Who we are

About BFO Ottawa

We have been operating in Ottawa since 1978, when two mothers came together through their common experience of losing a child. 

Today our expert facilitators run about 120 peer support groups each year, attended by more than 2000 participants. We help and support people in our community who are dealing with grief that stems from many different types of losses:

  • loss of child
  • loss of spouse
  • loss of parent/other
  • loss of sibling/friend
  • perinatal loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, infant)
  • for youth (high school age)
  • by suicide
  • by substance use 
  • by Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)


We are a volunteer-run organization made up of people in Ottawa who have each experienced our own grief, and who have decided to share our courage and knowledge with others. 

Expert Facilitators

Our trained facilitators have experienced their own losses. They offer peer support through our different weekly and monthly support and share programs throughout the year.  


We are growing as an organization, as more people continue to seek out our support  and as more people participate in our memorial events. 

Our Team

Margaret Lorrie Beaton, MA(Counseling Psychology), C.Hyp™, R.P. (Q)
Program Director

Lorrie first became involved with BFO Ottawa in 2009, following the loss of several family members, which started her own personal grief journey. Her goal in working with BFO Ottawa is to support others by fostering a collaborative professional relationship that creates a safe environment for positive wellness, change, transformation and healing.

Barbara Simpson

Barbara joined BFO Ottawa in 2016.  She is a trained facilitator who provides support to people in Ottawa who have lost a spouse or parent, sibling, relative or friend.  Barbara has previously served on the Board of Directors of two local charities, as Treasurer and President.  She is passionate about helping people find their way through life’s challenges and in supporting their well-being.

Lisa Vadeboncoeur
Office Administrator

Lisa provides bilingual administrative assistance.  She is an experienced grief facilitator, often working with people who have lost  a sibling, friend, parent or  relative She has many years of work experience in the health care sector and  community centres. Lisa is very motivated in following her interests in community food programs and in supporting the arts and mental health.

Antoine Babinsky
Board of Directors

Antoine is  also a facilitator. His involvement is helping BFO Ottawa offer bereavement support services in French. He enjoyed a long and successful career with the RCMP. Following the sudden loss of his oldest son, Michaël, at age 23, BFO Ottawa gave Antoine the hope and support he needed to deal with the pain of grieving. He volunteers with BFO Ottawa  because he believes we can make a difference in the lives of people who have lost a loved one. 

Doug Cargo
Board of Directors

Doug has been with BFO Ottawa since he lost his wife to liver cancer in 2004; first as a participant and then as a facilitator. He joined the Board of Directors in 2010 and has held various positions on the Board since then. Today he coordinates liaison with BFO’s provincial office and provides guidance to other Board members.  Doug retired from the Canadian Forces after a 37-year career. He happily remarried in 2013. 

Susan Clarke
Board of Directors

Susan is a lawyer and recently retired as litigation counsel with the Federal Department of Justice. Since her son’s passing in 2017, Susan has participated with gratitude in BFO’s support and share nights. She hopes to help support others in their journeys to find peace and joy. 

Elaine Dean
Board of Directors

Elaine  looks after our communications, fundraising and brand portfolio, drawing on her experience in staff and consulting roles with the federal government, Bell, TELUS and United Way. She is an experienced professor and coach. She volunteers her time with BFO Ottawa in memory of her son Christopher Dean Moran, who she holds close in her heart.

Barb Hayduk
Board of Directors

Barb  is also a facilitator and trainer. She looks after our human resources portfolio.  She understands the value of grief peer support because she benefited from BFO Ottawa services after the loss of her 25-year-old son Chris in 2012. His death coincided with Barb’s retirement from the RCMP after 32 years of service. It is her wish to be able to help others as she herself has been helped.

Sean O'Brien
Board of Directors

Sean looks after business and financial planning on our behalf. Recently retired from a successful career with Bell, Sean joined the BFO Ottawa board to support the organization that has helped his family heal after the loss of their 20-year-old son in 2014.

Matthew Keogh
Board of Directors

Matthew discovered BFO Ottawa after losing his sister Emily in 2004. He found that grieving the loss of his sister was overwhelming at times, and talking about the struggles he encountered while attending his support group has helped him come to terms with his loss.  He decided to become a support group facilitator in 2011 and has been a member of the board since 2015.  Matthew is currently enrolled in teacher’s college in the elementary school program.

Laurie Rail
Past Executive Chair

Laurie was Executive Chair with BFO Ottawa for three years, and a facilitator for five years.  She  developed numerous partnerships on behalf of BFO Ottawa, most notably with Dying with Dignity Canada and Bridge C-14, where she began facilitating the first medical assistance in dying (MAID) support group in Ottawa.  The common elements of Laurie’s work are to hold space with the bereaved, and provide a safe,  comforting place to process and work through their grief. 

We are extremely grateful to our many volunteers

Without them, we simply would not be able to offer the quality of services we do

BFO Ottawa is made up of a community of people who have been brought together by loss and love. Volunteering provides an opportunity to connect with others who understand life-changing loss and is a beautiful way to honour the legacy of a lost loved one.

Our Volunteers

Clodelle Abdo

Manii Aponte

Greg Atkinson

Leah Bell

Jan Casselman

Cathy Crepin

Gail Christy

Anne DeButte

Madeleine Desloges

Carl Dowsett

Barb Duncan

Kathryn Dunlop

Lisa Glavin

Linda Goldberg

Kathryn Harper

Mary Ellen Henniger

Rita Jackson

Jane Keogh

Lynne Lajoie

Renee Larocque

Lorraine Lefevbre



Micheline Lepage

Allene Lewis
Tara MacMaster

Barrie Marfleet

Samantha Medaglia

Paula Naponse

Catherine Paris

Nathalie Pickell

Andrea Purcell
Daniel Read

Jadzia Romaniec

Hilda Sabadash

Vanessa Scott

Andrea Solman

Randy Sorenson

Andrea Steinwand

Gillian Sullivan
Heinrich Teworte

Cathy Trebinskie
Joey Ward  
Lianne Zitzelsberger

Our friends

About Bereaved Families of Ontario

BFO Ottawa is part of a provincial network of local charities that make up Bereaved Families of Ontario. 


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