Toronto Police Services Board Thanks Departing Board Member and Welcomes New Board Member
TORONTO: The Toronto Police Services Board today announced the end of Board Member Uppala Chandrasekera’s term. Ms. Chandrasekera has been a provincial appointee to the Board since September 2017.
The Director of Public Policy at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ms. Chandrasekera has been a dedicated champion in leading initiatives focused on mental health and addictions as well as equity and anti-racism. Her extensive background and experience in mental health have been instrumental in developing a more effective and more compassionate response to people experiencing mental health and addictions challenges, both in the community, and within our organization.
As Co-Chair of both the Board’s Anti-Racism Advisory Panel (ARAP) and the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Panel (MHAAP), Ms. Chandrasekera consistently worked to bring community and policing voices together constructively, to engage in meaningful dialogue and, ultimately, to make improvements in how police services are delivered. In addition, as Co-Chair of ARAP, she helped to lead the development of the Board’s Race-Based Data Collection, Analysis and Public Reporting Policy – the first of its kind in Canada – cementing the Board’s commitment to the elimination of racial bias and the promotion of equity, fairness and non-discriminatory police service delivery in Toronto. Ms. Chandrasekera also led the efforts to develop a unique monitoring framework for the implementation of recommendations arising out of the Inquest into the Death of Andrew Loku.
In commenting on Ms. Chandrasekera’s time on the Board, Chair Jim Hart said, “Ms. Chandrasekera was the first ever mental health and addictions professional to be appointed to our Board. Her role on the Board was a unique and powerful one, bringing both her tremendous passion and expertise, and a compassionate lens through which she viewed even the most challenging issues. She approaches everything with drive and determination, achieving concrete results by consensus in areas of great importance, and brought community voices to the table that had not been there before. Her contribution was incredible and there is no doubt her legacy will positively impact the Board’s work as we continue to move forward.”
The Board today also announced the appointment of Ms. Lisa Kostakis, a committed community leader who works to harness the power of the public to create meaningful partnerships and build community capacity. Appointed to the Board by the Province of Ontario for a term of three years, Ms. Kostakis is currently the Executive Director of Albion Neighbourhood Services, an organization offering housing, immigration and counselling services, as well as Boys & Girls Club recreational and educational programming, based on a "Model for Success" for marginalized children and youth.
A graduate of York University with a degree in Psychology, a graduate of Ryerson University with a Social Worker degree and a Council member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, Ms. Kostakis has 30 years of experience within the non-for profit sector working and leading organizations throughout the City of Toronto. Ms. Kostakis was also one of the Founders/Steering Committee Members of the FOCUS (Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services) Rexdale table in 2012, an innovative, collaborative multi-disciplinary risk-driven approach, co-led by the Toronto Police Service, the City of Toronto and the United Way, which has since been expanded City-wide and has seen remarkable achievement in improving community resiliency and wellbeing.
Commenting on Ms. Kostakis’ appointment, Chair Hart stated, “Ms. Kostakis is a valuable addition to the Board at this time as we focus on greater community capacity building, working in true dynamic partnership with communities to recognize their assets, strengthen their skills and grow alongside each other to better meet the needs and expectations of the public.”
Contact: Sandy Murray