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 Kathy Elissat & Gabrielle Trépanier

Kathy Elissat graduated in 2000 from Western University with a Masters of Clinical Science in Occupational Therapy. She has been practicing in BC since then, and currently works as a Clinical Advisor for WorkSafe BC. She has worked in both public and private practice for many years as a Consultant OT, specializing in rehabilitation, spinal cord injury and seating as well as a variety of other clinical interests. She has a passion for mentoring students and enjoys regular work as a Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.  When she isn’t working she enjoys cycling, running and yoga, and her favorite place in the City of Vancouver is Kitsilano pool in the summer time! Kathy Elissat
Gabrielle (Gabie) graduated from McGill with a B.Sc. OT in hand in 2008. From there, she practiced OT in Québec and the Yukon before permanently relocating to BC in 2010. As she grows older, she finds herself working with a younger and younger clientele, recently taking a position in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at BC Women’s Hospital. Gabie is passionate about pediatric practice and feeding, recently helping translate the new IDDSI framework in French. She also has a keen interest in advocacy and public health which led her to join the CAOT-BC Advisory Committee in 2013. If you’d like to know more about exploring the Coast Mountains, talk to Gabie - this is where she spends all her free time. Gagi Trepanier

Social Committee Co-chairs

Irene Chappell is a Queen’s University graduate and founder of OT Consulting/Treatment Services Ltd, a work assessment and treatment facility (1986). She is a Certified Work Capacity Evaluator and Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. She has been published in the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy; OT Now and is a co-author of “The Functional Capacity Evaluation: A Clinician’s Guide” and sole author of “Esc Computer Pain: The 7 Commandments of Ergonomics”. Irene Chappell
Talia Budlovsky graduated from UBC in 2017 and is currently working in community private-practice in Vancouver. Talia’s special interests include adaptive sport and recreation, empowering clients through symptom self-management, and vocational rehabilitation. Outside of work, Talia can be found enjoying all the wonderful sights and tastes that Vancouver has to offer. Talia Budlovsky

Marketing Committee Co-chairs

Jeff Boniface is an occupational therapist with over 22 years of experience.  Jeff is the owner/director of a community-based occupational therapy private practice in Greater Vancouver. He is a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, and is currently completing a Master of Science in Rehabilitation at the University of British Columbia.  Jeff is looking forward to commencing his position as a board director for the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia in February 2018. Jeff Boniface
Kris Kent earned his Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia in 2014. Since then he has gained experience providing case management and rehabilitation services, working in community-based private practice. When he is not working, you’ll likely find Kris enjoying BC's beautiful outdoors, travelling, or spending time with family and friends. Kris Kent

Volunteer Committee Co-chairs

Andrea McNeill currently works as a Quality Assurance Supervisor at WorkSafeBC in the Health Care Services department.  Her role includes assisting in the creation, implementation and monitoring of contracts for catastrophically injured workers. In this role she has regular contact with occupational therapists and WorkSafeBC employees across the province as she works to ensure that our most injured workers have access to the treatment and interventions they require via the numerous contracts we have created.  She also acts as a resource to the networks she supervises in both a clinical and non-clinical capacity.

Theresa Wong graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1990 and currently is in private practice, providing medical legal services.  She was previously a Quality Assurance Supervisor at WorkSafeBC, and has served on the Registration Committee with COTBC.

Andrea McNeill & Theresa Wong

Accessibility Committee Co-chair

Laura Yvonne Bulk works as a private practice occupational therapist on the traditional territory of the Musqeum and Coast Salish peoples. She is chair of the CAOT-BC Advisory Committee. Laura is also a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia. Her areas of work include end-of-life, blindness, belonging, inclusion of disabled people in health professions, and occupational justice.

Laura Bulk

CAOT-BC Chapter Representatives

Giovanna Boniface is an occupational therapist with over 20 years of experience, practicing her entire career in British Columbia. She has worked for CAOT for 6 years as the Managing Director of CAOT-BC and also holds the position of National Director for Professional Affairs. In addition, Giovanna is a clinical faculty instructor at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy and is completing her Masters of Rehabilitation Science, researching the development of a new occupational therapy assessment tool.

Sarah Charles is the Service Coordinator for CAOT-BC and also works as an occupational therapist with Vancouver Coastal Health covering a number of practice areas including Orthopedics, Cardiac Surgery/Cardiology and Tertiary Mental Health. Sarah received her B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Victoria and Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of British Columbia. When not working, Sarah enjoys cooking, yoga, and running the Vancouver seawall.

Sarah Charles

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 Bunting, Debra Field, Katie Lee, Patricia Mortenson, Julia Schmidt, Catherine Vallée


Copyright 2016 Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
powered by in1touch
100-34 Colonnade Road
Ottawa, ON K2E 7J6 Canada