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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.

playing in rocks sea kayak adam constantine

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, 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:

2023 (year one): Yukon, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
2024 (year two): Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia
2025 (year three): Nunavut, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick

Matt Cuccaro bio photo

Matt Cuccaro

President & 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.”

Trevor Braun bio photo

Trevor Braun

VP & 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; and his son was a member of Canada’s National Junior Slalom team competing in C-1 in 2 Junior World Championships.

Mike Gilbert in his kayak.

Mike Gilbert

Past 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.

Vacant Vacant

Director, SK

Rob Neish standing on land talking

Rob Neish

Secretary & 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.”

paul pc bod

Paul Maxan

Director, PEI

Wheatley River, Prince Edward Island

Paul has about 10 years of paddling experience as a sea kayaker. He has a mix of local (PEI) and regional (Maritimes) experience, contacts within the water sports community and business alike. He enjoys the adventure and was fortunate enough to meet an extraordinary group of people whose dedication to the sport inspires him every day. Paul believes that anyone possesses an intrinsic drive and a capacity to amaze. Currently Paul holds a level 2 sea kayak instructor certification and his personal mission is to continue to bring down the barriers into the sport.

Prince Edward Island has a small but growing paddling body. This is a very friendly community that genuinely tries to help and spread the words about the sport, raises interest and curiosity towards their splashy exploits. We also have a very inclusive and thriving surfers’ community. Their adventures and efforts are very encouraging and fun to watch. And the PEI Kiteboarding community is growing with every passing season.

“I believe that my love and joy of seeing people succeed makes me particularly qualified to be one of the best advocates for the sport.”

Bill Drover

Bill Drover

Director NFLD&Labrador

St John’s, Newfoundland

Bill tried his first paddling as an early teen in an open deck tandem kayak on a local lake.

It was not until 30 years later that he decided to repair that badly damaged old boat and get back on the water. This quickly graduated into rec kayaking, and then to sea kayaking just 5 years ago. Since that time he has taken multiple levels of Paddle Canada sea kayak certifications, recently attaining level 3 paddle skill credentials. Bill also holds Level 1 sea kayaking instructor certification, and has dabbled in a little white water paddling as well.

He loves Newfoundland’s colder waters and sea life. The coast allows for great adventure and exploration, and seeing new shore for the first time is always exciting. This has only wet his appetite for adventure, and that has led to some far flung expeditions including the Arctic coast of Norway.

As an active Board member of Paddle Newfoundland and Labrador Bill loves to spread the word about paddling wherever possible through club events which have a key focus on safety and preparedness. A successful Retreat open to all paddling water sports was attended by nearly 100 participants this summer which demonstrated the growing interest in paddling in Newfoundland and Labrador. Bill looks forward to being a big part of that trend in future!

Vacant Vacant

Director, NS

Nova Scotia

Vacant

Director, QC

Vacant

Director, MB

Manitoba
Lana Ohler-Madsen bio photo.

Lana Ohler-Madsen

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.

EJ

EJ Lange

Director, BC

Vancouver, British Columbia

EJ lives in Vancouver, BC and is the manager of the Jericho Beach Kayak Centre.
He has been a part time kayaking instructor for over 10 years. A couple of years ago he decided to stop following a ‘regular’ career path and instead do what he loves and work in the kayaking community full time. He then took on the school director role at Ecomarine and started operating the Jericho Beach Kayak Centre in 2019.

EJ got introduced to paddling by playing canoe polo in Germany but quickly started also going on multi-day kayaking trips. One of the reasons he moved to BC in 2008 is the world-class paddling we are blessed with. He loves to explore the various waterways in BC whether it is paddling on the ocean by kayak or SUP, exploring our lakes by canoe with his kids or paddling down a river in a whitewater kayak.
He loves paddling as a sport, but what really draws him to it -both in his job and as BC Director- is that it allows us to create connections, to bring community together, to learn, teach and support ourselves and each other and to enjoy the great outdoors.

Vacant Vacant

Director, NWT

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

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.”

Bethan Williams-Pollard bio photo

Bethan Williams-Pollard

Administrator

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.

Garett MacLaren Picture

Garett MacLaren

Social Media & Communications Coordinator

Based in London, Ontario, Garett is a multidisciplinary designer with 7 years experience in the technology industry focusing on growth strategies, marketing campaigns, UX/UI, branding, and graphic design. When he’s not behind his desk he has a paddle in hand exploring local rivers and lakes with his trusty pup, Eddy. Garett is an avid backcountry camper throughout Central and Northern Ontario (and the West Coast when time permits). He also enjoys whitewater canoeing and kayaking through Ontario’s many raging rivers. As a lifelong volunteer, Garett donates his time and skills to Abilities in Motion each Summer as a paddle partner to those with physical and developmental disabilities sharing the joy that comes with accessible paddling.

“I strongly believe that paddling is for everyone. There’s an unmatched feeling of bliss that can only come from gliding across a smooth lake, or stomping a sweet line through a set of rapids, and as a paddler I want to share that feeling with as many newcomers as I can. Paddle Canada brings paddling to the forefront in Canada and shares many of the same values as I do which is truly a blessing to work alongside.”

Annual General Meetings

Invite notices to the AGM are distributed each spring by email, our newsletter Current Strokes, 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. Afterward, 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, 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 our Executive Director.

Paddle Canada Bylaws

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

Paddle Canada Bylaws 2022