The CASW Board of Directors determines and oversees general and financial policies. With each provincial/territorial partner organization appointing one member to the Board, a unified voice for the Canadian social work profession is assured.  The Board of Directors works from a national and, indeed, an international perspective to benefit the social work profession.
Provincial/territorial input into the deliberations of CASW is guaranteed through an Annual General Meeting between the CASW Board and Provincial/Territorial Presidents.



Joan Davis-Whelan, President
Newfoundland and Labrador (NLCSW)



Joan is a graduate of Memorial University, completing her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1979, and her Bachelor of Social Work in 1981. She completed her Master of Social Work in 1992. She has certificates in Discharge Planning, Leadership Development, Quality Management and Ethics.

Well known in the Social Work community, Joan has experience in clinical practice including Adult and Child Mental Health and Addictions, Family Violence, Oncology, Palliative Care, Dermatology, Medicine, Nephrology, Surgery, Emergency/ Trauma, Women's Health and Child, Youth and Family Services. She has worked in Quality and Risk and in Human Resources –Organizational Development.

She has been involved with several community boards and committees including Canadian Mental Health Association, Addiction Treatment Services Association, PREP and ACCESS. She was a member of the provincial working group for the clinical review 2008 of Child, Youth and Family Services. Joan has presented on various topics including grief and loss, team dynamics, change management and social work practice. Her areas of interest include social work competencies and education, leadership, clinical services, ethics and evaluation.



Darlene MacDonald, Vice President
Manitoba (MCSW)




With more than 30 years of experience in child welfare, Darlene MacDonald is a skilled and steady leader known for her professional, fair and collaborative approach to improving the lives of children, youth, and families.

Darlene holds a Master of Social Work degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She started her Manitoba social work career at Winnipeg Child and Family Services in 1982 as a social worker in child welfare. Her early career at Winnipeg Child and Family Services included supervisory positions and led to the establishment of Manitoba’s first Newcomers unit, providing specialized child welfare and community support services to refugee and immigrant families. In 2006, she became the Chief Executive Officer of Winnipeg Child and Family Services and remained in that position until the Manitoba Legislative Assembly selected her as Children’s Advocate in 2011. During her terms as Children’s Advocate, Darlene was active on a number of Boards, both provincial and national, with a focus on the well-being of children and youth. In addition to her busy work life, Darlene was an active Board member of the Manitoba Institute of Social Workers, precursor of the College, and the Canadian Association of Social Workers, previously filling executive positions on both boards.


Jan Christianson-Wood, Past President
Manitoba (MCSW)


Ms.Christianson-Wood has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba and has worked in various sectors of child welfare including Winnipeg Child and Family Services,the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Office of the Children's Advocate. She has been employed since 2008 at the General Child and Family Services Authority at different times as a Program Specialist, Senior Manager and Differential Response Coordinator. Ms.Christianson-Wood worked as a Research Associate on the Manitoba Risk Estimation System project at the University of Manitoba and was Co-Principal Investigator of a federally funded project on child mortality data collection.She has been involved with committees at the University, taught as a sessional instructor and also presents on risk assessment in child welfare and regulation of the social work profession in Manitoba.



Rachel Hollingshead, Treasurer
Northern Canada (ASWNC)


Rachel began her post-secondary education in 1991 with an undergraduate program in psychology and sociology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.  She worked for several years in the developmental services field, supporting individuals of all ages with developmental disabilities, in home, community and school settings.  Rachel returned to university in 2001 to complete her Master’s in Social Work at McGill University in Montreal, with a clinical specialization in grief, loss and bereavement.  

She spent 10 years working in her chosen field of hospice palliative care, in both Montreal and Toronto.  In 2012, with the encouragement of her husband, (a long time resident of The North), she made the life-changing decision to move to Baffin Island.  She has resided in Iqaluit, Nunavut since that time, where she worked at the policy level in housing and homelessness before returning to the front line work that is her passion. 

Rachel works as a Mental Health Consultant with the Government of Nunavut, providing counseling to individuals, couples and groups coping with addictions, trauma and the various challenges of day to day living in a remote northern community.   She appreciates the people, the culture, the beauty of the northern landscape and all of the rich learning experiences these have offered.


Maxine Salopree
Alberta (ACSW)


Maxine achieved a Social Work Diploma from Yellowhead Tribal Council/Grant McEwan Community College in 1994.  In 1998 she graduated from the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Social Work.

Maxine’s professional social work experience began at North Peace Tribal Council – Child and Family Services in 1998.  After serving 5 years on the frontline of child services, Maxine transitioned into the First Nation Liaison Unit with the Government of Alberta in 2003.

In her current social work role, Maxine is honoured to serve Children and Young people as an Advocate with the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate in Alberta. Maxine is a passionate and proud Registered Social Worker.

The foundational cornerstones of her social work practice include the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action; the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Maxine was elected as the Vice President of the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) in 2019 and has been a long-time member of ACSW. Her experience at ACSW includes Chair of the ACSW Professional Social Work Education Board and Interim Chair of the ACSW Indigenous Social Work Committee.  She is very interested in the development and implementation of a more wholistic and culturally appropriate Indigenous Social Work practice.    

Maxine is married to Stanley and they have two adult daughters, Sherisse and Cheyanne. They are all members of Dene Tha First Nation in Northern Alberta with family ties to Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation in Central Alberta.

Maxine carries strong Indigenous spiritual beliefs and was raised with Grandparents who transferred their traditional knowledge to their children and grandchildren. 



Glen Schmidt
British Columbia (BCASW)



Glen was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He received a BA and a BSW from the University of Manitoba. After graduating from the BSW program in 1979, he obtained employment with the Province of Manitoba. He was based in the City of Thompson, a northern mining community located about 760 kilometers north of Winnipeg. He worked 12 years for the provincial government. During that time, he was a child welfare worker, a supervisor in child welfare, and coordinator of community mental health services. He practiced social work in Thompson as well as many remote and isolated communities throughout northern Manitoba. Glen took a leave to complete his MSW at the University of British Columbia and graduated in 1990. He later taught for the University of Manitoba Social Work Access Program located in Thompson. In 1994 he joined the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. In 2003 he received a PhD in Social Work from Memorial University.

Glen served in various positions in the School of Social Work at UNBC including Field Director, BSW Coordinator, MSW Coordinator, and Program Chair. Glen was also involved in direct practice on a part-time private basis for 19 years, working primarily in mental health, relationship counselling, and employee assistance. He is a Registered Clinical Social Worker (RCSW) in the Province of British Columbia. He retired from UNBC in 2018 and was awarded Professor Emeritus in 2019. Glen continues to be engaged in writing and research and he teaches on a sessional basis at UNBC.



Hazel Berg
Saskatchewan (SASW)



Hazel Berg is a longstanding and active member of SASW. In this regard she is a past member at Large on the SASW Council taking a leadership role on the Aboriginal Task Team. Hazel has also represented SASW on the CASW Aboriginal Interest Group.

Hazel is currently the Outreach Manager at North East Outreach and Support Services, a women’s shelter and Outreach Counselling Services to the surrounding area, located in Melfort, Saskatchewan.

She is a member of the Chakastaypaysin First Nation, one of three bands located near Melfort, Saskatchewan.

Hazel’s practice of social work has been mainly with Child and Family Services with the Ministry of Social Services in Saskatchewan and with the following First Nation Child Welfare Agencies: Saskatoon Tribal Council, Onion Lake Family Services, Peter Ballantyne Child and Family Services and the Lac La Ronge Indian Child and Family Services.

She is one of the founding Directors of the Saskatchewan First Nations Family and Community Institute located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 

Hazel has a BSW from the University of Regina. 



Barb Whitenect
New Brunswick (NBASW)




Kelly MacWilliams
Prince Edward Island (PEIASW)


Kelly has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from St. Thomas University. 

She began her involvement with the PEI Association of Social Workers in 2002 as a Social Work student, and later became Secretary, Vice President and President of the PEI ASW.

As a Social Worker, she worked in front-line Child Protection for 11 years, before moving to her current position as Family Services Supervisor for Child Protection Services, where she supervises a team of 15, providing supervised access, parenting education and life skills education to families involved with Child Protection Services. 

Kelly is passionate about Child Protection, as well as the area of Trauma, and is a Trainer in Trauma Informed Care for PEI’s Child and Family Services. 

She is an avid runner and squash player, which helps her balance her other love of decadent cheesecake and fine wine.


Debbie Reimer
Nova Scotia (NSCSW)


Debbie is the Executive Director of Kids Action Program, an innovative program that provides comprehensive supports to parents and caregivers in Nova Scotia. She is a tireless advocate for children and families, and is especially concerned with ending the stigma of poverty. She sits on numerous provincial and local Boards in addition to her role at CASW and cares passionately about her community.