Board of Directors
Carmen Abela was appointed to AECL’s Board of Directors in June 2017, for a term of three years, and reappointed in June of 2020 for a term of four years.
Ms. Abela is the Managing Director of WindReach Consulting Services Inc., an Ottawa-based consultancy that focuses on public sector oversight, internal audit, risk and performance management. For over twenty years, Ms. Abela has been advising senior leaders from various regulatory, Science & Technology, and operational departments and agencies on their governance, risk management and control processes. She previously served as the interim Chief Risk Officer of the Bank of Canada and brings to the Board specific expertise in Indigenous issues. Ms. Abela is internationally and domestically recognized as a leader in the field of risk management and internal audit and is regularly sought out as a speaker, author and advisor.
Ms. Abela is also a member of the Board of Directors for Colleges and Institutes Canada and is the former Chairperson of the Board for the Institute of Internal Auditors Canada.
She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Carleton University, is a Certified Internal Auditor and holds a Chartered Director designation from the Director’s College (McMaster University and the Conference Board)
Mr. Burpee was appointed as Chairperson of AECL’s Board of Directors in July 2019. He previously served as a director of AECL’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Board’s Human Resources and Governance Committee from June 2017 to July 2019.
Mr. Burpee brings almost four decades of experience as a senior strategist and executive in the electricity industry, having worked in a variety of senior management roles for Ontario Hydro and Ontario Power Generation. Mr. Burpee has also served as Chief Executive Officer at Bridge Renewable Energy Technologies Inc., a company which marketed Biomass Gasification Electricity Systems primarily in the developing world. Most recently, Mr. Burpee served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Electricity Association.
Mr. Burpee also sat on the board of the Energy Council of Canada and the Canadian Electricity Association, including one year as Chairperson.
Mr. Burpee is currently a Senior Counsel in the Energy and Environment Practice at Sussex Strategy Group.
Mr. Burpee holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and is a member of Professional Engineers Ontario and the Institute for Corporate Directors, and holds the ICD.D designation.
President and CEO
Fred Dermarkar is AECL’s President and CEO. He was appointed in February 2021 for a term of three years.
Prior to joining AECL, Fred was President and CEO of the CANDU Owners Group, where he led the not-for‐profit organization to advance collaboration between CANDU nuclear reactor operators worldwide.
Fred has been working in the Canadian nuclear industry for close to 40 years. Throughout his career, he has occupied a variety of key technical and senior leadership positions at Ontario Power Generation in support of the design, commissioning, operation and refurbishment of its CANDU reactors.
Fred has received the Canadian Nuclear Association’s Ian McRae award in recognition of his substantive engineering contributions, leadership and positive influence on the Canadian nuclear industry and the advancement of nuclear energy in Canada, and the Nuclear Excellence Award from the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in recognition of his contributions to Ontario Power Generation’s overall post-Fukushima response.
As President and CEO of AECL, Fred is leading the organization in its oversight role, seeing that the priorities of Government are delivered safely and efficiently under the Government-owned, Contractor-operated model.
Fred holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto and is a registered professional engineer in the Province of Ontario.
Virendra Jha was appointed to AECL’s Board of Directors in February 2019 for a term of two years, and reappointed in February 2021 for a term of three years.
Dr. Jha has over 42 years of experience in the Canadian Space Program ranging from in-depth engineering work to senior management positions in both the private and the public sectors, including that of Vice-President and acting President of the Canadian Space Agency.
As Vice-President responsible for science, technology and programs at the Canadian Space Agency, Dr. Jha provided strategic direction, vision and leadership to all core technical sectors of the Agency and led a number of major projects, including RADARSAT, Canada’s participation on the International Space Station and the Anik F2 program, which provided some of Canada’s most remote communities with access to high-speed internet. Dr. Jha published and presented more than twenty papers on space related subjects, and has served as a Board member for five technology related not for profit organizations.
Dr. Jha received his B. Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi India, his Master’s degree in Mechanical engineering from McMaster University, and his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Concordia University. He also has a Chartered Director Degree from McMaster University. He received the Order of Canada in 2018.
Kamilia Sofia was first appointed to AECL’s Board of Directors in July 2019 for a term of three years.
Dr. Sofia has been a strategic leader for 30 years, with technical and management experience locally and internationally. Dr. Sofia has held CEO level positions internationally in the last ten years with global organizations in multiple industries: high technology, aerospace, nuclear, and oil & gas, including CEO of Methanex Egypt, Executive Vice President of Rolls Royce Nuclear, CEO Services at Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, and Vice President of Strategy at CAE Inc. She has been a Director and Audit committee member of NorthStar Earth & Space, an information services platform that works to ensure the sustainability of the environment on earth and in space, since 2018.
Dr. Sofia received her Ph.D. degree in Nuclear Physics from McGill University and has also completed the Directors Education Program from the Institute of Corporate Directors at McGill University. In 2005, she was voted as one of Canada’s top 100 women from the Women’s Executive Network.
Martha Tory was first appointed to AECL’s Board of Directors in October 2016 for a term of one year. She was then reappointed in October 2017 for a term of three years, and again in October 2020 for a term of four years.
Ms. Tory retired in 2015 from Ernst & Young LLP where she was an audit partner with responsibility for clients in a variety of industries. She is currently involved as a Board member at the University of Toronto Press and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Ms. Tory is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. She also holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto, Trinity College.
Dana Soonias was appointed to AECL’s Board of Directors in June 2023, for a term of four years.
Mr. Soonias is a member of Red Pheasant First Nation. Over the past 20 years, he has held senior positions with financial, Indigenous, and government institutions with lead roles in retail, finance, business, and economic development.
Mr. Soonias led the design and implementation of the Wanuskewin Heritage Park where he served as CEO for almost a decade. He took the institution from near bankruptcy to a national award-winning organization. His efforts included raising $40 million for the Thundering Ahead Campaign as well as adding the park to Canada’s Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Mr. Soonias has served on various boards and committees across the country, including as Past Chair of the National Board of AFOA Canada, First Nations Financial Management Board, National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Investment Management Board and STC Industrial Contracting.
Currently the Director of Economic Development and Employment Training Services at the Saskatoon Tribal Council, Mr. Soonias serves over 33,000 First Nations people, urban and rural, in and around the City of Saskatoon.
Mr. Soonias holds a Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager designation through the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association Canada. He has also received an Institute of Corporate Directors designation from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.