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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.