Board of Directors

VIA Rail’s Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and management of the Corporation, and reports on VIA Rail’s operations to the Government of Canada. The Board of Directors, comprised of eight women and five men, possessing a strong mix and balance of skills, knowledge and experience to support the achievement of VIA Rail’s vision and strategic objectives.

 

Françoise Bertrand

Chairperson of the Board of Directors
Ex officio member of all Committees

 

After a 40-year career as a business executive, Françoise Bertrand now dedicates her time to acting as a corporate director.

Since spring 2017, Ms. Bertrand has served as chairperson of VIA Rail Canada’s Board of Directors. She is also President of the Proaction International Board of Directors, serves on the Board of Osisko Gold Royalties and acts as the Vice-Chair of the Concordia University Board of Governors.

She has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for several organizations, including the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Télé-Québec broadcasting corporation. She is a former dean of Université du Québec à Montréal. She also spent a few years working for consulting firms, notably for KPMG and as a partner with Groupe Secor.

Françoise Bertrand holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Université de Montréal and a master’s degree in environmental studies from York University. She capped off her academic career at the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Throughout her career, Ms. Bertrand has been recognized with several significant honours, most notably, Officer of the Order of Canada, Knight of the National Order of Québec and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour of France. She also received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University and was awarded the title of Fellow by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).

 

Grant Christoff

Board Member
since April 2019

 

Since 2015, Grant Christoff has served as legal counsel with the First Nations Health Authority, and also worked on a contract basis with his own community, Saulteau First Nations in northeastern BC. From 2009 to 2015, Grant was the Director of the Aboriginal Law Section at the Department of Justice, where he was accountable for all litigation and advisory services within the BC region. Prior to this, he was senior counsel at the Department of Justice; associate counsel at the Indian Claims Commission, a federal advisory body on land claims; and sole practitioner in Vancouver. He is a graduate of University of Victoria Law School, an adjunct professor at UVic Law School, and a presenter at events hosted by Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation) and the Canadian Bar Association. Grant has been a Board member of People’s Law School since 2015.

 

Cynthia Garneau

President and Chief Executive Officer

 

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Garneau was President of Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd. since 2016, where she led an integrated strategy to keep operations competitive and viable in an ever-changing global market. Soon after her appointment, Ms. Garneau spearheaded the relocation of the production line of the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopter from Louisiana to Quebec with the support of the Governments of Quebec and Canada.

Possessing over 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry, she has experience leading complex teams and projects in a number of areas of operation, including Supply Chain Management, Corporate Affairs and Government Relations.

Prior to Bell Helicopter, she held various technical and leadership roles at Bombardier Aerospace, where she helped launch several major aircraft program initiatives as part of the Strategic Sourcing group and key negotiations for the Business Aircraft group.

Possessing a Bachelor of Specialized Education as well as a Bachelor of Law, both from Sherbrooke University, she is a member of the Québec Bar since 1994.

 

Kathy Baig, Laval (Quebec)

Board member since June 2017
Member of the Communication & Stakeholders’ Relations Committee, and of the Major Projects Committee

 

Ms. Baig is the President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. She previously worked as an Infrastructure and Construction Project Manager at Aéroports de Montréal, and an Engineer and ISO 9001 Quality Coordinator for Pyrogenesis Canada Inc. She is a board member of Engineers Canada and the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montréal. Ms. Baig holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from École Polytechnique de Montréal and a Master of Business Administration from HEC Montréal.

 

Daniel Gallivan, Halifax (Nova Scotia)

Board member since June 2017
Chairperson of the Communication & Stakeholders’ Relations Committee, Member of the Audit & Pension Investment Committee and Member of the Special Committee on New Fleet Procurement

 

Mr. Gallivan is a Senior Partner in the Atlantic Canada law firm of Cox & Palmer. He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Cox & Palmer since 2003 and was Managing Partner of the Halifax office from 2003 to 2012. Mr. Gallivan is a member of the Bar Societies for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1997. Throughout his career he has held leadership roles for a variety of organizations including the Bank of Canada, the Nova Scotia Securities Commission, and BrightPath Early Learning Inc. Mr. Gallivan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola College, and LLB from Dalhousie University Law School, and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at Western University. He is also a certified corporate director (ICD.D).

 

Jonathan Goldbloom, Montreal (Quebec)

Board member since June 2017
Member of the Communication & Stakeholders’ Relations Committee, and of the Audit & Pension Investment Committee and Member of the Special Committee on New Fleet Procurement

 

Mr. Goldbloom is the Founder and President of Jonathan Goldbloom & Associates Inc. Strategic Communications, which specializes in crisis management and stakeholder outreach. He was previously the Vice President and General Manager of Optimum Public Relations at Cossette Communications and a Senior Partner at Columbia Communications. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Governors of Selwyn House School, a member of the Board of Directors of Montreal Medical International, Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Quebec Association of Independent Schools, and Member of the Board of Directors of Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. Mr. Goldbloom earned a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Harvard University, and Master of Arts Degree from Carleton University, and a Masters of Business Administration from Western University.

 

Miranda Keating Erickson, Calgary, Alberta

Board member since March 2019

 

Ms. Keating Erickson is Vice President, Markets for the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), a position she has held since 2017. She previously served as Vice President, Regulatory & External Affairs and Vice President, Operations at the AESO, and has more than 20 years of experience in the electricity industry. Prior to joining the AESO, she held a variety of senior positions at TransAlta. Ms. Keating Erickson has been active for many years with the McGill University Alumni Association, including as Vice President of the Board of Directors from 2016 to 2018, and is currently a member of the Desautels Global Experts program. She has a strong history of contributing to the community through her involvement with the AIESEC, a global youth leadership movement focused on international exchange, where she has been acting in an advisory capacity for more than 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University, a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation and the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

 

Jane Mowat, Toronto (Ontario)

Board member since September 2013
Chairperson of the Audit & Pension Investment Committee, Member of the Major Projects Committee and Chairperson of the Special Committee on New Fleet Procurement

 

Ms. Mowat is a Corporate Director and a former information technology executive who, since 2003, has worked as an independent consultant, advising clients on acquisitions in the software industry, as well as providing advice on corporate finance, borrowings and business valuations. She previously served as Chief Financial Officer of Centrinity, a TSX-listed software company, from 2001 to 2003 General Manager of IBM’s financing business in Canada and the United States, from 1996 to 2000, and as Chief Financial Officer of ISM Information System Management Corporation from 1990 to 1995. Ms. Mowat has considerable governance experience, having served on the boards of both private and public companies, including Allstream, Coventree Inc. and Centrinity. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto and earned her Chartered Accountant designation while employed with Price Waterhouse.

 

Glenn Rainbird, Belleville (Ontario)

Board member since June 2017
Member of the Communication & Stakeholders’ Relations Committee, and of the Audit & Pension Investment Committee and Member of the Special Committee on New Fleet Procurement

 

Mr. Rainbird is retired from corporate life where he held CEO and senior executive positions in the information and communications technology and energy sectors. He was the President and Chief Executive Officer of TRLabs, Vice President at Nortel Networks and held a variety of senior positions at Imperial Oil. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of IESO, the Board of Governors of the Royal Military College of Canada, is a member of the RCAF Commander’s Council and is an RCAF Honorary Colonel. Mr. Rainbird was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of his leadership role in developing Canada's capabilities in the Internet age. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration from Queen’s University and an Honorary Diploma in Applied Arts and Technology from Loyalist College.

 

Gail Stephens, Victoria (British-Columbia)

Board member since June 2017
Chairperson of the Human Resources Committee, and member of the Audit & Pension Investment Committee and Member of the Special Committee on New Fleet Procurement

 

Ms. Stephens is the President of Gail Stephens Consulting. She has over 20 years of experience leading large, complex organizations including City Manager of Victoria, CEO of the BC Pension Corporation, and Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Winnipeg. Most recently she was the start-up Chief Operating Officer, then Interim President and Chief Executive Officer for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She has sat on numerous boards including Coast Capital Savings, the David Foster Foundation and the BC Training Authority. Ms. Stephens holds a teaching certificate from the University of Manitoba and completed the Executive Management program at Harvard Kennedy School. She is a Certified Public Accountant (FCPA) and a certified corporate director (ICD.D).

 

Kenneth Tan, Richmond (British-Columbia)

Board member since June 2017
Chairperson of the Major Projects Committee, Member of the Human Resources Committee and Member of the Special Committee on New Fleet Procurement

 

Mr. Tan is currently managing education innovation for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and consults through Sweetwater Advisors Inc. He previously held positions at the University of Saskatchewan including Director, Strategic Initiatives where he spearheaded programs in cost containment and revenue enhancement. Mr. Tan also served as the CFO of the Transportation Investment Corporation, Executive Director of the Crown Agencies Secretariat, and the Finance Director of Octopus Cards Limited, a subsidiary of major public transport providers in Hong Kong. He was a government-appointed trustee of the BC College Pension Plan and has served on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations. Mr. Tan holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Saskatchewan, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers.

 

Geneviève Tanguay, Montreal (Quebec)

Board member since August 2017
Member of the Audit & Pension Investment Committee, and of the Human Resources Committee and Member of the Special Committee on New Fleet Procurement

 

With over 15 years’ experience in Investment, Geneviève Tanguay has been instrumental to numerous transactions in many sectors including metal products, transportation equipment, machinery and life sciences. From 2008 to 2017, Ms. Tanguay held the position of Director of investments at the Fonds de Solidarité, the largest Quebec development and risk capital fund. In August 2018, Ms. Tanguay was appointed as the Director of Corporate Development at Biron Groupe Santé. In this role, she will participate in Biron Groupe Santé’s growth, both locally and outside of Quebec, notably through strategic acquisitions and partnerships. Additionally, Ms. Tanguay has served on Boards of Directors for several private companies, and contributed to their strategy and development. Ms. Tanguay is also very involved in her community, and has sat on several Boards for non-profit organizations. She is currently on the Boards of Directors of both Leucan and the Institute of Corporate Directors. Ms. Tanguay holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from HEC Montreal.

 

Viola Ann Timmons, Regina, Saskatchewan

Board member since March 2019

 

Dr. Viola Ann Timmons is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina, a position she has held since 2008. She has held a number of university teaching and administration positions throughout her extensive career in education, including Vice President Academic Development at the University of Prince Edward Island from 2001 until 2008, previously having served as Dean and Professor of the university’s Faculty of Education. Dr. Timmons began her career teaching children in the public school system, an experience to which she attributes her passion for education. She serves as a board member for the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Business/Higher Education roundtable. In 2017, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her longstanding work in the areas of inclusive education for persons with disabilities, family literacy, and women’s leadership. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison University, a Bachelor of Education from Acadia University, a Master of Education from Gonzaga University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Psychology from the University of Calgary. She also has her Chartered Director certification.

 
 
 

Complementary Information

The Board is responsible for the stewardship of VIA Rail Canada Inc. For more information, please consult the Board of Directors Mandate PDF 467 Kb. This link opens in a new tab

The purpose of the evaluation of each Director’s knowledge, skills and experience is to underline the possible “weaknesses” of VIA Rail’s Board of Directors. For more information, please consult the Directors’ Competencies Policy PDF 573 Kb. This link opens in a new tab  

The following committees have been established to help the Board perform its duties:

1. Human Resources Committee

The Board of Directors (“Board”) has delegated to the Human Resources Committee the responsibility for oversight and monitoring of the following:

  • the performance evaluation and compensation of the President & Chief Executive Officer;
  • the performance evaluation and compensation of Executive Officers;
  • the design and implementation of employee compensation, incentives, benefits and retirement plans;
  • the effectiveness of the organizational structure;
  • the design and implementation of management’s development and succession plans;
  • the management of employee and labour relations, including negotiation mandates for unionized employees;
  • the occupational health & safety framework;
  • the design and implementation of the human resources strategic plan;
  • the risk identification, evaluation and treatment related to each topic listed above.

Learn more about the field of action of the Human Resources CommitteePDF 428 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

2. Communication & Stakeholders’ Relations Committee

The Board of Directors (“Board”) has delegated to the Communication & Stakeholders’ Relations Committee the responsibility for oversight and monitoring of the following:

  • the Corporation’s communication strategy to ensure that it supports the strategic and commercial objectives of the Corporation and to maintain positive and productive relationships with all the Corporation’s stakeholders;
  • the Corporation’s value proposition statement in support of its strategic objectives;
  • the standards of integrity and behaviour adopted by the Corporation;
  • any modifications to the service offering which may have a material impact on the Corporation’s value proposition;
  • the risk identification, evaluation and treatment related to the topics listed above.

Learn more about the Communication & Stakeholders’ Relations CommitteePDF 424 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

3. Major Projects Committee

The Board of Directors (“Board”) has delegated to the Major Projects Committee the responsibility for oversight and monitoring of the following:

  • the major projects & programs identified as such by the Major Projects Committee;
  • the business cases for major projects & programs requiring expenses in capital or considered out of “normal course of business” exceeding $5M, the whole in accordance with the Corporation’s Authority Matrix;
  • the Corporation’s policies, practices and procedures regarding management of major projects & programs;
  • the monitoring of capital spending;
  • the management of capital assets;
  • the risk identification, evaluation and treatment related to each topic listed above.

Learn more Discover the involvement of the Major Projects Committee PDF 429 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

4. Audit & Pension Investment Committee

The Board of Directors (“Board”) has delegated to the Audit & Pension Investment Committee the responsibility for oversight and monitoring of the following:

  • the Corporation’s financial reporting and disclosure such as the quarterly and annual reports, the financial statements, the MD&A and the related press release;
  • the five (5) year Corporate Plans along with the annual operating and capital budgets;
  • the Corporation’s internal control practices, including the internal audit process;
  • the Corporation’s external audit process, including any special examination launched by the Corporation’s external auditors;
  • the legal & regulatory compliance framework applicable to the Corporation;
  • the pension plans and supplemental retirement plans investment performances, policies and related matters thereto;
  • the risk identification, evaluation and treatment related to each topic listed above.

Learn more about the Audit & Pension planPDF 575 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

5. Special Committee on New Fleet Procurement

The Board of Directors has delegated to the Special Committee the role of overseeing the following:

  • the procurement process for the Corporation’s proposed major program to renew its fleet of trainsets in the Quebec-Windsor corridor (the “Fleet Renewal Program”);
  • the framework regarding the standards of integrity and behaviour applicable to the Fleet Renewal Program;
  • the risk identification, evaluation and treatment related to each topic listed above.

Learn more See the New Fleet procurement detailsPDF 71 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

The Corporation and its Board of Directors are committed to implementing principles and best practices of good governance. In 2014, VIA Rail has been committed to increase transparency of Board governance practices now easily accessible through the following groupings:

1. Board of Directors’ Governance Practices:

These documents set out the form, manner and procedure in which VIA Rail should be run and describe the responsibilities of main positions amongst the Board:

VIA Rail’s Corporate By-Law PDF 534 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

Duties and Responsibilities of Chairperson of the Board PDF 382 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

Duties and Responsibilities of Committee Chairpersons PDF 329 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

Duties and Responsibilities of the Corporate Secretary PDF 245 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

2. Directors’ Ethics:

All members of the Board sign a code of conduct and ethics reflecting the spirit and intent of the Accountability Act, which sets out standards of transparency and accountability for the officers and directors of Crown corporations. All members of the Board are also asked to comply with VIA Rail’s Directors’ Political Activities Policy based on Privy Council Office’s Guidelines for the Political Activities of Public Office Holders.

Directors’ Code of Conduct and Ethics PDF 646 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

Directors’ Political Activities Policy PDF 512 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

3. Directors’ Compensation, Expenses and Training:

These policies set out the right of Directors to receive the compensation (annual retainer and per diem) established by the Privy Council Office and to be reimbursed for reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred while in the execution of their functions of Directors of VIA Rail including while attending authorized training sessions.

Directors’ Compensation and Expenses Policy PDF 75 KbThis link opens in a new tab 

Directors’ On-Boarding & Training Policy PDF 109 KbThis link opens in a new tab