Education and outreach activity in Canada is carried out by a not-for-profit Support Association, led by active volunteers. Investment administration is managed by staff in our international office in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
Oikocredit Canada Support Association led by a volunteer board and have responsibility for carrying out Oikocredit's grass roots education and outreach initiatives. These include representing Oikocredit at local events, as well as mounting webinars, workshops and annual meetings to educate the public about investment and development, and Oikocredit's work around the world.
Oikocredit Canada Support Association
From left to right: Joe Howse, Hans van Nie (Oikocredit International Members Council), Karl Braun, Eugene Ellmen (Former National Support Office Director), Abhishek Bhasin, Margie Parikh, Julie Scott, Andrew Nicholls (Former board director), Kelly McMillan (Former board director), Jack Boland, Heather Keachie, Brigid McQuaid. Absent from photo: Michelle Peterson, Rachel Gonsalves and Aysha Dawood.
Formed in 2016 from local support associations in Ontario and western Canada, Oikocredit Canada is one of about 30 support associations around the world. Our mandate is to educate Canadians about the value of investment and development, and the work of Oikocredit. As a Support Association of Oikocredit, we are a proud member of the Oikocredit international co-operative. We participate in the international Annual General Meeting and have contributed to international working groups and committees. We receive our funding from Oikocredit International and from fees from our members.
We are a non-profit association incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act and have been operating in this capacity for more than a decade. But our volunteers have been active in Oikocredit for much longer. In the past 30 years, several of our volunteers have served with distinction as Directors of the International Board.
Oikocredit Canada Board of Directors
Abhishek Bhasin, Director/Chair, Toronto ON
Abhishek is Chair of Oikocredit Canada and a member of the Board since 2013. Abhishek is also Director of FI Strategy and Innovation at Equifax Canada. At Equifax, he is leading the development of innovative solutions in partnership with Fintechs and technology providers focused on enabling digital transformation. He has more than 14 years of experience in financial services, commercial lending, portfolio management and marketing. Abhishek holds a master’s degree in brand management as well as an MBA in Finance and Business Sustainability from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Abhishek strongly believes in community engagement and has been involved with different not for profit organizations and initiatives. At Oikocredit, he is working on formulating a strategy to catalyze global blended and innovative finance initiatives in collaboration with other social finance and impact investing organizations in the ecosystem.
Jack Bolland, Director, Toronto ON
Jack has worked at the intersection of humanitarianism and sustainable development.In the Asia-Pacific, he developed risk management strategies and climate change resilience at the national level and international UNFCCC negotiations. He evaluated FDI & Overseas Development Strategies for the World Bank and the Department for International Development (DFID) with the British Government. During the days, Jack works at the City of Toronto on urban planning, design and new development. His passion for OikoCredit Canada lies in remodelling the stigma surrounding impact investing and ESG standards In Canada to maximize our triple-bottom line impact. Jack holds a BA (Honours) in Economics from Queen’s University and an MSc in International Development & Management from the London School of Economics (LSE).
Karl Braun, Director/Vice-Chair, Waterloo ON
Karl is a marketing consultant and owner of two businesses, Gearbox Marketing and Display Ontario. He has extensive experience in various sectors including financial, specialized manufacturing, education, and charities. He is actively involved in his community, coaching rep soccer, and at his church where he leads music and currently serves as treasurer. Karl is Vice-chair of Oikocredit Canada and has served on the Oikocredit Canada Board since 2015 where he chairs the marketing committee
Rachel Gonsalves, Director, Toronto ON
Rachel studies Commerce at Queen’s University. At Queen’s, Rachel is the Co-chair of Queen’s Social Investment Initiative, a club dedicated to increasing awareness of impact investing and researching ESG trends. She also works as a Research Assistant, focusing on the topic of organizational behavior. Rachel has worked for the Provincial Government as a Fiscal Strategies intern where she worked to mitigate financial pressures for various Government programs. Through joining the Girls on Boards program in 2017, Rachel was placed as a Volunteer on Oikocredit Canada’s board and has truly loved her experience thus far. Not only has she gained a more intersectional understanding of what social finance is, but mentors that she will cherish throughout her life.
Joe Howse, Director, Halifax NS
Joseph (Joe) is an entrepreneur, author, and computer scientist from Nova Scotia. Since 2006, he has volunteered with Oikocredit Canada Atlantic and now Oikocredit Canada. Since 2013, he has also volunteered with Bpeace, a pro bono consulting group that aims to create jobs in post-conflict countries. He works internationally -- often in Latin America -- as a software consultant and as an agricultural investor. He finds relaxation in photography and the company of cats.
Heather Keachie, Director, Toronto ON
Heather is a lawyer in Toronto, working primarily with charities and not for profit organizations. She has been a board member of Oikocredit Canada since 2014. Heather is passionate about sustainable and equitable international development and has lived and worked in Tanzania, The Gambia, and Niger. She is a committed urban cyclist and gardener, and makes the most of the trails in and around Toronto.
Margie Parikh, Director/Secretary Treasurer, Victoria BC
Margie is motivated by Oikocredit’s challenge to invest responsibly for a global, just society where resources are shared sustainably. She also serves on the boards of Camosun College, BC Oil and Gas Commission, and CISV International, and formerly chaired MEC, among other organizations. A Chartered Director, Margie has worked in board governance for 20 years. She is a Regional Ambassador for Women Get On Board, a mentor for G(irls)20 Girls on Boards initiative, and a member of The 30% Club, all of which strive for greater representation of women in governance. Boards, the great outdoors, and dark chocolate occupy her days on the beautiful coast of Vancouver Island.
Michelle Peterson, Director, Vancouver BC
Julie Scott, Director, Toronto ON
Julie has worked for 20 years in environmental, social and governance (ESG) research and policy. Her work has focused on incorporating ESG data in investment decision-making, including engaging with stakeholders on ESG risks. Julie has worked in Europe as an environmental policy consultant and in the Far East as a forest products analyst. Julie has a long-standing interest in governance and has obtained the Institute of Corporate Directors ICD.D designation. Julie currently serves as a director on the boards of social enterprises, including Career Edge and the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services. Other passions include hiking on and preserving the Niagara Escarpment through re-forestation programs and supporting newcomers to Canada and refugee sponsorship programs.
Oikocredit Canada Staff:
Aysha Dawood, Program Manager
Aysha is an advocate for social equality with a focus on affordable housing and economic development. She was first introduced to Oikocredit while researching housing microfinance in southern Africa. As Program Manager at Oikocredit Canada, she is working on progressing Oikocredit’s role in Canada through civic engagement and community and corporate collaboration. When she isn’t working, she’s likely researching crafty ideas to live more sustainably.
Brigid McQuaid, Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper
Brigid began her career as a cartographer mapping her region of Canada. Her concerns moved global, and after assisting the Social Investment Organization (now the Responsible Investment Association). She helps Oikocredit Canada as an administrative assistant, in support of Oikocredit International’s objectives.
Please contact us if you would like one of our volunteers to come and speak to your group. We love to share our Oikocredit story!