The CASW National Social Work Month Distinguished Service Award is given yearly by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) on the occasion of the National Social Work Month, to an individual or group of individuals selected from their membership by each CASW Partner Organization. Some provinces may choose to submit nominations less frequently. The criteria for nominations is established by the provincial/territorial organizations.


Charles Alexander Fraser

British Columbia Association of Social Workers

Chuck has been married to Dr. Tina Fraser for 36 years.  They have six children and seven grandchildren.  As a Foster Family they had 77 children in their care over 28 years.  Chuck was a railroad conductor for 20 years where he volunteered 15 of those 20 years on the BC Rail Employee Assistance Program.  When the railroad was downsizing Chuck left and followed another track into higher learning. He received a two year diploma and was later accepted into UNBC and received a BSW and MSW in Structural Social Work.

Chuck has been a frontline social worker in First Nations communities, healing camps, group homes, universities, custody centers, and an ally connecting stakeholders, families, service providers, thus providing a safety-net around vulnerable people.  He has been a candidate in two provincial elections; a union representative, and has sat on community boards. The Section 9 Pilot project was proclaimed and is called Youth Agreements, the front runner for Agreements with Young Adults.  He has instructed in the social work program and has been a guest in many classes. Chuck has been involved in advocacy organizations locally, nationally, and internationally.  Chuck recently retired from Youth Forensics after eight years.  He writes social justice poetry and has now gone into private practice.  He still remains hopeful for a just and civil planet to prevail. Peace and Love.

Diane Molloy

Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers

The recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award for 2014 is Diane Molloy BSW, RSW.  This award recognizes her commitment to the social work profession and her profound service to children and families in Newfoundland and Labrador.


Diane graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Memorial University in 1983 and began her career as a frontline worker in the income support and child protection programs.  Throughout her social work career to date, she has also worked as a social worker at Mount Cashel, as a counsellor with Choices for Youth, a contractual assessment worker with Unified Family Court and since 2003 she has held the position of Executive Director of the Newfoundland & Labrador Foster Families Association.  From each of these different positions, Diane has demonstrated the same great commitment and deep passion for improving the quality of life for children, youth and families. 


An impressive group of nominators and supporters describe her work as “excellence in excess of required level of performance, delivered with powerful results. The integrity of her professional practice is evident in all her actions, achievements and the well deserved reputation she has garnered along the way”.  


As a young social worker during the difficult time of the 1990s when the disclosures of sexual abuse at the former Mount Cashel brought international focus and incredible pressure, Diane earned a reputation of courage, fortitude and an impressive commitment to her clients.  From that experience she brought insight and clarity to laying the foundation for the award winning service program Choices for Youth.  Diane’s focus on the importance of that organization respecting and engaging the voices of youth was instrumental in its development. She operationalized these concepts in a meaningful and sustainable manner.


Diane’s work with the NL Foster Families Association which began in 2003 has been equally impressive; always rooted deeply in social justice with a clear and practical vision of better service delivery. She has rebuilt the NL Foster Families Association into a thriving, engaged organization with active chapters across the province and has lobbied tirelessly for improvements to the foster care program that better support children in care and their foster families. 


Diane is an enthusiastic supporter of her community and her profession.  She has served on many committees and boards including Waypoints and the NLASW Children’s Interest Committee. Since 2005, Diane has been a volunteer with Street Reach, a grassroots outreach service guided by the principles of harm reduction. She has been a field instructor at the Memorial University School of Social Work and has been actively involved in teaching and research initiatives. In addition to creating educational opportunities and support for social work students, she has created joint educational opportunities for social workers and foster parents through her organization of successful provincial and national conferences.  


Diane is a deserving recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award because in the words of her colleagues “Diane represents the best of who we are as a profession”

J. Richard Hazel, MSW, RSW

Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers

Richard has had a tremendous career in social work, spanning some 46 years. He is held in high regard by both his collogues,  clients and agencies he served. 


Richard was born in Prince Albert, SK and graduated from Riverside Collegiate in 1964. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan and almost immediately started his social work career as child welfare worker in rural Saskatchewan.  After a short stint there, Richard enrolled in the Maritime School of Social Work, Dalhousie University, graduating with a Master of Social degree in 1973.


During his career, Richard filled an impressive variety of roles, including a Child Welfare Worker, Family Services Supervisor, Adoption Coordinator, culminating as the Executive Director of the Family and Youth Services Division of Saskatchewan Social Services.


 Upon his retirement from Saskatchewan Social Services in 2002, Richard became the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers in which capacity he ably served until his retirement in 2013.  SASW flourished under his leadership. During that time, the association’s policies, procedures were updated/revamped and its standards or practice were revised to be more in keeping with current professional standards.  Of particular mention, is Richard’s work with the Ministry of Social Services to have The Social Workers Act amended to reinstate the ability of social workers to diagnose in Saskatchewan.


During his tenure with SASW, Richard brought a balanced approach to national issues and his opinions were consistently sought and valued by both provincial and national colleagues. Richard’s leadership, within Saskatchewan, and across the country, has influenced in a very positive manner the public profile and the reputation of the social work profession.


SASW recognizes Richard’s instrumental role in the creation and development of the Canadian Council on Social Work Regulators (CCSW) as well as his contribution to social work regulation in general, and specifically his participation as chair of the Resolution & Standards Committee for the  Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).


Richard is a gem of a social worker. He has served his profession and his community with integrity and skill. 

Jill Hannah-Kayes, BSW, RSW

Manitoba College of Social Workers

It is with great pleasure that the Manitoba Institute of Registered Social Workers awards Jill Hannah-Kayes, BSW, RSW for the 2014 CASW Distinguished Social Worker award for Manitoba.


Jill joined MIRSW and MASW in 1998, one year after graduation with her HBSW from Lakehead University. She served on the MIRSW Board of Directors as Western Manitoba Representative from 2005 - 2008.


After 32 years of working in health care, Jill will be retiring at the end of February 2014 from her career as a Mental Health Worker for Mental Health Services for the Elderly (MHSE) in Brandon.


Excerpts from Denise Logeot’s letter of nomination:


“Jill has tirelessly devoted herself to her clients. She can be often found working in the rural areas to support the elderly and their families, supporting, advocating and linking them with the resources that they need. Jill’s gentle nature and skilled helping have assisted countless individuals in many difficult and often isolating situations.


Jill has been a long-time supporter of MIRSW. She was a board member and encouraged myself as a student to join MIRSW in 2006 to support the profession. In 2008 when she concluded her term on the Board, Jill recruited and supported myself to be a board member. Jill has been a mentor to many young Social Workers over the years and has been a long time supporter of the Social Work Profession Act, often stating she would not retire until the Manitoba College of Social Workers was in place.


I do not know of a more deserving recipient of this award than Jill. Particularly after so many years of service, Jill deserves the recognition of the profession of Social Work in Manitoba and South-Western Manitoba.”


Excerpts from nomination support letters:


“Jill has been an integral part of the MHSE team in Brandon. Her kindness, compassion and commitment to her clients have been witnessed by many of us who have had the opportunity to work with her. Jill also takes the opportunity to share the Social Work perspective on a team often heavily represented by nursing. We agree that we do not know of a more deserving recipient of this award than Jill.”

Margaret Kennedy

PEI Association of Social Workers

  • BA in Sociology from James Madison University
  • MSW from Case Western Reserve Univerity
  • Currently, PEIASW representative to CASW Board of Directors
  • Past President of PEIASW
  • Currently employed as Provincial Director of Community Mental Health and Addiction Services (with responsibility for in-patient and out-patient programs and facilities across PEI)
  • Currently Director responsible for the Mental Health Act of PEI (a Ministerial appointment)
  • Has provided and continues to provide numerous Professional Development presentations
  • Author and contributor to various Social Work and related publications
  • Previously employed in various consulting, curriculum development, instructing and Human Resources roles for various organizations in her Ohio and Texas.
  • Has instructed courses on PEI, on behalf of Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Received Awards regarding Outstanding Teaching at Case Western Reserve University & Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Practitioner and Myer-Briggs Personality Type Practitioner
  • Critical Incident Stress Management practitioner
  • Previous Regional Director of Child, Youth and Family Programs, with responsibility for Child Protection, Speech Language Pathology, Public Health Nursing, Obstetric and Paedictric services at Prince County Hospital, and a local Community Health Center
  • Previous Regional Director of Family Services, with responsibility for Addiction Services, Community Mental Health, and Child Protection
  • Previous Policy Analyst for Home Care and Palliative Care, within PEI Dept of Health and Social Services
  • Previous Family Services Consultant with Veterans Affairs Canada, designing  a case management model for work with veterans and their families
  • Previous Regional Co-ordinator and Provincial Manager of Community Mental Health and Addictions Services, with responsibility for in-patient and out-patients programs and facilities
  • Margaret enjoys yoga, biking, traveling, her husband David.  She also enjoys her Blackberry so much that she named her beloved cat "Blackberry"
Phil Matusiewicz

PEI Association of Social Workers

  • BA in Applied Social Sciences from Concordia University
  • MSW from Carleton University.
  • Currently, Registrar of the PEI Social Work Registration Board and actively involved in the Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators.
  • Currently employed as Executive Director of PEI's Family Violence Prevention Services
  • Previously employed throughout his career in front-line and supervisory positions in Child Protection, as well as Provincial Co-ordinator of Adolesent Services for Child and Family Services and Regional Director for Child and Family Services.
  • He also held positions as Director of Primary Health Services and Director of Community Services. In these positions he held responsibility for various programs such as Housing, Public Health Nursing, Addiction Services, Speech and Audiology, Community Nutrition, Environmental Health, Dental Health, Provincial Diabetes Program, various Community Health Centers, Disability Support Program, Emergency Measures Organization, Home Care, Child Protection, and Financial Assistance.
  • He was also involved in the implementation of the Best Start Program on PEI, which is an early intervention program for at-risk families with children under 3 years of age.
  • Currently an active member of the Charlottetown Rotary Club.
  • Former Secretary and Vice-President of PEI Association of Social Workers.
  • Previously a Board member of Sport PEI, and Vice-Chair of Eastern School Board.
  • Past Secretary of Child Poverty PEI committee (which was part of a national campaign)
  • Past Chair of a local chapter of the Canadian Council on Children and Youth, and the Canadian Child Welfare Association.
  • Past Chair of a Community Board for Project Discovery, an alternative training and employment program for disadvantaged youth. This continues to be used within the School system today.
  • Previously President of a local Boys and Girls Club.
  • Enjoys photography and a variety of sports.
Sharon Murphy

Nova Scotia College of Social Workers

Sharon has a long career in social work during which she worked in the mental health field and volunteered to a great extent.  She was active in the NSASW, particularly in the social justice realm.  She was involved with council for about 20 years and chaired the social justice committee for five years.  She has done much advocacy work on poverty and family violence issues.

Sharon has a strong reputation amongst the social work community for her passion and commitment to social justice.  She has been a tireless advocate for disadvantaged people writing opinion pieces for the media, researching social problems and participating in various Boards and coalitions.

Sharon chaired the Amherst Poverty Action committee for 15 years and was on the Board for the Transition House for 18 years. She was on the Board for the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association and the Board for Family and Children’s Services.  She represented Nova Scotia on Canada Without Poverty for six years, and also on the Canadian Council on Persons with Disabilities.

More recently, Sharon has been a member of the Community Coalition to End Poverty in Nova Scotia; the Community Advocates Network; Halifax Solidarity, and Kairos.  Kairos works on issues for poverty and the environment.  She is on the Board of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, and of the Basic Income Canada Network.  She recently received the Courage to Give Back Award from Family S.O.S.  Sharon also volunteers with serving meals at churches twice weekly.

As Sharon has demonstrated immensely her capacities for compassion, leadership, high ethical standards and commitment to social justice; has furthered social work in her social action and community organization work; and has served the NSASW on Council and in Committee.  She amply fulfils the requirements for the Distinguished Service Award.


Barbara Whitenect, TSI

New Brunswick Association of Social Workers / L'association des travailleuses et des travailleurs sociaux du Nouveau-Brunswick

Le prix pour service insigne de l'ACTS est décerné à une personne membre de la profession du travail social au Canada en reconnaissance d'une contribution exceptionnelle au domaine du bien-être collectif. Il est difficile de penser à quelqu'un de plus méritant de ce prix que Barbara Whitenect.


Barb a obtenu un baccalauréat en travail social de la St.Thomas University en 1991ainsi qu'une maîtrise en travail social de Carleton University en 1992. Elle est membre en règle de l'ATSNB depuis 1992. Elle joue un rôle actif au sein de l'ATSNB depuis 2007, dont elle a d'abord été vice-présidente.  Elle en est aujourd'hui présidente et la représente sur la scène nationale et internationale, étant active au sein de l'ACTS, du CCORTS (Conseil canadien des organismes de réglementation en travail social) et de l'ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards). Elle a joué un rôle clé pour amener l'ATSNB à adopter son premier énoncé du champ de la pratique. Barb s'identifie comme travailleuse sociale à chaque occasion qui s'offre à elle. Elle a contribué à la formation d'étudiants en travail social, tant en enseignant à la St.Thomas University qu'en accueillant des stagiaires dans son milieu de travail. Barb occupe actuellement un poste de directrice au sein du ministère de la Santé du Nouveau-Brunswick; elle est rattachée à la Division des services de santé mentale. Ses nombreuses habiletés et ses connaissances font que Barb est souvent sollicitée par ses pairs pour participer à divers projets un peu partout en province et même au niveau national. Elle est une grande leader pour les membres et le personnel de l'ATSNB et son implication soutenue a permis à notre Association d'atteindre un niveau supérieur en lien avec des enjeux administratifs et des relations de travail constructives sur le plan politique.


Barb est une fière représentante du travail social; elle est vouée à l'avancement de la profession et constitue une source d'inspiration pour bon nombre d'entre nous. C'est pourquoi elle est une candidate idéale pour le Prix d'excellence pour service insigne de l'ACTS 2013.

Deana Gill, MSW,

British Columbia Association of Social Workers

Deana Gill, MSW, has demonstrated social work values and humanistic values consistently for 18+yrs in a variety of settings. She began her career as a social worker on Vancouver Island where she enjoyed the challenges and rewards of providing clinical and front line services across program areas with MCFD, prior to moving onto the leadership team, focusing on employee and organizational development.  After 14 years of public service, Deana stepped into the role of National Senior Manager of Learning and Development with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where she positively influenced the corporate world with her humanistic values through an array of people development initiatives.

In 2011, Deana founded Dream Master Enterprises Inc. to pursue her passion to support organizations undergoing growth and transformation. She specializes in top-of-the-house organizational/people development, training, evaluation and strategic planning. 
Deana has proven success to move organizations/teams forward by developing capacity to provide client-centric services. She brings tools from the corporate world and marries them with warm, social work values.  She has worked with First Nations all over BC in a strength-based, respectful manner and is known for her charity initiatives that use sport as a vehicle to promote health and hope. Deana has been an advocate for social justice by fostering hope and positive change in people, organizations and communities.  Deana is a proud member of Kirkpatrick Partners and is Gold Level Certified.

John Tozeland BSW, RSW

Manitoba College of Social Workers

It is with great pleasure that the Manitoba Institute of Registered Social Workers nominates John Tozeland for the 2013 CASW Distinguished Social Worker award for Manitoba.


John joined MIRSW and MASW in1974, two years after graduation from the University of Manitoba. He served MIRSW as President in 1982-1983. John maintained membership in both organizations for the past thirty-nine years, serving on the MASW Private Practice Committee.


For the past four decades, John has a record of innovative and outstanding professional Social Work service.


While John’s extensive training made him a valued therapist, he has always sought to go further, reaching into the community, creating groups and programs when existing services fell short. In particular, what we believe merits acknowledgement with this award, is that he has taken his hard earned skill set to not only clients in the Manitoba community, but to a broad range of others in the service provider community. His work exemplifies how the Social Work profession can be used to provide leadership in sharing skills with other professions and other service providers.


Since 1982 John has taught between five to nine classes per year, with a range of less than ten to more than twenty participants. Our estimate is that 2000 people, generally helpers and healers in our community, have been provided an opportunity to overcome limitations in themselves, to share with peers, and to refine their skills that help them transform the lives of their clients.


John’s work has been recognized internationally, providing training in Dubai, Richland, Washington, Texas and London and Stonehenge in the U K. In Davis Inlet, John led healing groups after an epidemic of suicides ravaged the community.


Like many good Social Workers, John’s experience comes from serving mainstream organizations, including many ages, cultures and social classes of people, and some of the hardest hit client groups. He recognized the limitations of his skill set. Taking the challenge of providing the best service possible, John searched out and refined the tools he could bring to empower these vulnerable clients. John seeks to equip people with a belief in themselves. He teaches methods to overcome trauma, injury, fear, hurt and the limitations placed on people by their circumstances. In addition, he expanded his work, sitting on a Private Practice committee for MASW, and established his own company, Trance Action Consultants. As well, he founded a holistic multidisciplinary healing center.


John Tozeland has been leading trainings in the fields of Hypnotherapy and Neuro-linguistic Programming since 1986. John is an internationally known transformational therapist and trainer. He believes learning and growth happen in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. John is certified as a NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) Trainer. In addition, John is a Certified Time Line Therapy™ Master Trainer, and a Certified Hypnotist by the Manitoba Hypnotists’ Association and the American Board of Hypnotherapy.  


John’s intensive training in the ancient native shamanic traditions of Hawaii has proven invaluable in his quest to join others in healing the world. John acknowledges and recognizes the importance of the human spirit and it’s connection to the mind and body. He believes that inside each of us is a magical essence, that when tapped has the power to transform your life. All of John’s work is focused on empowering individuals to connect with this essence. Recognizing the importance of integrating Body, Mind & Spirit.


As have many of his peers in the Social Work profession, John has sought to find the spirit of each of his clients, no matter how challenged their situation. He studied Eriksonian hypnotherapy, beginning the life long learning toward methods that tap into the individual’s potential for transformation, and keeping current with more recent studies of the plasticity and power in the human brain. He studied and certified in methods that used the skills of Neuro-linguistic programming and hypnotherapy.  His respect for cultural diversity and other traditions led to his work with a shaman of the Huna tradition (Pacific Islands) and earned what would be the equivalent of a Native North American Pipe carrier designation. 

Karen McGrath BSW, MBA, RSW.

Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers is pleased to announce that the recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award for 2013 is Karen McGrath BSW, MBA,RSW. 


Karen graduated from Memorial University with a BSW degree in 1975 and at the time of nomination was employed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Central Health.  Her colleagues assert that throughout the variety of senior leadership positions which she has held, “Karen has been first and foremost a social worker striving always to exemplify the values of the profession and demonstrating excellence in leadership”.  


Her career path has focused on a variety of areas of social work practice beginning as a program director at the YMCA/YWCA working with individuals, groups and communities.  This experience shaped her commitment to citizen engagement.  She has contributed significantly to the area of mental health having been employed in director positions with the Waterford Hospital, St. John’s in programs such as Work Therapy, Volunteer Services, Therapeutic Recreation and Community Care and as the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Ontario.


In 1995, Ms. McGrath graduated with an MBA and combined her social work and business education to provide senior leadership to mental health, public health, human resources and health information management programs in Newfoundland and Labrador.  She held the positions of CEO of Health and Community Services St. John’s and Health and Community Services Central. In 2007, Ms. McGrath was appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer, Central Health, responsible for delivery of all health services in the region including hospitals, long term care facilities and community based programs.  She retired from this position on January 31st, 2013. 


Karen has maintained a strong social work identity throughout her career.  She provided field instruction to approximately 40 social work students and mentored many colleagues.  She was actively involved with the Newfoundland Association of Social Workers in 1975 working with a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the profession and advocate for social work regulation.  Karen served two terms as President of NLASW in 1992 and 2000-2002.  Throughout the past thirty-five years, she has been an active volunteer with several community organizations, most recently as the President of the Kiwanis Club, Grand Falls-Windsor.


She continues to lend her experience and knowledge to other health care organizations throughout Canada through her work with Accreditation Canada.   Karen states that her social work degree aided her understanding of who she is as a person.  “The core of who I am is a social worker; everything else was built from that”.   Karen McGrath continues to contribute greatly to her profession and to the populations and organizations that have the good fortune to work with her thus illustrating the essence of the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award. 

Sandy Little, Janice Wiens and Dana Jennejohn

Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada

Sandy Little, Janice Wiens and Dana Jennejohn steered the Association of Social Workers of Northern Canada for close to a decade. They have worked tirelessly at meeting the challenges of developing a Professional Association which brings together social workers in isolated communities stretched across three time zones, as well as supporting their own Territorial initiatives in promoting the development of the field of social work.


Janice Wiens, based in Whitehorse has built the BSW program (in the Yukon) and is a leader in ethics, standards, and social work education as well as providing leadership on the ASWNC board. 


Sandy Little has been a tireless worker for the ASWNC and in getting the regulatory mechanism for Social Work turned into a reality in NWT resulting in the NWT Social Work Act coming into effect January of 2012. 


Dana Jennejohn, is a leader in the Social Work program in the Yukon and has service in many capacities on the ASWNC board.  She continues to be a leader in the Yukon’s movement towards regulation of Social Work.


We would like to honour this group of Social Workers in their leadership in the practice and development of Social Work in our region.

Tod Augusta-Scott, MSW, RSW

Nova Scotia College of Social Workers

Tod Augusta-Scott, MSW, RSW is known internationally for his work with domestic violence and narrative therapy.  He has spent almost 20 years as the coordinator of Bridges – a domestic violence counselling, research and training institute in Nova Scotia, Canada.  He has taught at Dalhousie School of Social Work and continues to be a guest speaker at the School on a regular basis.  Tod is on faculty at the Hincks Dellcrest International Training centre in Toronto.


Tod has presented his work in every province and territory in Canada.  He has created a group manual for working with men who have abused that has been officially adopted by the Departments of Justice in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories.  He also works nationally as a consultant to the Canadian Domestic Forces on the issue of domestic violence.  Tod has co-developed the Canadian Domestic Violence Conference and the Winds of Change Therapy Conference, which are presented every two years.


Tod has also presented his work internationally in Asia, Europe, British Isles and North America.  He has numerous academic publications.  He is the co-editor and contributor to the critically acclaimed book Narrative Therapy: Making Meaning, Making Lives (Sage Publications, 2007).  Along with working for other academic journals, Tod is a regular reviewer for the Journal of Systemic Therapies, Canadian Journal of Counselling, and Canadian Social Work.


Tod has created a cutting edge model of practice in the Men’s Intervention Sector in Nova Scotia.  As a social worker, he applies a social justice approach to his work and is well respected in the field as an expert in Narrative Therapy.  He has initiated many new approaches to working with people who have been affected by family violence and professionals in the field highly respect him as a person and as a social worker.

His interest in Narrative Therapy has also led him to publish academically as well as participate in CBC radio documentaries on the colonial history of Atlantic Canada.  Particularly, he is interested in what people choose to remember and how this influences their identities and relationships with others.  Tod lives with his wife and two young children in Halifax.  He enjoys playing music and sailing off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Will MacDonald, BA, MSW

PEI Association of Social Workers

Will MacDonald received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of PEI and his Masters of Social Work Degree from Wilfred Laurier. Prior to his career in Social Work, he had a career in the Military and was stationed in Germany and Cyprus.

Will was involved in the establishment of the 1st Social Work Act for PEI, and has previously been a member of the Executive of the PEIASW. He was also a part of a Committee of the PEIASW which was previously recognized for a public education piece they created regarding Elder Abuse.

Will has worked the spectrum from front-line Social Work to Provincial Director within various areas, such as Child Welfare/Protection, Continuing Care, and Income Support. He has also worked within Mental Health at McGill Center, Catholic Family Services, and Family Service PEI, and is currently working at Hillsboro Hospital. He has also previously worked at Veterans Affairs Canada.

Will has been involved with many non-profit Boards such as Anderson House and Tremploy, and currently is a member of the PEI Social Work Registration Board. Will has 4 children (2 sons and 2 daughters) and many grandchildren. His 2 daughters have followed in his footsteps and are also Social Workers. PEIASW congratulates Will and thanks him for his long-standing efforts and contribution to the Association and the Profession of Social Work.


Bernadette (Bernie) Holzer BA, BSW

Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers

Bernie is well-known within the profession as a role model and community ambassador. She has over 40 years of human services experience in the government and non-governmental sectors and has supervised the practice of more than 30 individuals. Collaboration has been a hallmark of her practice, as has an unselfish sharing of her expertise and insight. 


Bernie has been actively involved in numerous community development projects in Ft. Qu’Appelle(The Youth Initiatives Program), Regina(Family Sexual Abuse Treatment Program), Estevan (Society for Maintenance and Improvement of Life in Estevan –SMILE). In these efforts, she was either the lead or in a group of collaborating leaders. More recently in Saskatoon she has been employed by Family Service Saskatoon as a program manager and continues to develop programs for youth, young parents, and in the court worker program.


Bernie has experience as a caseworker, supervisor, and manager with the former Department of Social Services. She has over 30 years of experience in direct practice which resulted in the development of extensive knowledge and skills in the areas of child welfare, poverty, aboriginal issues, domestic violence, young offenders, and women’s issues. She has trained teachers, daycare workers, medical personnel, community leaders and other professionals on a variety of topics including child protection, child abuse prevention, intervention, women’s issues, spousal abuse and inter-cultural issues. Bernie has also hosted 20 field practicums for the Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina. Always careful to ensure that her knowledge and practice are up to date, Bernie has attended an impressive list of international and local conferences/events.


In addition to working full time at Family Services Saskatoon, Bernie continues her volunteer involvements at International Women of Saskatoon and with a community program for refugee people (Nest, Saskatoon) which is a group that has for more than 10 years assisted refugee women and children in establishing themselves. She also has acted as Vice Chair of the Saskatchewan Intercultural Association.

Blanche Ward

PEI Association of Social Workers

Blanche holds a Bachelor or Arts Degree from University of Prince Edward Island, a BSW from University of Windsor, and an MSW from Memorial University.  She worked in Child Protection for 6 yrs, and with the PEI Alzheimer's Society for 12 years, and has worked the past 3 years with the PEI Palliative Care program.  She was a member of the PEI ASW Professional Development Committee for over 3 years and also served a term as Secretary of the PEI ASW.  The PEIASW is pleased to have her returning as a member of the Executive Committee in the role of Treasurer.  She enjoys running and being active, and has been active in the Girl Guide organization, and her local community council.

Eveline Milliken

Manitoba College of Social Workers

For more than 35 years, Ms. Milliken has ably served the profession of Social Work in a variety of capacities, most notably as a professor at the University of Manitoba Inner City Social Work program for the past 25 years. Prior to that, Eveline worked as a clinician in the areas of northern medical services, family practice, child welfare and adult mental health. Through her varied practice, Eveline has guided many Social Work students along their professional path and has demonstrated an exceptional capacity to meet the needs of her students. She has won several awards for outstanding teaching and is admired by her colleagues has a genuine, caring, dedicated and ethical Social Worker. Eveline has also contributed to the academic community through her research on Cultural Safety, a theoretical framework that supports respect, trust and inclusion – critical issues for practice in a diverse society.

Eveline Milliken has contributed greatly to her community, particularly in the downtown core area of Winnipeg where the U of M Inner City Social Work campus is located. She may be best known for her teaching skills but has also made her mark as a researcher, clinical Social Worker and member of the diverse Manitoba Social Work community.

Eveline was a long-time member of the Manitoba Association of Social Workers and continues as a Registered Social Worker within the Manitoba Institute of Registered Social Workers. She has been a strong supporter of the organization and of its pursuit of mandatory regulation for Social Work in Manitoba. She has served on the MIRSW Board of Directors since 2008 and participated as a member of both the MIRSW Licensing and Complaints Committees in recent years.

It is a privilege to recommend Eveline Milliken for this award.

Kevin A. McGill, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut

Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada

Kevin graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Master of Social Work in Community Development and Social Planning in 1982, and practiced social work in mental health, addictions, and geriatrics.  In Nunavut, Kevin has worked as a Community Social Services Worker (Clyde River) and is currently the Senior Instructor in the Social Services Worker Program at Nunavut Arctic College (Cambridge Bay).   Kevin has connected the program to the circumpolar educational world, particularly to Finnmark University College in Alta, Norway. 
As a social worker, Kevin promotes the profession and educates communities about social work’s varied and important work.  As an educator, Kevin works to improve educational opportunities for northern indigenous peoples and include Inuit cultural content. He is a passionate believer in mentoring Nunavummuit students and workers, and the creation of a Nunavut Bachelor of Social Work degree.  Kevin is an active board member of the Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada, where he chairs the Promotions Committee.  When informed about his nomination, Kevin responded with typical humbleness and appreciation, wanting to thank his mentors and share this award with all the Social Workers of Nunavut and northern Canada.

Merri-Lee Hanson

New Brunswick Association of Social Workers / L'association des travailleuses et des travailleurs sociaux du Nouveau-Brunswick

Merri-Lee Hanson is a social worker and a member of the Woodstock Chapter of the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers.  Merri-Lee works as a Clinical Social Worker on the Intake and Assessment Team for Horizon Health Network. The NBASW Board of Directors was unanimous in selecting Merri-Lee as next year’s recipient considering her numerous involvements with her chapter and our provincial board.  

Merri-Lee has been involved in her local chapter since she began her social work career in New Brunswick and has continuously promoted the participation of social workers at the local and provincial level.  Merri-Lee is well respected amongst her peers.  Throughout the years, she has held various positions on our NBASW board and executive. Merri-Lee was the Chapter President, elected as the Board of Director Chapter Representative, Secretary, and currently holds the position of Vice-President on our executive. Merri-Lee is also involved with several NBASW Committees including the Social Action Committee, Management Committee, and is currently the Chair of the Complaints Committee.

Robert Kissner, M.A. PhD, RSW

British Columbia Association of Social Workers

Robert Kissner, M.A. PhD, RSW is a specialist in stress and trauma with an interest in innovative ways to facilitate resilience and emotional recovery. He has experience in clinical practice, agency administration, teaching, research, and as a social innovator and entrepreneur. He served an impressive sixteen years on the BCASW board as Vice-President, and President and was BC provincial representative to CASW.

In 1979, Robert founded the Focus Foundation of BC,  an addictions and education agency working with adolescents with complex needs and youth who are unsuccessful in the public school system.  As an entrepreneur in health and wellness, he established a company providing research-based solutions for health issues such as depression, abuse, trauma and medically unexplained symptoms.

Robert taught a wide range of subjects for the University of Chicago, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, University College of the Fraser Valley and Douglas College, including courses in social work, education, criminology, and sociology. He has traveled extensively, lecturing and writing on developmental approaches, working with youth, addictions, stress and emotions. Bob is a frequent speaker in forums such as social work conferences, the United Kingdom European Symposium on Addictive Disorders, the International Council on Alcohol and Addictions, the Society for Research on Adolescence, the American Association of Orthopsychiatry, the Royal Society of Medicine and The Royal College of General Practitioners in London, UK.

Robert Kissner will be honoured by his fellow social workers, at the BCASW Fall Conference, November 2-3, 2012 at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites, Vancouver BC.

Robert S. Wright

Nova Scotia College of Social Workers

Robert is an individual with broad experience in several fields and a growing collection of professional identities.  Since September of 2010, he has been a full-time PhD student at Dalhousie University's Sociology and Social Anthropology Department.  Since August of 2011, he has been a full-time Lecturer at Mount Saint Vincent University's Department of Child & Youth Study.  Since late in 1989 Robert has maintained a small private practice in social work.

Robert is a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with experience and education in areas of Child Welfare; Education; Mediation; Child, Family and Forensic Mental Health; Cultural Competence and Corporate Leadership. He has both a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree in Social Work, a Certificate in Divorce Mediation Theory and is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology.  His current research project explores the experience and path of African Nova Scotians who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

Robert has maintained a part-time Registered Private Practice in Social Work for over 20 years. In this capacity he has provided direct clinical services to individuals, groups and families and provided clinical supervision and consulting to other clinicians and clinical teams. Robert has held a variety of clinical and administrative "day jobs" throughout his career. He has worked in education as a student support worker, school social worker and coordinator of race relations; and in child welfare as a front line social worker, casework supervisor, forensic clinician, and as an executive director. He has held notable positions as the Race Relations Coordinator of the former Dartmouth District School Board; a correctional mental health counsellor at the Washington State Penitentiary working with mentally disordered, protective custody and death row inmates; and, from May 2007 to August 2010, as the Executive Director of Nova Scotia's Child and Youth Strategy, a comprehensive, collaborative plan to promote better outcomes for children and youth. 

In addition to his community, clinical and administrative work, Robert is a compelling speaker and trainer. He has presented motivational, devotional and instructional presentations to large numbers of clients in various locations across the United States and Canada.  He has been involved with a number of organizations and associations throughout his career. He has served as the president of the Nova Scotia Criminal Justice Association, is a member of the Racial Equity Committee of the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society, and a member of the Board of Directors of the North End Community Health Centre.

Robert is a family man. He comes from a large extended family that he considers a source of great strength and motivation. He is a parent of 2 children that he describes as having come to him "one by works and one by grace" (his oldest is the child of his former marriage, his youngest is adopted).  Robert has also served as a foster parent and surrogate uncle for many others over the years. This is nothing new in the Wright family. Robert says he watched his mother "bring up the neighbourhood" when he was a child. Despite having retired from fostering a couple of times, his mother continues providing short term placements for children with few other options. "I guess I came by it naturally" Robert says.

Wanda Lundrigan

Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers is pleased to announce that the recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award for 2012 is Wanda Lundrigan BSW, RSW.  

Wanda began her career as a social worker in the community of Bell Island in 1980. This experience laid the foundation of a life and career dedicated to social justice.  According to her first social work supervisor, “Wanda began practice with a keen awareness and empathy concerning the social factors impacting the well being of children and families.  Her leadership skills were immediately evident". 

Wanda moved to the field of corrections, initially as a probation officer bringing a restorative justice lens to all aspects of the work. She was well respected for her candour and willingness to go the extra mile for her clients and co-workers.  She became Chief Probation Officer and under her outstanding leadership, the Community Corrections Branch of the Department of Justice was transformed.  The Victims Services and Electronic Monitoring programs were developed and new risk assessment tools and practices were implemented. She became a leader at federal/provincial/territorial tables where she shaped progressive correctional policies and was affectionately referred to as the “Queen of Justice”.   

Wanda’s natural leadership abilities prepared her for a move to Executive Council within the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.  She assumed director positions with the Departments of Works Services and Transportation and Government Services.
Recently, she accepted the position of Assistant Deputy Minister with the newly created Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.  Wanda’s superior leadership skills will be instrumental as the department transforms it programs and services to benefit the children and youth of this province.

Throughout her career, Wanda Lundrigan has consistently maintained and displayed a strong commitment to the advancement of the profession.  From President of the Social Work Student Society in the 1970s to President of the Newfoundland Association of Social Workers in the 1980s, to previous representative on the Canadian Association of Social Workers Board of Directors and current member of the NLASW Disciplinary Panel, Wanda’s involvement speaks to her continued commitment.  She is a passionate, skilled and determined advocate with an approach grounded in the ethical foundations of our profession.  She exemplifies leadership and social work excellence and is truly a deserving recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award.