About Living Assistance Services

“My mother could not have lasted as long at her condo if Cynthia and Living Assistance Services had not provided her with the exceptional care and service that she has enjoyed over the past several years. You all have been a God-send.”

– P.M.

Our Story

In the year 2000, Living Assistance Services began with a wish–that people be able to grow older in their own homes safely, as independently as possible and with comfort and dignity.

After over a decade and a half of outstanding caring for seniors, we have stayed true to our vision. Our vision has been and will remain: to provide first rate, affordable, safe home care with reliable, conscientious, knowledgeable and kind Personal Support Workers for care recipients and families in need.

Living Assistance Services prides itself on being the first to provide highly personal care for those who wish to stay in their own homes, or anywhere else, where assistance is required.

Our success is primarily due to our exacting standards when it comes to hiring caregivers. Only a very small percentage of applicants are invited to join LAS. This means that we provide for you highly qualified and experienced professionals, who are compassionate and intelligent caregivers, who remain at LAS for years and who are dedicated to the seniors in their care.

It’s no wonder that over 50% of Living Assistance Services clients come from referral from others who have already experienced, or heard about, the wonderful caregivers and services provided by LAS.

Living Assistance Services values building relationships with our care recipients and their families. We have offices serving Toronto GTA, Willowdale, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Markham, Vaughan, Guelph, Caledon, Orangeville, Newmarket, Milton, Kitchener, Wellesley, Waterloo, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Etobicoke, the Beaches and East York.

Communication with us is available twenty-four hours each day. Please telephone us at any time, day or night.

We invite you to contact us for a complimentary consultation and a free health and care assessment by our Registered Nurse (RN) as your first step in beginning the LAS home care experience for your loved one or you.

Our People

David Porter, CPCA Owner/ Founder/ President

David Porter is the founder of Living Assistance Services and has been the Director of the Toronto office since 2000. David has thirty years’ experience in business and service and was the Vice President of a number of residential development property management firms prior to opening the Living Assistance Services agency.

Over the years, Mr. Porter has served either on or on behalf of numerous corporate and non-profit boards including The York School, The Greater Toronto Apartment Association, The Rose Town Non-Profit Housing Corporation and The Richmond Hill Ecumenical Non-Profit Homes Corporation.

Sharon Norton Robertson, RN, BScN Director of Care

Sharon has gathered vast experience in general medicine, gerontology and other specialties during her 20 years at the Women’s College Hospital. She has held leadership roles in acute care medicine, patient safety, and advocacy. Sharon led an internal medicine inpatient unit for several years. Her insightful nature and thorough approach to patient care enabled families and patients to transition smoothly from hospital to home through the identification of home care needs and organization of multidisciplinary services. Patient relations, risk management, quality care and patient safety have been her focus during recent years.

Sharon is a committed, skilled and intelligent professional who is highly motivated and always has the patients’ interests at the forefront. Her hands-on nursing experience, managerial skills, and focus on safety and personal attributes empower her in her role as Director of Care.

Paula Price, RN, Ph.D. Director of Client Services and Employee Development

Dr. Paula Price has held various positions in the health care and education fields including Director of Nursing Specialist Services at the Hospital for Sick Children and teaching in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. From 1990 to 2000, she held a variety of positions at George Brown College including Chair of Nursing and Chair of Community Health Programs. Following these roles, Dr. Price completed her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Price’s responsibilities with Living Assistance Services in the Toronto office include client consultations, working with our Director of Care with individual care recipients, and providing ongoing advice on health and home care issues, including how to navigate the health care system.

Dr. Price also plays a key role in our ongoing efforts to recruit and retain the highest calibre of caregivers and provides continuing education, career development and coaching to our staff and nurses.

Brian W. Porter, BA, MEd, CPCA Vice President/ Director

Brian Porter is responsible for most external relations at LAS, including marketing, public relations, franchising, community relations and business development. Brian has had a successful and lengthy career in the service sector, first as a high school teacher and head of schools and later as the Director of fundraising and the Director of Alumni Relations in several universities. Effective marketing, business development and public and community relations have been important functions in each of his roles, which have included schools and universities in Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom. In Canada Brian has also served as a director of theatre boards in Calgary and Winnipeg.

Brian currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Orpheus Choir and he is an active member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Toronto. Brian holds three university degrees from Carleton University, McGill University and the University of Toronto. As the population ages in Canada and the ‘grey tsunami’ becomes very real, Brian wants to make it much easier for people to be able to grow older happily and safely with comfort and dignity where they really want to be – in their own homes!

Opal Rowe, M.Sc., MBA, CPCA Director – Board of Advisors

Opal Rowe is the Director/Owner of the Living Assistance Services Metro-North office, which services Willowdale, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Markham.

Ms. Rowe has a strong volunteer and business background. She is a founding member and Secretary/Treasurer of CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons), Leaside Chapter, and she sits on the Board of Directors for West Toronto Senior Support Services. She is an active Rotarian as well as a member of the Canadian Federation of University Women; she also regularly volunteers with Meals on Wheels and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Ms. Rowe owned and successfully operated her own home care agency for a number of years and has a wealth of educational and business experience. She formerly held senior positions with Bank of Montreal, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young.

Ms. Rowe’s hands-on experience and education complements our renowned ability to provide exceptional care and service to our clients.

Opal has also been recently elected as the next President of the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Mary Ellen TomlinsonAssociate and Member - Board of Advisors

Mary Ellen Tomlinson is the founder and director of Senior Care Options Inc., an organization that specializes in advising families, trust officers, lawyers and accountants regarding care for seniors. As a public speaker, she offers pragmatic advice to the business sector and communities on personalized care planning, long-distance family caregiving, retirement residences and long-term care facilities.

Mary Ellen is a member of the Ontario Palliative Care Association, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, the National Case Managers Network of Canada, the Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs and the Women’s Executive Network. She is a volunteer and past chair of the St. Georges Church Pastoral Care Team and a volunteer palliative care visitor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Mary Ellen has a Diploma in Gerontology/Activation from George Brown College and a Certificate in Gerontology from Ryerson University; she is currently completing a degree at York University that focuses on “aging in modern times.” She is also a qualified re-motivation therapist.

For additional information on the range of services offered by Mary Ellen, call her directly at 416.932.9941.

Heather Palmer, Ph.D. Associate and Member - Board of Advisors

Heather obtained her Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from the University of New South Wales, Australia. She returned to Toronto to complete a three-year postdoctoral position in neurocognitive rehabilitation at the Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. Heather subsequently became the research director at the Alzheimer Society of Canada where she discovered an increasing need for cognitive enhancement services to help support our aging population.

Heather is currently the founder and director of Cognitive Rehabilitation at Maximum Capacity Inc., a company that provides cognitive enhancement. With more than 15 years of clinical experience in the area of brain and behaviour relationships, Heather is a firm believer that through the proper training, the brain has the capacity to develop new connections between its various regions and individuals can regain cognitive skills believed to be lost.

Cognitive enhancement group seminars and one-on-one sessions are offered at the Living Assistance Services office. For additional information on these programs, call Heather at 416.219.1586.

Greg O’Neill, MSW, MBA, CPCA Director of Family Support, Palliative Care And Bereavement Services

Mr. Greg O’Neill holds, among other academic qualifications, a Masters of Social Work, and he has enjoyed a 27-year career in various professional positions. He has also volunteered with diverse organizations such as Canadian Cancer Society, Central Toronto Youth Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Probation Services, Habitat for Humanity, Kindness in Action and Sleeping Children Around the World.

For the last four years, Greg has been providing support and counselling for individuals approaching the end of life, assisting caregivers and family members through the transition and providing bereavement assistance for those suffering from the loss of a loved one.

Greg brings his substantial experience to his work at Living Assistance Services as well as his gentle ability to listen, respond and advise care recipients and their families regarding their fears and anxieties associated with end-of-life care. We are fortunate to have Greg’s wealth of expertise on our Board of Advisors and for the benefit of our clients.

Susan Higgins, RN, BScN Associate and Member - Board of Advisors

Susan Higgins is a seasoned veteran of the home care community. She is a Registered Nurse; she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario in 1976.

Throughout her 43-year career, Susan held a variety of positions focusing on various elements of community care. Her résumé includes an extensive and diverse background working with the Victoria Order of Nurses, the St. Elizabeth Visiting Nurses, the Home Care Program of Toronto and, most recently, 18 years with a Community Care Access Centre (CCAC).

Susan is our consultant on matters pertaining to available community services and caregiving solutions for the benefit of our clients. Susan also advises us on nursing practices in general and, more specifically, the seamless integration of private care together with any available public services provided by CCAC’s.