Meet the Team

Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.

Each year, the CAOT Conference is planned, coordinated and organized by a dedicated conference team made up of CAOT members that are local to the conference destination. From logistics to member outreach to planning and supporting plenary and break-out sessions, the CAOT Conference would simply not be the success that it is without the hard work of the conference team. Our thanks to you!

Co-convenors Beth Linkewich & Shaminder Dhillon

Beth Linkewich is the Director of the Regional Stroke Centre and North & East GTA Stroke Network at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is an occupational therapist with experience across the continuum of care in clinical, research, administrative, and academic settings across Ontario. She works collaboratively with system stakeholders and senior leaders to create an integrated system that supports access to quality and best practice stroke prevention and care. Beth led the development of the Ontario Stroke Report Card and the implementation of the bundled care pilot for stroke in Ontario. Her research and collaboration interests include stroke and cognition, evaluation, interprofessional collaboration, system integration, and innovative models of service delivery.
Shaminder Dhillon has worked clinically in forensic psychiatry and the auto sector. Since 2006, Shami has been working in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University in various roles including teaching and research. She was fortunate to be the Curriculum Lead for the Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation (OTepp) project. Currently, Shami continues to teach in the occupational therapy and course-based rehabilitation science programs, while also learning in her doctoral studies about accommodation of students with disabilities in professional programs.

Social Committee Co-chairs

Elizabeth Steggles’ clinical career has focused on accessibility and the use of assistive technology to enhance autonomy for people with disabilities and she has developed and managed several services in both public and not-for-profit organizations. In 2006 Elizabeth changed gear and became a research manager for the School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University and for the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). When she retired in 2015, Elizabeth was Director of Standards for CAOT. 
Rob Tyndall is an occupational therapist who graduated from the Master’s in Occupational Therapy program at McMaster University in 2009. Rob is a clinic/community-based provider and supervisor with Lifemark in the Niagara Region.

Volunteer Committee Chair

Laurie Macdonald graduated in 1995 from McMaster University and is an occupational therapist with over 23 years of experience. Laurie is an Occupational Therapist on the Mental Health Rehabilitation Program with St. Joseph’s Care Group (SJCG) in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and is also the Occupational Therapy Professional Practice Leader for SJCG and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. 

Accessibility Committee Chair

Sandra VanderKaay is a registered occupational therapist, a Research Coordinator at CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research at McMaster University, and a sessional instructor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Sandra recently completed her PhD at McMaster which explored ethical decision-making in occupational therapy practice in Canada. Sandra lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake.


Student chair

Alyssa Corcoran is currently a student occupational therapist at McMaster University’s School of Rehabilitation Science. She graduated from Brock University in 2014, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. Her current interests include pediatrics and mental health. Alyssa is the co-president of the OT/PT/SLP student council at McMaster University. 

Conference Scientific Program Committee

Conference Scientific Program Committee Chair:

Ben Mortenson is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia. He is a principal investigator at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Research Program and International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries. He is the recipient of the prestigious CIHR New Investigator career scientist award. He is an experienced mixed-methods researcher with over 50 peer reviewed publications. His work is centred on four main populations: assistive technology users, informal and formal caregivers, individuals with spinal cord injury, and residents in long-term care. Examples of his current research include studies to a) evaluate the outcomes of scooter skills training, b) identify barriers and facilitators to mobility and participation among people who use different types of mobility devices, c) develop novel technologies to help informal (family) caregivers, and d) improve self-management skills among people with spinal cord injury through the use of a mobile app.

Ben Mortenson

Members: Claudine Auger, Skye Barbic, Katie Lee Bunting, Debra Field, Patricia Mortenson, Julia Schmidt, Catherine Vallée

Copyright 2016 Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
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