At CNIB, we believe that everyone who would like to have a guide dog should have that opportunity. That's why we launched CNIB Guide Dogs in 2017. Our program is designed to raise and train dogs exclusively for Canadians with sight loss.Our technical team has nearly 150 years of combined experience working with guide dogs.
So, who are we?
Andrew Hanlon, Manager, CNIB Guide Dogs
Andrew was the first member of the CNIB Guide Dogs team.
He started his career as a dog handler in the Royal Marines Commandos. Then, he worked as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) and manager at Guide Dogs UK.
Karen Hanlon, Manager, Canine Development and Training
Karen joined her husband, Andrew, to help get the program up and running.
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, she spent most of her career as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) in the UK.
Dr. Victoria Bennett, Veterinary Advisor
Victoria has been interested in CNIB Guide Dogs since the program launched.
In 2017, she joined the team as our super-duper veterinary advisor. We are so fortunate to have a vet with 30 years of experience.
Andrea Critch, Puppy Raising Supervisor
Andrea ensures our future guide dogs have the best possible start.
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, she raised puppies for a service dog organization.
Kezia Gray, Puppy Raising Supervisor (In Training)
Kezia is the newest member of the team. Welcome, Kezia!
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, she owned a puppy development and pet care business.
Carl McIntosh, Puppy Raising Supervisor
Carl is a vet technologist with expertise in guide dog breeding.
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, he worked as a kennel manager and puppy raising supervisor.
Rob Cramer, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (Apprentice)
Having completed a three-year apprenticeship program in Australia and Canada, we expect Rob to qualify as a Guide Dog Mobility (GDMI) shortly.
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, Rob owned a pet dog training business.
Sam Curkovic, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Sam has more than 10 years of experiencing training guide dogs.
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, she worked as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor in England, New Zealand and Australia.
Ben Francis, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Ben was introduced to guide dogs at birth, thanks to his father, Brian, who is a well-known and well-respected in the guide dog world.
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, he worked as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) for 12 years.
Shona Kemp, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (Apprentice)
Shona brings the most experience to our team with knowledge in breeding, puppy raising, dog training and handler training.
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, she worked in the guide dog field for more than 30 years.
Miriam Mas, Lead, Buddy Dog Program & Team Admin
Miriam prepares and places our Buddy Dogs and she ensures all of our programs run smoothly.
Before joining CNIB Guide Dogs, she owned and operated a service dog organization, "Canines with a Cause," for 10 years.
Emily Greenham, Orientation and Mobility Specialist
Emily spends one day/week supporting CNIB Guide Dogs with its application process – she advises on the readiness of applicants for guide dog training.
When she's not with CNIB Guide Dogs, she works as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist with Vision Loss Rehabilitation Ontario.
Victoria Nolan, Head, Stakeholder Relations and Community Engagement
Vicky has been a guide dog handler for 12 years.
At CNIB Guide Dogs, she oversees the community engagement strategy to raise awareness about the rights of guide dog teams and the legal responsibilities of businesses. She also educates the public about guide dog etiquette.
Ashley Nemeth, Lead, Stakeholder Relations and Community Engagement
Ashley has been a guide dog handler for 7 years.
At CNIB Guide Dogs, she raises awareness about the rights of guide dog teams and the legal responsibilities of businesses. She also educates the public about guide dog etiquette.
Angela Bonfanti, Vice-President, CNIB Foundation
Here is what Diane Bergeron, Vice President, Engagement and International Affairs came up with:
“As the daughter of a someone who is blind, Angela Bonfanti has been personally impacted by blindness and understands the needs of the sight loss community. Eight years ago, she began her CNIB career and, since then, she has held multiple leadership roles within the organization. She is currently the Vice President of the CNIB Foundation with specific oversight of our operations in Ontario, Quebec, Central Programs and CNIB Guide Dogs.
And, she wears a cape at night while flying around the city – she’s a superhero for people who are blind or partially sighted!”
Diane Bergeron, Vice-President, CNIB Foundation
As a guide dog handler for more than 35 years, Diane breaks down barriers and opens doors for people who are blind or partially sighted.
Every day, she is actively engaged in regional, national and international initiatives to ensure everyone has an opportunity to live the lives they choose.
Shannon Simpson, Director, Marketing & Communications, CNIB Foundation (Ontario & Quebec) and CNIB Guide Dogs
Shannon is an avid dog lover who's landed her dream job.
At CNIB Guide Dogs, she oversees the marketing and communications strategy. She loves to share heart-warming stories about guide dog handlers and buddy dog partners across Canada.