Panel Discussion:
Housing and Health

An invigorating discussion on how the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing challenges in Toronto's housing and homeless systems, and ideas on solutions that promote a more equitable and sustainable recovery, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized people. The panel also explored how housing and health are inextricably linked, and how affordable housing is key to improving the health of Toronto's residents, environment and economy.

Abi Bond Head Shot Colour.jpg
Abi Bond

Abi Bond

Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, City of Toronto


Abi Bond is the Executive Director of the Housing Secretariat at the City of Toronto. She started out in the community housing sector in the UK and moved to Canada in 2007. She has worked on affordable housing policy and delivery for both the City of Calgary and the City of Vancouver. Bond took up her current position early in 2020 and leads the City's new HousingTO 2020-2030 plan, which includes a range of projects, programs and policies, delivered in partnership with private and community housing partners. She believes that having a home is essential to our health and well-being, and that it has an important part to play in our economic recovery from COVID-19 and also in addressing long-standing and worsening inequities in our City.

Andrew Bond

Dr. Andrew Bond

Medical Director, Inner City Health Associates (ICHA)

Lecturer, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Dr. Andrew Bond is the Medical Director at Inner City Health Associates (ICHA), Canada’s largest homeless healthcare organization, with a team of 130 physicians and 85 nurses from numerous disciplines providing care at more than 70 clinical sites for people experiencing homelessness and precarious housing across Toronto. He is also a Lecturer in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, and the Chair of the Canadian Network for the Health and Housing of People Experiencing Homelessness (CNH3).

Dr. Bond’s work is dedicated to leading value-based health system design and reform with a focus on the health of vulnerable and marginalized peoples by developing novel and adaptive health systems responses that drive equity and efficiency through leveraging intersectoral collaborations, decentralized systems, the strategic deployment of technological innovations, advanced analytics and social determinants targeted interventions.

Cherise Burda
Cherise Burda
Executive Director, City Building at Ryerson University

Cherise Burda is Executive Director at City Building Ryerson where she advances sustainable urban solutions through research collaborations and knowledge mobilization. Specializing in relevant policy research and strategic communications to drive impact, Burda has authored over 40 policy reports, book chapters and academic and popular publications. Over twenty years as a thought leader, her research and activities have directly influenced policy change in Ontario and British Columbia. She has served on multiple advisory bodies including the Premier’s Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel and City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board. Burda has held senior positions with Pembina Institute, David Suzuki Foundation and University of Victoria Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy.

Valesa Faria
Valesa Faria
Director, Housing Policy & Strategy, City of Toronto

Valesa Faria is an accomplished city builder with over 15 years of professional experience in housing policy, real estate development, asset management and business development. As Director of Housing Policy & Strategy in the City of Toronto's Housing Secretariat, Valesa is responsible for working with City divisions and agencies, government partners, the private sector, and community partners to support delivery of the City's ambitious HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. This includes leading the development of system-level housing policies and programs, and building strategic partnerships to increase the supply of purpose-built affordable housing across Toronto.


Valesa is passionate about improving lives through access to safe, adequate and affordable housing. She is also focused on helping to build a more equitable, diverse and inclusive city where everyone can thrive.

Susan Speigel
Susan Speigel
Architect, Susan Speigel Architect Inc. 
President, Ontario Association of Architects
Faculty, Institute without Boundaries, School of Design, George Brown College

Speigel’s career has spanned more than 30 years and five cities. As a young graduate Speigel and four other designers launched an all-women firm, Villa Villa.  Since then, her work has evolved through various iterations, including a brief foray into the tech world.


Rooted in her passion for community-building, activism, and innovation, she launched her own multidisciplinary design firm, Susan Speigel Architect Inc. (SSA), focused on architecture, landscape, and urbanistic public realm projects for non-profit organizations, the public housing sector, and private residences. Speigel is also an educator at the Institute Without Boundaries through George Brown College School of Design, where she works at the intersections of architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, activism, community, ecology, and academia.


Speigel’s commitment to equity and inclusion in the built environment is reflected in her extensive work with social housing and community spaces; she has modernized more than 250+ projects for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Peel Living, and Woodgreen Community Living, and has led research in support of mobile-home parks as affordable housing models. Since 2017, Speigel has also been the Professional Advisor and Acting Architect for the Thunder Woman Healing Lodge—Toronto’s first Healing Lodge and transitional housing for Indigenous women in conflict with the law.