About The Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation

Vision, Mission, Values, Beliefs and Strategic Goals; Board of Directors and Contact Information

The Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation became a reality on May 17, 1983. The first Board of Governors consisted of three prominent Occupational Therapists: Karen Goldenberg, President; Dr. Thelma Cardwell, Vice President and Dr. Isobel Robinson, Secretary / Treasurer.

The purpose of the Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation has always been to support research and scholarship in the field of occupational therapy. The Foundation’s focus has been on generating, receiving and maintaining funds and developing mechanisms for granting awards to individuals and organizations for research and scholarships.

From 1983 to 1995, COTF and CAOT shared office space in Toronto. When CAOT relocated to Ottawa in 1995, COTF remained in Toronto. However, a decision was made in 2002 for the Foundation to once again share office space with CAOT in order to foster a synergistic relationship which would benefit the entire occupational therapy community. From 2004 to 2015, COTF shared CAOT’s office space and services in Ottawa. Since 2015, COTF still in Ottawa, has enjoyed its own working environment.


To be known for our positive impact and innovative outcomes in supporting occupational
therapy and occupational science researchers, students, and occupational therapists who work with
Canadians in sustaining wellbeing of people and in building a better society for all.


Build philanthropic support and partnerships to advance research, scholarship and leadership in occupational therapy and occupational science. COTF aims to provide funding to:

  • Generate and disseminate transformative knowledge that advances the profession and the science in promoting individuals and groups to have the opportunity to do and for all people to be able to participate in a just society, sustaining health and wellbeing.
  • Support emerging scientists and scholars in advancing innovations in occupational therapy and occupational justice, equity, belonging and wellbeing.
  • Support and develop vibrant, bold and visionary leaders in the profession of occupational therapy and occupational science.


Accountability: COTF considers that the Board and all staff to be accountable to donors, partners and recipients of awards and scholarships.

Honesty: COTF will conduct all interactions in a respectful and ethical manner which protects the privacy of its donors.

Fairness: COTF will demonstrate fairness in the processes that the Board establishes and respect for due process.

Transparency: COTF will create an environment that is accessible and responsive to donors, partners and the occupational therapy community.

Innovation: The COTF Board is committed to improving the operations of COTF by providing leadership to implement innovative practices to better serve its donors, partners and the occupational therapy community.


  • COTF is a vehicle for advancing the profession through research.
  • Research is a crucial element of evidence-based practice, which translates to best practice.
  • Research is an important investment in our profession’s future.
  • Research occurs both in academic and clinical settings.
  • Research needs to be national in scope and cover all the realms (different scopes/sub disciplines) of occupational therapy.
  • Profession shows leadership in its financial investment in research.
  • Public awareness of the profession is fundamental for fundraising.
  • COTF funded research is disseminated to members of the profession and the public.


1. Support knowledge development that is relevant to and builds a strong evidence base for clinical practice.

2. Inform better practise by facilitating knowledge translation and availability in a form and manner that meets the needs of clinicians.

3. Enable a professional culture that supports the full participation of clinicians in the development and implementation of evidence based research.


COTF is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of occupational therapists and representatives of related organizations, educational institutions, and industry. These individuals provide fiscal and legal oversight of the Foundation’s resources and ensure the Foundation’s programs are consistent with its mandate.

Cale Wadden:  President

Cale has a lifelong passion of working with individuals with disabilities, along with a strong entrepreneurial spirit to better the lives and partners he works with daily. He is a compassionate individual who values the importance of establishing a trusting relationship with his clients.

Cale graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Kinesiology and from Dalhousie University with a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy. Having worked in a wide variety of clinical settings, as well as a local provider and now as a manufacturer, Cale has a unique perspective of the healthcare industry. Travelling across Canada, educating on business development, best practices as well as healthcare products, Cale brings an expertise of medical equipment with a client focused approach.

Cale is the Regional Sales Director of Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare in Canada that manufactures a complete line of medical products. The products include mobility products, sleep and respiratory products, beds, bariatric, wheelchairs, sleep surfaces and pressure prevention products, self-assist products, power operated wheelchairs, rehabilitation products, patient room equipment, personal care products and electrotherapy devices.

Cale joined the COTF Board of Directors on October 1, 2018.

Sylvia Davidson:  Vice President

Sylvia joined the COTF Board of Directors on October 1, 2019

Kim McGrath:  Secretary

Throughout Kim’s career, she has had a genuine interest in Healthcare and it is a passion that comes naturally to her. As both a Practical Nurse and Primary Care Paramedic, she has over 20 years experience working in all aspects of the health care industry including 12 years of which she worked as a Medical Technician in the Canadian Forces (Regular and Reserve). For the past 9 years, she has worked alongside OTs in her role as Territory Manager, Eastern Canada for Broda Seating. As a Board Member with COTF, she aspires to work collectively with the Foundation to enhance research and development within the OT field of study.

Kim joined the COTF Board of Directors in February 2018.

Katie Churchill:

Katie Churchill is the provincial Senior Practice Lead for Practice Based Research with Alberta Health Services. She is an occupational therapist who has practiced across the continuum of care for academic hospitals in Toronto, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta. She possesses a drive for evidence-informed practice and has been actively involved in knowledge translation activities throughout her occupational therapy career. Katie holds adjunct appointments as Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta and as a Lecturer in Clinical Neurosciences at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Supporting COTF is a natural fit for Katie.  As a donor and a recipient of the Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists (SAOT) and COTF award in 2015, Katie knows firsthand the importance of supporting clinician driven research for occupational therapy.

Katie joined the COTF board of directors on October 1,  2018.

Mary Evert:  

Mary Evert, an occupational therapist, is a AOTA Past President. She has extensive experience to share with the COTF Board. 

Through Mary’s many years of my work with various professional associations, government and private organizations and foundations, she has enjoyed seeing and being a part of their growth and strategic direction decisions. She has the time and the motivation to work with CFOT as a partner with CAOT, hoping that her experiences will be of assistance to COTF.  

Mary joined the COTF Board of Directors on October 1, 2019.


Liz Taylor:  

As an occupational therapist, I have recognized the role that COTF plays as the only granting agency for occupational therapy specific research. Liz, a Past CAOT President, believes that the role of a Board director represents a voice of the profession in a different way.  The voice must be one of finding new and different ways of promoting COTF, and working towards finding ways to ensure sustainability in the future. As a change maker, who has clear opinions, as well as having the ability to make difficult decisions, she looks forward to contributing her extensive experience, by bringing another perspective to help deal with the current challenges and realities in a different way.

Currently, Liz sits on a variety of boards: Chair of House Next Door Society (non-profit transitional housing), Chair of the CIMVHR (Canadian Institute of Military and Veterans Research) and a board member of Pilgrims Hospice. All of these organizations have sustainability plans, all have diverse challenges but through them she has learned core skills that will be of use to COTF and its current challenges. She is also a Clinical Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta.

She believes that COTF provides opportunity for early researchers to establish their work, students to gain support, and for more mature occupational therapists to develop answers to critical questions. The current environment from both a political and funding perspective has a lot of unknowns so it will take a creative, innovative approach by the board to ensure the future of COTF. She wants be part of that challenge.

Liz joined the COTF Board of Directors on October 1, 2019.





Veronique Provencher: 

Université Sherbrooke




Veronique joined the COTF board on February 1, 2021


Matthew Snyder: 


Matt received his Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Dalhousie University in 2015, following completion of a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology at Acadia University. He began his career in Nova Scotia working in community mental health and insurance, followed by teaching and working in the Occupational Therapy program at Dalhousie University. Matt is currently providing both return to work rehabilitation services, and Paediatrics, specifically with children with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and other unique conditions. 

Matt has worked primarily in private settings with interests in mental health, relationship-based therapy, and helping clients to achieve their developmental and functional based goals. 

In his free time, you will find Matt golfing or out exploring BC with his wife, and two dogs, Jax and Sadie.

Matt joined the COTF board on April 1, 2023


Anne McDonald: 

Foundation Coordinator




Anne joined the staff of COTF in November 2008


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