2015 Volunteer of the Year

The 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award recipient is Martha Palaroan, Director, Model Risk Governance, Risk Management. For the past 12 years, Martha has been working with the Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services – an agency of the United Way – that provides services to support children, youth, seniors and adults with disabilities. Martha volunteers with the Corporate Meals on Wheels program and serves as a Team Lead for the 12-person Sun Life team. Her team delivers hot and nutritious lunches to homebound seniors in east downtown Toronto.

In addition to volunteering with Dixon Hall, Martha has also dedicated her time to Habitat for Humanity for over a decade. She works hard to build affordable houses for low-income families and has been recognized for her work ethic, willingness to volunteer and positive attitude. Martha is also the founder of the not-for-profit Don Valley Soccer league, which gives low-income children a chance to engage in physical activity, teamwork and fun.

On Martha’s behalf, Sun Life will be donating $5,000 to the Canadian Diabetes Association and $5,000 to the Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area.

National Volunteer of the Year finalists

Rahim Bhatia, Team Leader, Health and Dental Claims, is an important contributor to the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. In particular, Rahim lent his expertise to the World Partnership Walk and The World Partnership Golf tournament, 2 successful events that provide much-needed funds to sustainable international development projects in some of the poorest regions of the world. One of Rahim’s most impressive traits as a volunteer is his focus on advocacy and raising awareness for the causes he cares most about. He educates and inspires his audience and continues to find ways to improve the Aga Khan Foundation Canada.

Rahim will donate his $3,000 award to the Aga Khan Foundation Canada.


Tonya Veltman, Investigator, Fraud Risk Management, is a strong supporter of education and wellness in the Kitchener/Waterloo community. Tonya is an executive member of the parent council at both Westvale Public School and Mary Johnston Public School, which is part of the Waterloo Education Foundation – a charitable organization in Waterloo region. Her role on the parent council includes being the executive secretary and the lead council-member for a playground initiative, and taking part in school functions such as boot camp classes held in the school gym, where she was the lead fitness instructor.

Her innovation and her incorporation of health and wellness in her volunteer efforts make Tanya stand out as an inspirational, committed leader.

Tonya will donate her $3,000 to the Waterloo Education Foundation.


Suzanne Morin, VP and Associate General Counsel, Québec and Enterprise Chief Privacy Officer, has been an advocate for media and digital literacy through her work with MediaSmarts since 2008. MediaSmarts ensures that children and youth have the critical thinking skills needed to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens, and provides media literacy tools for Canadian educators, parents and librarians. Suzanne is the Interim Chair on the Board of Directors and heads the Executive Committee. She provides guidance and support to the organization through governance, strategic planning and finance. Suzanne has been instrumental in implementing MediaSmarts’ strategic plan through an extensive rebranding process.

Suzanne will donate her $3,000 to MediaSmarts.