Youth in a big canoe.
Photo credit: Priscilla Haskin

About Paddle Canada

A not-for-profit organization founded in 1971, and incorporated in 1972, Paddle Canada is the national association for recreational paddling in Canada.

Setting standards for instruction and certification for recreational canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddling, Paddle Canada certifications are nationally accredited and internationally recognized. Each year, approximately 2500 certified instructors deliver sanctioned courses to more than 15,000 paddlers across Canada.

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Our Mission Statement

We promote, educate, and support the recreational paddling community, paddling instructors, and partners.

Board of Directors

The Paddle Canada Board of Directors is comprised of 13 Regional Directors (one from each province and territory of Canada), the immediate Past President and the President Emeritus.

As per the Paddle Canada Bylaws 2014, the term of office for each Regional Director is nominally three years, with one-third of the Board of Directors elected in a three-year rotating cycle:

2020 (year one): Yukon, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
2021 (year two): Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia
2022 (year three): Nunavut, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick

Mike Gilbert in his kayak.

Mike Gilbert

President

Richmond, British Columbia

Mike grew up back East and is a graduate of Queen’s University in Ontario. He took up sea kayaking when he moved to the west coast.

Currently Mike is a Level 2 IT, Level 3 Instructor and certified Level 4 Skills.

Mike is also a PaddleSmart Presenter Trainer, a registered Examiner for VHF Radios and an IT in our Camping Program.

Mike is the owner and operator of BC Kayak Centre which provides courses, clinics, classes and guided tours nationally and internationally.

A photo of Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin

Past President

Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador

Jeff lives in Corner Brook, NFLD with his family, and is the Director of Student Affairs, College of the North Atlantic. Jeff has been paddling both canoe and kayak for nearly 20 years and instructing for more than 10. He holds Level 4 skill and level 2 instructor in the sea kayak program, numerous tandem and solo canoe instructor and instructor trainer certifications and is a Master Trainer for the national PaddleSmart program.

“I began my journey on the Board to help make Paddle Canada accessible and as a way to facilitate a connection between remote travel and lived experiences that help to promote personal development.”

Jarrod Gunn McQuillan

Jarrod Gunn McQuillan

Vice Presidnet & Director, PEI

Saint Peter's Harbour, Prince Edward Island

Jarrod Gunn McQuillan is a Fisheries & Aquaculture Biologist living on Prince Edward Island. Like many Canadian kids he grew up canoeing and still does today, especially with his two children and partner. However, since he was first introduced to sea kayaking on the West Coast he has been consistently attracted to salt water.

“Since that time my craft of choice is a sea kayak. I enjoy it because it has so many facets that bring me happiness. I am drawn to quiet morning paddles exploring nature and wildlife as much as I enjoy a fast tidal race with an amazing glassy standing wave! I have also come to love teaching sea kayaking over the last 10 years and draw so much satisfaction whether it be introducing new paddlers to the sport or working with paddlers looking to challenge themselves in more dynamic and challenging waters”.

Jarrod has been lucky to have paddled multiple locations on both the East and West Coast of Canada and the United States as well as many Caribbean and Central American locations. He has his sights set on heading to explore the coasts of the UK and Wales.

On why he sits on the Paddle Canada Board of Directors “…to give back to this community that has given me so much. I have been a proud member of Paddle Canada and met so many amazing paddlers. Being a non-profit organization that is driven by volunteers, I wanted to contribute and do my part.”

Geoff Horn bio photo.

Geoff Horn

Treasurer and Director, SK

Regina, Saskatchewan

Geoff lives in Regina, SK with his wife and business partner Regan and their two young girls.

An outdoor retailer going on 24 years, he currently owns stores in Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg.

Geoff is an all-round outdoor enthusiast; he holds multiple Instructor Trainer certifications with Paddle Canada, and when he’s not in his shop, or teaching paddling he can be found actively promoting year-round outdoor adventures, such as skiing, snow shoeing, adventure racing and mountain biking.

Geoff teaches paddling courses all over the province of SK and can be found most summers instructing canoe courses for Churchill River Canoe Outfitters in Northern SK, the hub of canoe activity in the province. While primarily a canoeist, Geoff enjoys paddle boarding and kayaking and like many paddlers often struggles with the dilemma, “what craft to paddle today?”

Lana Ohler-Madsen bio photo.

Lana Ohler-Madsen

Secretary and Director, AB

Edmonton, Alberta

Lana lives in Edmonton but spends her summers at Rocky Mountain House, AB where she and her family run an Adventure Education Centre (HeLa Ventures).

Lana also works part-time as an Outdoor Programmer with Strathcona County. In the winter, when not instructing from the seat of her canoe she takes to her Nordic skis as an instructor with CANSI.

“I am passionate about paddling, and about anything that connects people to the outdoors. Paddling provides a pathway to beautiful areas of our country that people would not otherwise be able to experience. My life has been dedicated to providing positive, growing experiences for youth, and I see the outdoors as the perfect medium for a classroom – a perfect venue for young people to develop strong inter and intrapersonal relationships with self, others, and the environment. I appreciate the professionalism that Paddle Canada instills in instructors and the standards of excellence that it promotes. I like being a part of that!”

Her dream trip would see her returning to the Nahanni River, (where she guided in her younger years) with her daughters.

photo coming

Corey Locke

Director NFLD&Labrador

St John's, NFLD

Corey is currently one of the most active canoe and kayak instructors in the Newfoundland. Corey is a strong advocate of the Paddle Canada national program and holds multiple Instructor Trainer and Instructor certifications in both the Canoe and Sea Kayak programs. He has been instructing since 2005 and is passionate about helping people progress along their own paddling paths.
Corey is an multi-discipline outdoor enthusiast who is keen to immerse himself in, and promote, everything that his home province has to offer – spectacular coastline, vast inland wildness and waterways, rugged hiking and mountain bike trails, as well as alpine and backcountry skiing.
He has previously served as the Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Director on the Paddle Canada board, along with being a member of the Canoe Program Development Committee (PDC) and the organizing committee for the Atlantic Paddling Symposium. He is Past President of the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial canoe club and remains very active in the provincial paddling community.
“By rejoining the Paddle Canada board as the regional director for Newfoundland and Labrador it is my objective to expand accessibility to Paddle Canada’s world class paddling programs and to help steer the organization in directions that will foster growth in its overall membership – thus creating a larger sense of a ‘community’ across the country.”

Rob Neish standing on land talking

Rob Neish

Director, NB

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Rob lives in Fredericton, NB and is an Instructor at the Maritime College of Forest Technology. Rob was introduced to canoeing at an early age through family friends and supported by an ever so patient father that took his boys on a memorable canoe trip to Kejimkujik National Park. He has been paddling most of his life but it was a Paddle Canada Course he participated in that became the catalyst for his commitment to becoming a better paddler and to share that passion with others. He currently holds Instructor certifications in Lake and Moving Water Canoe and is an IT in Canoe Poling. Rob spends his free time paddling and exploring the lakes and rivers of NB by canoe and kayak with his wife and friends.

“I have been involved in the paddling community in NB for over a decade and love to see others discover the magic of paddling. I value the volunteer work of others in the paddling community and want to contribute. Having served the NB paddling community as a board member of Canoe Kayak NB in the past, I am excited to engage with paddlers across the nation as a member of the Paddle Canada Board of Directors.”

christopher Lockyer

Christopher Lockyer

Director, NS

Valley, Nova Scotia

With 27 years of working in the Paddle Sport industry Christopher is pleased to be part of the Paddle Canada Board of directors.

Being the owner of Committee 2 the Core Sea Kayak coaching and Executive Director of the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium allows him to stay connected with paddlers in Nova Scotia and beyond.

He has been an active member of the paddling community spearheading the Atlantic Paddle Symposium, board member of Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia and delivering 5 successful rounds of the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium.
“My 2 main focuses are delivering adventure sport coach education program and delievering the highest quality technical paddling programs with a student focussed approach”
Sea you on the water.

Vincent Normandeau bio photo.

Vincent Normandeau

Director, QC

Labelle, Québec

Living in Labelle, Québec, Vincent is the Executive Director for Camp Quatre Saisons.

Vincent found his love for the paddle as a teenager while on a 23-day canoe trip:
“I remember slowly back-paddling with my partner, entering a class 3 rapids in my 16ft fiberglass canoe. As I dipped my paddle in the water to initiate a critical back ferry, everything became clear; the link between my body, my canoe, my paddle and the water appeared natural and the boat started moving effortlessly, with precision and predictability. It was the beginning of what would become more than a means of transportation, but an overwhelming passion, growing stronger at every stroke.”

Since then, Vincent started sharing the love for paddling, he became a canoe, sea and whitewater kayak instructor and guided trips for many years. He is honoured to be representing Quebec as a Director and hopes his presence will contribute as much as possible to the growth of our organization and our sports in general.

Matt Cuccaro bio photo

Matt Cuccaro

Director, ON

Renfrew, Ontario

Living in Ontario, Matt has always loved exploring the outdoors, especially by canoe. He says he will teach anyone canoeing-just ask him! By day you will find him working with Algonquin College’s Outdoor Adventure Program, guiding on the Ottawa River or teaching River Rescue to professional guides and emergency services across North America. In the winter months you can find him coaching alpine skiing and training ski instructors and coaches.

Between all of his other work, he still finds time to guide occasional trips for Black Feather: “I guide for Black Feather for the same reasons you go on trips; to explore great rivers and share my passions with others.”

Pauline canoeing

Pauline Nadlersmith

Director, MB

Killarney, Manitoba

Pauline makes her home on 80 acres of forest in the Turtle Mountains in SW Manitoba. She is the owner and operator of RiverSong Wilderness Outfitters, specializing in canoe tripping on the many rivers and lakes in NW Ontario and Northern Manitoba. She also works at a local park on the US/Canadian border, and in the winter months, Pauline coaches cross-country skiing. When not paddling, you will often find Pauline mountain biking, skiing, or woodturning. While she has no specific dream trip, she figures there are so many local rivers and lakes to explore where she discovers something new each time she explores.

In her role as Director at Paddle Canada, she says:

“I decided to join the board because I am passionate about canoeing and sharing its artistry and finesse with people. I am still getting a feel for the culture of the board but feel that it’s important for women in the outdoor industry to have a voice.”

Fiona Hough paddling a canoe in British Columbia

Fiona Hough

Director, BC

North Saanich, British Columbia

Fiona lives on the edge of the Salish Sea, on the Saanich Peninsula on W̱SÁNEĆ territory, on Southern Vancouver Island and works as the program developer and manager working at the confluence of mental health, outdoor education and nature-based programming for the YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island. She joined the Board of Directors in the hopes of contributing perspective, experience and insight that might help Paddle Canada serve its members and the public, and improve program quality and communication.

While her first love was whitewater canoeing, she now finds any kind of dynamic water (surf, tidal currents, rivers) in a variety of craft will do. Her dream trip came to fruition this past summer-almost

“Vancouver Island circumnavigation (voluntarily cut short to respect Nuu-chah-nulth territory closures along the southern part of the West Coast). This just means that I get to do the ‘trip of a lifetime’ again, at such time as these areas are open to camping and transit again.”

Trevor Braun bio photo

Trevor Braun

Director, YK

Whitehorse, Yukon

Trevor was destined to a life of boats from the time his father strapped his car seat to the top of his outboard motor. A few years later, he had his first experience in a canoe at a summer camp. Growing up in the small mining town of Faro, Yukon he really got hooked on whitewater canoeing & tripping by a highschool teacher who introduced him to his favorite Yukon river- The Lapie River.

As the owner and operator of Yukan Canoe, Trevor’s passion is sharing paddling experiences with people from around the world. He thrives on teaching whitewater canoeing and getting people hooked. He has over 50,000 km of canoe tripping and guiding behind his paddle. Trevor also has extensive wilderness experience in the Yukon, from mushing in the Yukon Quest, to guiding extended Dog mushing expeditions and spending winter on a remote Trapline.

There is not a day that paddling is not present in some form or another in Trevor’s life. Trevor’s wife and two children share his love of canoeing; one of his daughters was a member of Canada’s National Junior Slalom team competing in C-1 in 2 Junior World Championships.

Erik Williams bio photo.

Eric Williams

President Emeritus

Tiverton, Ontario

Eric served as Paddle Canada President from 2001-2005. He lives in Tiverton, Ontario, and after a career in engineering, he is now an active Anglican Priest.

As a canoe instructor, and instructor trainer for much of his adult life, Eric enjoys memories of the three-to-four-week canoe trips taken with his family every summer. When asked what his favourite canoe trip is, he says “The one I am on”. But he does recall with fondness in 2008, when he was the organizer and “Gouvernail” for the Paddle Canada 1 team on the 3600 km, 66 day “David Thompson Brigade” from Rocky Mountain House Alberta to Old Fort William, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

On why he first joined Paddle Canada as a volunteer: “Kirk Wipper twisted my arm! Sustaining the waterways as a great environment to teach young people, while trying to reduce the number of fatalities each year. I continue to take each Canadian small boating fatality personally: what didn’t we do to prevent it? Accidents do not just happen, we let them happen!”

Office Staff

a photo of Michelle McShane

Michelle McShane

Executive Director

Michelle makes her home on a small piece of land just north of Kingston, Ontario with her husband and two sons. Surrounded by lakes and forests, she’s often out exploring by foot, pedal, or paddle. She’s not fussy about which kind of paddle-canoe, kayak, or SUP!

Michelle has been a canoe trip guide, a paddling instructor, an adventure racer, and worked in outdoor retail for almost 18 years. Her dream trip, “to paddle a northern river where the sun never sets” came to fruition in 2017 when she and her family paddled the Dehcho (Mackenzie River) in the NWT.

On working for Paddle Canada, she says “I love all of the people I am meeting (virtually of course!) across the country, it’s like I suddenly have friends to paddle with anywhere in Canada. I am also very much enjoying being able to bring paddlers’ concerns, ideas, and voices to other organizations in the outdoor sector.”

photo coming

Derik Hyatt

Executive Administrator

After more than a decade of working both on the front lines and behind the scenes for various not-for-profits in Vancouver, BC; Derik now hails from the Northern Bruce Peninsula on the shores of Lake Huron with his wife and Norwich Terrier, Mahalo. As an avid surfer, Derik found stand up paddleboarding in 2016 after a knee injury that left him seeking alternative ways to stay stoked.

Not only is he a Paddle Canada employee, but also an Instructor. He leads Basic, Advanced, SUP Yoga, and Surf 1 SUP Skills courses, along with Beginner Surf lessons through his company, Freshwater Surf Goods / The Stoke Academy. When not on or in the water, you might find him hosting the Permastoked Podcast where he interviews surfers, SUP’ers, and paddlers from across Canada.

As the Executive Administrator for Paddle Canada, Derik is most passionate about spreading the stoke of paddling onto others. He believes strongly in the healing properties of nature, and that by connecting with water in particular, one can find deeper meaning and purpose in life.

Bethan Williams-Pollard bio photo

Bethan Williams-Pollard

Bookkeeper

Bethan has been working at Paddle Canada since 2015. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her young family and has taken on more paddling activities over the years of working with the organization. Luckily her abilities to balance finances is better than balancing a kayak but she is always excited to get out and explore the wonderful lakes in the surrounding Kingston area.

Bethan has always enjoyed travelling and exploring other regions of the world and our country and was fortunate to travel the country to meet some of our wonderful members on the west coast and throughout Ontario at boat shows and meetings.

Annual General Meetings

Invite notices to the AGM are distributed each spring by email, Curent Strokes e-news, and the Paddle Canada website. The Annual General Meeting is held by webinar and conference call unless otherwise noted.

Read reports and minutes from past Annual General Meetings.

Our Election Process

Three notices for nomination are sent to membership between 90 days and 45 in advance of the deadline. Afterwards, and no less than 45 days, voting will commence online via members’ accounts.Notices of elections and the AGM are distributed by email, Current Strokes e-news, and the Paddle Canada website. Final results are confirmed at the Annual General Meeting, to be held by webinar and conference call.

Members interested in joining the dedicated team on the PC Board of Directors, tackling issues making a difference for your organization, are invited to apply typically in January of each year.

Nominees, their nominators and seconders must be Instructor Members in good standing of Paddle Canada as of the close of nominations. Paddle Canada Board of Directors Nominees must also be members in good standing of at least one Paddle Canada Regional Member Association in their province or territory, where one exists.

For questions, comments and concerns regarding the nominations and election processes please contact Mike Gilbert, Past President and Chair of the Elections Committee.

Paddle Canada Bylaws

Learn about the rules and bylaws that help guide our organization.

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