Board of Directors

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is proud to be represented by a Board of Directors that is dedicated to the development and prosperity of Northern Ontario. Chaired by the Minister of Northern Development, and comprising at least twelve directors, appointed by order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council at all times, the Board plays an integral role in supporting new business ventures and stimulating growth in the region.

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Greg Rickford - Chair

Greg Rickford is Minister of Northern Development, and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

He was elected as the MPP for Kenora–Rainy River in 2018, and served as the Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs during his first term.

Minister Rickford earned degrees in nursing from Victoria University, common and civil law from McGill University, and an MBA from Laval University. He then moved as a young man to First Nations communities in Northern Ontario, where he worked as a nurse and lawyer.

Minister Rickford served as a federal MP for Kenora from 2008 to 2015. He was Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, and before that Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario).

Prior to that, Minister Rickford was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. He also served as Parliamentary Secretary for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, and Official Languages.

Since 2015, Minister Rickford has practised law. He served as a strategic advisor to a number of companies and organizations specializing in natural resources, Indigenous affairs, health, and legal matters. In 2017, he also served on the board of directors of Noront Resources Ltd., a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

He and his wife Janet have two daughters, Abigail Mae, and Poppy Kate. He is a diehard Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs fan and loves college football. An avid sport shooter at the Lake of the Woods Gun Club, Minister Rickford is also a fishing and yoga enthusiast. He and his family live in Keewatin on Lake of the Woods.

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David Sinclair - First Vice Chair

Dave Sinclair held senior management positions for more than 25 years in the electric distribution industry, most recently as President and CEO of Kenora Hydro Electric Corporation Ltd. prior to the merger with Thunder Bay Hydro to form Synergy North.

Mr. Sinclair has chaired the Boards of a number of energy sector associations. During his tenure as chair of the Municipal Electric Association, he led the structural change to become the Electricity Distributors Association. He also chaired the Municipal Electric Association Reciprocal Insurance Exchange (MEARIE), which provides insurance solutions to Ontario’s Local Distribution Companies (LDCs).

Mr. Sinclair is a current Board member of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and serves as the Chair of the Audit Committee. The IESO manages Ontario’s electricity power system and plans for the provinces future needs.

Mr. Sinclair holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

David joined the NOHFC board of directors in 2002 and is an outspoken advocate for economic development in Northern Ontario.

“NOHFC continues to be a significant driving force in the north that has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy which has generated even larger private sector investment. It is NOHFC’s ability to adapt to the north’s changing needs in a nimble manner that makes it indispensable, very effective, and unique.

Northerners are hardy, resilient, and creative. We don’t live in Northern Ontario because it’s easy, we choose to live here because we like the challenge, the lifestyle, and the people.”

- David Sinclair
Michael Fox

Michael Fox

Michael Fox, representing Thunder Bay, Ontario, is certified Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer who has worked with Indigenous communities. In his previous employment, he assisted Northern Ontario Indigenous community members with business and partnership development initiatives within the main natural resource development sectors of Ontario. He has facilitated joint ventures between Indigenous clients and industry. He is a board member of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada and past board member of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business.

Michael is the President of Indigenous Community Engagement (ICE) – a firm dedicated to building relationships, capacity, and projects by providing strategic services and practical solutions that help Indigenous clients succeed.

He holds a business administration diploma from Confederation College, an honours bachelor of arts degree (HBA) in Political Science with a focus on Aboriginal Law & Resource Development from Lakehead University and has a MBA from the University of Fredericton, specializing in Social Enterprise.

Michael joined the NOHFC board of director’s in 2011.

“As someone from Weenusk First Nation and who travels around and talks to First Nations and Metis citizens, I know there are many indigenous business leaders, young and old, who have and are accessing the programs of the NOHFC to realize their aspirations. I am proud to spread the news of these success stories and it feel good to be part of a team who supports northern entrepreneurs.”

- Michael Fox
Fred Slade

Fred Slade

Fred Slade is a Chartered Professional Accountant who was born and raised in Greater Sudbury. Fred’s career started with local firms and he has operated as a sole practitioner under the name Fred Slade and Associates since 2002.

Fred is an extremely active member of his community, serving in many roles including Presidencies of the local Chartered Accountants Association and the Rotary Club of Sudbury, and as a member of the local Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, and the Health Sciences North Finance Committee.

A lifelong Northerner, Fred enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time at camp with his wife, their two sons, and an assortment of house pets.

Fred joined the NOHFC board of directors in January 2019.

"Through over four decades of service to Northern Ontario business owners I have seen firsthand the benefits that NOHFC programs have brought to their unique challenges and opportunities. I'm honoured to help ensure that these funds assist those who are creating and growing sustainable businesses and community projects that contribute jobs and other benefits across our Region."

- Fred Slade
Sam Biasucci

Sam Biasucci

Salvatore (Sam) Biasucci is Self-Employed and manages three active construction companies. His community involvement includes serving as a Finance Planning Maintenance for Precious Blood Cathedral, and as Student Trades Training Facilitator for Algoma District School Board (ADSB).

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Peter Chirico

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce. Peter assumed the role in April of 2017 and was a Senior Commercial Banker for over 32 years. In 2000, Peter was elected to North Bay City Council as a counselor and served 12 years as an elected official. In 2004, 2008 and 2012, he was elected to the role of Deputy Mayor and Budget Chief for the City of North Bay. After a three-year stint as Managing Director of Community Services for the City of North Bay, Peter semi-retired, until the position as President & CEO of the Chamber became available. Peter has served on most of the Agencies, Boards & Commission’s within the City of North Bay and has been a volunteer for most of his working career on many worthwhile not-for-profit agencies both locally and provincially.

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Bill Spinney

Bill was born, raised and educated in Southern Ontario. In 1986 the CIBC offered him a commercial credit managers position in Parry Sound …the rest as they say is history. Bill chose to stay in the north and has been active in his adopted “home” ever since.

He left the CIBC and joined the local Community Futures retiring after 35 years as their General Manager.

Bill has served as President of the Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce, the West Parry Sound Health Centre Board and its Foundation, the Parry Sound Golf Club as well as lending a hand coaching minor hockey and baseball.

He has Chaired the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario , Ontario Community Futures and served on the CF National Board.

Bill and his wife, Dr. Sue West DVM , have 3 grown children and keep quite busy helping out with 7 grand children.

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Laurie Marcil

Laurie Anne Marcil was appointed to the role of Executive Director of Nature & Outdoor Tourism Ontario in 2014. Beginning as the bookkeeper, she soon took on additional responsibilities as Marketing Coordinator, Office Manager and Membership Services Manager. Laurie’s community involvement includes serving as a member of the Liquid Fuels Advisory Council of the Technical Standards & Safety Authority, and as a member of the Canadian Federation of Outfitter Associations.


Kim Cornell

Kim Cornell became managing partner in Cornell farms in 1984. Cornell has served on various local, provincial and national agricultural boards over the years. He was also a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, Class 2 and has been a beef cattle judge at various provincial and national breed shows.


Bernie Kamphof

Bernie Kamphof has been an active member of the local farming community for over twenty-five years. He has served on many boards and committees including the Thunder Bay District Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Thunder Bay Cooperative Farm Supplies, Thunder Bay Dairy Producers, and the Thunder Bay Federation of Agriculture. He is currently a member of the Lakehead Source Water Protection Committee and is the Vice Chair of the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Association. In addition to his agricultural involvement Bernie has been a Councilor for the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge since 2010. He has also been a member of the Thunder Bay District Board of Health, is a member of the Thunder Bay District Municipal League Board and currently is the Chair of the Lakehead Rural Planning Board.


Tonia Blenkarn

Tonia Blenkarn is the Co-Owner of Flat Rick Holdings Inc., Desmasdon's Boat Works, Desmasdon’s Construction & Beacon Marine. Her community involvement includes serving as a Youth Leader for The Meeting House Parry Sound.


Donald Mitchell

Donald Mitchell is a former Vice president for Algoma Insurance Limited, and a former sales manager for Downtown Insurance and Realty Limited. His community involvement includes serving as Vice-President and President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.


Kimberly Ballance

Kimberly Ballance is the Clerk Treasurer Administrator for The Corporation of the Township of Ear Falls. Her community involvement includes serving as Video Sub-Committee member for the Ontario Municipal Administrators Association.


E. James T. Hook

E James T. Hook was raised in the tourist business, where my parents owned and operated a large fly-in American Plan Tourist Resort. Following my graduation and call to the Ontario Bar I was engaged in the practice of law for 44 years in the District of Kenora, until my retirement in 2016. Initially I had an extensive criminal defence practice prior to being retained on a part time basis as an Assistant Part Time Crown Attorney. My legal practice gradually evolved into one involving representing clients in civil matters such as residential and commercial real estate, financing, estate planning, and corporate and commercial matters, including numerous tourist resorts. I retain a keen interest in business matters generally and the tourist industry in particular in Northern Ontario. I also served from 1996 to 2003 on the Board of NOHFC, and chaired a Committee charged with considering proposals across Northern Ontario for destination attractions.


Lucy Belanger

Lucy Belanger is an active and key member of Management team with Equipment World Inc since 1988. Currently hold position as Comptroller & Operations Manager, overseeing all corporate financial and operational matters. Active within the community past and present. Volunteering with many charities including, Canadian Cancer Society Thunder Bay, Heart & Stroke Foundation Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, Shelter House Committee for fundraiser events , and the Thunder Bay Separate School Parent Advisory Committee. Held position as Treasurer for Youth Employment Services as well as the Thunder Bay Business Woman's Network.

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Sue Prodaniuk

Susan Prodaniuk is President of Sue Prodaniuk Advertising/PR Consultant Inc., and a former Executive Director of Communications, Fundraising and Strategic Enrolment Management for the Confederation College. Her community involvement includes as an Executive Member for Ambassadors NW, City of Thunder Bay, Flood Advisory Committee, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Board Member, and Big Thunder National Ski Training Centre.