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Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

The Senior Leadership Team at CCSA is comprised of eight people. They are responsible for ensuring CCSA achieves its strategic goals. The team develops strategic directions that align with the mandate of the organization and its core functions.


Rita Notarandrea, Chief Executive Officer 

Learn more about Rita

Rita is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization and its overall management. She is accountable for the performance of CCSA, its projects, programs, staff and associates. In partnership with the Chair, Rita enables the Board of Directors to fulfill its governance role, and facilitates the optimum interaction between management and the Board of Directors. She also provides direction for the formulation of CCSA's mission, strategy and annual objectives, and leadership in their achievement.

Rhowena Martin, Vice-President, Operations and Strategies


Rhowena provides operational leadership and direction in implementing the organization’s mandate to address substance use and addiction. She gives ongoing strategic leadership and advice to the CEO, while using strong business and operational planning to cultivate organizational excellence and efficiency. She also oversees the Public Affairs and Communications, Information Systems and Web Services, Quality and Performance Measurement, and Human Resources divisions.

Ryan McCarthy, Director, Knowledge Mobilization

Ryan bridges the gap between what CCSA knows and what it does in the field of substance use and addiction using his knowledge mobilization techniques and experience. He ensures implementation and continuous improvement of the knowledge mobilization framework, with a focus on encouraging the uptake of CCSA products, while providing day-to-day leadership and guidance to the knowledge mobilization team.

Amy Porath, Director, Research


Amy ensures that CCSA advances knowledge in the substance use and addiction field by providing the best available evidence and research-based policy analysis to inform national policies and professional practice, and to respond to gaps in knowledge. She encourages collaborations with and among researchers linked with the addictions field to monitor emerging trends and bring multi-disciplinary perspectives to addictions research.

Rebecca Jesseman, Director, Policy


Rebecca builds and manages policy capacity at CCSA by providing subject-matter expertise, policy analysis and strategic advice. She works in collaboration with CCSA’s external facing divisions to communicate key messages and assists in the knowledge mobilization of research findings to promote evidence-informed policy and practice.

Catherine Frame​​​, Director, Finance​


Catherine manages CCSA's financial and reporting systems. She ensures they have the capacity to meet the Centre’s strategic directions, and internal and external reporting requirements. She acts as the leading interface between management and the Board of Directors' Finance and Audit Committees on financial matters.

Darlene Pinto, Director, Human Resources


Darlene leads the design and implementation of progressive, innovative and cost-effective employee programs and practices. These programs and practices enhance CCSA’s working environment and culture to increase employee engagement. She supports CCSA employees by delivering results in human resource policy development, performance management, professional development, staffing and compensation.

Scott Hannant, Director, Public Affairs and Communications ​


Scott leads the promotion of CCSA as Canada's national, unique voice on substance-related issues. He uses a range of public affairs, government relations and communications services and advice to support this mandate. He also supports the strategic directions and activities of other divisions through marketing, communications, design, publishing and translation.

Ahmer Gulzar, Director, Information Systems and Web Services​


Ahmer optimizes the use of tools, systems and processes to ensure CCSA achieves its strategic goals and maximizes organizational efficiency and effective information management and information technology practices and support. He is also responsible for enhancing CCSA’s online presence, products and performance through developing informed technology strategies and innovative solutions.

Pamela Kent, Associate Director, Research​


Pam actively collaborates with the director of research to ensure that CCSA advances knowledge in the substance use and addiction field. She seeks out opportunities and creates initiatives that position CCSA to meet its research objectives. She provides strategic advice and mentorship to CCSA’s team of researchers. Pam is also responsible for developing CCSA’s Issues of Substance conference program.

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