ICISF-Canada, Inc. is committed to helping first responders and healthcare workers deal with critical incidents. Our dedicated board members, from diverse backgrounds, share a passion for mental health and bring clinical, financial, strategic, and fundraising expertise to ICISF-Canada, Inc. Their devotion is evident through tireless efforts to help shape the success of the organization.
Gregg “Scully” Schaalje is the 2021 recipient of CIPSRT’s Mental Health Champion Awards. He is the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee Award recipient for his outstanding work in mental health advocacy. Gregg has been a firefighter for 26 years and is currently a Firefighter/Lieutenant in Rocky View County Fire Services along with being a devoted husband and father of two children. He has also competed in FireFit for the past 24 years… and is still going strong!
Gregg has successfully achieved his degree in Business Administration with a major in emergency services, as well Gregg has also completed the Fire Service Leadership certification from Dalhousie University.
Gregg’s place of Zen is where the waters flow and the sky is blue near the mountains. Gregg has had to deal with becoming mentally strong from a very young age, as he is a true survivor of an unthinkable act that happened to him and had to learn how to become resilient as he grew up with the challenges that he faced both within himself and with family members. His love for the outdoors came naturally to him. This Calgary native spent most of his time in the outdoors, in the mountains, or on the water.
Gregg started out as a true volunteer firefighter and moved up the ladder of his career to the highest post as Fire Chief. He has received a 12-year Alberta Service Award and a 20 Year Federal Government Award. At the highest point in his career as a Fire Chief, Gregg realized that his mental health was not in a good place and the ladder he was on needed to be changed. So, in 2018 he hit the reset button on his life and “started over” as a probationary firefighter. Recently Gregg has completed a lifelong dream of becoming a pilot and was a co-founder of a foundation that created a coin to help first responder communities start the conversation about their mental wellness, psychological impact, and stress unique to first responders.
In the past, he has helped set up three peer support teams and programs, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) teams, and sits on the Rocky View County Fire Health and Wellness committee and leads Rocky View County Fire’s peer support team and as well is a proud team member of the Albert Critical Incident Provincial Network as a peer support member.
Gregg is honored and blessed to have been asked to be a team member on the board of ICISF-Canada.
Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Mike Onieu joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 1993 in Regina, Saskatchewan (home of the Roughriders).
He attended CMR St. Jean and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1998 as an Armoured Officer posted to Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) in Edmonton, Alberta.
LCol Onieu has served four tours on Regimental duty in various line and staff positions: Tank Troop Leader in C Squadron, Regimental Training Officer, Assistant Adjutant, Battle Captain and Second in Command A Squadron, Officer Commanding B Squadron and Regimental Second-in-Command.
He has deployed on operations with the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group in Kosovo as the tank troop leader in 1999, the 1st Battlion Royal Canadian Regiment Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team in Afghanistan as the Operations Officer in 2009, and with MONUSCO HQ on Operation CROCODILE in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014.
His service outside the Strathcona’s includes postings to The South Alberta Light Horse in Medicine Hat as the Regimental Support Staff Officer, the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Center in Wainwright as Exercise Plans Officer and then Adjutant, 3rd Canadian Division Headquarters in Edmonton as G3 Operations, and the Chief Force Development Group in Ottawa. Most recently, he served as the Base Commander of Canadian Forces Base Suffield.
LCol Onieu is a graduate of the British Joint Command and Staff College’s Advanced Command and Staff Course. He holds a Masters in Defense Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Royal Military College of Canada.
LCol Onieu returned to The South Alberta Light Horse as the Commanding Officer on 18 October 2020.
LCol Onieu’s immediate family includes his amazing and talented wife Carolyn, their son Edan and their daughter Aurora, a Siamese cat and one very rambunctious dog.
Dan Rude was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on May 24, 2018, after serving as Interim CEO since August 2017, and leads an organization of approximately 100 employees.
As CEO, Dan reports to the Boards of Directors of AUMA, AMSC, AMSCIS, MUNIX and APEX, and leads and manages the overall businesses to ensure strategic and business plans are effectively implemented, results are monitored and reported, and the financial and operational objectives are attained.
Dan has over 30 years’ experience in various strategic and senior management roles and organizations, including serving as Chief Financial Officer with the AUMA since 2004. Dan has also been very active serving with various community and volunteer organizations, including sitting as a Board of Director with Baseball Alberta.
Matthew McKeage is a primary care paramedic registered with the Alberta College of Paramedics. His career has varied from a “boots on the ground” EMS role in rural and remote communities, to management roles where he oversaw the regional operations of a performance-based, for-profit EHS provider. It was during his time in management where he helped facilitate the CISM peer support program for his colleagues.
Prior to EMS, Matt’s interest in mental health was sparked as he served as a security team leader in Atlantic Canada’s largest emergency department. During this time, he first witnessed the inability of the Canadian healthcare system to care for and support families seeking help in a mental health crisis. The following year, Matt dedicated time to interviewing mental health experts and members of the public from various backgrounds to explore issues, obstacles, and stigmas surrounding mental health.
Following his move to Alberta, Matt was a member of the RCMP Victims Services Unit in Cold Lake, where he assisted in minimizing the impact of crime and trauma on victims and their families, aided in their recovery, and promoted victim safety. In addition to preparing victims and witnesses for legal proceedings, this work aimed to decrease the likelihood of future victimization.
Matt was on the advisory committee for the Institute of Work & Health: Prevention of the PTSI
Work Disability Study. He recently created a project called Speaking Is Code, which focuses on promoting evidence-based mental health resources for healthcare workers, and public safety
personnel. As part of this initiative, he has hosted a national roundtable where he facilitated discussions between labor associations, public safety agencies and psychological experts.
Many of the attendees are responsible for implementing and studying evidence-based mental health resources for healthcare and public safety personnel in various regions of Canada.
For his work, Matt was recognized as one of the Canadian Institute’s for Public Safety Research and Treatment 2022 Champions of Mental Health. They described him as: “one who is passionate and committed -they walk the talk when it comes to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of everyone in their organizations.”
Matt’s goal is to use this information to help others to effectively reduce stigmas in mental health, and make it easier for members of the public and public safety personnel to seek psychological treatment. He is currently developing processes which utilize technology to educate and create a safe space for the general public to learn about mental health issues, and how to support others experiencing a variety of mental health crises.
Dr. Jeff T. Mitchell
Jeffrey T. Mitchell, PhD, CCISM is Clinical Professor of Emergency Health Services at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, Maryland and President Emeritus of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. He earned his Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland.
Dr. Mitchell serves on the graduate faculty of UMBC and also has served as a dissertation reviewer for numerous graduate students in international universities when their dissertations were related to emergency personnel. He has presented at conferences in twenty-eight nations around the globe.
After serving as a firefighter/paramedic, Dr. Mitchell developed a comprehensive, integrated, systematic, and multi-component crisis intervention program called “Critical Incident Stress Management.” He has authored over 275 articles and 19 books in the stress and crisis intervention fields and serves as an adjunct faculty member of the Emergency Management Institute of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Dr. Mitchell is a reviewer for the Journal of the American Medical Association and the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health. He received the Austrian Red Cross Bronze Medal for his work in Crisis Intervention in the aftermath of the Kaprum Train tunnel fire.
The Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists approved Dr. Mitchell as a Certified Trauma Specialist, and The United Nations appointed him to the United Nations Department of Safety and Security Working Group on Stress. He actively teaches CISM and consults with emergency services, military personnel, hospitals, business and industries on a regular basis.
Ronda is a regular member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and has been so for nearly 19 years. Ronda is currently the Acting Sergeant and NCO i/c of the RCMP’s first and only multi-disciplinary Proactive Employee Health Support Unit in E Division, British Columbia.
Throughout her career, Ronda has been a subject matter expert for the Province of BC, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General on Crisis Intervention and De-escalation, Trauma-Informed Practice, Domestic Violence and Fair and Impartial Policing. Ronda has been the recipient of numerous awards from various organizations and has been recognized by all levels of government for her work.
Ronda’s passion and expertise in the mental health and care of the clients she has served in the community has led Ronda to focus her attention on the psychological health and wellbeing of her colleagues. Ronda; with her holistic team and expert advisor, Dr. Alan Smitton, is developing Peer Support, Critical Incident Response and Reintegration Programs for the RCMP, Provincially and Nationally. Her work is essential to filling the long-standing gaps in organizational and operational support. Ronda is focussing on creating cultural change to ensure employees and their families not only survive, but thrive.
Ronda is well versed in current research and evidence-based, best practices and makes collaborating with experts in the field of policing culture and trauma a priority. Ronda has been the primary BC RCMP evaluator of numerous external vendor offerings; such as, R2MR, ASIST, MHFA and CISM for several years. Led by Ronda, the Proactive Employee Health Support Unit’s mandate is to ensure all programs and training for the RCMP align with current, best practices based on the expertise and guidance of her trusted advisors in first responder mental health.
Ronda has extensive experience in curriculum development and effective facilitation techniques, which enables her to develop and deliver training that is adult learning centred and meets the unique and high-risk needs of her RCMP colleagues.
Ronda has a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. She is a certified Hatha Yoga Teacher with an avid mindfulness practice. She volunteers her time to promote yoga and mindfulness to her fellow colleagues and youth in her communities. Ronda is a mother of two and is married to another RCMP member.
Dr. Nick Carleton
Board Member, Ex Officio
Nicholas Carleton, Ph.D., is a Professor of Clinical Psychology, a registered doctoral clinical psychologist in Saskatchewan. He has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and encyclopaedia entries exploring the fundamental bases of anxiety and related disorders.
He has completed more than 350 national and international conference presentations. His interests include biopsychosocial assessment and treatment of trauma-related disorders, focusing on lower-order (e.g., intolerance of uncertainty) and higher-order (e.g., extraversion) factors. He enjoys teaching and supervision of undergraduate and graduate students, and maintains a small private practice for military and public safety personnel who have anxiety and related disorders, particularly posttraumatic stress.
Board Member, Ex-Officio
Managing Director, Individual Investor Services, National Bank Financial Wealth Management CEO & Partner, Angus Watt Advisory Group
Angus Watt is Managing Director, Individual Investor Services, National Bank Financial, and mentor of the Angus Watt Advisory Group. He holds a degree in Political Science from York University.
Angus and his group manage over $1 Billion in assets, and are specialists in Investment Management as well as Portfolio Strategy, Financial Planning, Individual Insurance, Group Insurance and Benefits planning. As Central Alberta’s Business Authority, Angus broadcasts over 50 times per week on Global TV and 630 CHED.
Angus is Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Honorary Colonel of the South Alberta Light Horse regiment, Military Cup 2019 co-Chair, University of Alberta Chancellor’s Cup 2018 co-Chair, and Honorary Chair, 6th Annual Women Fore Pandas Golf Tournament. Angus has recently been appointed as Director, CN Edmonton Community Board, Founding Board member, International Critical Incident Stress Foundation – Canada and member of the Business Transition Forum (BTF), Edmonton Advisory Board. Angus is currently an advisor to Little Warriors Foundation and Past Advisor to the Hearing Foundation of Canada.
He is the past Chair, Alberta Order of Excellence, past Chair, Edmonton Consular Corps, past Treasurer, The Lieutenant Governor’s Circle of Mental Health, University of Alberta Senate past board member and past co-Chair, University of Alberta Senate Student Mental Health Endowment. Angus served as Chair of the United Way of Northern Alberta for two terms. He also served as Chair to the Minerva Foundation, The Support Network, and the Support Network Foundation. Angus was a Founder and Chair of the Edmonton Police Foundation, Telus Edmonton Community Board Advisor, and co-Chair to the David Foster & Friends Committee. Angus served as a member of the City of Edmonton Food and Agriculture Committee and the Canadian Cancer Society as an Advisor.
He is a past recipient of the “Paul Harris Fellow,” awarded by the Rotary Club of Canada. In 2012, Angus received The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Most recently, Angus received the Community Enrichment Award National Philanthropy Day 2017.
Ex Officio,Former Chair for Two Terms
Jennifer Martin has been a long standing member of the media and has fulfilled various positions in News management roles. She is based in Edmonton, Alberta. She is also the widow of a former police officer who died by suicide in 2011. Following his death she was herself diagnosed with PTSD.
She spoke about her experiences and insights into first responders and their families needs to several audiences and organizations including the Alberta Mental Health Foundation Breakfast, Canadian Association of Police Boards, Alberta Brain Injury Awareness Month Kickoff Breakfast, a BC Emergency Responders conference and Edmonton Police Service Senior Command retreat. In December 2018 she became Chair of the newly formed International Critical Incident Stress Foundation – Canada whose board members supported the Alberta Critical Incident Provincial Network and promoted a funding proposal submitted to the Alberta Government by the ACIPN, also in December 2018.
Jeff Sych is a registered psychologist who has dedicated his private practice to the wellbeing and recovery of first responders.
Jeff is trained in the assessment and evidence-based treatment of mental health conditions that arise from first responder service but prefers to present on building resistance and resilience so that first responders stay psychologically healthy and put him out of business by not needing his services any longer.
Currently, Jeff is engaged in conducting four research projects, funded through government grants, three in collaboration with the University of Regina and one with the University of Alberta. The focus of the research is on different aspects of delivering first responder mental wellness programs and their effectiveness.
Jeff is an ICISF Approved Instructor for both CISM peer support courses “Assisting Individuals in Crisis” and “Group Crisis Intervention.” He is the clinical director of seven CISM teams: first responder, hospital and corporate based. He provides expert consultation on mental wellness initiatives, CISM team development and functioning and participated directly in CISM interventions.
Over the past 3 years Jeff has trained over 1100 front-line public safety personnel and 100 leaders in emergency services in CISM Peer Support.
Malcolm McNeill is a psychological assistant and CISM Coordinator who has dedicated his focus of study to the wellbeing and resilience training of public safety personnel.
Malcolm holds a B.Sc. (Hon) in Psychology. He is an ICISF Approved Instructor for courses “Assisting Individuals in Crisis” and “Group Crisis Intervention”.
Malcolm has completed his Certificate in Critical Incident Stress Management (CCISM) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Maryland and is a CISM Network Coordinator for the Alberta Critical Incident Provincial Network, as well as supporting seven CISM teams in the areas of first responder, hospital and corporate based.
Malcolm is currently involved in four research projects, as the research assistant in collaboration with the University of Regina and two others with the same organization as well as one with the University of Alberta that focus on the impact and effectiveness of mental health and wellness programs for public safety personnel.
Over the past 3 years Malcolm has trained over 1100 front-line public safety personnel and 100 leaders in emergency services in CISM Peer Support.