership to 290 child care centres offering more than 27,000 licenses spaces, as well as child & family support programs, supervised access and nutrition programs.  As a Registered Early Childhood Education professional, Linda was an elected member of council for the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educations for 7 years and served as the chair of complaints for the duration.  Linda is a board member for the Canadian Child Care Federation and is the Chair of the YMCA’s of Ontario Child Care Advisory Committee.  Additionally, Linda is a member of the Ontario Minister of Education Advisory Committee and the Assistant Deputy Ministers Advisory.  Linda has leveraged her 37 years of child care experience to inform the Ministry of Educations regulatory and legislative changes as child care modernizes in Ontario.

    Cathy Ramos

    Cathy has been working with children and families for more than 20 years.  She has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree and a degree in Child and Youth Study from Mount Saint Vincent University.  Currently she is working on completing the thesis requirement for her Master’s degree in Child and Youth Study from the Mount as well.

    Cathy is the director of Mawio’mi Child Care Centre, a lab school for the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education where she is also a part-time faculty and a practicum supervisor.  In the field, Cathy has also worked as a facilitator for the Orientation for Staff working in Licensed Child Care offered by the NS Department of Education and has facilitated many diverse workshops and seminars for Early Childhood Educators.

    Cathy has served on the Board of Directors of NSCECE and currently sits on the executive of the Non-Profit Directors Association of Nova Scotia.  She became a board member of CCCF in November of 2015 and is very much looking forward to the opportunity to support the child care field in Canada.

    Cathy and her husband, Reg, live in Halifax with their two sons Daniel and Diego.

    Cathy is a true advocate for children and families and is committed to working towards ensuring that children and families have access to quality, affordable and accessible childcare.  She is also very passionate about professional development and believes that lifelong learning and exploring interests and passions is the key to staying current and excited about working in the child care sector.