Santis is a team of doers, drivers and trusted advisors for the most significant policy shifts in health care over the last decade. Our team provides clear insights, an unmatched network of relationships and years of direct experience implementing the health system changes that matter to our clients.

Dylan Brenneman

Position: Consultant
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Toronto
surname: Brenneman

Role at Santis

Dylan provides government relations, communications and project management support to clients and the Santis team.

Experience

Prior to joining Santis, Dylan completed a Work Integrated Learning placement at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in the Communications and Government Affairs division. Dylan has worked on multiple election campaigns at the provincial and federal levels for Mike Schreiner, MPP for Guelph, and Gord Miller, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. He worked in Mike Schreiner’s office at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and helped draft Private Members’ Public Bill 71, Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act.

Volunteerism and Education

Dylan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Development and Political Science from the University of Guelph. He also holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Government Relations from Seneca College. He has previously volunteered for Vote Savvy, a non partisan team which encourages young people to become involved in the political process.

Dylan Brenneman

Consultant

Dylan provides government relations, communications and project

Ian Chesney

Ian Chesney

Position: Associate
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Ottawa
surname: Chesney

Role at Santis

Based in Ottawa, Ian provides strategic support and advice on policy development to provincial and national clients, as well as expertise in government relations, communications, stakeholder engagement and project management.

Experience

Ian brings a wealth of experience in government working for both political offices as well as the civil service. Prior to joining Santis, Ian served as Senior Policy Advisor to former Ontario Ministers of Health, Dr. Eric Hoskins and Dr. Helena Jaczek where he led a number of files related to long-term care, health workforce planning, health profession regulatory affairs and health promotion.

During his time in the Minister’s office Ian developed and implemented key health care policy including Ontario’s Aging with Confidence Strategy for Seniors and the allocation of over 5,000 new long-term care beds, as well as new legislation and regulation to expand the scope of practice of health care professionals. He has extensive knowledge of the complex labour relations and regulatory environment of health care professions, as well as the long-term care sector.

Volunteerism and Education

Ian holds a master’s degree in public service from the University of Waterloo, and a B.A. (Honours) majoring in History from Queen’s University.

Ian Chesney

Associate

Role at Santis Based in Ottawa, Ian provides strategic support...

Peter Cleary

Position: Principal
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Ottawa
surname: Cleary

Role at Santis

Peter spearheads Santis Health’s Ottawa practice, supporting a wide range of federal, provincial and national clients throughout Canada on policy support, advocacy and public affairs.

Experience

Peter joined the firm after serving as Director of Parliamentary Affairs for the Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health in the Government of Canada. During his time on Parliament Hill, Peter maneuvered key initiatives through the legislative process including the government’s landmark assisted dying legislation and the successful negotiation of a 10-year health accord agreement with provinces and territories.

Previously, Peter has held senior roles for both the Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne governments, as the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and as Issues Manager for the former Minister of Health, Hon. Deb Matthews. Peter also served in several advisory capacities for the Minister of Community and Social Services.

Volunteerism and Education

Peter brings a decade of experience with three different governments to Santis, and also has past board experience on the Northumberland United Way Board of Directors and extensive political volunteer experience.

Peter Cleary

Principal

Role at Santis Peter spearheads Santis Health’s Ottawa practice, supporting...

Stephanie Gawur

Stephanie Gawur

Position: Principal
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Toronto
surname: Gawur

Role at Santis

With deep roots in politics, Stephanie leads Santis’ government relations team. In her role, Stephanie supports health care organizations as they navigate, influence and respond to changing political landscapes.

Experience

Stephanie specializes in government relations, issues management and municipal affairs. As an experienced consultant, Stephanie has an impressive track record driving change and achieving success for a number of health-sector clients including associations, pharmaceutical companies and innovative health tech companies.

Stephanie has also supported a number of municipal, provincial and federal campaigns over the last decade. She was instrumental in three consecutive and successful Toronto mayoral campaigns and contributed to several Progressive Conservative leadership campaigns in Ontario. Stephanie was also the Executive Assistant to a Member of Parliament, where she managed community outreach and engagement.

In addition to her political experience, Stephanie has held senior leadership positions at the Breast Cancer Society of Canada and the Canadian Association for Community Living. In these roles, she implemented strategic development programs and facilitated media relations as part of multi-faceted communications plans.

Volunteerism and Education

Stephanie served on the Board of Directors for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada and her local federal Conservative Party riding association. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen’s University and a Master of Science from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Stephanie Gawur

Principal

Role at Santis With deep roots in politics, Stephanie leads...

Patil Imasdounian

Position: Public Affairs Coordinator
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Ottawa
surname: Imasdounian

Role at Santis

Patil supports national and provincial clients, drafts communications products, and provides policy recommendations. Her role includes overseeing government relations and stakeholder engagement.

Experience

Prior to joining Santis, Patil held a number of roles within Queen’s Park. As a public engagement and outreach advisor for the PC government, she drafted communications products, facilitated dialogue between stakeholder and government, and aided in issues management. She developed and strengthened key relationships between the government and many stakeholder groups in Ontario.

Prior to this role, Patil served as an Executive Assistant to a Member of Provincial Parliament, where she managed external communications and fostered dialogue between constituents, stakeholders, and the government.

Patil has also supported a number of municipal, provincial and federal campaigns including the central campaign during the 2019 federal elections.

Volunteerism and Education

Patil completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto in 2019. She volunteers with several local and international development NGOs, namely through advising on grant applications.

Patil Imasdounian

Public Affairs Coordinator

Role at Santis Patil supports national and provincial clients, drafts...

Rachel May

Position: Government Relations Intern
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Toronto
surname: May

Role at Santis

Rachel provides support in the area of government relations to the Santis team and its clients.

Experience

Rachel has policy and political experience at each level of government and in the private sector. Prior to working at Santis, Rachel worked on the federal election campaign while interning for Member of Parliament Karen Vecchio.

Rachel remains involved as a Member of the Conservative Women’s Leadership Team by providing input for the Status of Women and Gender Equality committee reports. Rachel worked on John Tory’s mayoral campaign, managing communications and analyzing key election policy proposals to assess their political implications. Additionally, she has worked on campaigns at the provincial and party leadership levels.

Volunteerism and Education

Rachel recently graduated from the Master of Public Policy Program at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. At the Munk School, Rachel was a senior editor of the school’s paper, the Public Policy and Governance Review, where she edited and wrote articles on a broad range of topics. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western University.

Rachel May

Government Relations Intern

Role at Santis Rachel provides support in the area of...

Patrick Nelson

Patrick Nelson

Position: Principal
Categories: Communications, Government Relations
Location: Toronto
surname: Nelson

Role at Santis

At Santis, Patrick helps health care organizations adapt to the changing health care environment, influence government policy and improve their engagement with members and stakeholders. Patrick has expertise in strategic communications, government relations, public affairs and board governance.

Experience

Prior to joining Santis, Patrick served as the Executive Director of Public and Corporate Affairs at the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), the voice of the province’s 34,000 physicians. Over almost ten years, he led the OMA through several strategic communications campaigns, a comprehensive governance review, as well as a major rebranding of the organization. Under his tenure, member satisfaction with the OMA doubled to a record high and, over the course of a five-month advocacy campaign, the profession witnessed a remarkable 12 per cent increase in public trust.

Patrick also worked in senior communications roles in the Ontario government, as an aide to Ontario’s Minister of Health and as Director of Communications to the Minister of the Environment and to the Minister of Education.

Volunteerism and Education

Patrick is currently serving as Chair of the Board of Directors at ALS Canada, following 5 years on the Board serving as Co-Chair of the Client Services Advisory Committee and Chair of the Governance Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors at the Pine River Institute which helps treat adolescents with addiction and mental health challenges. He has also served for six years on the Board of Trustees at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, the largest children’s mental health treatment facility in Toronto. During that time, Hincks-Dellcrest presented him with an Award of Appreciation for his work in receiving additional funding from government to support mental health services for kids. Since 2014, Patrick has also served as the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants.

Patrick also coaches rep baseball and basketball in West Toronto.

Patrick Nelson

Principal

Role at Santis At Santis, Patrick helps health care organizations...

Caroline Pitfield

Position: Associate
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Ottawa
surname: Pitfield

Role at Santis

As a seasoned public servant, Caroline provides strategic advice to governments, boards, executives, and organizations navigating and impacting the Canadian health care sector.

Experience

Caroline joined Santis after 17 years in the federal public service. A lawyer by trade, Caroline first joined the public service in 2004 as legal counsel for Health Canada, after practicing corporate commercial litigation in Toronto. She has since held various senior management positions at Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Safety Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat. She was most recently a Director General at the Canada Border Services Agency, responsible for supporting various aspects of the Agency’s COVID-19 response.

In addition to an extensive understanding of the inner workings of government, Caroline has a unique expertise in federal health policy. She served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Health and as Director of Policy for the Hon. Jane Philpott and Hon. Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, Ministers of Health in the Government of Canada. In these positions, she supported the advancement of several key initiatives, including a comprehensive review of food, drug and consumer product legislation, the development of legislation and regulations on medical assistance in dying, cannabis and supervised consumption sites, and the negotiation of a new Health Accord with provinces and territories.

Volunteerism and Education

Caroline has volunteered with both the Ottawa Parkinson Society and Parkinson Canada, as a board member and in other capacities. She has an LLB and an LLM from the University of Toronto, the latter focused on health law and policy, as well as a BA from the University of Toronto, and an MA from the University of Pennsylvania. She shares a busy life in Ottawa with her husband, three children, two cats and a dog.

Caroline Pitfield

Associate

Role at Santis As a seasoned public servant, Caroline provides...

Marcel Saulnier

Position: Associate
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Ottawa
surname: Saulnier

Role at Santis

As an Associate, Marcel serves as an advisor to the Santis team and its clients on key health initiatives and supports them in achieving their strategic policy, health care policy and government relations objectives.

Experience

Marcel joined Santis after 30+ years of experience in the federal government focusing on strategic policy, health care policy, and intergovernmental relations. After holding several positions as a Policy Analyst, Marcel became a Policy Advisor for the Director of Policy in the Prime Minister’s Office, where he provided advice on key issues in the Health, Justice and Human Resources Development Portfolios.

Marcel has since held various leadership positions as the Director of Policy Research for the Canadian Medical Association, Director General of Policy Coordination and Director General of Health Care Strategies for Health Canada. Most notably, Marcel worked as the Executive Director, Secretariat for the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare for Health Canada. In this role he oversaw the work of the Advisory Council, provided leadership for the Council’s cross-country consultations, and collaborated with senior officials at Finance Canada, the Privy Council Office and Health Canada.

Prior to joining Santis, Marcel served as an Associate Assistant Deputy Minister for the Strategic Policy Branch of Health Canada. In his role he advised the Minister and Deputy Minister on health care policy and led Federal-Provincial-Territorial negotiations on bilateral agreements for mental health, home care and virtual care.

Volunteerism and Education

Marcel holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Economics from the University of Ottawa, along with a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Montreal. Marcel is fluently bilingual in English and French and has significant experience as a member of the Board of Directors of several pan-Canadian health organizations.

Marcel Saulnier

Associate

Role at Santis As an Associate, Marcel serves as an...

Chris Steer

Position: Senior Consultant, Government Relations
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Ottawa
surname: Steer

Role at Santis

An expert in government relations, community engagement and crisis communications, Chris helps Santis’ clients navigate the political environment and engage with government stakeholders at a provincial and federal level.

Experience

Chris has more than a decade of experience providing political and communications advice to politicians, not-for-profits and industry associations in Canada and internationally. An experienced political staff, Chris has worked on campaigns and in government at a local and state level in Queensland, Australia including as senior media advisor for a state government cabinet minister and for a major mayoral campaign.

Chris joined Santis with a background in health care advocacy, having worked on communications and government relations projects in health organizations across the globe, including for the Royal College of Anaesthetists in the UK and one of Australia’s largest health and long-term care providers.

With a background in issues management and crisis communications, Chris has supported a number of organizations as they navigate complex political issues. He worked at the Law Society of England and Wales during the lead up to Brexit and at the beginning of the #MeToo movement, and as a communications lead for an aged care provider in Queensland through the fallout from Australia’s Royal Commission into Aged Care.

Volunteerism and Education

Chris holds a Master of Political Management from Carleton University’s Riddell School of Political Management and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Studies and History from Queen’s University.

Chris Steer

Senior Consultant, Government Relations

Role at Santis An expert in government relations, community engagement and crisis...

Liz Thompson

Position: Consultant
Categories: Government Relations
Location: Toronto
surname: Thompson

Role at Santis

Liz provides support in communications, government relations and project management to the Santis team and its clients.

Experience

Prior to joining Santis, Liz completed her certificate in public relations at Humber College. Through this program she learned the fundamentals of public relations and the importance of a strategic communications plan. Liz has created and implemented multiple digital communications plans to clients during her time at Humber.

Liz brings social media expertise to the team through her former role as Chief Returning Officer at Durham College Students Inc. She built a digital election campaign to encourage students to engage with their student representatives and vote.

Volunteerism and Education

As a former Lifesaving sport athlete, Liz supports all social media initiatives for the Lifesaving Society of Ontario as the assistant to the Lifesaving Sport Promotions Chair. Liz has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University and a post-graduate certificate in public relations.

Liz Thompson

Consultant

Role at Santis Liz provides support in communications, government relations...