SARscene 2017 - Biographies

Stéphanie Durand

Since June 2013, Stéphanie is the Director General, Emergency Management Policy and Outreach. She is responsible for leading the development of emergency management policies and programs for the Government of Canada on files such as Disaster Mitigation, Communications Interoperability, Public Alerting, as well as other initiatives related to disaster risk reduction, community resilience, response, preparedness and recovery mechanisms.

Given the wide-ranging reach of her work, Stéphanie works in close collaboration with all levels of government and various stakeholders, including the private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations. Some of her areas of focus also include advancing various whole-of-government initiatives and research to better predict, prepare for, and respond to weather-related emergencies and natural disasters and other incidents. As of September 2016, the National Search and Rescue Secretariat, which used to be part of National Defence, now reports to her. With this new responsibility, Stéphanie is also responsible for leading the policy work on modernizing search and rescue for Canada.

From September 2008 to May 2013, Stéphanie was the Director General of Communications for Public Safety Canada. She was responsible for heading the communications function for the department, including providing strategic communications advice, managing advertising and marketing programs, overseeing public affairs and media relations, as well as leading whole-of-government crisis communications efforts for the Government of Canada.

Stéphanie has also held a variety of senior level corporate positions at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Before joining the Public Service of Canada in 1998, Stéphanie worked for two years in Singapore in international marketing, public relations and event planning.

Dominik Breton

Dominik Breton is currently the Director - National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS) at Public Safety Canada. He started working with the organization as Chief, Non-federal Program in April 2013. In his capacity as Director, Dominik also co-chairs the Ground Search and Rescue Council of Canada, whose raison d'être is to enhance the delivery of Ground SAR in Canada through the coordinated development of policies and programs. Prior to joining the NSS, Dominik worked as the Canadian Joint Operations Command Liaison Officer with the Government Operations Centre, in Ottawa. He acted as an advisor and provided planning support during events of national interest; including the Vancouver Winter Olympics, G8/G20 Meetings, various natural disasters in Canada or abroad, and other national security an emergency management matters. He joined the public service after 20 years of service in the military as an Army Logistics officer. Dominik occupied various command and staff positions, and deployed operationally domestically and internationally.

Connie Cheung

Connie Cheung is a Senior Policy Advisor at Public Safety Canada. She is involved in a range of files such as: Public Safety Broadband Network, Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries and Emergency Preparedness. She has extensive experience in the area of emergency management at a policy and operational level.

Janelle Beaudette

Janelle Beaudette is a Senior Policy Advisor for the Public Safety Broadband Network with Public Safety Canada. She has held several positions with the federal government related to policy development and justice. Before working with Public Safety, she was a researcher with the Correctional Service of Canada, examining the prevalence of mental health disorders in offenders. Janelle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba and a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from Carleton University.

Randy Strandt

Randy Strandt serves as the Chair for the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary - National Council and is Past President of Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. He has more than 20 years of service in volunteer emergency services. In addition to his National Council duties, he is an active rescue boat Coxswain and Station Leader for RCM-SAR Station 2 – North Vancouver. He is a Simon Fraser University business school graduate and spends his days employed as the Controller for Seaspan, the leading marine services company in Western Canada. Randy is a CPA, CA with significant experience in corporate and not for profit governance. Randy is proud to have been part of the team that was instrumental in convincing the Federal Government to extend the 'Volunteers Tax Credit' to search and rescue crews. With this initiative, volunteers in marine, air, and ground search and rescue are recognized for their service and their families, friends, and community are also reminded each year of the vital contribution they make.

Scott Wright

Scott Wright has had the privilege of fulfilling leadership roles over the last 30 years in Agriculture Canada, the Alberta Government, Saskatchewan Agriculture and the University of Saskatchewan, and now with the Star Group. Scott is President of Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC), Past-President of Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV), and Chair of the CSA Technical Steering Committee for the development of GSAR Standards in Canada and an Instructor with ERI Canada/ Tundra. Scott has diverse interests both in and outside of the workplace that span science and business to people, and personal development. His 'outside' activities include Ground Search and Rescue, Search and Rescue Training and Search Management, and delivering Executive Coaching and Leadership Development blended with personal development work in Emotional Intelligence. 

Frank Schuurmans

To come

Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones is an Acting Platoon Chief with the City of Burlington Fire Department. As a firefighter and business owner, he has been a speaker for numerous Health and Safety seminars and has taught in classrooms around the country for the past 20 years. He brings an energetic approach with a wealth of experience to the classroom and is extremely passionate about worker health and wellness.

Duane McKay

Duane has had a career of over thirty five years in public safety, including 21 years in municipal public safety and 14 years with the province of Saskatchewan,  presently serving as the Commissioner of Emergency Management and Fire Safety.

Duane leadership and innovative management style has provided the opportunity to lead many significant projects that have resulted in a fully interoperative and integrated oublic safety system in Saskatchewan.  including:

  • Development and implementation of the provincial 9-1-1 system and the Provincial Emergency Communication Center which serves approximately 400 Saskatchewan municipal and provincial public safety agencies,
  • Development and management of the Provincial Public Safety Telecommunications Network (PPSTN). The largest land based public safety radio system in Canada.
  • Public safety technology development and implementation, including: Emergency Services  mapping, emergency services data management systems, provincial incident reporting and RMS systems, inter-agency Computer Aided Dispatch systems, and;
  • Development of provincial governance and partnership models for municipal and provincial public safety agencies, 9-1-1emergency communications, PPSTN, technology management and private industry. 
  • Development of an integrated provincial emergency response system which includes coordinated deployment of provincial assets, provincial rapid response teams and technically trained emergency volunteers.

In addition to his work in the province, Duane is actively involved in national public safety initiatives bringing national guidance to many committees and boards and serves as:

  • Past Chair of the Canadian Council of Emergency Management Organizations,
  • Past Co-Chair of the Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management,
  • Past President of the Canadian Council of Fire Marshalls and Fire Commissioners,
  • Co-chair of the Cross Sector Forum, and;
  • Domestic Group on Emergency management
  • Co-Chair of the Interoperability Working group on 700 Public Safety Broad Band

Lawrence Conway

Lawrence Conway is currently the Manager of Policy and Program Development with the National Search and Rescue Secretariat, Public Safety Canada. Over the past 26 years of his career Mr. Conway has held a variety of positions within the federal public service including Disaster Prevention/Mitigation and Recovery with Public Safety Canada; served on the Afghanistan Task Force with the Privy Council Office; Public Security and Anti-Terrorism unit with the Treasury Board Secretariat, and senior advisor (civilian) on strategic change to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff with the Department of National Defence. In addition, Mr. Conway is also an active member of his local volunteer Search and Rescue team (Sauvetage Bénévole Outaouais – Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue (SBO-OVSAR)) where he has held various positions over the past 13 years including operational positions he currently holds as the head of the medical team and a member of the Incident Management Team.

Rod Penney

Rod Penney is a Senior Policy Advisor with the National Search and Rescue Secretariat at Public Safety Canada in Ottawa. Rod is also a long standing member and past Vice-President of the local volunteer Ground Search and Rescue team, Sauvetage Benevole Outaouais – Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue (SBO-OVSAR). Rod also volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross in their Disaster Management program, giving him a unique perspective of the roles of both SAR and EM volunteers. Rod has been with Public Safety Canada for two years, and has a Bachelors Degree in Biology from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Masters Degree in Aquaculture from Simon Fraser University.

Peter Garapick

Peter Garapick has been with the Canadian Coast for over 27 years and has enjoyed a broad experience of roles during this period. While completing his BSc and MBA at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, he worked for 4 seasons as a Coxswain of a rescue unit and realised this was the organisation that he wanted to work for long-term. Upon graduation, Peter moved to Ontario where he joined the Central and Arctic Region in Sarnia and assumed a position in Environmental Response. He later became the Superintendent of the Office of Boating Safety and in 1999 was part of the team that brought in Canada's national boater education regulations, known as the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. As of 2006 he took on a role as Special Projects Manager and after 3 years he became the Superintendent of Marine Communications and Traffic Services. In 2012, he returned to his favourite service of the Coast Guard when he became Superintendent of SAR for the expanded Central & Arctic Region. Since the Fall 2016, Peter's focus is solely on the Arctic with the objectives of expanding SAR capacity on a local community level with the CCG Auxiliary across the North, establishing an Inshore Rescue Boat Station in the Arctic and liaising with Arctic expedition and cruise ship operators, Transport Canada and other government departments to ensure emergency plans are realistic and effective.

Ted Rankine

Ted Rankine is media professional with extensive experience in broadcast television and marine media. Throughout his career Ted has created and delivered hundreds of programs on boating safety, aviation safety, general water safety and even building ice roads in the far north. He is a Past Rear Commander with the United States Power Squadrons, past director of the National Safe Boating Council, the National Air Force Museum of Canada, the National Water Safety Congress and the Canadian Safe Boating Council, where he also served as Chairman. Currently Ted serves as a director with SAR Prevention Canada. Today, he is with us as a Project Manager for the Canadian Safe Boating Council.

Murray Wagner

To come.

Cliff Samson

Cliff Samson is a K9 trainer with the Ontario provincial Police where he has worked for the past year. Previously he worked Eight years with the Manitoba Fire Commissioners Office and twenty six and a half years with the Winnipeg Police Service. Cliff has been involved in Search and Rescue for over 30 years and has held numerous positions from a searcher with and without a dog up to and including being a Search Manager on several high profile missing person searches. As a K9 trainer with the OPP, cliff is responsible for training both; Search and Rescue and Human Remains detector dog teams.

Stuart Evans

Stuart Evans is a 28 years veteran of the RCMP currently stationed at D Division HQ in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is a Search Manager and senior member of the Manitoba RCMP Search & Rescue team. He is also a member of the Urban Search & Rescue Manitoba CAN TF-4 team. During his service, Stu has been deployed to multiple search and rescue operations throughout Manitoba and Nunavut. He was also part of the CAN TF-4 contingent that was deployed to the Fort McMurray wildfires.

Natalie Hasell

Natalie Hasell is the Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada in Winnipeg, where she has lived for over a decade and a half. In this role since early 2011, she endeavours to inform the general public in the Canadian Prairies about severe weather and related safety precautions through media interviews and awareness campaigns. Another one of her duties is to keep the emergency and disaster management community up-to-date on weather issues. Natalie also hopes to spend more time training volunteers and members of the emergency and disaster management community to understand and spot high impact weather.

David Schafer

David Schafer started his career with the Province of Manitoba in 1983, working with the department of natural resources in the wildfire program. David spent 12 years in the municipal fire service prior to joining the Office of the Fire Commissioner in 1997. He was appointed to the role ‎of Fire Commissioner for the Province of Manitoba in March, 2012. Prior to becoming Fire Commissioner, he has held a number of technical and managerial positions within the Agency, including maintaining a strong connection to the Search and Rescue Program.

Colonel Iain Huddleston

Colonel Iain Huddleston was born in Landstuhl, West Germany and later enrolled in the CAF in 1989, graduating with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the Royal Military College in 1994. After completing wings training in 1995, Col Huddleston was posted to 415 Maritime Patrol Squadron flying the CP140 Aurora at 14 Wing Greenwood in Nova Scotia. In Dec 2000, Col Huddleston was posted to 404 Maritime Patrol and Training Squadron as an Instructor Pilot. Posted late 2002 on exchange to RAF Kinloss, Scotland he then flew the Nimrod MR2 with both 206 and CXX Squadron. Promoted to Major in 2003, Col Huddleston deployed to the Middle East twice during this period, operating from both Muscat, Oman and Basrah, Iraq in the Overland Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance role. Returning to Canada in Aug 2006 to the Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command, he was selected in November as Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of the Defence Staff, then General Rick Hillier. In June 2009, after completing staff college, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and appointed commanding officer 429 Transport Squadron, operating the CC177 Globemaster III at 8 Wing Trenton in Ontario. Under his command 429 Sqn sustained a constant state of surge, maintaining the lifeline to our troops in Afghanistan, certifying the aircraft to operate from frozen semi-prepared runways in Canada's Arctic and responding with great effect to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 Libyan crisis. Posted to the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre in June 2011, Col Huddleston deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan as the HQ's J5 Plans, returning to CFAWC in Dec. A subsequent posting to Ottawa included short periods with the Strategic Joint Staff and the Defence Renewal Team. Promoted to his present rank in June 2013, Col Huddleston was appointed commanding officer 14 Wing Greenwood where he led the Long Range Patrol Force in operationalizing and deploying the modernized Block III CP140 Aurora on Op IMPACT, Canada's contribution to the fight against Daesh.

Michelle Maruk

Michelle Maruk has worked for the Government of Canada for 18 years, 14 of those with Transport Canada.  Her current role as Small Vessel Officer in Marine Safety and Security Ottawa involves the advancement of a number of priority files for the Office of Boating Safety HQ. Her career began has a water and boating safety instructor and has come full circle into a policy development support role. After joining the Transport Canada as a Boating Safety Officer in 2007, she worked with recreational boating clients, local enforcement partners and other government departments to promote safe boating. Ms. Maruk has also worked on a number of high profile projects for Transport Canada, such as The Place of Refuge Contingency Plan for the Canadian Arctic, the “2016 Arctic Aurora” exercise and new Transport Canada Guidelines for Passenger-Carrying Vessels Operating in the Canadian Arctic.

Larry Spears

Larry Spears has worked as a Standards and Policy Officer with Marine Safety and Security at Transport Canada since 2010. His current role is to provide technical support on standards and regulations related to lifesaving appliances and to oversee type approvals of portable lifesaving appliances. Larry's career in marine safety began in 1982 as a sea survival and lifeboat handling instructor at Survival Systems Limited in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In 1988 he moved to the Netherlands to work as the chief instructor in the start-up of a new offshore safety training program for Royal Dutch Shell. He returned in 1990 to work for a consulting company specializing in research and testing of marine and aviation survival equipment. Prior to taking his current position with Transport Canada he worked for 10 years for Helly Hansen Canada, now Climate Technical Gear, to develop a new line of flotation products for the Canadian market. He has also held positions as a rescue craft instructor for Canadian Coast Guard and worked for a custom wood and epoxy boat builder.

Major Myrian Lafrance

Major Myrian Lafrance joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2005, and she is currently the OIC at JRCC Trenton. In 2008, after receiving her wings, she was posted to 436 Squadron and deployed in Afghanistan. Afterward, she was posted to 435 Squadron where she upgraded as an AAR ACSO and, subsequently, as a SAR ACSO. In 2013, she was posted to TRSET as the SME for all ACSOs flying on the Buffalo and the Hercules. In 2015, she was promoted to her current rank and posted to 413 Squadron. She flew operational missions throughout Canada and abroad, totalizing more than 2000 flying hours.

Tobin Praznik

Tobin Praznik has been working with the Office of the Fire Commissioner for over 13 years with a focus with training, education and certification. Operationally, he carries responsibilities of Task Force Leader for Manitoba's Urban Search and Rescue Team (CANTF4) and Provincial GSAR Coordinator. He looks forward to the opportunity to present the uniqueness of the Manitoba SAR model, which relies heavily on strong relationships and partnerships within the Province.

Sergeant Randy Antonio

Sergeant Randy Antonio has 28 years of experience in the field of Law Enforcement, the last 23 with Winnipeg Police where he is currently the Supervisor of Research and Development Unit, Organizational Development and Support Division. In addition to his full time role, Randy is also the Ground Search and Rescue Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg and a member of the Disaster Management Response Team (MIRT). Involved in volunteer SAR for 19 years, he is the founder of both Winnipeg Search and Rescue Volunteer Association and Project Lifesaver Manitoba. Randy also serves as the Manitoba Coordinator for the AdventureSmart program and is the SARVAC representative to the SAR Incident Prevention Working Group.

Bill Neadles

Bill Neadles, a member of the Toronto Police Service (TPS) since November 1976, have held Uniform assignments as Constable, Sergeant and Staff Sergeant in 51, 52 and 55 Divisions. Assigned to the Drug Enforcement Section(s) for a period of 17 years as Constable, Detective and Detective Sergeant and have been fortunate to be involved in Drug investigations from small street level purchases to International multi-jurisdictional Organized Crime Cartels and Crime Organizations. Declared a court expert in all facets of drug investigations from street level drug operations to major international judicially authorized wire tap organized crime court cases in all of the major illicit Narcotics. Bill Neadles is now the Unit Commander of Emergency Management & Public Order, which includes Public Safety and Mounted Unit. This portfolio includes Public Order, Mounted Unit, CBRNE, EDU, Clandestine Lab response, Search Management, Emergency Management Planning and Operations as well as Special Events for the Service. This includes Training, Exercise creation and delivery, Critical Infrastructure planning and operational response, Service Emergency Procedure development, Toronto Association of Police and Private Security (TAPPS) program, Toronto Operational Response Information System (TORIS) program, Major Event Incident Management Team operational planning, training and response. Represent the Service on numerous Service, Community, municipal, provincial and federal committees. TPS Incident Commander with Incident Command training that includes Public Order, Search Management, National Incident Commander (Tactical) Program, Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR Team), Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRNE Team), Tactical Incident Commander. Incident Commander for many major events over the past years, including several major events such as G20, the Elliot Lake Mall Collapse, Sunrise Propane Explosion, TPS H1N1 response and major Tamil Demonstrations. Assigned as Operations Chief for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games.

Amanda Nolan

Amanda Nolan is a Senior Policy Advisor with the Emergency Management and Programs Branch at Public Safety Canada. In working for the federal public service over the past ten years, she has held various positions in evaluation, research, and policy. In her current role at Public Safety Canada, she provides ongoing federal policy support to the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) program.

Canada Task Force Teams

Team Leaders and Representatives from the five Canadian Task Force Teams including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Manitoba and Montreal. The Canadian HUSAR teams are a collection of highly trained individuals filling multiple disciplines including rescue, technical search, medical and logistics. The teams respond with up to 75 members for large incidents including natural and manmade disasters.

Dave Lussier

Dave Lussier is president of the Search and Rescue Manitoba Volunteer Association (SARMAN VA). He represents Manitoba on the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada Board (SARVAC) and serves on the executive as Board Secretary. Mr. Lussier has been involved with Search and Rescue for 22 years in various capacities. He is member of the GSAR instructor network in Manitoba. He also serves as Fire Chief for the Lac du Bonnet Fire Deparment and has been with the volunteer fire service for 28 years. Mr. Lussier is employed with Manitoba Hydro in power generation as a Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor on the Winnipeg River.

Scott Kerbis

Scott graduated from the Manitoba Emergency Services College's Public Fire Program in 1991 and his career within the Fire Service started that same year with the Wawanesa Fire Department. From 1994 until 2001, Scott held the position of Fire Chief at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Fire Department in The Pas Manitoba. In 2001 Scott and his family moved back to Brandon where he became and continues through today with the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Manitoba Emergency Services College. Scott has provided the fire service with his commitment and advice in a number of areas. His service as an Assistant Fire Commissioner includes instructor, safety officer, program developer and rescue specialist. Scott currently serves in the key role as lead instructor in both the urban, and ground search and rescue networks and is responsible for the content and curriculum.

Date modified: