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Association of Animal Shelter Administrators
of Ontario (AASAO) 2022 Annual Conference

About the Animal AASAO Conference:

The AASAO is the only provincial association of its kind in Canada. The annual conference brings together approximately 100 animal care and welfare leaders and professionals from across Ontario every fall for professional development and networking. Overcome the challenges you’re having in your organization by listening to expert speakers and building a community with your colleagues in Ontario.

We are excited to offer the 2022 annual conference on October 20 and 21, 2022 in Guelph, Ontario. Learn about the following topics:

October 20, 2022

Ukraine Animal Crisis:

Charmaine Brett, Executive Director of Veterinarians Without Borders joins us to speak about their partnerships with animal humanitarian agencies that can get the basic necessities to where they are needed the most. There are 700 Ukraine animal shelters, 1200 drop-off points for food delivery where animals are sheltering with their human companions, as well as community points and apartment complexes where people have had to seek safe shelter from bombing and shelling with their pets.

Social Media:

Hear from Calla James and Alex Ranney from the Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth on how to connect with your social media followers on the good, the bad and the ugly. Let’s dive into all things social media. Learn how to engage your audience, drive reach and educate people about your mission with the power of storytelling.  Take a look at your social media voice and learn how to use it to your advantage.  Discover ways to respond to negative comments and online backlash (that can result in your favour!).

Situational Awareness:

This is always a topic of interest for those who work with the public outside in the field as well as inside an animal shelter. Learn from Guelph Police Services on how to interact with those who suffer from mental illness and addiction and how to de-escalate conflict in potentially volatile interactions.


Update on Infectious Disease:

Dr. Scott Weese from the University of Guelph will provide information on infectious diseases that have been in the news for 2022 and of relevance to animal health and sheltering – including Avian Influenza, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease, Monkeypox, and the Michigan parvovirus outbreak. 

Fear Free for All:

Emily Tronetti is a certified Fear Free Animal Trainer. As shelter personnel, educating people about other animals is an important part of your work. While humane education is often thought of as teaching children to be kind to animals and the environment, the world needs kinder adults, too! This session will explore how all shelter personnel have the power to be humane educators, who promote critical thinking, empathy development, and compassionate action in learners of all ages. It will look to what research has been done on these topics and discuss how to apply what we know so far. As humane educators, we can inspire our community members to have Fear Free relationships with their pets and beyond.

October 21, 2022

Indigenous Peoples' Connection to Animals:

Angela Duckworth, Indigenous Health Promoter at Carea Community Health Centre located in Durham Region. Angela will share her Indigenous Knowledge of the relationship between the original people, the land, and the animals. 

Wildlife and Mainstream Media:

Michael Howie, Director of Communications and Advocacy at The Fur-Bearers joins us to talk about how media sensationalism impacts all of us in various ways. For wildlife, sensationalism is a danger that can lead to unforeseen consequences and negative outcomes. Relying on 20 years of experience in news writing and non-profit communications, Michael will explore the ways sensationalism changes how the public views issues, the potential spin offs from it, and how professionals and advocates can help improve the narrative. Examples from Stanley Park, Burlington, and other jurisdictions will be used, and provided as opportunities to discuss communication strategies. 

Becoming a More Wildlife Friendly Agency:

Chantal Theijn from Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge and Lisa Veit from Guelph Humane Society partner up to talk about handling wildlife. Animal service and welfare agencies are often tasked with responding to wildlife issues in their community, but there can be many barriers to achieving humane outcomes for wildlife.  This session will provide a roadmap and resources for enhancing how your organization supports both wildlife and your community.

Domestic Rabbits:

There are reports of animal shelters and rabbit rescues in Ontario, the USA and the UK, being flooded with rabbits. Together, with Carol Tinga we will look at what is known about rabbit abandonment and relinquishment, and how and why these issues might be worsening recently. We will cover how rabbits are different from other companion animals and how these differences might impact owner retention. We will explore what can be done to improve rabbit care and welfare within the shelter system, and how to advise those who wish to surrender rabbits. Lastly, we will review some easily accessible resources aimed at helping owners manage rabbit care and so retain their rabbits. The presentation will end with a question-and-answer session. 

Trauma Informed Training:

Sareeta Lopez, Program Manager at the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) will be presenting about VHS’s Trauma-Informed Training Program. She will share about the research background of the program, and about VHS’s online self-paced courses and face-to-face workshops that organizations can participate in to learn about how to implement trauma-informed approaches. Sareeta will also guide attendees through an interactive activity from our Trauma-Informed Leadership workshop. 

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more details on the speakers and topics at this year’s conference.

Click here to register for the conference 


Click here to find the conference agenda

Please note: if you’re booking a hotel stay, please do so by September 20, 2022 to get the special conference rate (last day to get the conference rate is September 19, 2022):

Book your group rate for Association of Animal Shelter Administrators of Ontario AASAO Conference

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