Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)


Helen Burstyn, Chair


Appointed by the Province of Ontario in February 2016 and assumed the role of Chair in January 2017. 


Helen Burstyn has enjoyed a 35-year career in government, business, academia, broadcasting and community service.


She is currently the Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Social Venture Zone at Ryerson University and the co-host of Toronto Files on RogersTV, a weekly community affairs program focusing on the people and issues that matter to Toronto.


The former Chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Helen also served for several years as the Government of Ontario’s Special Advisor, Social Enterprise and Chair of the Partnership Forum, the province’s advisory body on the not-for-profit and voluntary sectors.


Helen is a director of many non-profit and charitable organizations. She currently serves as Chair of Evergreen and The Walrus Foundation. She is a board member of the Canadian Opera Company, Harmony Hall Centre for Seniors, The Learning Partnership, Luminato, Prime Ministers Row (Ottawa), Soundstreams, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and the Toronto Public Library Foundation. She is also on the advisory boards of LIFT Philanthropy Partners, the Koffler Centre for the Arts and The Pecaut Centre for Social Impact (LEAP), an organization she co-founded. She served for nine years as a Trustee of CAMH and is a past-president of the Canadian Club of Toronto, co-founder of Gilda's Club Greater Toronto and a founding member of Equal Voice.


Helen is the author of Eleven Out of Ten: The Life and Work of David Pecaut. She is the recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Community Leadership and the Ontario Citizenship Award for Volunteer Service.

In December 2017, Helen was named Member (C.M.) of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours, in recognition of her outstanding achievement and leadership of a range of non-profit organizations dedicated to arts and culture, literacy, health and the environment.

Helen attended the University of Windsor (Honours BA), McMaster University in Hamilton (MA) and continued her post-graduate studies in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto (ABD). She has four daughters and three granddaughters, and lives in midtown Toronto.