Directors’ Biographies

Daniel Thornton

Mr. Thornton is the former Chief Operating Officer of The Co-operators Life Insurance Company. As COO, he was responsible for the overall strategic and operational leadership for the organization. His retirement followed almost 40 years of service with the national insurance cooperative where he held a variety of senior management roles. In his role as Senior Vice President, Distribution, he oversaw the shift from career sales to an independent agency system.

Active in his community, Mr. Thornton was Chair for the Co-operative Sector for the United Way and the Regina Hospital Foundation. He has also held board roles on several insurance industry associations such as the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Mr. Thornton has served as Chair of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), as well as a board member on various CLHIA committees.

Mr. Thornton has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Guelph.

Mr. Thornton was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2011. He was elected as Chair of the Board of Directors in 2017.

Denis Berthiaume, FSA, FCIA

Denis Berthiaume is the former Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins Financial Corporation. Prior to this, he was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company and was responsible for overseeing the activities of Desjardins Securities, Disnat and Desjardins Asset Management.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Berthiaume held various management positions at Desjardins Financial Security. Mr. Berthiaume also worked for Standard Life Canada where he held the position of Senior Vice-President, Retail Markets.

Mr. Berthiaume was Chair of Assuris’ Industry Advisory Committee from 2015-2016. He was also a member of several corporate and volunteer boards including being a Director for Desjardins Securities, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) and Co-Chair for Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Foundation Major Fundraising Committee.

Mr. Berthiaume is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. He graduated from Laval University’s actuarial program.

Mr. Berthiaume was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2020.

Alain Brunet, FSA, FCIA

Alain Brunet was the Senior Vice-President and President Insurance at National Bank of Canada between 2006–2013. He was responsible for insurance activities of the following companies: National Bank Life Insurance, National Bank Insurance Firm, National Bank Assistance, National Bank General Insurance, Natcan Reinsurance and Innovasur (as Co-President). He also participated in the activities of the Personal and Commercial banking sectors of National Bank and was President of National Bank pension plan committee and oversaw corporate insurance programs at the bank.

Mr. Brunet worked, until 2006, for The Standard Life Assurance Company, he held various management positions in actuarial, sales and marketing over a 21-year period. As a member of the executive committee, Mr. Brunet acted as Senior Vice-President for retail markets and Senior Vice-President for sales and marketing for insurance and retail investments, group insurance and retirement. He was a board member of Standard Life pension plan, Standard Life Mutual Funds, Performa and Standard Life of Canada.

Mr. Brunet currently acts as a private investor and mentor in a technology start-up, Knova Web Technologies promoting a secure file sharing service TagMyDoc. He is a board member of the Canadian Auto Club (CAA) – Quebec and La Société des Alcools du Québec.

Mr. Brunet is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. Mr. Brunet graduated from Laval University’s actuarial program and attended Harvard Business School Program for Management Development.

Mr. Brunet was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2019.

Greta Cusworth

Greta Cusworth worked in the life insurance and investment business for over 30 years. As a Senior Vice President at Sun Life Financial, she led various Group and Individual businesses in Canada, the U.S. and Bermuda. She has extensive experience developing and implementing business strategy in North America, Asia and Europe. Ms. Cusworth is known for implementing major change, including mergers and acquisitions. She has recognized expertise in sales management working through sophisticated distribution channels.

Prior to joining Sun Life, Ms. Cusworth held leadership roles at Confederation Life Insurance Company.

In 2008, Ms. Cusworth was recognized by WXN Women’s Network as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the Corporate Executive category.

After retiring in 2012, Ms. Cusworth joined the board of The Savings Bank Mutual Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts (SBLI). She is a Fellow in Board Governance, as designated by the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC). In 2017, she was selected to CBDC’s Diversity 50, a roster of the country’s most diverse and eligible board candidates.

Ms. Cusworth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Queen’s University.

Ms. Cusworth was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2018.

Micheline Dionne, FCIA

Ms. Dionne was formerly Senior Vice President & Chief Actuary of RGA Canada. Throughout her career, Ms. Dionne has held senior roles with several life insurance companies and is noted for her expertise in product pricing, valuation of liabilities of policyholders, risk management and asset liability management.

Ms. Dionne is currently active with the International Actuarial Association (IAA). She is the Chair of the Insurance Accounting Task Force charged with writing the actuarial model standards on insurance. She is the IAA delegate on the IFRS Advisory Council.

Ms. Dionne is Past-President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA). She served with the Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting and the Actuarial Standards Board of Canada. She served twice on the CIA Board of Directors. She is currently a member of the Professionalism committee and sits on committees working on the insurance accounting standards application for actuaries. She is also the CIA delegate on the IAA Council.

Ms. Dionne is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and holds a Bachelor of Actuarial Science from Laval University.

Ms. Dionne was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2016.

Gordon M. Dunning, CPA, CA, ICD.D

Gordon Dunning is the President & CEO of Assuris. Prior to his appointment as President in 1999, Mr. Dunning held various positions at Assuris including Vice President where he was responsible for successfully overseeing the liquidations of Confederation Life, Sovereign Life and Les Coopérants.

Before joining Assuris, Mr. Dunning spent over ten years with major accounting firms in England and Toronto in a wide variety of assignments in manufacturing, retail, client services, financial services and real estate. Mr. Dunning moved to the financial services field in 1986 where he held positions in treasury, controllership, project management, sales and marketing in the trust, banking and life insurance sectors.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a Member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Mr. Dunning earned a Bachelor of Science from Leicester University in England.

Mr. Dunning was appointed to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 1999 coincident with becoming President & CEO.

Tricia O’Malley, FCPA, FCA

Tricia O’Malley chaired the Canadian Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) from 1999 to 2001 and 2009 to 2010. Ms. O’Malley was a member of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) from 2001 until 2007 before becoming a staff member as Director of Implementation Activities from 2007 to 2009.

Before joining the AcSB, Ms. O’Malley was a partner in the National Assurance and Professional Practice Group of KPMG Canada, where she consulted on complex accounting issues, with particular emphasis on financial instruments and structured finance transactions.

Ms. O’Malley has also served on numerous other Boards, including the Independent Electricity System Operator of Ontario and the National and Ontario Division boards of the MS Society of Canada. She currently chairs the Audit Committee of the Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. Ms. O’Malley is a member (from 2012) and past chair of the Canadian Actuarial Standards Oversight Council and a member of the Canadian Accounting Standards Oversight Council since 2013.

In 2011, Ms. O’Malley was named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. In 2012, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Ms. O’Malley received the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa from the University of Waterloo in 2016.

Ms. O’Malley completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) at the University of Manitoba and became a Chartered Accountant in Ontario in 1976. She was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 1991.

Ms. O’Malley was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2015.

Dr. Janis Sarra, S.J.D.

Dr. Janis Sarra is a Presidential Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Peter A. Allard School of Law. Her publications include ten books and more than one hundred articles in the areas of corporate finance, corporate governance and management, securities law, and commercial insolvency law.

Dr. Sarra currently serves as the Editor and Chair of the Annual Review of Insolvency Law. She was formerly a Director of the Canadian Insolvency Foundation and Director of the Canadian Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals Association (CAIRP).

Dr. Sarra was previously a Director of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC, and until 2007, was the Associate Dean of the Peter A. Allard School of Law.

Dr. Sarra held several positions within public policy development such as, the World Bank Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights Task Force, the Working Group on Insolvency of Non-Bank Financial Institutions, and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group on Corporate Groups and Cross-Border Insolvency Law. She is currently a member of the Canadian Delegation to UNCITRAL Working Group V on Insolvency Law.

Dr. Sarra holds five degrees from the University of Toronto in Political Science, Economics and Law.

Dr. Sarra was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2017.

Frank Swedlove

Mr. Frank Swedlove is the former President & CEO of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA). Mr. Swedlove is currently President of Swedlove Consulting Inc., a public policy consulting company.

Mr. Swedlove served as the first Chair of the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) from 2012 to 2014. Prior to his involvement in the insurance industry, Mr. Swedlove had a lengthy career in public service.

In 2006 and 2007, Mr. Swedlove was President of the Financial Action Task Force, the international body headquartered in Paris responsible for the fight against global money laundering and terrorist financing.

Mr. Swedlove served as a senior federal official. In his position as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Financial Sector Policy Branch of the Department of Finance, Mr. Swedlove was the principal advisor to several Ministers of Finance regarding policy development on financial institutions and Canadian financial markets. He played a key role in issues throughout the sector and in international trade in financial services.

In 2001, Mr. Swedlove was responsible for the financial sector review exercise, culminating in the total revamping of financial sector legislation. He was the first Chair of the Committee on Trade in Financial Services of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, the Chair of the Negotiating Group on Financial Services in the Uruguay Round of the WTO, and lead negotiator for Canada in financial services at the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

Mr. Swedlove is a recipient of both the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal for public service and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for service to the insurance industry.

Mr. Swedlove was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2018.

Mark Zelmer

Mark Zelmer has more than 30 years of experience dealing with financial sector policy and regulatory issues. He was formerly Deputy Superintendent of Financial Institutions at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). Prior to that, he worked for the Bank of Canada and the International Monetary Fund.

Among his many accomplishments, Mark was an active contributor to the global regulatory reform agenda in the wake of the financial crisis. As a member of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision from September 2008 through June 2016, he chaired the development of several macro-prudential components of the Basel III framework and led a peer-review assessment of the European Union’s adoption of Basel III capital requirements. He also served on the Financial Stability Board’s Standing Committee on Supervisory and Regulatory Cooperation from July 2014 to June 2016 and co-chaired its work on structural vulnerabilities associated with the global asset management industry.

Mark has been busy since his retirement from OSFI in 2016. Among other things, he helped assess the soundness of the Japanese banking system for the International Monetary Fund’s review of the Japanese financial system in 2017 and is currently conducting an independent review of the prudential oversight of a medium-sized bank for Her Majesty’s Treasury in the United Kingdom. He has also served as a senior fellow for the CD Howe Institute and co-authored a paper published by that institute in 2018 on international standard-setting.

Mark holds a Master of Science (Business Administration) degree from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from Queen’s University.

Mr. Zelmer was elected to the Board of Directors of Assuris in 2017.