What Ward 4 Needs
I am a 49-year-old social activist and advocate, living in Mississauga for 47 years. I grew up in Cooksville and have lived and worked in the Valley in Mississauga for years. I have a long-standing supporter of democracy, human rights, diversity, equity, inclusion, and protection of our environment. As an advocate against violence, homelessness, and poverty, I have been driven to challenge the status quo and make a difference in the lives of ordinary citizens. I continue to work tirelessly for those that feel they do not have a voice and are marginalized in our community.
My Bio & History
Michelle works for the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness as the National Organizer, providing policy, advocacy and support to Canadian networks, organizations and communities to elevate the needs and voices of our most vulnerable community members. Michelle’s work to end homelessness started locally, bringing activists, advocates and stakeholders together to form the Peel Alliance to End Homelessness, which she is co-chair, where purposeful and meaningful work on housing, homelessness, systems integration and service provision has had a tremendous impact in policy and system wide coordination. Michelle worked as a High School Teacher in Toronto, in Long-Term Care in Peel Region as a Community Resource Manager and at Princess Margaret Hospital in Psychosocial Education. She is a FAST (Families and Schools Together) Facilitator at various marginalized grade schools in Peel Region, developing productive and trust worthy relationships between our schools, educators, students, and families.
Michelle continues to provide education support to students of all ages, including ESL adults as a tutor. Michelle has been on the Board of Directors for The Regional Diversity Roundtable of Peel for 12 years, supporting programing and development in DEI leadership within Peel Region. She has been on the board of the Homelessness Strategy Partnership, Community Advisory Board for 5 years, where she works with community partners to distribute fiscal support for sustainable and affordable housing and services to community members. Michelle is also a Board Director for MOYO Health and Community Services, supporting community members with programs, services and advocacy for those living with HIV and AIDS but also championing an end to stigma and Harm Reduction approaches to care and service delivery in Peel, and supports for the LGBTQ2S+ community. As a Peel Diversity Champion, she contributed to the creation of the landmark document, The Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel.
Michelle also contributed to the Peel’s Food Security Taskforce and to the creation of the Food Security Charter of Peel, and as a member of the Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy, supported the Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy’s 10-year Poverty Reduction Strategy refresh. She is past Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS), and a Board member with the United Nations Association in Canada (Toronto Chapter). Michelle is also a host on Sauga News Talk 960am radio show “Peel Matters” discussing issues and champions in Peel Region. She volunteers at Eden Food For Change, in Advocacy, providing service, fresh food and dignity to those who are suffering from food insecurity. Michelle is a Diversity on Boards mentor for Girls20, where she supports the journey of young women to leadership roles on Boards of Directors and in society.
She is a long-time member of the Council of Canadians, Interpares, Broadbent Institute and Fair Vote Canada, and others. She also has been a guest editor with Canadian Women’s Studies Magazine and a member and participant in the Peel Poverty Action Group, Habitat for Humanity, Make Poverty History and Equal Voice, an organization that promotes the election of women at all levels of government.
Michelle was the Oakville Federal NDP candidate in 2008 and the Mississauga-Erindale/Erin Mills Federal NDP candidate in May 2011 and the Fall 2015. She was the Provincial candidate in the October 2011, and June 2013 elections. She also ran for Trustee in Mississauga in 2010. Michelle’s campaigns have forced public debate on an alternative view for society, based on social justice and fairness in Canada and the world. Michelle also served on the ONDP Executive as the Central West Region Representative.
Michelle’s values come from her upbringing and education. Michelle has received an education in Psychology & Sociology from McMaster, and has subsequently studied and received a Masters in Women’s Studies & Gender Studies from York. From her single mother upbringing, she had experienced struggles and sacrifices of living within a “working poor” family and living with those with mental health and addictions. As a child, again as an undergraduate, and more recently, because of domestic violence and financial difficulties, Michelle was forced into homelessness for periods of time, even having to sleep in her car for shelter, or sleeping on friends and family couches. Michelle has struggled for many years with a chronic health condition, resulting in her advocacy for sustaining and improving our health care system and eradicating poverty and homelessness. Michelle believes that in Canada, with priorities placed on the needs of people, the core causes of poverty, malnutrition, homelessness, must be addressed with urgency: access to affordable health and dental care, access to affordable housing, access to affordable transportation, access to affordable nutrition, access to affordable education, and that a livable wage is a social responsibility of our leadership policies, with economically beneficial results.
Michelle believes a “better way” can be achieved by creating a society based on inclusion, fairness and equity for all, approaching society with empathy, compassion, and understanding, caring for Mother Earth and sustainability. It is all just a matter of choice.