Kris Barnier

Vice President

Prior to joining Loyalist, Kris served as Executive Director of Policy and Budget to Ontario’s Finance Minister, the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy. Kris uses his experience in policy, planning, issues management, and strategy to help clients impact the priorities and actions of top government decision-makers.


In government, Kris was the most senior policy and budget advisor to Ontario’s Minister of Finance, leading the team that advised on matters pertaining to the province’s budgeting process, financial services, alcohol and gaming, tax policy, and other core priorities. Much earlier in his career, Kris also served in roles with Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of the Premier of Ontario.


In the private sector, Kris spent nearly 10 years as Vice President of Government Relations with Sagen Canada, the country’s largest provider of mortgage default insurance. In this role, Kris worked closely with the company’s senior leadership and built industry coalitions that helped shape federal government policies pertaining to mortgage finance and to homeownership, including assistance for first-time buyers.


Kris brings additional valuable experience working with some of Canada’s most impactful and largest member-based organizations.  Leading Government Relations for CAA Ontario and serving as Chair of CAA’s Worst Roads Campaign, Kris led efforts that resulted in significant government investments in infrastructure renewal and the introduction of Ontario’s first distracted driving legislation.  He also served as Manager of Policy with the Toronto Region Board of Trade and served on the Boards of Directors of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce (also serving as the Chair of its Government Relations Committee) and was a founding Board Member of the Mortgage and Title Industry Association of Canada.  From this experience, Kris brings a demonstrated ability to help Loyalist clients build strong campaigns and coalitions that help move governments on big priorities.


Kris has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Studies from Queen’s University and a Post Diploma Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College.  He is also the proud father of two young boys and has actively volunteered his time volunteering with his children’s schools, sports teams, and other activities.

Kris Barnier

Nicholas Pozhke


Nicholas helps clients achieve their goals with integrity and confidence.


He has national industry advocacy experience, having represented the defence and security sector to both governments and the private sector. Nicholas has also previously served as a senior advisor at the House of Commons and the Government of Canada, serving at Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, and the Treasury Board of Canada.


Nicholas is part of the Government Relations Institute of Canada (GRIC), and volunteers in GRIC’s mentorship program. He currently serves on the boards of charitable and political organizations provincially and federally, including as a member Outward Bound Canada’s Board of Directors’ Fundraising Cabinet.


Nicholas has previously deployed with Canadian Electoral Observation Missions (CANEOM) to advance international peace and security, monitoring Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections, and served on the Advisory Board of the University of Ottawa’s Security and Policy Institute.


Nicholas holds a B.A. in Inter-disciplinary Studies from the University of Western Ontario.

Kenzie McKeegan

Senior Consultant

Kenzie supports clients with government relations, policy development, research, and communication.


Prior to joining Loyalist, Kenzie worked in the University of Toronto Government Relations Office where she built relationships at all levels of government, institutional partners, and external stakeholders.


Before working at the University of Toronto, Kenzie served in various Ontario Ministries including the offices of the Deputy Premier, the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, the President of the Treasury Board, the Minister Responsible for Digital Government and the Minister Responsible for Small Business.


During her years in government, Kenzie supported goals and priorities of Cabinet Ministers through strategic planning and stakeholder management, providing analysis and advice.


Kenzie holds a M.A. in Canadian History from York University and a B.A. in History with English minor from the University of Guelph.

Zahra Sultani

Senior Consultant

Zahra brings 10 years of experience in political and community activism with every level of government, as well as engaging and mobilizing a broad cross-section of stakeholders.


She has worked as a Project Manager at Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Headquarters and as a political aide to Ontario’s Minister of Finance.


During her time in the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Zahra played a key role in the communication roll out and issue management of substantive policy changes such as Modernizing Conservation Authorities Act, Review of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, Modernizing Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act, and the proposal on transitioning the Blue Box program to an extended producer responsibility model.


Zahra is trilingual and is currently completing her B.A in Specialized Economics at York University. She occasionally provides commentary on current news events and has been featured on local, national, and international media including CBC News, Daily Beast, and TVO.

Nikita Drakokhrust

Senior Consultant

Nikita provides strategic counsel to clients on a variety of issues including stakeholder and government relations, detailed research, strategic communications, and issues management. Prior to joining Loyalist, Nikita served as the Director of Election Readiness at the Ontario PC Party where he oversaw the 2020 by-elections in the Ottawa region and was recruited to assist the Conservative Party of Canada in the 43rd general election.


Nikita was a core member of Doug Ford’s leadership team and election campaign in 2018. Following the provincial election, Nikita served as the Policy Advisor to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade where he worked on the Making Ontario Open for Business Act. Subsequently, he became the Issues Manager to the Minister of Transportation, during which he provided detailed research in preparation for the government’s announcement of the plans for the Ontario Line.


Nikita graduated from Ryerson University with an Honours B.A. in Politics and Governance. During his time at Ryerson University, Nikita earned a Minor in Economics and has studied in multiple cities globally including Singapore and Washington DC.

Jared Burke


Jared helps clients navigate policy challenges and government engagement. He analyzes current affairs and policy developments at the provincial and federal levels to provide clients with strategic insights.


Jared’s career began in university politics with the Ryerson Campus Conservatives, where he served in various leadership roles.


Prior to joining Loyalist, Jared worked at the Ontario Legislature for a Member of Provincial Parliament, providing the member with strategic communications and issues management support.


Jared also participated in the competitive Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario’s summer internship program, where he was selected from a large pool of applicants and participants to conduct policy research at the Progressive Conservative Caucus Services office.


Jared studied Politics and Governance at Ryerson University.

Phone: +1-416-579-8252 | Email: | LinkedIn: Jared Burke | Twitter: @jaredburke