Our Story

We have heard the call for help from across Canada. We are here to answer the call.

We are a peer-led organization established in 2018, after a tremendous response from other areas in Canada regarding the first Funeral Peer Support established in Ottawa.

We have received tremendous support from the media, including CTV, CBC, Maclean’s Magazine. People are talking about us. We want you to be a part of that talk.
We would like to change the way we look at mental health in our industry. We want it to be a positive experience for any individual requesting our help so we can keep good people in the industry.

Consider helping us make this happen.
Be part of that change!

Our Values

The Canadian Funeral Peer Support Group is committed to providing support, healing, education and knowledge to funeral professionals.
Support is the key to recovery.


The Canadian Funeral Peer Support promotes wholeness and wellness by uniting funeral industry professionals through a nationwide network of regional organizations offering support, information and resources within their community.


Our Mission is to be Canada’s leader in providing resources for the wellness of funeral professionals; to share our personal experiences, educate and advocate; and to foster a network of peer support groups across the country.

Board of Directors

Tori Barclay

Tori is a graduate of St. Mary Catholic High School, attended Nipissing University and Humber College.


    In 2011, Tori started assisting her family at the funeral home while still in high school and continued during her post secondary education period. In 2015, Tori realized that assisting the community during their time of need was to be her calling and started her journey towards the goal of obtaining her funeral directors license and joining the family business. Tori completed her internship with Smith Funeral Home in Sarnia, Ontario where she grew and developed her career from an excellent run family business.  She received her Funeral Directors Licence in 2018, becoming the Third Generation of Funeral Directors in the family.  

Joseph Zacconi

Joseph’s career started in Real Estate in the Ottawa Region in 1984, which turned into a Banking career shortly afterwards.


    I grew throughout the banking network ranging from Bank Teller associate, then Securities and Investments associate, Lending officer, Financial Planner, General Manager, then Regional Manager with two leading Chartered Banks.
    In between, I moved to Vancouver with my wife and 2 children, July 1997.
    By April 2013, I decided to become Independent and made one final move to a Leading Financial Planning firm.
    Today, I continue to grow my business as a Certified Financial Planner and a Personal Financial Planner.
    I also hold my Insurance License and enjoy helping clients with all their Financial Planning needs.
    My hobbies are centered around the household: carpentry, automotive restorations and building homes in my spare time.
    My children are now older, and we have been blessed with a grandchild.

Patrick Kelly

Patrick is a native of Ottawa, Ontario. A graduate of the University of Ottawa with a B.A. in Arts and Education and a Master in Education,


    he taught for the former Ottawa and Carleton Boards of Education and their successor, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB). He also taught for Algonquin College and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. Patrick retired in 2002 from the OCDSB after twenty years as an educator.
    During a hiatus in education, Patrick pursued a career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry.
    In 1999, Patrick was asked to join the Ottawa–Valley Critical Incident Stress Management Team (O-VCISM), as a volunteer Mental Health Professional.
    Patrick is a Mental Health Trauma Responder for Ceridian Lifeworks, Morneau Shepell, Kenyon International, FEI Behavioural Health, and the Health Canada Psycho-Social Emergency Response Team. He has provided trauma service counselling for corporate clients whose staff were experiencing difficulties such as post-sudden death, robbery, suicide and downsizing.
    As a volunteer Trauma Counsellor and C.I.S.M. Responder, Patrick has served as Lead and Co-Lead in conducting one-on-one and group diffusings and de-briefings. He has conducted these at the invitation of EMS, Fire, Police and Hospital Emergency staff as a result of automotive, fire or on-duty death occurences. He is an active Volunteer with Red Cross Disaster Management, Salvation Army Ballard Rehab Van, Ottawa Race Week, Army Run events and the Wreaths Across Canada / Maple Leaf Legacy projects.
    Patrick is now retired from his role as Mental Health Professional for the Ottawa Fire Critical Incident Response Team (OFCIRT) and for the Ottawa Police Service Crisis Unit. He is a former Director of the Canadian Counselling Association, National Capital Regional Chapter, and is a member of the Canadian Trauma Stress Network, the Canadian Psychological Association (Disaster and Trauma Section) and the Canadian Federation of Chefs.
    Patrick’s stress reducing interests include cooking, choral music, reading, walking, travel and playing blues harmonica.

Lisa Smith

Lisa C. Smith is an experienced NSCC Faculty member with 24 years of demonstrated history of working as an adult educator. 


    She is skilled in Educational Technology, Team Building, Facilitation, Fundraising, and Leadership. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Honours from Mt. St. Vincent University, a Diploma focused in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science from Simmons Institute of Funeral Service Inc., and a Community College Adult Educator Certificate.

    Lisa is a fourth generation licensed Nova Scotia Funeral Director and Embalmer who started her career serving families in the Parrsboro area where her family still operates a funeral home. In addition to her faculty role at the NSCC, she develops and facilitates seminars and workshops for licensed funeral professionals and allied health professionals in Atlantic Canada.

    A Valley Women’s Business Network member, Lisa is the founder of the Atlantic Network of Women in Funeral Service, Vice-Chair of the Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, Chair of the Inglis Education Foundation Board for King’s-Edgehill School, King’s-Edgehill School Board Member, FSAC Education Committee member; Past President of the Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia and the Annapolis Valley VON Community Corporation Board. She has served as Vice President for Professional Development for the former Community College Local of the NSTU and Chair of the planning committee for the Atlantic Provinces Funeral Directors and Service Convention and the NSCC Faculty and Professional Support Conference.

    Lisa is a life long learner whose interests include health and wellness, networking and supporting student success.

Laura Fleseru

Marketing Specialist with a Master’s degree in Communication and Political marketing, a solid project management background, 5 years of experience in public affairs and communications as an Advisor for The Chamber of Deputies in Romania and over 6 years of experience in marketing.


    Recently gained my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and wrapped-up 3 years of Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy training.

    For more than 5 years, while serving as a Communications Advisor for the Romanian Parliament, I led the delivery of strategic communications, handling media relations, planning national and international events and drafting speeches, news releases and articles. During this time, I have worked closely with political stakeholders and not-for-profit organizations to promote gender equality, help recent graduates enter the workforce and support mandatory screening and covered therapy for autism spectrum disorder patients. 

    While working in advertising, I spearheaded campaigns for a various industries: from retail, to beauty and banking. I coordinated tailored campaigns using social media, blogging, website redesign, outdoor marketing materials, video & radio commercials and in-store branding. Within my team, I have always made it a priority to encourage individual strengths, innovative ideas, diversity and open communication.

    Throughout my career, the projects I was most passionate about were social responsibility campaigns. Personally, I feel there is no greater satisfaction than bringing communities closer together and helping them get their message across.

Meet our Team

Michael Dixon

Executive Director / Founder

Mike was born in Transconia, Manitoba and moved to Ottawa in 1976. He attended St Pius X High School, then Algonquin College.


    He has worked in the funeral service industry for 26 years as a Funeral Director’s Assistant and will be attending Humber College in the Fall of 2019 to become a licensed Funeral Director.
    Part of “Proud To Be Me”, a youth charity that deals with bullying in our communities. He also initiated Reach Up Ottawa, a local mental health charity focusing on teenagers and young adults.
    Involved with Partners for Mental Health, a national charity where he served as the Ottawa chapter Chairperson.
    Michael has addressed the House of Commons and Provincial legislative committees concerning mental health issues in our country. He also underlined the need for governments to treat mental health issues as a rising problem in our schools, workplaces, cities and towns.
    Michael is currently a member of the volunteer events board of the Royal Ottawa hospital.


Tracey Dixon

Operations Manager 

Tracey has more than 15 years of management experience in the Health Care and Hospitality


    Particularly effective in assessing and resolving operational and organizational problems to increase efficiencies and productivity, while reducing operating costs. With a background in sales and marketing, Tracey is working to get the word out about Canadian Funeral Peer Support.
    With many years devoted to volunteering Tracey has sat on numerous boards including the Rotary Club of Kanata Sunrise, Kanata Chamber of Commerce and the Irish Society of the National Capital Region.
    With her devotion to the community Tracey won the United Way Community Builder Award in 2016.
    Tracey is devoted to making mental health care for employees a part of the decision making in every organization in the funeral industry

Glenda Cole

Treasurer / Program Director Nova Scotia

Glenda Cole, CFSP. Funeral Director with Atlantic Funeral Homes (Halifax Chapel).


    Glenda is a graduate of the Funeral Service Program at NSCC Kingstec Campus, class of 2012. Glenda started working in Funeral Service in 2006 at McArthur Bros. & MacNeil Funeral Home in Cornwall, Ontario, first as a Funeral Director Assistant, then as a Funeral Director Apprentice to F.X. Curry.  In 2010 Glenda and her husband (late Don 2018), returned to Nova Scotia where she continued her apprenticeship. A Licensed Funeral Director since 2011, she is employed with Atlantic Funeral Homes (Arbor Memorial) in their Halifax Chapel. Glenda joined the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice in December 2012 and has successfully earned her Certified Funeral Service Practitioner designation in November 2013. Glenda is a past president and Vice President of Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia (President 2016 – 2017) (Vice President 2015-2016 and 2017-2019). An active member of Atlantic Network of Women in Funeral Service. She was a member of the Life Bundling Project Bereavement Advisory Group with Nova Scotia Dept. of Vital Statistics. Glenda has 4 sons, 4 grandchildren and is involved in her community.

Kate Lavhey

Education & Wellness Coordinator / Program Director New Brunswick & USA

Kate has been an employee of Brenan’s Funeral Home & Crematorium since 2008, first as an apprentice, before becoming a Licensed Funeral Director And Embalmer.


    In 2017, she became an InSight Certified Funeral Celebrant, which allows her to officiate celebration of life services. As part of her schooling at Nova Scotia Community College, she also completed Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). In early 2019, Kate began the Saint John Funeral Peer Support Group after working through her diagnosis of work-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and recognizing the need for peer support within the industry. She now serves on the Board with Canadian Funeral Peer Support as a Program Director, helping with group start-ups across the country. When not at work, Kate spends time with her husband and daughter, and attends a local church, where she volunteers in children’s ministry. She is honoured and thrilled to be a part of this incredible initiative!  

Amy Foster

Fundraising Director / Program Director GTA & Northern Ontario

Amy has been in the funeral profession since 2002 and obtained her Ontario Funeral Director Class II license in 2006.


    Amy spent her career working in the GTA, serving families who had lost their loved ones to murder, suicide, war, accidents and at very young ages. Amy’s career took her to places she never thought she would go and every experience left an imprint on her heart that will last a lifetime. Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and anxiety has definitely come with its challenges mixed with the good days but she knew she still had a purpose. Due to Amy’s nature and need to support people it was only natural that she fell into Coaching and Peer Support. Amy is the owner of Never Walk Alone Coaching and developed the DIRECTOR 2 DIRECTOR Coaching Program in 2018. After being hired to work in the local mental health hospital, Amy successfully completed the Ontario Peer Development Initiative Training and ASIST Suicide Intervention Training in 2019 and continues to gain as much knowledge and training in order to grow as a Peer Supporter. She is very proud to be a board member with Canadian Funeral Peer Support and is excited to be part of this historical movement for funeral professionals across Canada.

Mark Pirozek

Membership / Program Director Western Canada

Mark was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and attended Kildonan East Collegiate.


    Mark was trained as a Mental Health Worker with the Province of Manitoba and served as mental health worker for a couple mental health self-help organizations. He also served as a board of director for the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba and later as Chairperson.
    He later worked for the City of Winnipeg as a bus operator for Winnipeg Transit until 2014. After leaving Winnipeg Transit Mark pursued his lifelong dream of working in the funeral industry. Mark enter the training program with the Canadian College of Funeral Service and graduated in May, 2017.
    Mark started working at Bardal Funeral Home and Crematorium (www.bardal.ca) in June 2016 as an apprentice funeral director and embalmer. After graduating from CCFS, Mark stayed on with Bardal Funeral Home as a Funeral Director/Embalmer, in the fall of 2018 Mark was asked to step in as Acting Lead Embalmer, A roll he continues today. Bardal Funeral Home not only serves their families, they have a thriving trade embalming service to many funeral homes.

Katie Hrycun

Communications Director/ Program Director South Western Ontario

Katie is a licensed Funeral Director / Embalmer of 12 years, with a total of 17 years serving the funeral industry. She understands what many Funeral Professionals face daily.


    Katie’s career began with her high school co-op and she has worked with both family owned funeral homes and corporations. With many accomplishments in the pre-planning division, her passion remains in the prep room. Katie enjoys reading, racing sailboats, gardening and cooking. She has a kind partner and an infant son who is a wicked delight.

Get in touch with us

Feel free to reach out to us! We are here for you.