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Bob Katzko, Founder B.F.A., Dip.Bus.

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Bob has worked in post-secondary for over 20 years, most recently as Site Manager of the Parksville/Qualicum Centre of Vancouver Island University. He is a trained paralegal, having managed law offices in Ottawa and Montreal. In his early career, with his passion for social change, Bob worked in international rural development, bringing sustainability to the village level with projects in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Bob has also worked with the Canadian Space Agency on a project to design an ozone-measuring device to be mounted on an environmental satellite.

Bob lost his father, Michael Katzko, to mesothelioma in 2004. In 1942, Michael joined the Royal Canadian Navy. He was just 18 years old. The battleships were lined with asbestos insulation as well as asbestos lining in pipes and boilers. It took 62 years for the cancer to metabolize – one of the more insidious aspects of mesothelioma. In August 2003, Michael fell ill and went to a doctor for a checkup. Before this, his health had been excellent. He still drove his car and was an active woodcarver. After a series of tests, it was determined he had a form of lung cancer.

On January 1, 2004 – four months later – he died from mesothelioma.


Chris Friesen, Veterans Disability Advisor

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Chris Friesen has an extensive record of achievement in the areas of refugee and immigrant settlement, human rights, community development and multiculturalism both in Canada and abroad. He is a frequent speaker on these issues. Since 1992, Chris is the Director of Settlement Services for the Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISS).

In 1994, working in partnership with the Vancouver Regional Health Board, Chris facilitated a community process that led to establishing the Bridge Community Health Centre – a primary health care facility for refugees with or without status. This facility has been recognized in Canada and internationally as a promising practice in health care delivery among marginalized populations.

Since 2001, Chris has been the co-chair of Simon Fraser University’s annual Cross-Cultural Mental Health Conference, which focuses on enhancing awareness of mental health issues facing refugee and immigrant populations. From 1997 to 2004, Chris was co-chair of the Ministry for Children and Family Development Ethno-cultural Advisory Committee (Vancouver region), which developed the first-ever cultural competency assessment/audit tool for government and contracted service providers. Most recently Chris has been leading various initiatives targeting students and several school districts in Greater Vancouver with the overriding goals of highlighting and enhancing the supports to particularly refugee students at risk.

Chris is co-author of the Simon Fraser University report A System in Crisis – the first comprehensive look at the state of settlement and adult language programs for immigrants in Canada. He is also co-author of a sector-based research agenda paper.Chris is a recent founding member and current Chair of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance (CISSA/ACSEI) as well as a founding member of the Vancouver Refugee Service Alliance (VRSA) formed in 2005 among four organizations to provide a more coordinated / integrated multilingual services for refugee claimants in Metro Vancouver.

In spring 2005, Chris’ dad Harvey Friesen was diagnosed with lung cancer after being in perfect health. It was later determined that Harvey’s lung cancer was a result of his exposure to asbestos during his time in the Royal Canadian Navy. For the 22 months before Harvey’s untimely death, he and Chris launched a campaign to raise awareness of the link between asbestos and lung cancer among ex-servicemen and women and their spouses. This campaign included national media work, advising the Minister of Veteran Affairs on ways to raise the profile of the issue, and working with their MLA to send Alert Notices to all legions in BC.

Harvey Friesen died April 11, 2007.

Chris Friesen is married and has two children.


Legal Panel

Counsel Pertaining to Canadians filing Mesothelioma Claims

US Trusts

Jack Daugherty
Short & Daugherty

Alton, Illinois USA


Rohan Atherton
Atherton Law Firm

Toronto, Ontario

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