Staff

Animal Health Canada Staff Members

Samantha Benattar

Samantha Benattar

Executive Assistant

Samantha Benattar

Samantha Benattar

Executive Assistant

Samantha joined the NFAHW Council, now Animal Health Canada, in 2011, shortly after its inception. Prior to this, she worked for 13 years as an instructional designer and coordinator for the Bank of Montreal at their Institute for Learning. She lives on a hobby farm in Muskoka, Ontario's cottage country, with her husband, two kids and horses.                                                                                    

Samantha obtained a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in Anthropology, and having grown up in Montreal, also attended CEGEP at John Abbott’s College in the West Island of Montreal. 

                                                                                         

Colleen McElwain

Colleen McElwain

Interim Executive Director/Operations and Animal Health Director

Colleen McElwain

Colleen McElwain

Interim Executive Director/Operations and Animal Health Director

Colleen holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour and Welfare, and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Biology; both from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College. In 2020, she received her Certified Association Executive (CAE) professional designation. For over 15 years Colleen has worked within industry and government in various roles supporting animal health and welfare policy development and program implementation. As the Programs Director at Canadian Animal Health Institute, Colleen held a multi-functional role to provide organizational leadership in relation to communications, environmental stewardship programming, stakeholder relations and member service delivery. Prior to CAHI, she worked at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) leading her team on livestock traceability policy and stakeholder relations. For several years Colleen worked at the Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) where she was the lead for animal health and welfare, disease surveillance, traceability, antimicrobial resistance, and applied research policy and programming. She has participated on numerous national industry and government boards and committees, including a term as a Director at Large on the NFAHW Council Board representing the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI).

Nicole Baker

Nicole Baker

Bookkeeper

Nicole Baker

Nicole Baker

Bookkeeper

Nicole joined the NFAHW Council, now AHC, as a Senior Bookkeeper in April 2020. Nicole has over 20 years’ experience in the bookkeeping field across a variety of industries. Her role is to establish and maintain the financial records, support the work of AHC and its divisions, as well as ensuring that the efficient financial processes are well documented. 

Nicole was born and raised in Victoria, Australia where she studied Business Administration. She is also a Certified Health Information Manager (CHIM). 

Nicole, her husband, Michael and 16 year old daughter Mia, have two dogs, a Shitzu/poodle cross, named Panda and an Australian Cobberdog, named Cobber (Australian slang for Best Mate). She really enjoys entertaining, watching movies, as well as travelling, hiking, tennis and cooking.

 

 

Doris Leung

Doris Leung

Interim CAHSS Director

Doris Leung

Doris Leung

Interim CAHSS Director

Doris Leung has been a part of the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS) since 2020. She received her DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) from the Ontario Veterinary College and MPH (Master of Public Health) from the University of British Columbia. Doris is excited to utilize her knowledge in health communication, veterinary epidemiology, and disease surveillance to create knowledge translation pieces to engage with CAHSS members, foster collaboration, and to promote evidence-based decision making to advance animal health and surveillance in Canada. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC.

Rayna Gunvaldsen

Rayna Gunvaldsen

National ASF Project Manager

Rayna Gunvaldsen

Rayna Gunvaldsen

National ASF Project Manager

Rayna Gunvaldsen, BSA, DVM, MSc’s love for agriculture was forged by her upbringing in rural SK. Her career began in the swine industry and spanned the primary chain from farm to fork – stockperson, herd veterinarian, and meat inspector, which sparked her interest in regulatory medicine. After earning her master’s in swine medicine in 2015, Rayna worked for the CFIA and the Government of Alberta in various roles including district veterinarian for Vancouver Island, Foreign Animal Disease Veterinarian, and Surveillance Veterinarian before being appointed Chief Veterinarian for BC in 2020. Rayna’s areas of interest include transboundary animal disease, disease control, and emergency management.

Lucie Verdon

Lucie Verdon

African Swine Fever Project Lead

Lucie Verdon

Lucie Verdon

African Swine Fever Project Lead

I am very excited to be joining the Animal Health Canada African Swine Fever project team.

I have been a veterinarian for over ...38 years (Oh my, my!) ...graduated from the Université de Montreal, and complete my training with an internship. I practiced for more than 15 years in the Laurentians where I still live and work from, on the Ottawa River, just across Hawkesbury, Ontario.  I also did a certificate in Food Science and Quality at Université Laval. Many of you have worked with me over the years in my various mandates. Most of them were related to the prevention and control of animal diseases and the quality aspects related to them:

  • in food safety and on-farm food safety programs: for the CFIA,  and for slaughterhouses, for the University of Montreal (CQA program), for a project in Vietnam, for the MAPAQ;
  • in Disease prevention and control: on the Biosecurity Standard and Program Canadian Swine Health Board, in Réseau porcin au Québec of MAPAQ, in the National Biosecurity Standard for Animal Transportation, the Disease Control Plan and Emergency Measures Plan for les Producteurs de lait du Québec, les Producteurs de bovins du Québec ;
  • - in Animal welfare for the CPC's BEA Program, training on compromised pigs for the FPPQ, for the revision of the Transportation Code (for poultry, rabbits, mink and foxes) for the NFACC.
  • - in Animal health management: for MAPAQ programs (ASAQ, former IMAPA), and more recently, for Animal Health Canada for the coordination of committees and the CLT.
Danielle Julien

Danielle Julien

African Swine Fever Project Lead

Danielle Julien

Danielle Julien

African Swine Fever Project Lead

Danielle was born in Grenada, West Indies and lived in St. Kitts and Barbados before moving to Guelph, Ontario, Canada for post-secondary education. Danielle completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM Class 2008), Master of Public Health ( MPH Class of 2013), and Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology (PhD Class 2020) at the Ontario Veterinary College. After one year in companion animal practice, Danielle worked on Avian Influenza with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs’ Growing Forward Program, the Poultry Industry Council as the Biosecurity Program Specialist, and Project Manager for the Livestock Research Innovation Coorporation. Since defending her PhD, Danielle has worked as Research Associate in Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) at the AMR-One Health Consortium, One Health at UCalgary Office and Lead Researcher for the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System to develop a One Health framework to guide collaborative management of issues at the wildlife/domestic animal interface. In the fall of 2020, Danielle became the first Sessional Instructor for the inaugural undergraduate course Introduction to One Health (ONEH*1000) at the University of Guelph. Danielle is excited to start in her role working collaboratively with others as African Swine Fever Project Lead with Animal Health Canada. 

Jackie Wepruk

Jackie Wepruk

NFACC Division Director

Jackie Wepruk

Jackie Wepruk

NFACC Division Director

Jackie Wepruk has been the General Manager of the National Farm Animal Care
Council (NFACC) since its inception in 2005. In this capacity she facilitates a
partnership on NFACC between governments, farmed animal industries, the
veterinary community, the humane movement, food companies, and other allied
groups. She assists NFACC’s partners in achieving practical solutions to farm
animal welfare concerns that address the interests of farmers, domestic and
export markets, governments and the Canadian public.

Jackie obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University
of Winnipeg, and a Master of Environmental Design from the University of
Calgary.

Notice! Our organization has changed names to Animal Health Canada as of January 10, 2022. You might notice some historical documents developed prior to Jan 10, 2022 (newsletters, legacy documents etc.) still reference our prior name, the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council.