CAOT Conference Guest Speakers

CAOT President

Opening keynote speaker

CAOT President Nicola MacNaughton

Opening ceremonies: Wednesday, June 20
Pavillion Ballroom 19:45 – 20:30

As her two-year mandate as CAOT President draws to a close, Nicola will share some of the opinions she has formulated and the views she has evolved regarding the way forward for occupational therapy in Canada. Hear Nicola’s compelling address and renew your commitment to our great profession.

Muriel Driver Memorial Lecturer Lili Liu

Lili Liu

Thursday, June 21 
Pavillion Ballroom 10:30-11:30

The Muriel Driver Memorial Lecture is given by the previous year’s Muriel Driver Memorial Award recipient.  The award is CAOT’s most prestigious honour.  It recognizes the outstanding contribution of an individual from within the profession in the fields of research, teaching and practice of occupational therapy.  The Memorial lecture provides an opportunity to reflect on the current and future state of the profession, the way it is practised and the way it could be practised.  The history behind this award and the previous Muriel Driver lectures can be accessed on the CAOT website.

Dr. Lili Liu, PhD, M.Sc, B.Sc, is this year’s lecturer.  Known for her determination, drive, and passion for research, Dr. Liu will draw upon an unparalleled depth and breadth of experience in her Muriel Driver address.  As a noted speaker, mentor and collaborator, she will no doubt deliver a thoughtful and multi-faceted view of the changing landscape of occupational therapy practice.

Dr. Lili Liu is the Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, and a professor of occupational therapy at the University of Alberta, where her innovation, support, and creativity continue to inspire her students, colleagues and occupational therapists everywhere.

Dr. Liu’s focus on gerontology and occupational therapy has led to innovations that enhance safety in the home for seniors as well as increasing productivity for health care aides in home settings.  Of particular note is her co-leadership in creating the ‘Smart CondoTM’ ,   This is a one-bedroom space that is used to simulate home visits allowing health care professionals to increase their understanding of assisted living devices and to practice working respectfully within their clients’ private and personal space. The integration of intelligent technology also provides opportunities to learn how to communicate and collaborate with those living in ‘intelligent’ homes.

As a leader within the University and community, Lili’s dedication to advancing occupational therapy and the quality of her work has been sought after and recognized on innumerable occasions.  Lili has contributed to over 54 peer-reviewed publications and 187 peer-reviewed abstracts and scholarly presentations. The list of honours bestowed upon her recognizes excellence in all aspects of her work – teaching, research, administration, mentoring, collaboration, and service.  Within the occupational therapy community Lili has been a strong contributor – as Vice-President of the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs (ACOTUP), as a member of the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy (CJOT) editorial board and the Hong Kong Journal of Occupational Therapy – to name just a few.

As an accomplished lecturer and a role model to many, conference delegates are truly fortunate to have Dr. Lili Liu’s Muriel Driver address to look forward to.

Plenary – The current state of Canada’s opioid crisis

Friday, June 22
Pavillion Ballroom 13:00 – 14:00

Canada’s opioid crisis and the despair and death that results from it has galvanized families, communities and, indeed, the country, in a battle to combat this most pressing societal issue. What is the role that occupational therapists can and should play in this epidemic? We begin this national discussion by gathering a panel of four diverse experts to take a pan-Canadian look at what is being done and what needs to be done to leverage occupational therapist expertise in the assessment, treatment, management and relapse prevention of individuals with mental health and substance use disorders.

Panel Moderator: Skye Barbic, PhD, Occupational Therapist, British Columbia, Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Foundry British Columbia Research Lead


  • Niki Kiepek, PhD, Occupational Therapist, Nova Scotia, Panelist, and author of Licit, Illicit, Prescribed: Substance Use and Occupational Therapy
  • Dr. Seonaid Nolan, MD is a Clinician Researcher with the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Physician Program Director for Providence Health Care’s Interdisciplinary Substance Use Program. She works as an addiction medicine physician at St. Paul’s Hospital.
  • Havelin Anand, Director of Government Affairs and Policy, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists and CAOT representative on the Coalition for Safe and Effective Pain Management

Featured speaker Gabor Mate

Dr. Gabor Maté

Closing lunch: Saturday, June 23
Grand Ballroom 12:30 – 14:00

Renowned speaker and bestselling author, Dr. Gabor Maté is our featured speaker at CAOT Conference 2018 closing luncheon. Internationally known for his work on mind/body unity in health and illness, Dr. Maté, is sure to deliver a provocative and memorable address. Make plans to attend.

Dr. Maté is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development, and rather than offering quick-fix solutions to these complex issues, Dr. Maté weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them.

Dr. Maté’s address is titled “Illness and Health in a Toxic Society” and will draw upon his twelve years of encounters working in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hard-core drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver’s Supervised Injection Site. With over 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience and extensive knowledge of the latest findings of leading-edge research, Dr. Maté will provide a riveting and human view of what he has seen and what it means.

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