Forum 2023 Speakers

Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar, CFIA
Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar became President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on February 27, 2023.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar served as President of the Public Health Agency of Canada since October 2021. He rejoined the Health portfolio in 2020, when he was appointed to the role of Associate Deputy Minister of Health, becoming an integral player in Canada's COVID-19 response.

Before joining Health Canada, Dr. Kochhar served as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Operations Sector for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) where he led the delivery of the Immigration, Citizenship and Passport programs across Canada and at missions and offices abroad. He also was responsible for the implementation of key strategic projects for IRCC, including the Passport Modernization Initiative, Predictive Analytics, and the transformation of IRCC's operational delivery model.

Previous to this, Dr. Kochhar was Associate Vice-President of Operations at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) from 2015 to 2017, and was Canada's Chief Veterinary Officer and Canada's Delegate to the World Organization for Animal Health. He was responsible for delivering food inspection services across the country as well as managing thousands of employees. During his tenure at the CFIA, Dr. Kochhar managed several high profile cases to ensure the safety of Canada's food supply, including the official response to Canada's largest beef recall (XL foods).

Dr. Kochhar started his career by practising veterinary medicine in South Western Ontario. He has a Master's Degree in Veterinary Science and a Ph.D. in Animal Biotechnology from the University of Guelph where he also was Assistant Professor at the Ontario Veterinary College.

On a personal note, Dr. Kochhar is an active fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and contributes to charities such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Mental Health Institute, and the Liver Foundation. In 2012, Dr. Kochhar was honoured with Elizabeth II's Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his professional and volunteer contributions and in 2017 he was awarded the Canada 150 Medal for community services. He was also noted in MacLean’s annual list of the top 50 influential Canadians of 2022.

In his spare time, he enjoys cooking as well as playing golf, volleyball, and skiing.

Dr. Bruce Lourie, Ivey Foundation

Dr. Bruce Lourie is one of Canada's most influential and widely respected problem solvers working on climate, energy, and sustainability. He is the president of the Ivey Foundation, which is now one of Canada’s largest and most influential climate solutions organizations with a $100-million commitment. In addition, Dr. Lourie is a bestselling author, a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Finance, and a Guest Lecturer at the Said Business School in the Social Finance Program at Oxford University.

Dr. Lourie is best known for bringing collaborative solutions to major environmental challenges, such as phasing-out coal in Ontario, and has been instrumental in the creation of over a dozen organizations that play critical roles in sustainability worldwide. Dr. Lourie is active on many boards including the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices and the Transition Accelerator, and formerly the Independent Electricity System Operator and Ontario Trillium Foundation.  

Dr. Hélène Carabin, University of Montreal - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Hélène Carabin is Full Professor in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the School of Public Health of the Université de Montréal. Her research program focuses on the use of advanced epidemiological and biostatistical methods to better understand the risk factors and burden of infectious diseases and to evaluate control programs, with an emphasis on diseases of the poorest populations and those affecting both animals and humans.

Brad Andres, Emergency Management Director, Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation

Brad is currently the Director of the Emergency Management Section in the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. In addition to the work on natural disasters, he works closely with the teams from animal health, crop health and food safety branches to ensure that the department has plans in place and is ready to respond to outbreaks in those areas.

Brad has been an emergency manager in the Alberta provincial government since 2005. He has been involved in the Province’s work on many different events (the 2011 Slave Lake Wildfire, 2013 South Alberta Floods, 2016 Wood Buffalo Wildfire, and 2023 Wildfire).

Dr. Murray Pettitt, CEO, Prairie Swine Centre

Dr. Pettitt is currently the CEO of Prairie Swine Centre. He received his BSA and M.Sc. in animal reproduction from the Department of Animal Science at the University of Manitoba. Following three years working as a research technician in the human infertility clinic at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, he then completed his Ph.D. in boar sperm cryopreservation in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Guelph in 1997. This was followed by a post doctoral fellowship at the Ontario Veterinary College working on developing practical embryo transfer techniques in swine.

In 1999, he undertook the position of Assistant Manager, External Research Services at Prairie Swine Centre, Inc. Subsequently he became the Research Scientist, External Research Services from 2003 – 2009 where he was responsible for leading this program conducting confidential, proprietary contract research on behalf of corporations, associations, or individuals in the swine industry in a professional, business environment.

Dr. Pettitt then joined the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan where he was responsible for managing a research program investigating markers of sperm function to identify the fertility potential of boars and bulls. He returned to Prairie Swine Centre as CEO in June 2018.

In 2021, Dr. Pettitt and his team at the Prairie Swine Centre launched a survey of small-scale producers across Canada’s main pork-producing regions to learn more about common practices and identify ways to engage with these producers to share best practices and resources to promote knowledge transfer and better biosecurity. This has led to a number of campaigns to build awareness and increase opportunities to share information.

Dr. Damien Joly, CEO, Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC)
Dr. Damien O. Joly, Ph.D., is the CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) and provides strategic leadership and oversees national and international initiatives. Dr. Joly has held various positions throughout his career in government (BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change), as well as the private (Metabiota Inc.) and non-profit (Wildlife Conservation Society) sectors. The focus of most of his career has been on the epidemiology of diseases that cross the interface between wildlife, domestic animals, and humans, developing wildlife disease surveillance systems and capacity-building programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology (University of Saskatchewan) and a B.Sc. in Wildlife Biology (University of Northern British Columbia).

Kellie Sherman, Operations Supervisor, Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS)
Kellie Sherman is the Operations Supervisor of the Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) and has been with CCIS since 2018. Kellie has worked in the natural resources field for over 12 years and in the invasive species field for 10. Kellie has a degree in Environmental Resource Science and two diplomas in Ecosystem Management. As Operations Supervisor, Kellie oversees all operations of the CCIS, builds partnerships in Canada and beyond, works on strategic initiatives, and helps CCIS work towards sustainable growth. Kellie resides in Peterborough ON, with her partner Tyler and her fur-baby Norm.

Dr. Katie Clow, Assistant Professor, University of Guelph
Dr. Katie Clow is an Assistant Professor in One Health in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. Her research focuses on the ecology and epidemiology of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. She also conducts research more broadly on One Health, including pedagogy and community-level applications. She holds both a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (OVC, 2011) and PhD (Pathobiology, 2017). Dr. Clow has worked in private small animal practice as well as at the national and international level in One Health through internships at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Disease at the World Health Organization, and the Global Disease Detection Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She regularly collaborates with public health professionals and veterinarians in private practice and industry.

Dr. Desmond Maguire, Directorate-General for Health & Food Safety

Des Maguire is a veterinarian and graduated from Glasgow University in Scotland. He has worked in DG SANTE (DG for Health and Food Safety) since 1999. The Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety is responsible for EU policy on food safety and health and for monitoring the implementation of related laws within the EU.        

He worked for 10 years for the United Kingdom Ministry of Agriculture at local level, in mainly animal health, food and feed areas. Since joining DG SANTE in 1999 he has held various positions in Directorate F based in Ireland, including auditing official controls on border inspection posts and animal welfare. He was also involved in drafting Directorate F audit procedures, ensuring compliance of audit reports, following up on Commission audit recommendations, and since 2020 he is in charge of BTSF policy for DG SANTE. Better training for safer food provides training covering the whole of the EU acquis for EU and non-EU countries official services and other stakeholders in non-EU.

 Dr. Volker Gerdts, VIDO
Dr. Volker Gerdts is the Director and CEO of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), located at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. He previously served as Associate Director of Research of VIDO from 2007 until 2018. Dr. Gerdts is also a Professor for Veterinary Immunology in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. He received a DVM in 1994 from Hanover Veterinary School and a German PhD equivalent from the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Island of Riems and Hanover Veterinary School, Germany in 1997. He has published > 160 peer-reviewed papers and given more than 350 presentations. He has served in various administrative roles, and served on various editorial boards and national and international scientific review panels.
Dr. David E. Swayne, Veterinarian
Veterinarian with specialization as a Veterinary Pathologist (MSc, PhD and Diplomate ACVP) and Poultry Veterinarian (Diplomate ACPV). For the past 36 years, his personal research has focused on the pathobiology and control of poultry diseases, primarily avian influenza.

Dr. Donald King, The Pirbright Institute
Dr. Don King is Head of the FAO World Reference Laboratory for FMD (WRLFMD) and is a World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) expert for foot-and-mouth disease and swine vesicular disease. He works at The Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom and coordinates international reference surveillance activities undertaken by the global WOAH/FAO FMD Laboratory Network for FMD ( He has a background in veterinary virology and immunology (previously at University of Leeds, UK, University of California, Davis and APHA, Weybridge, UK). From a practical perspective, work within his research group develops and applies new technologies for the detection and characterisation of important livestock disease agents and tools. These methods underpin the routine diagnostic work of the Reference Laboratories at The Pirbright Institute and are also used to monitor the global patterns of disease, and to recognise new emerging viral lineages that pose threats to the UK and Europe. He has recently led a WOAH Twinning Project with AU-PANVAC in Ethiopia to develop simple pipeline to monitor the quality of FMD vaccines.

Dr. Tom Smylie, CFIA
Dr. Tom Smylie, BSc DVM, has worked over 30 years as a large animal veterinarian concentrating on dairy production and has worked over 13 years with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, primarily focused on FMD policy and zoning.

He is the Canadian lead on the North American FMD Vaccine Bank technical group and a member of the WOAH Ad Hoc Committee on FMD in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Dr. Smylie is a primary driver for changes to WOAH’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code Chapter on FMD to allow zoning during a FMD outbreak as well as harmonization of waiting periods. He is the co-lead on the Canada – USA zoning arrangement, the Canadian lead on the QUADS Alliance Emergency Management Task Group and the FMD Vaccine Sharing Arrangement, and the lead of the technical group for the Canadian FMD Vaccine Bank.

Dr. Smylie is internationally recognized for his work on FMD policy.