Oikocredit Canada

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

OCSA Board 2019-2020.jpg

From left to right back row: Brigid McQuaid, Karl Braun, Joseph Patterson (Chair, Oikocredit International Supervisory Board), Margie Parikh, Jack Bolland, Aysha Dawood, Hans van Nie (Oikocredit International Members Council) and Abhishek Bhasin
From left to right front row: Joe Howse (former director), Michelle Peterson, Heather Keachie (former director), Julie Scott and Rachel Gonsalves (former director)

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

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.

Julie Scott, Director/Vice-Chair, 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.

Abhishek Bhasin, Director/Chair, Toronto ON

Abhishek is the former 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).

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.

Tim D'Souza, Director, Toronto ON

Tim D'Souza has over 25 years of finance, consulting and leadership experience, helping a wide range of organizations improve what they do.  He started his career working in international development, assisting small NGOs develop and execute improvements.  Tim then spent 18+ years in the private sector, working with companies like IBM, Sun Life and Pet Valu – engineering changes that improved efficacy and efficiency – and improved profitablity. He recently returned to NGO work and serves as the COO of Children Believe.  Tim is a trained accountant and holds three university degrees, including an MBA from Yale.  He serves on several boards and teaches part-time at several post-secondary institutions.

Ellen Pekilis, Director, Toronto ON

Ellen Pekilis is an independent board director with expertise in governance, risk management, and strategic planning. She was formerly General Counsel with CSA, a major not-for-profit with 22 subsidiaries in 14 countries.  She was accountable for global enterprise risk management, compliance and privacy in addition to legal services.  She has global M & A and post-acquisition integration experience and writes about organizational governance and women in leadership. Her board experience includes CADTH; Endeavour Consulting for Non-profits; and the College of Optometrists. For the College, Ellen Chairs the Quality Assurance Review committee, is past Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, and Chairs discipline tribunals as required.  

Carla Pellegrini, Director, Vancouver BC

Carla has over ten years of experience in non-profit and for-profit community development, social finance and operations management. She currently leads the strategic and day-to-day operations at New Market Funds, a BCorp certified impact investing firm in Canada. Previously, she served as Sonder Inc.'s Head of Operations where she launched the tech start-up's Vancouver team and operations. Prior to moving to Canada, she worked abroad with One Acre Fund in Kenya and the US Peace Corps in Nicaragua. She is passionate about facilitating community-driven positive impact through a systems-level lens. She holds an MPA from Columbia University and a BA from Boston College. In her free time, Carla enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and serving on the volunteer board of BC Pets and Friends.

Lindsay Wallace, Director, Toronto ON

Lindsay Wallace is a senior economist and impact measurement specialist with over 20 years of experience in economic development and financial inclusion. She is currently an independent consultant and Senior Associate with Limestone Analytics where she supports clients in strategy, impact measurement and evaluation. Previously she was Head of Impact for the Mastercard Foundation where she oversaw strategy, impact measurement and evaluation for the Foundation’s over $3B of committed investments. She was previously Deputy Director of the Financial Inclusion program where she managed $500m of blended finance investments. Lindsay previously led economic growth programming for the UK Department for International Development in Rwanda, including programming in trade, climate change, agriculture, land tenure reform and financial inclusion. She also has public finance experience working with Ministries of Finance in Ontario, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Guyana in budget reform, expenditure forecasting and fiscal transparency. She lives in Toronto with her husband, son and daughter.

Will Postma, Director, Toronto ON

Will Postma is the Executive Director at the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the humanitarian and development arm of the Anglican Church of Canada. His current work with PWRDF is to ensure oversight of operations and programs in maternal and newborn child health, sexual health and reproductive rights and food security. Will has published papers and other learning materials on Participatory Development, Capacity Building and Results Based Management. He has carried out primary research on state and civil society dynamics in West Africa. He has taught, led and facilitated class work in secondary school, college and university settings and is glad for the important social impact investment work of Oikocredit.

Michelle Peterson, Director, Vancouver BC

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!

Get in touch

Oikocredit Canada
c/o Centre for Social Innovation
192 Spadina Avenue
Suite 300
Toronto ON M5T 2C2
workT: 1-647-546-2393