HUMANE CANADA TEAM
Barbara Cartwright, CEO
As the CEO of Humane Canada, the federation of humane societies and SPCAs, Barbara convenes and represents the largest animal welfare community in Canada, working to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals.
Barbara is sought after for her knowledge of policy and public affairs, securing amendments to the Criminal Code, Fisheries Act, Migratory Bird Act and Canadian Environmental Protection Act. In 2019, she secured a ban on cetacean captivity, as well as strengthen animal fighting offences, closed loop holes in the bestiality offences and ensured abusers convicted of animal sexual assault are listed on the Sex Offender Registry. Barbara has advised some of the top organizations in the world on animal welfare policy direction, including working with online giant eBay Inc. to end the illegal ivory trade on its site worldwide.
In her current role, Barbara launched the National Animal Welfare Conference, National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty, National Violence Link Coalition and conference, as well as spearheaded the first animal shelter Accreditation program in Canada.
Barbara holds a Master’s in Environmental Education and Communication, is a published author and lecturer, and received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. Formerly, President of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, she currently sits on the Board of PetSmart Charities of Canada and the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center in Congo. Barbara has been recognized as one of 5 “WOW Women” in Canada, is a member of Women’s Executive Network, International Women’s Forum and the Council of Women Executives.
Toolika Rastogi, Senior Manager, Policy and Research
Toolika has been with Humane Canada since 2013 and leads its research program, including the work on indicators of a humane Canada, and the national animal shelter statistics collection. Toolika represents Humane Canada at the Animal Welfare Committee of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, as the animal welfare representative on the Executive Committee of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), and as the sole animal welfare member organization at the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC).
Prior to joining Humane Canada, she worked in the areas of biodiversity conservation and environmental safety, both internationally with the OECD, and in Canada with Environment Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Her policy work in these areas allowed her to contribute to the development of international environmental agreements and drafting of federal legislation for environmental protection.
Toolika holds a PhD in Molecular and Medical Genetics, a postdoctoral certificate in Conservation Genetics and a Master’s in Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development Policy. She has published her primary research in peer-reviewed journals, and has authored Humane Canada’s publications.
Toolika is dedicated to cultivating compassion and supports community programs in addition to her own personal development in this area.
Tara Hellewell, Director, National Engagement
Tara has been a strong advocate for the welfare of animals for many years through her role as Executive Director of Central Alberta Humane Society for ten years and former Humane Canada Board Director from 2015-2020. Her long career in the charitable sector specializing in fund development, marketing, and management has spanned over 20 years, actively furthering the missions of the central Alberta charitable sector in domestic violence, seniors long term care, and animal welfare.
During that time, Tara received recognition for her dedication as a Red Deer Women of Excellence and through a Humane Canada Animal Welfare Leadership Award in 2020. Tara now supports the work of Humane Canada on the staff team as Director, Donor Relations and National Engagement. Tara proudly supports Women for a Humane Canada as a founding member and is a strong advocate for the recognition of women in leadership in our sector.
Along with partner Jaret and fur-kids Harlee and Bandit, she divides her time between their homes on the mountain in the Crowsnest Pass, AB, and their off-grid cabin on the shores of Kootenay Lake just outside of Nelson, BC. At home, they relish the freedom of nature, the beauty of the environment, and the wildlife that frequently visit both properties.
Kathy Duncan, Director, National Programs
Kathy has dedicated over 30 years to animal welfare in the province of Ontario. Her background includes working in the not-for-profit and municipal government sectors and leading open admission animal shelters for municipalities, SPCA’s and humane societies in Ontario.
Kathy is a strong proponent of collaboration across the industry and has chaired the Board of Directors for the Association of Animal Shelter Administrators of Ontario (AASAO) for 12 of the 17 years she was on the Board. She currently sits on the Government Relations Committee for the AASAO. She has been a strong member of the Provincial Animal Welfare Task Force and the Programming Committee for Humane Canada’s 2021 National Animal Welfare Conference. She currently sits on the National Violence Link Coalition and is a member of its steering committee. Kathy has also been named an International Ambassador for the Human Animal Support Services project and sits as a Director on the Board, as well as a member of the Advisory Council for One Health Partners.
She is happily supported by her partner Paul and two children, as well as three Bouvier des Flandres, Morgan, Tori and Tucker.
Shelby Pearson, Director, Finance & Operations
Shelby has a long history of volunteering in animal welfare, holding various roles from dog walker to Board Treasurer both locally and internationally. After working abroad for over 15 years in offshore investment and pension funds, Shelby returned to Canada and joined the non-profit workforce, marking the start of her career in animal welfare at the Guelph Humane Society in 2018. Combining her passion for animal welfare and accounting has proven to be an extremely rewarding path, both personally and professionally.
Shelby graduated from Conestoga College with a degree in Business Administration – Accounting, is a QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor, and is formally educated in Equine Massage Therapy, receiving the Academic Award of Excellence upon graduation.
In her spare time, Shelby is an avid horse rider and enjoys hiking with her dog Loki.
Mallory Lloyd, Events Manager
Mallory has an interest in animal welfare in Canada and internationally and has spent the last 15 years working or volunteering in the animal welfare and environmental sectors.
She is a skilled events expert and corporate partnership manager with almost ten years of experience planning events of many formats. Mallory has two degrees, one in Business with a major in Finance and the second in Environmental Practice with a focus on sustainability. She focused much of her academic research on endangered species and the sustainability of critical ecosystems around the world.
Mallory is also an inventor who owns her own business, Get Out Stay Out (GOSO), which sells a campfire grill of her own design. Through GOSO, Mallory encourages people to get outside while sharing lived experiences of her own adventures.
She is the proud caretaker of two rescued dogs, Murphy and Dakota.
Colleen Ovenden, Manager, National Pet Food Bank
Colleen Ovenden (elle/she/her) is the founder and former Director of ENGAGE: Éducation en bien-être animal, a non-profit organization dedicated to building empathy and advocacy among youth. ENGAGE collaborated with schools and organizations to empower youth to participate in the creation of a more socially conscious society—one that reflects our love for animals and for each other.
Prior to ENGAGE, Colleen was the Montréal SPCA’s Director of Education and Community Outreach where she developed programs that fostered compassion and promoted empathy and respect for all living beings. During her tenure, Colleen helped organizations that service vulnerable human populations explore how companion animals can be incorporated into their programming. Her aim was to encourage social service organizations to consider “person+pet” as a single unit and therefore strive to service and house that unit.
Outside of animal welfare, Colleen has two children, one dog, and two grand-dogs. In her free time, you can find her taking unreasonably long walks or attempting to micromanage her adult children’s lives. Colleen is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Québec chapter of PFLAG Canada, an advocacy organization that offers peer-to-peer support for LGBTQ+ folks and their loved ones.
Colleen holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from Concordia University and has completed six years of her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from McGill.
Kristina Koehn Merchant, Manager, Marketing and Communications
Kristina has always had a deep love for animals and became a devoted pet parent by the age of six to a stray cat. In the words of Ernest Hemingway, “one cat just leads to another.” She has had many four-legged friends throughout her life and is very passionate about the humane treatment of all animals.
As Humane Canada’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Kristina is responsible for the organization’s content creation and media relations, among other responsibilities.
Kristina is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College’s Public Relations program. When she is not hard at work, Kristina can be found walking a nature trail, exploring Toronto, or spending time with her family and sweet cat, Patches.
Melissa Devlin, Manager, Annual Donor Relations & Engagement
Melissa has been involved with Humane Canada since 2016 as one of the founding members of Women for Humane Canada. She has worked in the animal welfare non-profit sector for 10 years with a range of experience including Fund Development, Corporate Partnerships, Marketing, Events and Humane Education.
She began her education at St. Thomas University and went on to complete Veterinary Technician & Broadcast Journalism programs. Melissa is passionate about animal welfare and raising funds to help give animals in Canada a better future. In her spare time she enjoys reading, being outdoors and spending time with friends & family. Melissa has been an avid animal lover her whole life and at home has 2 rescue cats, a rescue dog, as well as 2 young children.
Sue O’Neill, Manager, ACT Project
Sue O’Neill has a background working in gender-based violence services, in both shelter and community-based settings. Her work in these settings resulted in supporting the development of an agency-based Safe Pet program. Her additional professional experience has been in various roles in the areas of mental health, employment, and education.
Sue holds an Honours Bachelor of Child Development and is a Master of Education candidate at Western University. Sue’s favorite role is that of caretaker to her two dogs, Hugo and Leslie.
Lynne Marie Denis, Manager, Learning Centre
Lynne Marie and her family have shared their lives with several animals including horses. Her love for animals started at an early age which turned into advocating for animal welfare later in her life. She volunteered on the board of a local SPCA and has surrounded herself with many animals which she is convinced is what keeps her balanced.
Lynne Marie’s experience is in professional development and continuing education, project & program management, strategy, and policy development with a subspecialty in marketing, communications, and events. She has been completing part-time teaching and corporate training positions at post-secondary institutions for several years while holding different roles within the academic sector.
Her university studies are in economics and administration at Bishop’s University, and she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education, educational leadership as well as completing her Certified Association Executive designation with the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
Giuliana Miguel Pacheco, Manager, Farmed Animal Welfare
While completing her veterinary training in small animal medicine and surgery at the National Autonomous Mexico University, Giuliana discovered her interest in animal welfare science as she saw that her medical knowledge was not enough for a prompt and holistic recovery of her patients. She decided to pursue an MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of Edinburgh, where she focused her research training on play behaviour in dairy calves, followed by a PhD at the University of Nottingham on the effect of lameness treatment on dairy cattle behaviour and welfare.
Her passion for animal welfare has taken her to work as an animal welfare scientist and consultant for various projects, from captive elephant welfare to precision livestock farming for ruminants in the UK and farm animal welfare policy writing for North American food businesses and Latin American NGOs.
Before joining Humane Canada, Giuliana conducted interdisciplinary research in pig welfare, where she developed welfare assessment training material, carried out extensive welfare assessments on-farm, and led the testing of new methods to assess pig welfare at the abattoir.
In her spare time, Giuliana enjoys volunteering at animal welfare organizations and baking, and she recently discovered her passion for dancing Marinera, a Peruvian traditional dance. She lives in Treaty 7 region and Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, with her husband and Marietta, a rescued dog from Mexico who has travelled the world with them.
Shannon Ingram, Events Coordinator
Shannon has always had a strong love for animals being surrounded by a variety animals from a very young age. She has been a non-profit volunteer since the age of 12 and volunteered as an Events Intern with Humane Canada before joining the team full-time as the Events Coordinator in the fall of 2019.
Shannon is a graduate of the Algonquin College Event Management program as well as of the Advanced Diploma – Business Administration Program with a major in Marketing. When she is not hard at work, she enjoys traveling, camping, and spending time with her two dogs, Jasper & Denver.
Garett Grittner, Coordinator, Policy & Research
Garett has been with Humane Canada since 2020 as their Coordinator of Policy and Research. His work primarily involves conducting research on the status of various animal welfare matters across the country, and engaging in external policy review processes to help shape the development of animal welfare policies in Canada.
Garett holds a Master’s in Philosophy with a focus in animal ethics, and he has a background in Canadian public policy research with specializations in the areas of ethics, politics, and economics. Prior to joining Humane Canada, he conducted interdisciplinary research on the international policy landscape surrounding scientific animal use to explore opportunities for Canada’s path forward in this area.
Kerri Thomson, Coordinator, Criminal Justice System Reform Program
Kerri is a recent graduate of the Paralegal program at Mohawk College. After having spent a number of years in a completely different field, she had the opportunity to pursue her passion and is currently taking a Combined Honours degree program in Criminology and Policing, as well as a post-graduate certificate in Victimology.
When she is not working or studying, Kerri can be found reading as many books as she can get her hands on, as well as tending to her tabby girls Ivy and Iris, aka Princess Stinkerella and The Queen.
Justine Stephan, Executive Assistant & Human Resources Administrator
Justine has worked in animal welfare for the past 9 years, with a range of experience in shelter operations, client services, adoptions and animal care. During this time, she has witnessed the needless hardships too many animals are forced to endure. This ultimately encouraged Justine to work towards building a better world for all animals. She is an advocate for treating all animals as the sentient beings they are.
Justine holds a degree in Biological Science, with further education in animal care, welfare and behaviour. Justine has a special interest in disaster relief for animals and humane education.
In addition to her love for animals, Justine also enjoys travelling, running, and hiking.
Claire Dulude, Coordinator, National Pet Food Bank & ACT Project
Claire (she/her/elle) joins Humane Canada having recently completed her Master’s in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of Guelph. Prior to this, Claire earned an Honour’s Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Animal Sciences from Lakehead University.
Claire has experience holding both administrative and animal care positions within a Humane Society organization. Claire’s devotion to providing pet families with the tools and resources they need to stay together was fortified when she was given the opportunity to help coordinate a free Pet Food Delivery Program in her community as part of a COVID-19 relief effort. It is through working in a shelter that Claire also developed a robust passion for increased access to veterinary care, particularly for low-income individuals, as well as pet families living in remote areas.
In her free time, Claire enjoys baking, being outdoors, playing D&D with her friends, and spending time with her dog, Dozer.
Sarah English, Coordinator, Marketing and Communications
Sarah has worked in marketing and communications since graduating from Humber College and then Brock University in 2017. While earning her degree in Communications at Brock, Sarah was also able to participate in the Critical Animal Studies Program which furthered her passion and education regarding animal welfare.
At a young age, Sarah realized how important animals were to have in her life. She started horseback riding, feeding the feral cats around her family home, and rehabilitating birds and other small animals. Sarah cares immensely about organizations that advocate for animals and educate the public on the injustices that animals face. She is thrilled to be a part of the Humane Canada team.
In her free time, Sarah loves to read, swim, pretend it’s Halloween year-round and, of course, cuddle with her cats, sisters Nomi and Kajsa.
Andrea Ondrade, Coordinator, ACT Project
Andrea Ondrade (she/her) is a second-generation immigrant and settler on Turtle Island, a woman of colour, and Filipinx. She is a Registered Social Worker and ACT Project Coordinator with Humane Canada.
Prior to her work with Humane Canada, Andrea worked as a frontline social worker for over 7 years providing support and advocacy services for marginalized individuals and groups navigating systemic barriers. She is passionate about fostering systemic transformation to ensure social justice for all beings.
Andrea has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Manitoba and completed a Master’s in Social Work with a specialization in Social Justice and Diversity from the University of Toronto. Outside of work, Andrea enjoys spending time with family, her partner, and their two cats, Tuco and Umi.
Natalia Hanson, Marketing and Communications Consultant (on contract)
Natalia is a Colombian and Canadian citizen who migrated to Canada in 2009 to pursue higher education attending college to become a veterinary assistant. She worked in that industry for 6 years, and during that time, she developed a passion for animal advocacy and fundraising, which led her to pursue a second career in public relations. Her goal was to broaden her skillset in this field to continue working for animals’ welfare and their well-being.
Natalia joined Humane Canada in 2016 as a public relations intern and has been involved with our organization on and off since then in a variety of roles. She is currently a marketing consultant for our events team. On top of consulting for Humane Canada, Natalia provides marketing support for other non-profits. In 2019, she co-founded Humane Outreach for Latin Animals (HOLA), a non-profit that provides assistance to dogs and cats in Latin American countries through vital sterilization campaigns. Spaying and neutering domestic animals are the most humane and most effective ways of reducing the problem of pet overpopulation.
Natalia is the proud mom of a four-legged rescued pup, Sammy, a black corgi mutt and is currently living in southern Ontario.
Marcie Moriarty, Chair
Marcie Moriarty is the Chief Prevention and Enforcement Officer with the BC SPCA. After obtaining degrees in Animal Biology and Law from the University of British Columbia, Marcie was called to the bar in 2003. Her passion for animal welfare and advocacy led her to a career with the BC SPCA starting in 2005.
In her current role, Marcie leads a department that combines cruelty investigations, stakeholder relations and scientific programs. Some of the BC SPCA Prevention and Enforcement Department successes she is most proud of are the strengthening of the provincial animal cruelty laws, including increasing penalties and the incorporation of various codes of practice. Marcie was also a key contributor to the creation of the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty (NCPAC). In recognition of her work with NCPAC, she was presented with a 2016 Animal Welfare Leadership and Innovation Award by Humane Canada in 2016.
A firm believer in the change-making power that a group of committed, talented and diverse women can have, Marcie is pleased to join Women for Humane Canada. It is her hope that her experience being a vocal advocate for animal issues will be an asset to the group and will help secure lasting and impactful improvements for animals in Canada.
Kevin Toyne, Vice-Chair
Kevin is an experienced civil litigation lawyer at Hill Sokalski Walsh LLP in Winnipeg. He has practiced law in Ontario and Manitoba for over 15 years and his practice includes the growing field of animal law. In 2012 and 2013, Kevin successfully represented the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary pro bono before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in proceedings involving “Darwin the IKEA Monkey”.
He served as the Vice-Chair of the Animal Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association in 2014-2015 and regularly appears as a media commentator on animal law issues. He is the Chair of the Winnipeg Humane Society’s Animal Protection Committee and serves on the Board of Directors. Kevin teaches Civil Procedure at Robson Hall Law School at the University of Manitoba and is a Presiding Member of Manitoba’s Co-operative Housing Appeal Tribunal. In 2017, he obtained his Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall at York University.
Each November, Kevin volunteers at Isla Animal’s Rancho Viejo Spay and Neuter Clinic in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Most importantly, he is the proud father of two vegan toddlers.
Carrie Fritz, Treasurer
Carrie Fritz is the Executive Director of Calgary Humane Society, a position she has held since 2014 when she was promoted from the position of Controller. Carrie is a CGA-CPA, who attended the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, obtaining her accounting designation in 1996. She worked at a public accounting firm focusing on audit, assurance and business advisory services before making the leap from public practice to the not-for-profit sector, and finally landing at Calgary Humane Society in 2007.
This was the perfect role for Carrie; one where she could bring her lifelong love of animals, along with her extensive not-for-profit experience, to an animal welfare organization she already had a long relationship with in a community she had grown up in.
Since taking on the role of Executive Director, Carrie has focused on reshaping the culture to one which embodies an open, inclusive and supportive environment to aid in the Society’s mission of helping as many animals as we can. She has worked to build a highly professional, highly skilled team, capable of successfully supporting staff, volunteers, and other key stakeholders through a period of transition and organizational change in order to better meet the needs of the animals in our care and the community we serve.
Carrie lives just south of Calgary where she shares her home with her daughter, her two dogs, Daisy and Lacey, as well as her rescue rabbit , Winter.
Rob Rosenfeld, Secretary
Rob Rosenfeld, Vice President – National Capital Region and Corporate Communications for Morneau Shepell works with a wide variety of clients to help increase the quality of mental health and wellness support offered to their employees.
Prior to joining Morneau Shepell, he worked for the Government of Canada, where he held senior posts in the offices of the Ministers of Science and Veterans Affairs. He has years of experience working in advocacy and public affairs, including on behalf of research universities, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and telecommunications and high-tech firms.
Rob is passionate about working to improve understanding and support for those impacted by mental health issues and is proud to work with Humane Canada™ on the intersection between animal welfare and mental health.
Andrea Dykstra, Director-at-large
Andrea is a member of the Pictou Landing First Nation, a Mi’kmaw community in Mi’kma’ki or what is currently known as Nova Scotia. Andrea is a senior policy leader with the Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Team at Health Canada where she leads work to develop and implement an anti-racism framework for the department. Prior to her time at Health Canada, Andrea has held a variety of senior posts specializing in Indigenous policy touching on conservation, carbon emissions, economic development, the legal duty to consult, and cultural safety and humility in the health care system.
She is a published, but retired, freshwater ecologist turned wildlife biologist. Andrea is also a laureate of the Indspire Awards for her previous work in political and environmental advocacy to advance the interests of the Mi’kmaq Nation and all Indigenous peoples.
Andrea is focused on finding opportunities for Indigenous ways of knowing to inform the activities and mission of Humane Canada and its member organizations.
Christine Tausig Ford, Director-at-large
Christine Tausig Ford is president of the Ottawa-based consulting firm, Higher Thinking Strategies Limited. She provides consulting services to many clients at universities, non-profit associations and federal government agencies in the areas of governance, women’s leadership, higher education and research policy.
Christine is a former chair of the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Humane Society. She is currently a board member of the Beechwood National Cemetery and Foundation, a member of the executive of the International Women’s Forum Ottawa chapter, where she holds the governance chair and a member of the Governance Committee of the International Women’s Federation Canada.
Christine was formerly vice-president and chief operating officer of Universities Canada, the national membership organization representing Canadian universities. She has also served as interim executive director of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
For her work in higher education, Christine received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for service to higher education. A lifelong animal lover, especially cats, Christine lives with her husband and two beloved cats, Tiger and Toby.
Elizabeth Murphy, Member Director, Nova Scotia SPCA
Before being named CEO of the Nova Scotia SPCA in September of 2013, Elizabeth built her career in the not-for-profit industry. Her professional focus was guiding organizational leadership to create and strengthen strategic partnerships, enabling them to become self-sustaining and thus, ensuring that their vital programs would continue to be offered in the communities they serve. Elizabeth’s strengths lay in identifying and developing unique revenue streams and encouraging collaboration among stakeholders to see them securely established.
It has always been important to Elizabeth that her profession leave a positive lasting impact on communities. Over the past 20 years her work has focused on improving the lives of people and animals in need – her passion for animals was likely derived from her childhood experiences being raised on the back of a horse by her equestrian coach Mum.
Since joining the Nova Scotia SPCA, Elizabeth has facilitated the merge of 11 independent SPCA Societies, combining them into one provincial organization which oversees the complete operation of six animal shelters. Elizabeth has built the business of the Nova Scotia SPCA to include: two veterinary hospitals, two veterinary clinics, four thrift stores, a windmill farm, and a professional inspectorate responsible to enforce the Provincial Animal Protection Act.
While Elizabeth has lived on both coasts and spent a few years working at the PEI Humane Society, she currently resides in Hubbards, NS with her husband, twin 16-year-old girls, dog, Hughie and two cats named Ruby & Max.
Elizabeth describes herself as: 1 part Executive, 1 part Entrepreneur, 2 parts cat lady and 2 parts Mum.
Shane Bateman, Director-at-large
Shane Bateman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Studies at the Ontario Veterinary College and practices as an Emergency/Critical Care specialist in the Companion Animal Medical Complex at Ontario Veterinary College’s Health Sciences Centre in 2023. He was the Chair of the Board of the Guelph Humane Society from 2011 to 2021 during construction of a new $10M shelter that opened in March 2021.
In addition, Shane was the Regional Veterinary Director for Community Veterinary Outreach from 2011-2021- a charity that provides free preventive veterinary care for pets whose owners are homeless or at risk of homelessness using a One-Health delivery model. He also participated in a number of initiatives that deliver preventive care at low cost to First Nations communities in SW Ontario from 2012-2020. He is passionate about involving veterinary students in all of these activities.
It was this passion that helped him to advocate for creation of a new learning pathway at OVC focused on Shelter and Community Medicine. The Kim & Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program, was funded by an $11M gift from Kim & Stu Lang to OVC in 2019 that will ensure that DVM and graduate students graduating from OVC will have acquired the skills, values, confidence and cultural awareness to deliver veterinary services of the highest possible standard to disadvantaged animals and people in diverse inadequately serviced communities and in environments that are poorly resourced. Shane served as the interim veterinary director of the program from 2020-2022 and was responsible for the overall vision of the program and developing a comprehensive curricular proposal for OVC.
During his sabbatical leave in 2022, Shane is completing a Master’s degree in Veterinary Forensic Science and hopes to broaden student learning of this important animal welfare discipline at the college.
Debbie Johnston, Director-at-large
Debbie is the Executive Director and Senior General Counsel leading the Competition Bureau of Canada’s legal team. She is a former federal prosecutor and public sector lawyer with expertise in criminal prosecutions, human rights law, competition law, and in public sector governance.
Debbie is a community member of the University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre. Over the past decade, she has provided pro bono training in Spanish to judges and prosecutors in Colombia and Mexico on human rights and adversarial system prosecution skills in the context of Latin American criminal justice reform. She and her daughters helped privately sponsor and integrate newly arrived Syrian families in Quebec.
Debbie is a lifelong animal lover and became especially passionate about animal welfare when she adopted an Akbash puppy mill survivor. In the past decade, Debbie has devoted efforts to the animal welfare of street dogs in Latin America- on the ground rescuing, fostering, transporting dogs and donated vet supplies, adopting, helping at spay/neuter clinics, sponsoring urgent veterinary care, fundraising, and supporting NGOs both in Canada and abroad. She has helped rescue over 30 dogs.
She lives with her husband, three kids and her Latino-Canadian canine rescue pack in the Gatineau Hills.
Sophie Gaillard, Member Director, Montreal SPCA
Sophie Gaillard joined the Montreal SPCA in 2013, after having graduated from McGill University’s Faculty of Law and articling at the Crown prosecutors’ office in Montreal. In her role as Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal Affairs, she oversees the Montreal SPCA’s efforts to strengthen animal protection legislation and public policy at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, as well as acting as the organization’s head legal counsel. She is namely one of the instigators of the Animals are not Things manifesto which led to the adoption of a new provision in the Civil Code of Quebec recognizing animals as sentient beings. Gaillard is also currently acting as the Montreal SPCA’s Interim Executive Director.
Kevin Strooband, Member Director, Humane Society of Greater Niagara
Kevin has been with the Humane Society of Greater Niagara (formerly the Lincoln County Humane Society) since 1990. Starting as an Animal Cruelty & Animal Control Officer, Kevin rose through the ranks and since 2001, serves the community and the animals of Niagara, as HSGN’s Executive Director.
Over 20 years ago, Kevin built a new relationship with the local women’s shelter, to provide a safe haven for pets where their owners were escaping domestic violence. Today, the program continues and now includes those who are homeless or seeking help for their medical needs, including mental illness.
In 2017, Kevin created Ontario’s first full-service, humane society-run animal clinic, that continues providing to those community members who may not have a veterinary relationship in another clinic or cannot afford the prices.
In 2021, Kevin created Niagara’s first Community Fridge. The only one of its kind run by a humane society, this fridge only serves people in need of food to support themselves and their families. The Community Fridge is run by volunteers and sees up to 15 people per day. Kevin also serves on the board of Community Care St. Catherines & Thorold.
Liza Sunley, Member Director, Edmonton Humane Society
Since joining EHS at the start of 2019, Liza has leveraged her history in non-profit leadership towards the goal of development and implementation of a five-year strategic plan. Utilizing her skills in management and planning, Liza is dedicated to supporting the community, EHS staff, and the animals in their care.
Before EHS, Liza shared her talents as the Chief Operating Officer at Bissell Centre, overseeing all programs and services for this inner-city non-profit, supporting people living in poverty. She was also Executive Director at the Lurana Shelter Society, a local refuge providing safety and supports for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. As a dedicated local leader and survivor spokesperson for ovarian cancer, Liza was recognized by YWCA Edmonton with a Women of Distinction Award and by Ovarian Cancer Canada with the Peggy Truscott Award of Hope.
As a child, Liza was always passionate about wanting a pet but with a father in the air force, frequent moves made this a challenge. Her first pet came in grade 6 with a hamster named Fifi. Since then, her love of animals has only grown. She enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, sunny days with the family cat (Chester) – adopted from EHS – as well as taking her adopted dog (Ruby) to the park.