About the Team

Andrea Petryk, President

Andrea considers herself lucky to focus on practice that takes place outside of the healthcare system, spending her time in communities with linguistic and cultural minorities. As a francophone community-based occupational therapist, she works as consultant for educational inclusion and early intervention in French schools of the Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord. “Every day brings a new challenge in occupational therapy,” says Andrea. She believes the profession is constantly evolving—from post-war work therapy to the diverse areas of practice that have grown to be respected today—and is passionate about sharing its power and potential. 

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth believes in hard work, supporting those who need it most and the inevitably of change. Having served on AAROT as it evolved into ACOT and working for members nationally on CAOT, Elizabeth offers perspective. She considers the protection of the public critical, but also believes it’s just as important for the College to be in tune with its members. Elizabeth is an Associate Professor in the Department of occupational therapy at the University of Alberta, and focuses her energy on mental health and effective inter-professional care. She even develops and supports programs for those who live with mental illness and women and children leaving abusive situations. To Elizabeth, all is possible with occupational therapy: “Its potential is limited only by the barriers we put up ourselves!”

Jennifer Lee, Vice-President

Jennifer has spent the bulk of her career working in long-term care, and is most passionate about seniors’ care—particularly their mental health. As a quality improvement consultant, she supports the continuing care portfolio in Calgary. Jennifer’s enthusiasm for occupational therapy is obvious: “One of its central tenets is that we empower our clients to live full and meaningful lives, in spite of life circumstances,” she explains. “As a clinician, and now as a consultant, I find that our ethos of empowerment is very inspiring!” Being able to work in both traditional and non-traditional settings—creating endless potential career paths—is what Jennifer loves most about the profession. Stepping into her role as Councillor, she is eager to learn more about governance and have conversations about how occupational therapists can more effectively serve the public. 

Tiffany Poltz

Tiffany believes it is vital to have public member representatives contribute different experiences and outlooks for health boards. From policy to teaching to management, she has worked with people in a wide range of ways. Regulation is nothing new to Tiffany either—she has implemented company-wide processes compliant with new external regulations. Throw in over 15 years of professional accounting experience plus her time spent on boards, and Tiffany is feeling like she’s in the perfect place with ACOT. “I’m ready to contribute,” she says. “I have the opportunity to learn both a new area and provide assistance where I can with my background.” 

Peter Portlock

Plain and simple, Peter is bringing loads of experience along with him. He has spent most of his working life on either side of the Council table—as a Registrar/Complaints Director (College of Alberta Denturists), professional association CEO (the Alberta Physiotherapy Association and most recently Lethbridge Family Services), council member, and council chair. After spending 15 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, he pursued health services administration, which is complemented by many years of service in the not-for-profit sector. Peter is currently a peer reviewer and team leader with the New York-based Council on Accreditation and is a founding board member and current Board Chair of Technology Accreditation Canada. “I am a firm believer in right-touch regulation and good governance,” Peter says. To him, it’s all about creating—while maintaining—a vibrant and mutually supportive relationship between a health discipline’s regulator and its professional association. 

Marianne Baird

A firm believer in administrative fairness, transparency and due process, Marianne is proud to apply these principles to the role of Registrar. “It is an honour to serve in a role designed to protect the public, and to oversee efficient operations of ACOT that is responsive to public and registrants’ requirements.” Her occupational therapy career focused on vocational rehabilitation, disability management, and most recently collaborative care. “Occupational therapy and collaborative care are very well aligned; both can be applied in just about any setting and focus on client centered care, which is a passion of mine.”

Heidi Knupp

Heidi graduated from the University of Alberta with a BScOT in 2003, followed by a Thesis-based Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2007, which was based on the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Occupational Therapists. She worked in clinical practice at Millard Health from 2008 – 2017, and is currently a Case Manager.

Heidi strives in leadership roles and is known to find innovative solutions to complex problems. She is described as goal-oriented, dedicated and loyal. Heidi is passionate and genuine in her approach to work and life and looks forward to collaborating with members and the public to achieve set goals.

In her spare time, Heidi enjoys outdoor activities, cooking and travel. Heidi also volunteers weekly for the City of Edmonton Police. She is a drummer on Canada’s National Dragon Boat Team, having achieved 8 World Championships and looks forward to competing at her 3rd World Championships in Thailand this summer.

Arwen Caines

 Arwen Caines completed her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from McMaster University in 2011. She also holds a baccalaureate in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, from the University of Calgary. Since joining Society for Treatment of Autism (STA) in 2011 as an Occupational Therapist (OT), she has worked directly with children and families to facilitate the development of functional self-help (e.g., toileting, hygiene and grooming skills), leisure and development of gross motor, fine motor and oral motor skills through play. Arwen has consulted in the Community Based Options program; the Residential Program; and the collaborative Calgary Board of Education/Society for Treatment of Autism CSSI stabilization classrooms. Within her OT role at STA Arwen also provides Occupational Therapy consultation on a fee for service basis. Services provided include individual assessment and intervention, group intervention and community workshops for clients throughout Alberta. Additionally, Arwen co-facilitates a mental health group for children/youth with co-occurring anxiety and ASD and their family members. In addition to consulting, she is currently the Supervisor of the Occupational Therapy department. 

Whitney McKenzie

Whitney values the balance, growth and deep connection with others Occupational Therapy has brought to her personal and professional life. She strongly believes in both the development of self and others through lifelong learning in a variety of modalities. Whitney has developed a passion for clients, therapists, and the profession. She has enjoyed working within and leading interdisciplinary teams prioritizing health and wellness. She currently works as the Occupational Therapy Professional Practice Lead for Covenant Health.

Carrie Hait

For over 20 years, Carrie has worked as a pediatric Occupational Therapist in hospital, community health, and school settings both as an employee and as a contractor. She has been involved in local work in the Edmonton area, and in province-wide school-based work. She has learned that no matter how or where OTs provide services, people put their trust in them to make their lives better. Carrie be-lieves that it is essential to safeguard this trust and confidence by promoting and maintaining the highest levels of competence, profes-sionalism and integrity. Carrie is also eager to promote strengthened relationships within the OT community, and with professional part-ners. In her free time, Carrie enjoys cycling, cross-country skiing and gardening.