VRA Canada - Module Developers
RRP, RVP, CVRP, CDMP
Tara entered the field of vocational rehabilitation in 2002. She has worked with workers, employers, health care practitioners, and insurers, in both the public and private sectors. In her roles as a consultant, trainer, manager and leader, she has developed and delivered vocational rehabilitation related courses for her employers, and also for York University and Seneca College. She has been actively involved with the CVRP certification examination committee since its inception. Tara is excited to graduate this spring with a master’s degree in Adult Education.
BA, RRP, CCRC, CVE, CCVP (F), CCVE (F)
Terena has worked in the vocational rehabilitation field since 1980. She started her career as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor at the Alberta Workers Compensation Board where she worked for seven years, before accepting a position with a large national rehabilitation company. Two years later, she started her own firm which provided vocational rehabilitation services to insurers, government agencies, and employers. She managed the company’s growth and expansion and was thrilled when it became part of a national consortium of like minded companies providing vocational rehabilitation services on a nation-wide basis. Through this network, and because of the professionals she met because of VRA, she has made lifelong and dear friendships.
Terena retired from this company in 2015 but continues to work independently completing forensic vocational evaluations for the legal community. She has also provided training sessions, has presented at conferences, and is an active contributor to the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals and the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada. She is an advocate in her community for the rights of person with disabilities. She likes wine and good people.
Hons. B.Sc., D.S.W., M.Ed (CRDS), RRP
Tracey has over 28 years of experience in the health, human service, vocational rehabilitation and post-secondary education fields. Initially employed in 1991 as a summer student in a frighteningly large institution in eastern Ontario, she has dedicated her career to supporting individuals with disabilities to reach their goals and to engage in their communities in meaningful ways. She has worked in both the private and public sectors with individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, acquired brain injuries, ill and injured healthcare workers, medically released armed forces veterans and youth with learning differences.
Tracey has facilitated various coursework at McMaster University, Grant MacEwan College, Lethbridge College and Nova Scotia Community College. She is currently an Employment Specialist with the Achieve Program at NSCC. She is actively involved with VRA Atlantic and VRA Canada and thankful for the opportunities this presents her with – both personally and professionally.
M.Ed, CCC, RCT-C
Since graduating from the Counselling program at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Chris has worked as a Counsellor, Job Coach and Employment Specialist. Chris spent nearly three years as a freelance Job and Life Skills Coach and an Employment Facilitator at a local non-profit, before transitioning into his current role as an Employment Specialist within the Achieve Program at Nova Scotia Community College. In this role, he facilitates workshops around employment skills, personal wellness and a variety of life skills to young people between the ages of 18-22 who have an identified learning difference, and who are transitioning into the next stage of their lives following high school.
BA, BEd, OCT
Denys has 15 years of experience working directly with youth with mental health challenges who are in crisis with the law. Her focus has been to help youth develop strategies to support themselves and successfully re-enter society.
She has now been an educator with the Ottawa Catholic School Board for the past 8 years. Additionally, she is an online facilitator and course developer for the Police Foundations program at Algonquin College in Ottawa.
Ph.D., CCRC, CVRP(D)
Jody has been providing vocational rehabilitation services for more than thirty years. Initially, she was involved in the deinstitutionalization movement. Later, she was responsible for the placement of individuals with disabilities into government positions. She worked as a vocational rehabilitation consultant for Workers Compensation Board and as a Rehabilitation Manager for Canadian Institution for the Blind. In 1990, she formed her own company to develop and deliver successful vocational rehabilitation programs for women with disabilities and survivors of violence. Additionally, she provided vocational assessments and vocational planning on behalf of government and insurance companies. In later years, her expertise of the return-to-work with survivors of workplace violence was the basis of the majority of her professional work.
Jody’s professional development activities include presentations and publications in ethics, foundations of rehabilitation, and the vocational rehabilitation of serious mental illness. She teaches in the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling graduate program at University of British Columbia, as well as the Rehabilitation and Disability Management program at Simon Fraser University.
BA, CDMP, CVP, RRP
Heather has over 30 years of experience in rehabilitation services and disability case management focused on the development of best practices, process improvement, health management, vocational assessment, staff training, coaching, quality auditing & metrics. She started her career in 1986 with the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services as a vocational rehabilitation counsellor, and worked in the not-for-profit sector providing employment services for individuals with spinal cord injuries before moving into disability case management within the private sector. For the past 23 years, Heather has worked in Group Benefits at Sun Life Financial. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and furthered her studies in the York Seneca Rehabilitation Service program.
M.Ed., RSW, CCRC, CVRP (F), CVE, RRP
Val is a social worker by trade, and has worked in the field of vocational rehabilitation and training since 1978. In 1985, Val started her own vocational rehabilitation company, Northern Lights Canada (now called Agilec), which became one of the largest of its kind in Canada. Concurrently, Val designed and delivered corporate training sessions to public and private employment and rehabilitation organizations all over Canada. Training topics included organizational development, employability, labour market trends, self-directed work teams, creative problem solving, managing change, creative job search techniques, and the vocational impact of disabilities.
In 2003, Val was in a head-on collision herself and sustained catastrophic orthopaedic injuries along with a brain injury. She was in hospitals for five months, had to learn to walk again, and then spent the next three years in intensive rehabilitation programs. Informed by this experience, Val wrote two books, Be Still and Be Strong, and designed several new training sessions concerning trauma, rehabilitation, recovery and the disability benefits system.
Val retired in 2018 but remains active with VRA Canada. She has made many lifetime friends through VRA over the years, and is grateful to continue to contribute to the organization. And of course, Val “likes beer and good people”, so there could be no better place to be!
BA (Psychology), RRP, CPHR (Chartered Professional in Human Resources)
With a background in government consulting, non-profits, and the business world, Josephine has almost two decades of experience in human resources, career transitions, and workplace leadership. She also has extensive experience in writing and editing documents including research documents, resources for the non-profit sector, career transition and organizational development materials, onsite and web-based interactive workshop modules, HR documentation, and proposals.
Josephine is currently undertaking a Master of Rehabilitation Counselling program through the University of Sydney, and runs her own company based on Vancouver Island, WorkWrite Consulting (www.workwrite.ca). Josephine enjoys facilitating meaningful connections between people and the work for which they were made.