Standards and Guidelines in a Humane Canada


Barbara Cartwright, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)
Dayna Desmarais, President, SafePet Ottawa
Kathy Powelson, Executive Director, Paws for Hope Animal Foundation
Brandy Street, Manager, SPCA Certified, British Columbia SPCA (BC SPCA)
Dr. Doug Whiteside DVM, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association


This will be a lively panel discussion on the role of setting standards and guidelines aimed at those who work with and for animals as a foundation for building a more Humane Canada. This panel will examine areas that could benefit from standards and guidelines to increase professionalism, animal welfare and consistency and discuss the efficacy of implementing and maintaining programs, explore the impacts of not having standards and guidelines and share key learnings from experiences working on setting standards and guidelines.


An award-winning leader in animal welfare, conservation and education, Barbara Cartwright’s work has spanned five continents and 20 years. Her extensive experience in developing and facilitating relationships with stakeholders, including governments, corporations and NGOs has led to innovative programs with dynamic results. Barbara is sought after for her knowledge of policy and public affairs. She has secured amendments to federal legislation including updates to the Criminal Code, the Migratory Bird Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Barbara has advised some of the top organizations in the world on animal welfare policy direction, including her work with eBay to end the illegal ivory trade on its site worldwide. Today, as the CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), Barbara convenes and represents the largest animal welfare community in Canada, working to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals. She leads CFHS in fulfilling its mission to create a humane Canada through the successful execution of strategic and business plans. Over the past five years, Barbara has launched the National Animal Welfare Conference, the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty and released the first empirical sector-wide research project on humane societies and SPCAs in Canada. She is consulted by all political parties on issues of animal welfare, including updating legislation and consulting on policy documents such agricultural and food policy. Barbara has presented to the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada, the all-party International Conservation Caucus, the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), as well as at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Congress. She holds a Master’s in Environmental Education and Communication, is a published author, a lecturer and a recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, as well as the National Environmental Excellence Award. She is the former President of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, an Advisory Council Member for the Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance and currently sits on the PetSmart Charities of Canada Board of Directors. Barbara is a member of Women’s Executive Network, the Council of Women Executives and part of the Distinctive Women network.

Dayna Desmarais has been a life-long animal lover and advocate. She believes in a humane Canada. Her life has been dedicated to working with animals in numerous capacities which she began by working with fostering for rescues in 2009. In 2012, she opened a pet-sitting company focused on providing the highest standards of care to animals in the Ottawa area. Shortly after that, she began an apprenticeship studying canine behaviour science in a more hands-on approach. While making great personal accomplishments in those fields, she also completed courses from Duke University in Canine Emotion & Cognition, as well as from the University of Edinburgh in Animal Welfare and Behaviour. The year 2013 sparked the beginning of Dayna's involvement with SafePet Ottawa, where she sat on the Board as their Vice President for 3 years before being voted in as their President in 2017. It was through this young non-profit organization that she learned more about the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. It became apparent to her that more needed to be done to raise attention and awareness to the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. The inspiration and motivation to make a difference for the treatment of animals came not only through Dayna's love for them, but also through her mother's. Dayna's mom inspires her every day to do more, to be better and to embody the true attributes of an animal advocate. Because of her mother's hard work to help rescue and rehabilitate animals throughout Dayna’s childhood, she has been blessed with the passion and drive to do the same.

Kathy Powelson is the founder of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation and has spent the majority of her career working to support at-risk youth through frontline work, program funding and community capacity building. Through this work, she recognized the importance of working with individual organizations and communities to build and support capacity to address the unique needs of each community and their young people. As she became involved in animal welfare issues in BC, she realized that this same approach was needed to address the issues faced by animal welfare and rescue organizations in order to enhance the overall welfare of animals. Kathy is a published author and holds a Master's degree in Criminology. She and her husband live in Maple Ridge, BC with their daughter, and dogs (Chili, Skippy and Henry) and cats (Cinnibar and Hamilton).

A University of Saskatchewan graduate, Brandy Street holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a major in Animal Science and a minor in Business. Brandy also holds a Masters of Science in Agriculture in the field of Applied Ethology, the study of animal behaviour. Brandy grew up on a small farm in Stony Beach, Saskatchewan. Throughout her high school and university years, she worked on a number of different farms. With a keen interest in farm animal welfare, Brandy has gained experience working with pigs, dairy cattle, sheep and poultry. At the BC SPCA, Brandy oversees the national expansion of the SPCA Certified program, including producer recruitment, retail partnerships and improving animal welfare standards. Upon graduation from her Masters program, Brandy worked as the Ethology Research Assistant at the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, as the Executive Director for the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative and as a Program Manager for Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. Brandy joined the BC SPCA in February 2011 as the Farm Animal Welfare Coordinator and has since advanced to the position of Manager of the SPCA Certified program. She oversees day-to-day operations and national expansion activities for the program, including producer recruitment, developing partnerships within the food retail sector and updating program standards based on advancements in animal welfare science.