YM Markus MD MPH&TM FRCPC CMRO – Medical Director
Dr. Markus is a specialist in occupational medicine, addiction medicine, public health, and tropical medicine. He is a medical graduate (MD) of the University of Toronto and holds a Masters of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (MPH&TM with honours) from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Markus completed his five year residency program in Occupational Medicine from the University of Toronto where he held the position of Chief Resident and now holds a Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCPC) in this specialty. Dr. Markus is a Certified Medical Review Officer (CMRO) for drug testing in the workplace and has experience in medical surveillance, independent medical evaluations and industrial toxicology. He has been actively involved in treating opiate dependence in the workplace and in the clinical setting since 2009, and has completed the Opiate Dependence Treatment Certificate Program at the University of Toronto. His interests include health and safety in the workplace, workplace addictions, emerging infectious diseases, as well as prevention of diseases related to global travel and high-risk environments. He c0-founded Vector Medical Corporation in 2013 remains the Chief Medical Officer.
Mandeep Sandhu R.P ,R.I.H.R – Managing Director
With nearly a decade of experience in her private and drug recovery centre management, Mandy oversees Freedom’s operations and its respected programmes. A respected leader in psychotherapy, she has overseen various drug and addiction recovery centres throughout the GTA. Mandy has substantial experience in recovery program development and delivery, with a deep knowledge of drug addiction, treatment and methodology.
Mandy has appeared on television broadcasts discussing drug and substance abuse and addiction, and is a leading advocate for changes to provincial public policy. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Mandy is a registered Psychotherapist, and holds a diploma in Psychotherapy from Toronto’s Transformational Arts College.
She is recognized as a professional Registered in Human Relations (R.I.H.R.) by the Canadian Examining Board of Health Care Practitioners. Mandy is currently pursuing her BA (hons) in Psychology at York university.
A motivational speaker, Mandy also sits on the board of York Region Violence against Women Coordinating Committee, and is a member of: the Aurora Chamber of Commerce; Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association; the Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation and Sundoor International certified Motivational Coach. Mandy lives in York Region happily with her loving family and is a proud mom.
Franco Lupo – Executive Director
A heroic story in his own right, and very fitting one, Frank worked for one of Canada’s largest industrial contractors, and later a self-employed industrial business success story. Becoming addicted to prescription drugs after a work-related injury, Frank lost everything.
Lupo’s story is inspiring, having everything in the world, including his family, and then losing it to prescription drug addiction. After turning his life around, and being clean for several years, Frank worked at various recovery centres prior to dedicating his life and funds to help others who like him were on the verge of despair and suffering from addiction.
Today, Frank is a leading force at Freedom, the leading recovery centre in the GTA, and is very active in the community with those less fortunate. Franco helped open the centre to help others just like him get better and live their dreams, establish themselves, help mend broken families, and live productive lives. Frank has a fun sense of humour, and is a loving and proud dad and husband.
Liz Bloom C.C.A.C, RP – Family/Lead Counsellor
Liz brings a wealth of counseling experience and really connects with those in need of help. Liz is a member in good standing of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and the Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation.
Liz utilizes a variety of therapeutic interventions including: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy and Inner Child work. Liz has appeared on ‘Living Clean, Living Well’ discussing drug and substance abuse and addiction.
She is Past President and volunteers with PFLAG Durham Region, which offers support and education for the LGTBQ community, and is a former volunteer crisis worker at the Durham Distress Centre. Liz graduated with High Honours in Addiction Studies and Counseling from Centennial College, and holds her Reiki Level 2 Practitioner certificate. She is currently enrolled in the Discovering The Total Self program at the Transformational Arts College in Toronto.
Anna Paliouris B.A.H. Dip. C.S, M.A, R.P. Gestalt Therapist – Senior Therapist
Anna has received her B.A. Specialist in Psychology from University of Toronto, her Dip. C.S., Diploma in Assessment and Counselling (Masters equivalent) specialty in children, teenagers and families at the Institute of Child Study University of Toronto and her M.A. in Special Education at the Applied Psychology Department of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education OISE.
Anna is an Internationally Certified Life Coach and has studied for two years Gestalt Therapy at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto.
Anna is Registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists CRPO and is a member of the Ontario Association of Counselors Consultants Psychometrists and Psychotherapists OACCPP.
Anna has many years of experience working as a Psychotherapist with children, teenagers, couples, families, adults and groups in a variety of settings such as: private practice (working as a psychotherapist with a number of registered psychologists), educational environments (schools, boards of education), higher education and hospital settings ( working as a psychometrist/consultant/researcher for OISE, and Mount Sinai Hospital), Ministry of Health (sexual abuse and assault therapist), being registered with Victim Services in two areas of Ontario and as a Psychotherapist in private practice.
Anna has been working with children suffering from anxiety, behavioural issues, school related learning difficulties, aggression, sexual abuse, and in parental court ordered re-integration often having to testify in court as an expert witness.
She has worked with teenagers and adults suffering from depression, anxiety, obsessions, phobias, mood disorders (bipolar, borderline personality), psychosis, addictions (alcohol, drugs, work, shopping, sex), anger, relationship issues, eating disorders, MVA’s, chronic pain, critically ill, bereavement.
Anna uses an eclectic approach to therapy by incorporating a variety of treatment modalities and will also use when appropriate; art, play therapy, Gestalt therapy, and relaxation therapy.
Jay Albi – Counselor Assistant, Sober Coach
Jay is a counselor assistant and sober coach at Freedom – he works with clients on the 12 step program. After experiencing his own struggles with addiction for many years which impacted his life and his family, Jay found himself and began his successful road to recovery.
Clean for a decade now, Jay uses his personal experiences to help those who now struggle from drug and alcohol addiction. Jay’s experiences are very inspiring and he knows exactly what a client is going through – because he’s been there. Jay is also very active in the community with those less fortunate. At Freedom he works with clients to get better, set goals, establish themselves, and get back to leading the life they should be leading.
Mel Berardi C.C.A.C. – Addictions Counsellor
A beacon of inspiration and hope for those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, Mel, a former childhood victim of abuse and addiction, hit the verge of despair, only to never give up entirely on life.
After hitting rock bottom, Mel put his life together and got help. He returned to school and improved himself, becoming clean, sober, and then entering the addictions recovery treatment world to change lives of families and individuals for the better.
Mel pursued, and successfully completed, an honours diploma in Addictions and Community Service Worker from Toronto’s Everest College. He has previously worked and done placements at other treatment centres in the GTA, including Renascent Centre in Toronto. He has volunteered in the community with Toronto’s East General Hospital with AA meeting coordination and helping at many homeless shelters.
Compassionate, caring, humorous and understanding, and completely clean and sober for 7 years, Mel works with clients directly in their pursuit to recovery and pursuing their dreams and having a fulfilling life. Mel is the proud father of two adult children.
Kristy Korten B.A, M.A – Addictions Counsellor
Kristy is a qualifying member with the College of Registered Psychotherapists. She completed her Masters of Arts in Counselling at Providence Theological Seminary in Manitoba. In addition to her studies in counselling, Kristy has studied and experienced a variety cultures and religions.
Prior to working at Freedom Kristy provided counselling services in Rwanda to assist in the emotional healing process from the genocide over 20 years ago. In addition to her work at Freedom, Kristy also volunteers with Durham Region Victim Services providing care and support for victims under distress. In session Kristy uses a person centered approach to counselling; utilizing many theories and techniques to meet her client’s needs including: Emotion Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Art Therapy, Mindfulness/Relaxation Techniques and more.
Shawna Turner – Addictions Counsellor
Shawna is an Addictions Counselor acquiring her education at Ryerson University in Toronto where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Her passion and interest in helping others has driven her to continue her education at Durham College where she attained a post graduate Certificate in Mental Health and Addictions with Honours. Shawna brings a wonderful energy to Freedom from Addiction. Her compassion and approachable demeanor helps her connect with clients. She is able to deliver client centred therapy effectively. Shawna has formal training in standard CPR. Her wealth of knowledge allows her to educate clients about structured relapse prevention & intervention, psychopharmacology, the psychology of addiction, stress management and many more.
Ifor Parry – Addictions Counsellor
Ifor is a graduate of the Human Services Counsellor Program at George Brown College in 2005. He completed his placement hours at The Center for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, where he was a Court Liaison Officer at The Drug Treatment Court in Old City Hall and at a men’s residential treatment center.
Ifor moved from Toronto to the United Kingdom in May of 2005 to work with ‘youth at risk’ of absconding at Bryn Melyn for Youg People. He remained in the UK for 8 years as an accredited addictions counsellor with FDAP (Federation of Drug and Alcohol Practitioners). He has been employed as a Criminal Justice Intervention worker, a Substance Misuse Practitioner and a Senior Practitioner throughout his stay in the UK. Ifor also obtained several National Qualifications at the University of Chester and Leeds University. In 2012 he received a Level 1 certification in prescribing controlled medication with the Royal College of General Practitioners for treatment within substance misuse and health & social care. Ifor’s career then took him to Thailand, where he worked at a Rehabilitation Centre in Chiang Mai. Ifor moved back to Canada in 2013 where he continues his career helping people that struggle with the disease of addiction.
Jason Lemos – Addictions Counselor
Jason received his Diploma in Addictions and Community Service worker from CDI College Mississauga. Jason is a member of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF). He has training in Applied Suicide Prevention Skills Training (ASIST). Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVIC), mental health in diverse populations, First aid and CPR.
Jason a recovering addict himself suffered from drug addiction for over a decade. He understands the impact addiction can have on an individual and their families. Since deciding to get clean Jason has pursued an education and career in the field of addictions. Jason is compassionate and dedicated to working with those suffering from the disease of addiction.
Ali Shaikh – Addictions Counsellor
Ali Shaikh is a Registered Social Service worker, affiliated with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Worker (OCSWSSW). Ali completed his Social Service Diploma from Seneca College of Arts and Technology with specialized courses in Mental Health and Rehabilitation. Ali has also received formal training and certification in First Aid, CPR and CPI (Non-Violent Crisis Intervention). He has been working in the field of mental health for over five years. Ali believes in modules from Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) combine with holistic approaches to empower the clients to help with their recovery process.
Kate Pindera B.A.H – Intake Coordinator/Executive Asst./Addiction Counsellor
Kate is an Addiction’s Counsellor. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Honours Psychology at the University of Guelph in 2014 and received her Post-Graduate Certificate in Addiction Counselling from Georgian College in 2015.
Kate previously worked for Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie in the Addiction Services Withdrawal Management Department as well as volunteered at Homewood Health Centre in Guelph. Kate is the Addiction Intake Coordinator and Executive Assistant at Freedom. Kate is passionate about the addiction field and is empowered to help others lead a healthy recovery.
Kristina McLenaghan CHRP, BSC – Human Resources Manager
Kristina has been a Human Resources Professional for the past 19 years. Recruited straight out of University by a Global Employment Staffing Agency, Kristina has worked in both the agency environment as well as the corporate. Graduating from the University of Toronto in 1997, Kristina holds a Double B.Sc in Abnormal Psychology and Criminology as well as an Associates Degree in Human Resources Management.
Having a real love for the Human Resources industry has only grown over the years; taking care of and helping to implement amazing teams across several industries is what keeps Kristina engaged; continuous learning and being connected to leading Human Resources associations helps keep Kristina up to date and current on the always changing policies and procedures of business and employment.
Kristina currently lives in Barrie, Ontario with her husband and son; she is passionate about kayaking, rugby, lacrosse and hockey.
Lisa Herron (Registered Practical Nurse)
Lisa Herron (RPN) is a tactful and very caring individual, that is professionally trained as a Registered Practical Nurse. Lisa earned her Practical Nursing Diploma at Georgian college in 2014, In 2012 Lisa obtained her certificate for Pre-Health Sciences. Lisa has her HCP/CPR certificate and is also a member of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO).
Lisa has had clinical experiences in Medical Complex care , Obstetrics, and at Mental Health units at a variety of different hospitals in the region. Lisa is a compassionate individual that thrives on caring for others. Lisa career path of life-long learning continues to challenge her to upgrade her competencies and provide excellence in nursing practice. And, as a nurse with experience in a variety of practice settings she has a firm understanding of the realities of the front-line Nurse.
Francesco Butera – R.P.N.
Studied at Durham College and received his diploma in Practical Nursing in 2015. Since then, he has been in the Acute Medicine field, working closely with nationally renowned physicians at Markham Stouffville Hospital. He has extensive knowledge in health assessment and symptom management with experience working in mental health and addictions both from a medical and psychosocial perspective. Francesco’s approach to healthcare is holistic. He takes his time connecting clients with necessary external resources and advocates for a client’s over-all well being.
Francesco is currently a member of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO) and has his Basic Cardiac Life Supporter’s certificate (BCLS), and currently completing his Coronary Care I and II courses (CC I, II).
Francesco brings to the able leadership and initiative, but more importantly Francesco brings empathy and patience.
Nathan Gagnier – R.P.N.
Nathan Gagnier is a Registered Practical Nurse and a Member of Registered Practical Nurses of Ontario (RPNAO). Nathan graduated from St. Clair College Registered Practical Nursing Program in 2012 has been a Nursing Supervisor for a Long Term Care Facility for more than two years, specializing in Mental Health. Prior to nursing Nathan completed two years of Law and Security and one year of Police Foundations with a keen understanding and knowledge background in corrections and rehabilitation services.
Nathan has completed multiple courses including CPR and First Aid, Gentle Persuasion, Wound Care Level One, Advanced Life Support, IV Therapy and Phlebotomy. Nathan has clinical practice experience in Mental Health, Medical Complex Units, Neurology and Neurosurgery and Post Medical Surgical Units at a variety of hospitals. Nathan has a keen knowledge background in working within the community as well as the private sector. His life-long learning and ambitious attitude creates a positive and energetic environment for all clients. He has a very positive attitude and has a pure sense of desire to help those in need and willing to make the change. Nathan has a strong passion for caring for clients and a commitment to providing the best nursing skills needed.
Rhonald Pascul – R.P.N.
is a Registered Practical Nurse and a member of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO). He has been a nurse since 2012. Rhonald has been an internationally educated nurse since 2004, working in Med-Surg, ER, ICU, and CCU units. These areas have paved the path for Rhonald to exceed in improving clinical competency standards. Rhonald became a member of My Alma Mater’s academe and was given the chance to teach his skills, knowledge and competency to nursing students. Rhonald has a very strong passion for learning and teaching nursing. He is a very valuable team member with a positive attitude and a strong passion for clients in his care.
Sairah Gonzales – Registered Practical Nurse
Sairah is a Registered Practical Nurse and a Member of Registered Practical Nurses of Ontario (RPNAO). She has earned a practical nursing diploma from Toronto’s Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology and is CPR and First Aid certified.
Prior to joining the Freedom team, Sairah carried out her studies with nurse duties at Toronto’s CAMH – Canada’s leading hospital in addictions and mental health, and with Extendicare, a private medical healthcare home care company. She has also worked as a private nurse in home care delivery, working with youth, adults, seniors and families in the GTA.
Mirek Rembisz – Fitness Trainer
Mirek Rembisz has been working for Freedom from Addiction as a Personal Trainer since February 2015. His role involves being responsible for all clients physical recovery. Mirek was born in Poland where he played as a semi-professional soccer player for over 15 years. As well, Mirek completed his Masters Degree in Physical Education and a few years later moved to Ireland where he lived for 10 years. Mirek has been working in this industry for over 10 years helping people achieve their fitness goals. Mirek holds numerous certifications such as CanFitPro Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer as well as ITEC Personal Trainer and Holistic & Sports Massage. Mirek has taught and coached for many years both in Poland and Ireland. Additionally, Mirek worked for one of the biggest fitness companies in Ireland.
Denan Basalic – Head Chef
Denan comes to freedom with over 10 years of culinary experience and 5 years of management experience. He has extensive experience cooking for large groups through multiple catering companies as well as restaurant and retirement home experience. Prior to beginning his career Denan studied culinary arts for many years, he began with at the International Chef Collage of Catering and Trading for 3 years. He then completed 3 years at the Collage of Technician and Culinary Arts while also completing his Red Seal. Denan also received a Diploma in Technician of Hotel Management/Tourism. He has used his many years of experience and training to provide everyone at Freedom with nutritious and delicious meals.
Nelson Salazar – Chef
Nelson Salazar’s Culinary career started in Dubai and progressed to many different food industries such as hotels, retirement homes, and restaurants (Italian, North American and Asian cuisines) for over 7 years. Nelson completed his Journeyman as a Chef from the College of Ontario. Nelson believes that having a good life is having good food.
Philippe Lacaille – Holistic Practitioner
For over 40 years, Paul Price has been a leader in natural healing techniques. Paul is a trained practitioner and teacher of energy healing , and is one the founders of one of Ontario’s largest spiritual retreat centres – the King View Farm.
A highly sought after genuine, engaging and calming public speaker, instructor and mentor, Paul has taught energy healing work around the world to thousands while operating his own public practice in Toronto for the past 35 years.
He works as a practitioner at Freedom and continues to work in hospitals where he assists those in need, working with those suffering from addictions, in addition to individuals and families suffering with palliative care issues.
Paul Price – Holistic Practitioner
For over 40 years, Paul Price has been a leader in natural healing techniques. Paul is a trained practitioner and teacher of energy healing , and is one the founders of one of Ontario’s largest spiritual retreat centres – the King View Farm. A highly sought after genuine, engaging and calming public speaker, instructor and mentor, Paul has taught energy healing work around the world to thousands while operating his own public practice in Toronto for the past 35 years. He works as a practitioner at Freedom and continues to work in hospitals where he assists those in need, working with those suffering from addictions, in addition to individuals and families suffering with palliative care issues.