Board of Directors
George Brown is a lawyer and social entrepreneur. He is Principal of George Brown Law. Prior to this, George spent nine years as President of the Ottawa Community Loan Fund. (OCLF) as well as 9 years as a City and Regional Councillor in Ottawa. As a Councillor, he served as Chair of the City’s Economic Affairs Committee and the Region’s Environmental Services Committee. As Chair of Economic Affairs, George played a significant role in initiating and developing the Ottawa Entrepreneurship Centre, as well as promoting community economic development throughout the City of Ottawa, including the establishment of the OCLF. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Community Economic Development from New Hampshire College’s Graduate School of Business (now Southern New Hampshire University) and an LL.B. degree from the University of Ottawa Law School. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in September, 2003. George is a Senior Research Fellow with the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation as well as a Part-Time Professor at the University of Ottawa Law School. He is a member of United Way/Centraide Ottawa’s Community Investment Committee.
Duff Conacher, LL.B., is an internationally recognized leader in the area of democratic reform and government accountability. He is a former Ralph Nader’s Raider and he has worked as a researcher, community organizer and educator, legal intern and consultant. A graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, he has a long-standing interest in democratic process and corporate responsibility issues. He was the main Founder of Democracy Watch, was Coordinator from 1993 to June 2011, and is still a Director and spokesperson on many issues for the organization. He is now the Coordinator of the national educational charity Your Canada, Your Constitution (YCYC), and also heads the firm GoodOrg.ca Consulting which provides advice and services to governments, businesses and citizen organizations in the areas of good governance, ethics, responsibility, communications, stakeholder and public relations. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto.
As Coordinator of Democracy Watch, he led the organization to win more changes to laws, regulations and government policies than any other citizen advocacy group in Canada (as of June 2011, more than 110 changes strengthening government accountability and corporate responsibility measures in 16 key Canadian federal laws, 6 key federal policies, and 7 provincial laws). Many of the changes are world-leading.
Through this time period, Democracy Watch obtained national Canadian media coverage on average 10 times each month, and regional and local media coverage on average 40 times each month. As well, Democracy Watch’s website, with more than 1.4 million hits annually, is the #1 citizen group website in Canada when the Internet is searched using the search words “democracy” or “government ethics” or “honesty in politics” or “money in politics” or “bank accountability” or “corporate responsibility”.
Duff also led Democracy Watch to win the first-ever ethics court challenge (archive website) of the federal government in July 2004, and the second-ever ethics court challenge (archive website) in March 2009. Among the 40 leading good government and corporate responsibility reports he has authored or co-authored, he wrote the report on Canada for Transparency International’s 2004 Global Corruption Report (archive website) and wrote the first three reports on Canada for the 2007 Global Integrity Report (archive website), the 2008 Global Integrity Report (archive website), and the 2010 Global Integrity Report.
He also organized Democracy Watch’s many coalitions — the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition, (a nation-wide bank accountability coalition made up of 100 citizen groups), the Corporate Responsibility Coalition, the Government Ethics Coalition and the Open Government Coalition — which along with the Money in Politics Coalition are coordinated by Democracy Watch and its charitable partner organization, the Democracy Education Network (DEN).
Duff has also designed and delivered dozens of civics education and organizational development workshops over the past 17 years as Assistant Coordinator of DEN.
His past work includes organizing the first chapter of Quebec PIRG (Quebec Public Interest Research Group) at McGill University in 1988, serving as a member of the Board of Directors of University of Toronto and Ontario PIRG from 1988 to 1991, and playing a key support role in organizing PIRG chapters at four other universities in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta between 1988 and 2002. He is is also co-author, with Ralph Nader and Nadia Milleron, of Canada firsts: Ralph Nader’s Salute to Canada and Canadian Achievement which spent six months on Canadian best-seller lists in 1993 and was the #1 best-seller for five weeks, and author of the best-selling More Canada Firsts: Another Collection of Canadian Firsts and Foremosts in the World (1999).
David Shulman is the Coordinator of DEN has written and spoken extensively on citizen participation and citizenship education in Canada and the United States. He has worked with governments, foundations and school boards on the planning, delivery and evaluation of citizen participation programs for youth and adults. He is the former president of the Ontario Community Education Association, and in 1993 became the founding Coordinator of the Democracy Education Network. Among his other responsibilities, he is a social studies, civics and communications teacher for for various school and church programs in Toronto.
Tyler Sommers, MPM, has worked as a researcher and community organizer focusing his efforts on understanding the motivations for political involvement and assisting Canadians in becoming active and effective community participants.
He is a founder of the Canadian Youth Assembly, an organization seeking to educate youth about community participation, to encourage community participation, and to strengthen the bonds between youth and community leaders.
He has been involved with several University of Toronto research projects covering democratic reform and motivations of political engagement and activity. Tyler recently took part in Carleton University’s graduate program in Political Management, the only of its kind in Canada, making him one of the first graduates of this program.
As Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Assistant Coordinator of the Democracy Education Network he hopes to continue the success of both organizations and further the involvement of Canadians through outreach and information. Tyler believes that his passion for democratic and community involvement will serve the organizations as he strives to develop the reach and networks of both organizations.