Shelley learned the value of public service as a child in Thunder Bay where her father, Saul Laskin, served as Mayor, and her mother Adele was active in a number of social causes. Inspired by her Grade 10 Geography teacher, Shelley pursued the study of map-making, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree at Carleton University followed by a graduate diploma in Cartography from the University of Glasgow. After working in the field, Shelley chose to open her own graphic consulting business to combine her work and family life.
Shelley has an extensive background in project management, strategic planning, business processes and policy development in both the public and private sectors. As a trained cartographer, Shelley worked as project manager with External Affairs Canada, as Chief Cartographer on an educational atlas for elementary school children, as well as on a variety of consulting projects for the private sector.
When her children began school, Shelley became an active and engaged parent at both the local and board level. Locally, she was instrumental in developing and implementing new initiatives including innovative vehicles of communication between home and school, greening projects, and ensuring parent voice on school committees. As an active member of Area North in the former Toronto Board of Education, Shelley co-authored The Essential School – A Model for Public Education in Ontario, developed by the Parents’ Working Group on Education Finance and endorsed by the Toronto Board of Education just prior to amalgamation.
Shelley was first elected to the Toronto District School Board representing Ward 11 from 1997 to 2003 where she served as Chair on two separate occasions. In the early years of the amalgamated board, Shelley was able to effect changes that strengthened neighbourhood schools – everything from launching ground breaking policies on community involvement, Eco-Schools, equity, literacy, academic excellence, school safety and healthy schools to finding creative solutions for rebuilding schools as evidenced through North Toronto Collegiate Institute. During those years, as Vice-President representing Toronto on the Ontario Public School Boards Association, Shelley worked with fellow trustees, elected officials and civil servants to rebuild and improve the quality of education across the province.
In 2004, Shelley joined the Ontario Public Service and put her skills to work to enhance organizational effectiveness and performance within the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Business Improvement Office. In 2006, she joined the newly created Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport where she served in a number of roles in Business Services, Policy and Program and Corporate Services. As Senior Advisor with the Pan/Parapan American Games Secretariat she developed the Secretariat’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for Games-time operations and during the Pan Am Games, acted as Deputy Director in the PPAGS Coordination Centre. She received the 2015 MTCS Applause Award for Teamwork which “recognizes an individual or team who demonstrates excellence in working together in the delivery of a special project and/or operational program or service in support of the ministry’s mission, goal and/or objective”. Outside of Games-time operations, she provided leadership in developing, managing and delivering a coordinated, one-window approach to facilitate Secretariat corporate requirements including accessibility requirements, diversity and green initiatives planning, service quality standards, accommodation planning and facilities management, IT resources and assets, emergency management and continuity of operations planning, health and safety initiatives.
At the completion of the Games, Shelley returned to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as Senior Advisor, Agency Support where she provides strategic direction, liaison and leadership in the development, communication and implementation of the mandates of the ministry’s six adjudicative Boards.
In the fall of 2009, Shelley was appointed by the local School Superintendent to be the community member on the Davisville-Yonge Area Review Committee (ARC) looking at ways to resolve the overcrowding in some area schools and find meaningful solutions to better meet the educational needs of all the students in the community. That level of engagement created a desire to return to the TDSB and with the support of her family Shelley Laskin was re-elected to the Toronto District School Board in 2010 to continue what she started.
In her last two terms, Shelley served on the Program and School Services Committee, the Budget and Enrolment Committee, the Operations and Facility Management Committee and as a member of the Planning and Priorities Committee. In the 2014-2018 term she championed the Board creating a standing committee on Policy and Governance and served as its first Chair. She currently is a member of that committee, the Planning Priorities Committee and Chair of the Health and Mental Well-being Committee. She is proud of her work on building the Board’s new Multi-Year Strategic Plan with its goals of creating a culture for student and staff well-being, providing equity of access to learning opportunities for all students, allocating human and financial resources strategically to support student needs and building strong relationships and partnerships within school communities. Shelley has been a leading voice for regulation changes for the TDSB to receive Education Development Charges (EDCs) which is finally being acknowledged as an urban issue by the province. She also was returned to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association representing Toronto as Vice-President on the Executive and elected to the Policy Development Working Table where she advocates for changes to provincial policies to improve the experiences of all Ontario students.
Shelley is an experienced trustee, bringing a track record of strengthening public schools and healthy communities, active in community groups and her synagogue. She has served on the executive of the South Eglinton Ratepayers and Residents Association (SERRA), as a public member on the Children’s Clearance Committee of Advertising Standards Canada and on the Boards of Congregation Darchei Noam, Legal Aid Ontario and The Canadian Centre for Quality Education and Opportunity. Within the Ontario Public Service, she volunteers on both the United Way and Federated Health campaigns.
Shelley is married to Hector Standing and they have three grown children, all successful graduates of Toronto’s public schools.