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Board Members and Staff

Lifewater Canada board members

Lifewater Canada has an independent governing body of people from diverse backgrounds to pursue thorough deliberation and sound decision-making.

Cheryl Ann Hertan.jpg 338 KB Chair: Cheryl Ann Hertan (Certified Tumor Registrar, John Muir Medical Health, Atascadero, CA)
Board Member - Harry Oussoren.jpg 203 KB Vice-Chair: Herman (Harry) Cornelis Oussoren, P.Eng. (Insitu Contractors Inc. (owner), Guelph ON)
Board Member - Lynda Gehrels - Cropped.jpg 64 KB President: Lynda Mary Gehrels, Registered Nurse (retired) Thunder Bay ON. Her annual compensation is $0 because she lives as her husband Jim did, believing that every dollar possible should be directed to helping children and families get the safe water they need to stay healthy.
Board Member - Don Heerema.jpeg 135 KB Financial Controller: Donald Heerema, CPA, CA (Chartered Accountant, Thunder Bay, ON)
Board Member - Jason Gehrels.JPG 344 KB Treasurer: Jason Gehrels, P.Eng. (Financial Advisor, Ottawa, ON)
Board Member - Jennifer Drost.jpg 283 KB Secretary: Jennifer Drost (Christian School Teacher, Thunder Bay, ON)         
Board Member - Les Babcock.jpg 55 KB Haiti Coordinator: Les Babcock (Water Well Driller, Bow Island, AB)
Board Member - Les Wing - SM.jpeg 33 KB Senior Trainer: Les Wing, (Owner of Amythest Well Drilling, Murillo ON)
Board Member - Peter Brown - Cropped.jpg 57 KB Board member at Large: Peter John Brown (Owner of Humanwave Radio, Winnipeg MB)


Lifewater Canada staff

President (volunteer): Lynda Gehrels, Thunder Bay, ON

Executive Director (contracted part-time): Daniel Nickol, Swift Current, SK

Donor & Volunteer Relations Manager (contracted part-time): Jeff Adams, Calgary, AB

Office Assistant/Administrator (contracted part-time): Shirley van Dyken, Thunder Bay, ON

Office Assistant (volunteer): Frances Bennett-Sutton, Thunder Bay, ON

Haiti Assistant Coordinator (volunteer): Ruth Babcock, RN retired, Bow Island, AB

Haiti Technical Advisor (volunteer): Gilbert Dumont, Petroleum Eng. Retired, Calgary, AB

Liberia Country Coordinator (volunteer): Paul Harvey, Örebro, Narke, Sweden


Governance, Fiscal Responsibility, and Accountability

The Board of Directors has ensured there is a framework of financial and operational policies and procedures. A detailed copy of this framework is available if required for grant consideration. Highlights include:

  • There are a series of internal process controls governing the issuance of charitable donation receipts, petty cash limits, approvals for capital purchases over a specified amount, two signatures for cheques over a specified amount, etc.
  • Receipting duties are separated from authority to spend money
  • Monthly financial transactions are reviewed and booked by a Financial Controller who does not receive donations or disperse funds
  • The Board conducts a mid-year review of balance sheets and adjusts budgets as required
  • Audited Financial Statements are prepared annually by BDO Canada LLP accounting firm in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and presented to the membership at the Annual General Meeting
  • The financial statements are reviewed by the Board in advance of regulatory filings
  • The Board is working towards achieving an operation reserve equal to one year of program expenses to enable Lifewater to make firm project funding agreements with overseas partners in advance of funds being raised
  • Donated securities are sold upon receipt to ensure assets are not speculative
  • Lifewater donates assets (drill rigs, trucks, etc.) to its overseas agents and does not retain significant capital assets on its books
  • Memorandums of Understanding must be in place with overseas partners for them to act as our agents before project work can begin
  • Equipment is provided on a matched-funding basis to ensure local ownership and responsibility that would not occur in the same way if the assets were provided for "free"
  • Project sponsorship funds are released to our overseas partners only after prescribed documentation has been obtained from overseas teams to confirm projects are properly completed
  • The work of overseas teams is audited by experienced volunteers who travel overseas and visit projects
  • Minutes are kept of all Board Meetings to ensure decisions are documented and actions taken (to request a copy of the minutes, please email
  • According to the fiscal 2020 audit by the BDO Canada LLP accounting firm:
    • None of the Lifewater board members is compensated for his or her service
    • There has been no unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets
    • There are no loans to related parties such as key officers, staff, or Board members
    • In the 12 months ended June 30, 2020, donations to Lifewater by its board members totaled $44,995 after $72,262 during the previous fiscal year

Some other key policies

  • The Donor Privacy Policy says Lifewater will not share or sell a donor's information, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations; donors can ask to be listed as anonymous on sponsorship listings
  • The Conflict of interest Policy guides deliberations when making decisions that might benefit the private interest of an officer, director, or employee of the organization
  • The Whistleblower Policy addresses employee complaints and/or concerns from overseas partners regarding financial mismanagement
  • The Records Retention and Destruction Policy fosters good record-keeping procedures by guiding the storage and destruction of documents to promote data integrity and security
  • While the President (CEO) receives no salary, Lifewater Canada does have a CEO Compensation Policy, outlining the procedure to be used to determine future CEO compensation

Every $1 you give provides a child with safe water for a year!

457 Heather Crescent
Thunder Bay, ON P7E 5L1

+1 807-622-4848
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