Ottawa Branch

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is made up of twelve volunteers who are members of the Association in good standing. The Board consists of a President, two Vice-presidents, a Branch Secretary, a Treasurer and seven other Directors who take on the responsibility of running various standing and ad-hoc committees of the Ottawa Branch.

Directors are nominated and elected to office by Branch members at Annual General Meetings. Directors are elected for a term of two years or until their successors are elected. A Director may serve on the Board for a maximum of 3 consecutive terms of 2 years (six years).

The Board is responsible for the conduct of the affairs of the Ottawa Branch, its assets and properties. It conducts the business of the Ottawa Branch in accordance with the Branch By-laws and the Association’s By-Laws.

There are three committees of the Board: the Executive Committee (includes Governance and Nominations), Branch Community Liaison Committee, and Members Committee (includes recruitment, retention and services). The Board also uses task forces and working groups as needed.

The Ottawa Branch is committed to building a culturally diverse board and strongly encourages applications from women, former civil servants from all staffing levels, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, and individuals with disabilities. Spousal members may also apply.

The Current Board of Directors

Officers and Committee Chairs (2021-2022)

Robert Giroux

President and Chair, Executive Committee

Dave Bennett

Vice President

Denis Lavoie


Harry Ruthnum


Committee Chairs & Directors

Paul Bennett

Hélène Buteau

Dan Butler

Leslie Lawry

Terry Sing

Chair, Branch Community Liaison Committee

Dan Napier

District Directors

Daniel Brunet

District Director of Ottawa & Nunavut

Position to be filled

District Director of Ottawa & Nunavut

Nomination of Directors

Each year, one-half of the twelve members of the Ottawa Branch Board of Directors usually reach the end of their two-year term. Elections are held to fill the resultant vacancies during the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The Ottawa Branch By-Laws call for the establishment of a nominations committee and, a written call for nominations that ends 14 days before the AGM. As of 2022, the Executive Committee has taken on the responsibilities of the Nominations Committee. 

To ensure transparency in the process, the annual call for nominations prior to our AGM is provided to our members through Sage, the Federal Retirees magazine. 

Every Branch member in good standing is eligible to nominate or stand as a candidate. 

Ottawa Branch is committed to building a culturally diverse board and we strongly encourage all members of our community to apply, in particular, women, former civil servants from all staffing levels, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, 2SLGBTQ+ individuals and individuals with disabilities. Spousal members are also welcome to apply.

If you are interested in becoming a Director on our Board, click here for more information about the selection criteria for director nominations. The deadline for nominations is 5:00 PM Eastern Time, April 18 2023.

Interested candidates are asked to mail or email us a brief summary (approx. 250 words) of their experience and qualifications and how they meet our selection criteria and a short CV. Candidates will also be asked to certify that they are a member in good standing. 

Candidates can send an email to [email protected] or call 613-737-2199 if they would like to discuss this opportunity further.

Robert J. Giroux

Robert J. Giroux retired as President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) in March 2004. Before joining AUCC in 1995, he was Secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada and Comptroller General of Canada. As a former senior federal official, he held the positions of President of the Public Service Commission of Canada, Deputy Minister of Public Works Canada, and Deputy Minister of National Revenue, Customs and Excise.

Mr. Giroux is a member of the Order of Canada, honorary member of the Order of Gatineau and a recipient of the Trudeau Medal from the Faculty of Administration of the University of Ottawa. He received Honorary Doctorates from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, the Université de Montréal, in Montréal, Quebec, McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, the University of Ottawa, in Ottawa, Ontario and the University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia.

He was Chair of the Board of Directors of Ocean Networks Canada, of Katimavik, and the Canadian Council on Learning. Mr. Giroux was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canada Foundation for Innovation from 2006 à 2012. He served as Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa from 2009 to 2017.

Robert joined the Ottawa Branch of the National Association of Federal Retirees in 2012 and first served as Treasurer and then became President in 2017. When members approved new by-laws in 2016, serving Directors started fresh with no accumulated terms as of the 2017 AGM. Robert was elected for a two-year term at the 2017 AGM and re-elected for another two-year term at the 2019 AGM.

Dave Bennett

A professional registered parliamentarian, Dave Bennett is highly experienced in organizational meetings, board governance, association management consulting and training. Dave’s career includes more than 15 years in senior management with national not-for-profit professional associations and over 25 years in executive management. He has served as an officer with the Canadian Forces, Managing Director for the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board, Chair of the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada, Director of Accreditation with the Canadian University Schools of Nursing, Director of Defence Engineering and Technical Services for the ADGA Group, and Director of Governance and Component Relations with the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Key association experiences include serving as a parliamentarian, leading stakeholders in board governance and policy development, board orientation, strategic planning, development of national certification and training standards and negotiating international substantial equivalence agreements for reciprocity of professional credentials. He has developed bylaws and governing documents for numerous provincial and national associations and led three not-for-profit associations in successfully achieving their Articles of Continuance under the new Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (CNCA). He has twice been selected as keynote speaker for professional conventions internationally.

Dave graduated from the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. He is a member of the Canadian Society of Association Executives, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Association, the Association of Engineering Technicians and Technologists of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He sat as an advisor to the Governance Committee of the Ottawa Safety Council and has served on the Ottawa Board of Directors previously. Dave was elected to the Board in 2019 for a two-year term.

Denis Lavoie

Denis Lavoie is a public administrator with over 40 years of experience in military operations, aerospace engineering, program management and volunteering.

Denis began his military career as an aircraft technician followed by a transition to aerospace engineering officer. A lifelong learner, his main contributions included involvement in integrating new aircraft fleets and technologies in Canadian defence capabilities, business planning, strategic planning and performance management. He trained and served in most Canadian provinces and participated in peace support activities in Ethiopia, Darfur and served under NATO in Germany. His second career included consulting services in performance measurement of military operations and performance optimization of large procurement contracts.

Denis has also been very active with volunteer organizations and has served on various boards of administrators since 1996 as Vice-President for the Association du Québec à Compostelle, Tel-Aide Outaouais, Toastmasters, Winterlude, le Centre d’éducation de base de l`Outaouais, the Hull hospital and the Montfort hospital. He also participated as a short term election observer during the second round of Ukraine presidential elections in April 2019.

Denis holds an MBA from the University of Ottawa with specialization in governance and has also completed Program Management Institute (PMI) certification in 1999.

Denis is now retired and enjoys volunteering, the outdoors around the amazing Outaouais region, traveling and long distance walks.

He is nominated to serve a one-year term starting after the 2021 AGM.

Harry Ruthnum

Harry Ruthnum started his career as a senior financial analyst in Treasury at Philips Electronics in Toronto and joined the Public Service as Senior Bank Examiner with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, where he had responsibility for a portfolio of large domestic and foreign banks operating in Canada. Harry also has experience with the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) as a Principal with audit responsibility for government departments such as Industry Canada and Canadian Heritage, and large Crown Corporations such as Export Development Canada and CBC. As Principal, he was responsible for three audits that were reported in the OAG’s annual reports to Parliament in two consecutive years.

Harry has worked for the IMF as an expert in Banking Supervision, Internal Audit and Governance advising central banks on bank regulations, internal audit and governance, and best practices in supervising and examining banks.

After retiring from the Public Service, Harry has carried out several consulting mandates for senior management of various departments and agencies in the field of financial management, risk management and governance.

Harry is a member (CPA, CA) of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, and holds an MBA in Managerial Economics and Finance from the University of Ottawa.

Harry was appointed to the Ottawa Board of Directors in November 2017 and he was elected for a two-year term at the 2018 AGM. He was appointed by the Board to serve until the 2021 AGM, due to the pandemic.

Paul Bennett

Paul Bennett retired in 2014 after a 30-year career with the federal government in various executive, management, and professional capacities in the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Global Affairs (with assignments in Bangkok, Addis Ababa, and Minneapolis), Infrastructure, and Networks of Centres of Excellence. Toward his retirement he served as Director and Deputy Director of the Multiculturalism, Community Historical Recognition, and Settlement programs at Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada.

He was also first Executive Director of Canadian Parents for French (BC/Yukon). He brings a wide skill set in policy, program, communications, and foreign service. Paul was awarded both a President’s and Deputy Minister’s award while at CIDA.

Paul has an Honours BA in history and politics as well as a Master’s in public administration, both from Queen’s University, and an MA in community and regional planning from the University of British Columbia, where his thesis was on the various challenges of and opportunities in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Paul’s recent volunteer experience includes mentorship coordination with Tibetan Resettlement Project Ottawa, communications with Action Sandy Hill, and board chair of One World Film Festival. He has also served as an international polling station officer in Cambodia and Ukraine and a Canadian Executive Services Organization volunteer advisor to various organizations in Ethiopia. While at Global Affairs he served as the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers representative on the Occupational Health and Service Committee.

Paul enjoys snowshoeing, cycling, travel, and film. He recently published On the Border: Twenty Life Stories from Four Continents, a diverse collection of vignettes celebrating the diversity of life’s experiences.

Hélène Buteau

Hélène Buteau retired from the federal public service in December 2011 with more than thirty years of government work experience (including 2 years in public health in Québec City). She worked mainly in the department currently known as Employment and Social Development Canada.

Hélène started her career in Affirmative Action and Employment Equity. In the Employment Branch, she also worked in Operational Monitoring and Assessment; Worker Programs and Services; Planning, Monitoring and Analysis; Employment Benefits and Support Measures (Labour Market Partnerships) Grants and Contributions; In-Person Strategies and Policies for Service Delivery. Other branches she worked in are: Public Affairs (Communications), Internal Audit, Evaluation and Data Development.

Over the years, Hélène has provided valuable advice, guidance and support to national headquarters groups, regions and local offices in program and service delivery. She has also developed strategic planning frameworks and work plans, operational support tools, carried out needs identification and assessments and developed related Intranet and Internet content.

Hélène has a BA in Sociology from Laval University where she also pursued Master’s level studies in Sociology. She is fluently bilingual. Since 1989, she has been a member of Toastmasters International where she has held numerous leadership positions and developed her communication skills. She was also Director on her condominium’s Board of Directors from 2013-2021.

Hélène’s hobbies include painting in watercolour, art appreciation and travel. As a mother of two children and four grandchildren, she enjoys passing on her love of art to them.

Since 2018, Hélène has been an active volunteer with the Ottawa Branch in the areas of recruitment, member services and advocacy. Since 2019, she has been the official recorder for Branch Board meetings. Hélène was a co-recipient of the Branch’s Stephen Troy Volunteer of the Year award for 2020.

Dan Butler

While a superannuate since 2011, Dan has now retired on a full-time basis for the first time and believes it’s an ideal opportunity to step forward and contribute to the important work of the National Association of Federal Retirees.

Dan enjoyed a wonderfully challenging 40-year career in labour relations, first as a senior union advocate for professionals in the Public Service and then, since 2001, as a third-party neutral. As part of his mandate as General Secretary of the National Joint Council (NJC), he supervised the co-development of service-wide terms and conditions of employment including the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) and facilitated consultations between the parties on the pension plan. These responsibilities brought Dan into continuing contact with representatives of the (then) FSNA for whom he formed a strong admiration.

After his term at NJC, Dan was appointed by the Governor-in-Council as a full-time member of the Public Service Labour Relations Board and, later, as a part-time member of its most recent successor board where he continued to pursue his passion for adjudication, mediation and other dispute resolution options.

Dan hopes that his extensive advocacy and leadership experience at the most senior levels of the Public Service, particularly on PSHCP and pension issues, may prove useful in pursuing the interests of the Association’s members. He also has a strong interest in governance issues and would welcome the opportunity to work with others strengthening the Association’s relations with its members.

Leslie Lawry

Leslie retired from the Canada Revenue Agency in 2009.  She started as a clerk in Hamilton and held progressively more responsible positions as her career progressed, both in Ottawa and Hamilton.  

During her career, she was the Chief of Public Affairs at her local district office, then subsequently went on to be responsible for all business enquiries across Canada.  In Ottawa, she first worked in Client Services, and then she became responsible for all liaison between the Office of the Auditor General and the CRA. She says that was a fun job because she got to tell the Assistant Deputy Ministers what to do!  She finished her career as the Director of Operations for the Office of the Taxpayer’s Ombudsman.

Leslie is happily retired and has been serving as the Chair of the Ottawa Branch Advocacy Committee.  She has two great kids, and three fantastic grandkids – she will tell you all about them if you let her!

Leslie was first appointed to Ottawa Board of Directors in September 2018 and she was elected for a two-year term at the 2019 AGM.

Terry Sing

Having enjoyed a number of different and satisfying jobs in the Public Service of Canada, Terry retired after 35 years. His government career began in metallurgy, then he moved into meteorology, before moving into information technology, where he did: programing; systems design; project management; account management and consulting; computer course design and training; and computer security. Finally retiring from government, he changed careers and became a private sector employment counsellor and consultant.

During his after-hours, he found time to volunteer, usually in an executive role, for a number of organizations such as: the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club ; the Nepean Housing Corporation; the Data Processing Institute; treasurer for Public Service and Procurement Canada union branch; National Vice President for the Retired Members Guild; and the Ottawa Council On Aging and finally, for the National Association of Federal Retirees where he serves on the following committees: Branch Community Liaison; Recruitment & Retention; and Advocacy.

For his outstanding contributions to the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, he was awarded a Life Membership.
Terry was appointed to the Ottawa Board of Directors in 2017 and was elected for a one-year term in 2018 and re-elected for a two-year term at the 2019 AGM.

Dan Napier

Dan Napier officially retired in 2021 from Public Services and Procurement Canada working as a Director General in the Parliamentary Precinct Branch responsible for the rehabilitation and renovation of Canada’s Parliament Buildings. Prior to immensely enjoying working for the Federal Government for 20 years, Dan worked in various senior capacities in both the Municipal and Private Sectors as a Director, Planner and Landscape Architect.

Graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Dan continues to seek learning opportunities, both in his professional and personal life.

As a past Board Member and phone line volunteer at the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region, Dan brings his skills as a strategic thinker, team builder and strong engagement and values and ethics to the Board.

Appointed to the Board of Directors in November 2022, Dan wants to become a part of the National Association of Federal Retirees Ottawa Branch team helping to advance their mission and work and
advancing the concerns of the Associations members.

Daniel Brunet

Daniel Brunet is a lawyer and was admitted to the Bar in 1979. Over the course of his career at the Federal level, he appeared before the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. He first practiced as a prosecutor on behalf of the Attorney General of Quebec and subsequently practiced as a litigator on behalf of the Information Commissioner of Canada. His last position was Senior Legal Counsel. After retiring from the Public Service in 2014, Daniel was elected to the Ottawa Branch Board of Directors in 2016 and appointed as chair of the Branch’s Membership and Services Committee. Daniel was elected to the National Board in 2017.