Our Organization

COTA Health (Cota) is an accredited, not-for-profit, community-based organization that has been supporting adults with mental health and cognitive challenges to live well within their communities for over 45 years. We provide person-centred supports that assist individuals to find inspiration and hope in their inherent strengths and support them to pursue meaningful change in their lives, as they define it. Cota also works collaboratively with our funders, our partners and other stakeholders, across the provincial health and social service systems, to inspire positive change in the way that services are delivered to individuals living with mental health and cognitive challenges.

We offer a wide range of services to adults living with serious mental illness, geriatric mental health conditions, acquired brain injuries, developmental disabilities and dual diagnoses. Our services include case management, supportive housing, short-term residential beds, day programs, court and justice related services, an Assertive Housing First Team (AHFT) and services for individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

Our Mission

To support individuals with mental health and cognitive challenges to live well within their communities.

Community BBQ at the Beaches with Cota staff and individuals receiving services

Our Vision

A supportive and inclusive society in which all people have equal opportunity to live, thrive and enjoy the full benefits of belonging within their communities.

Our Values

Hope

We support people to find hope and inspiration in their inherent strengths and in pursuing goals that they identify as being important to them.

Respect

We are respectful of each individual’s dignity, unique experience, potential and rights.

Collaboration

We approach our work believing that the best solutions stem from collaborative approaches.

Innovation

We are committed to innovation as a means to achieving positive outcomes.

Dedication

We are dedicated to providing the highest quality service possible.

Accountability

We are accountable for providing our services with professionalism and integrity.

Accredited with Exemplary standing seal from Accreditation Canada

Accredited with Exemplary Standing

Cota is Accredited with Exemplary Standing through Accreditation Canada. This means that our organization was assessed by our peers and exceeded national standards of excellence, and we continue to strive for high quality care.

The accreditation process evaluates Cota’s performance against national standards of excellence. We are surveyed every three to four years. Accreditation Canada is a not-for-profit independent organization accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care.

Executive Leadership

Chief Executive Officer

Paul Bruce

Chief Executive Officer

Paul began working in the health and social services sector in 1989 and brings over 30 years of experience to his role as Chief Executive Director at Cota. Paul started his career in the developmental services Sector and worked within that sector for ten years in various leadership capacities and briefly as an independent consultant. He has spent over 20 years at Cota providing leadership to our programs, forging new partnerships, implementing new services and creating a client-centred and recovery-oriented culture at Cota. During this time he also has emerged as a recognized leader within the mental health, acquired brain injury, and developmental services sectors in Toronto and actively participates in and/or co-chairs numerous committees, networks and task groups across these sectors.

Sylvia Starosta

Senior Director, Clinical Operations & Quality Improvement

Sylvia ‘s professional background as a health care leader, Occupational Therapist and a Social Worker, reflect a strong commitment to health equity and continuous learning. She has combined these professions and experiences to support individuals in the community to feel empowered and reach their fullest potential. In a leadership role, Sylvia has also participated in influencing health care system development to better serve those in need. Some of her accomplishments include collaborating with other community organizations, health centres and hospitals to develop new programs to meet the needs of individuals living with complex needs. Sylvia graduated with a Masters of Social Work at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor’s of Science, Occupational Therapy, at McGill University.

Director Finance & Administration

Matthew Chan, CMA

Director, Finance & Administration

Matthew Chan is a Certified Management Accountant with over 27 years of extensive accounting and managerial experience, specializing in Finance Administration and Facilities Management. Before joining Cota, Matthew held positions as a Director of Finance, Senior Consultant, Manager of Budgetary Control/Trust and General Accounting in various sectors including non-profit, private enterprise and banking industry. Matthew has served as a volunteer at Homesfirst Society and as a Board Report presentations panel member at CMA. Matthew holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto.

Director People + Culture

Mary Modeste

Director, People + Culture

Mary is a dynamic Human Resources Executive with extensive experience in the non-profit and healthcare sector with a focus on labour relations, strategic planning and implementation, and organizational development. Most recently Mary held a senior leadership role at Eva’s, an organization serving homeless and at-risk youth. Mary also worked at Cota from 2007-2011 as a Human Resources Advisor and returned in 2016 as the Director of Internal Engagement and Organizational Development. Mary is currently the Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors at Houselink Community Homes. Mary earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Toronto where she played on the Varsity Women’s Hockey Team.

Paul Van de Laar

Director, Developmental and ABI Services

Paul is an innovative and collaborative leader who has worked at Cota in various management roles since 2009. He has gained over 20 years of management experience throughout his career, including more than a decade of Senior Management experience. Prior to joining Cota, he had worked as a Clinical Manager within the mental health program at North York General Hospital; he also held management positions at Geneva Centre for Autism, St. Hilda’s Towers Retirement Residence and Project Work, an employment program for people with disabilities. His clinical expertise is complemented by management experience within various service sectors including Developmental Services, Acquired Brain Injury Services, Adult Mental Health as well as Children’s Mental Health Services. Paul holds a Master of Social Work degree, an undergraduate degree in Sociology as well as a Certificate in Management from the University of Toronto.

The Board of Directors

Board President

Jeff Livingston

Board President

For the past 20 plus years Jeffery Livingston has led and worked alongside some of Canada’s most extraordinary teams and organizations. An accomplished marketer and communicator, Jeff has helped Canada’s leading B2B tech, financial and non-profit companies, identify opportunities and take them from vision through execution, resulting in differentiated brands and more than $500 million in revenue. Jeff is currently the National Manager of External Brand and Communications for ADP Canada, the world’s largest HR tech and financial services organization, with more than 58,000 employees globally. He has held a number of senior management and volunteer positions in the non-profit sector with his most recent being, Vice President of the Board, for Cota Health Services. Mr. Livingston holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Trent University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Dalhousie University.

Vice President

Lily Yang

Vice-President

Lily Yang is the Senior Director of Quality and Patient Experience at Sinai Health System in Toronto. She has worked through the continuum of acute care and rehabilitation serving both the pediatric and adult populations. She is a Respiratory Therapist and has held a variety of administrative roles supporting patients with acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke and respite services at various academic health centres in Toronto. She is also a Surveyor for Accreditation Canada. Lily holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Applied Science. She has previously served on the Board of the Sherbourne Health Centre and was the co-chair of its Board Quality Committee.

Treasurer

ALAIN MOOTOO

Treasurer

Alain Mootoo is the Vice President, Finance and Administration at Surrey Place Centre, an accredited charitable organization that provides specialized clinical services to children, youth and adults living with developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder and visual impairments. He has held a number of senior management and volunteer positions in the non-profit and for profit sectors with the Operation Springboard, Sherbourne Health Centre, Goodwill Industries of Toronto, March of Dimes Canada, Corus Entertainment, Ernst and Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Mootoo immigrated to Canada in 1998 and is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and is a 2018 Candidate in the Queen’s University, Smith School of Business Masters of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program.

Director

AARON CAMPBELL

Director

Aaron has held a range of senior roles with the federal government, including with the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Currently Chief of Staff at LCBO, he provides strategic counsel to the CEO and broader executive team on strategic business objectives and overall stakeholder engagement in addition to leading the Corporate Affairs team. Aaron spent 6 years at the Toronto International Film Festival where he aligned operational planning and production with the artistic vision and business goals of the organization. Aaron’s has over 16 years experience in navigating and leading the strategic intersections of stakeholder engagement, communication and policy.

In addition to his professional experience, Aaron is Chair of Ontario Creates and a member of the Board of Directors of Danceworks Toronto.

Director

DANIELA SOTA, MA, RP

Director

Daniela Sota is the Director of Counselling Services at the Canadian Hearing Society. She has held varied leadership positions in mental health and addictions, in both hospital and community, across populations of all ages, in the public and the private sector, in Northwestern Ontario and in Toronto. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and is registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

GREGORY BANFIELD

Director

TBA

JULIA RENAUD

Director

Julia Renaud holds an honours degree in Kinesiology and an advanced diploma in Respiratory Therapy. Through working as a respiratory therapist at two acute care hospitals within the GTA and having sustained multiple concussions, she has experience as both a health care provider and patient. While still recovering, Julia is an advocate within the health care community as a writer for the Brain Injury Society of Toronto, a peer mentor for the Ontario Brain Injury Association, and a hospice visitor for Circle of Care and Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. She has been featured in the coffee table book, A Caged Mind by May Mutter, which exposes the nature of concussions through body painting.

Director

KARIM BHIMJI, CPA, CA

Director

Karim Bhimji is the Senior Director of Corporate Services at Skylark Children Youth and Families (Skylark), a leading Toronto-based charity dedicated to children, young people and their families struggling with complex mental health and developmental needs. Karim is a chartered accountant who has over 20 years of international leadership experience across government and not-for-profit sectors. His experience includes work with the Ministry of Government Services in Toronto and a series of agencies that are affiliates of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) – international development organizations that improve the welfare of individuals in the developing world. Prior to joining Skylark in Feb 2015, Karim was the Interim Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Focus Humanitarian Assistance Canada, an organization focused on providing emergency relief to developing nations. During his time there with responsibilities over strategic and financial planning and management, including operational budgeting, grant management, investment portfolio management, treasury functions, annual reporting, risk management and the development of internal control systems and procedures. In addition to all his great work with charitable organizations, Karim has also held several Board positions in AKDN agencies such as the Audit Committee Director for Aga Khan Educational Services and Vice-Chairman of the Aga Khan National Council for Uganda and is currently serving as a Lay Minister at His Highness the Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Willowdale Jamatkhana.

Director

LEAH DUNBAR

Director

Leah Dunbar, BA, M.S.Ed, has over 10 years of experience in health care and education project management in Canada and internationally. She is currently the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) Project Manager at Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General Hospital), managing program collaboration between six Toronto hospitals, Toronto Police Service, and the Greater Toronto Area Local Health Integration Networks. Leah gained experience as a teacher in Mississauga and Doha, Qatar before transitioning into healthcare project management including electronic medical record implementations and community programming. Leah completed her Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies at Queen’s University in 2004 and her Master of Science in Education at Niagara University in 2005.

Director

MARKO TRIVUN

Director

Marko Trivun is a senior associate at Torys LLP. His practice focuses on corporate law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, technology outsourcing and venture capital transaction. Marko is a former director of Mainstay Housing, a member of its Housing Planning and Development Committee and former chair of its Governance Committee. Mainstay Housing is a non-profit agency which provides housing for mental health consumer-survivors, offering 867 units in a variety of housing options with varying degrees of support. Mainstay is the largest non-profit provider of supportive housing in Ontario with 41 residential locations across Toronto. Marko is also a former director on the board of the Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity, an independent, not-for-profit organization that deepens public understanding of macro and microeconomic factors behind Ontario’s economic progress. It is funded by the Government of Ontario and its mandate is to share its research findings directly with the public. He is fluent in French and Serbo-Croatian.

Director

STEVEN TORRESAN

Director

Steven Torresan is a paralegal candidate with Honours who has experience as a director on various advocacy and non profit boards. Currently, he is pursuing his passion in Public speaking with the organization the Dream Team. He has spoken at CAMH employee training as well as the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He is also involved in various service user education programs. Steven was the lead researcher in the At Home Unit Takeover project inducted by the Dream Team, where he interviewed people, compiled data, and lead town halls with various community stakeholders such as the police, housing providers, politicians, and service users. Steven started out in his first career as an IT specialist. He has worked it IBM, he has had his own computer business, and he has been a computer instructor, all before the age of 20. Steven finds pleasure in reading. His favorite subjects include history, philosophy, literature, poetry and legislation. He also enjoys mindful meditation, exercise, bike riding, practicing Aikido and playing with his cats, Kiki & Tika, as ways of maintaining his physical and mental health. Steven has certificates for being a wrap facilitator, photographer, an Audio Engineer, CSWET, and paralegal.

Director

DR. PAUL BENASSI

Community Participant

Dr. Paul Benassi is a Forensic Psychiatrist at the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He is cross-appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He is actively involved in quality improvement at the local and provincial level, including CAMH’s Forensic’s Quality Council, Department of Psychiatry’s Continuing Practice Development Committee (University of Toronto), Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Master’s Program (University of Toronto), and Health Quality Ontario’s IDEAS program. He completed graduate training in quality improvement through the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME).

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