Our Team

We are truly blessed to have a team of amazing people, who are committed to excellence and show it every day in their work. Our people have the knowledge, experience and expertise to provide a blend of services that is truly unparalleled in the industry.

Dean Benard – President and CEO

Dean has earned a reputation as an expert in investigations and mediation. He is a highly recognized figure in professional regulation throughout Canada and the United States. Dean has been awarded for his exceptional skills and abilities and is routinely sought after for speaking engagements, mentoring and training. In addition, Dean has had an equally impressive impact in the sensitive area of workplace harassment and discrimination. Dean is often called upon to deliver workshops and educational seminars aimed at prevention and conflict resolution in the workplace. His passion for inspiring change and developing innovative strategies have led him on his mission to build a coaching platform for guiding others to excel as investigators, conflict resolvers, and leaders. Dean has an eclectic career history prior to starting Benard + Associates, including positions as a Registered Nurse, Police Officer, and Manager of Investigations. He holds certificates in Strategic Intervention Coaching and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Dean is a Chartered Mediator with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada. He received his Diploma in Nursing from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough, his Bachelor of Arts in Health Administration and Ethics from York University, and holds a Master of Laws & Letters from Osgoode Hall Law School.

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Brenda Benard – Vice President

Brenda’s belief in constant and never-ending improvement is what makes her the ideal leader of our educational and coaching initiatives. With nearly two decades of investigation experience including criminal, insurance, regulatory, workplace, and human rights investigations, Brenda is a wealth of information. Her strong investigative background, coaching expertise, and passion for learning allows her connect with people and mentor them as they as they navigate the sometimes confusing, and complex world of investigations.  Brenda also oversees all of our internal quality assurance initiatives, ensuring all of the Benard + Associates team provide consistent and dependable service to our clients.

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Amy Shillington – Manager of Investigations

Amy is an experienced investigator with over 15 years in the investigations field. She has earned the respect of our clients and her colleagues as a dependable, knowledgeable, and highly effective investigator. Her high level of skill, knowledge and experience has positioned her perfectly to manage our investigations processes. Amy’s expertise is well established in the areas of professional regulation, workplace harassment, locates and background assessments, surveillance and undercover. She continues to provide these services but in addition, she is a resource for our team and our clients. Prior to joining Benard + Associates, Amy managed a group of investigators who were focused on locating people for various legal processes, including many who didn’t want to be found. Amy has completed courses through the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) Program. She graduated with highest honours from Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning with a diploma in public and private investigations and also holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in law, from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.

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Ziggy Bardel – Investigator

Ziggy has over 10 years of experience in the investigations industry having worked as a private investigator and insurance investigator. Ziggy attended the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning earning a diploma in public and private investigations. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, majoring in Criminology. Ziggy has completed courses through the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) Program. Ziggy manages a variety of investigations including: regulatory investigations, workplace harassment / violence investigations, locating individuals of interest, conducting background searches, asset investigations, surveillance investigations, undercover operations, and insurance fraud investigations.

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Stefanie Blacker – Investigator

Stefanie brings to the clients of Benard + Associates a sharp analytical approach and international experience in regulatory investigations. Prior to joining our team, Stefanie was a Senior Case Investigation Officer for the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the United Kingdom. In this role Stefanie conducted investigations concerning various issues such as misconduct, criminal convictions, incapacity / health cases, and competency issues. Stefanie also provided guidance and feedback to junior colleagues on their investigative work. Stefanie assists our clients in conducting both regulatory and workplace investigations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Geography and English from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and a Qualification in Investigative Practice from Queen Margaret University in Scotland.

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Valerie Henderson – Investigator

Valerie brings to Benard + Associates her keen analytical, problem solving, and report writing skills that she has acquired both through her educational journey, and her experience in the fields of regulation and education. Most recently Valerie was the Director of Student Development overseeing the academic progress of over 150 students across three facilities. Valerie has been involved in professional regulation working in the areas of credentialing and exams. Valerie graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Honours Bio-Medical Science from the University of Guelph and has been acquiring additional skills through the completion of various investigation courses.

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Paul Nicholson – Investigator / Mediator / HR Coach

Paul is an experienced HR professional with a background in the manufacturing, logistics, sporting events and non-profit sectors. Paul believes in aligning a tailored workplace conflict resolution solution to each organization’s unique organizational culture. He has assisted workplace parties to manage and resolve a wide range of workplace conflicts in both unionized and non-union workplaces. He has been recognized for his contributions to organizations’ employee and labour relations, policy development, and strategic HR projects. Paul has successfully investigated workplace issues related to harassment, health and safety, poisoned workplaces and theft. His focus at Benard + Associates is on workplace investigations, mediation, and HR Coaching and Consulting services. Paul holds a BA from the University of Toronto, a Graduate Certificate in HR Management from Sheridan College, and a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Toronto.

 

 

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Avon Giddings – Mediator / Investigator

Avon possesses a wealth of experience as a senior human resources and organization development leader in the insurance and financial services industry. He brings his considerable experience and expertise to our clients through the provision of mediation and investigation services. Prior to joining Benard + Associates, he was the Assistant Vice President, HR Business Partner for Sun Life Financial Canada. Avon has been recognized for his skill in building relationships, facilitating change and building employee engagement. Avon holds a GBA (Group Benefits Associate) from Dalhousie University and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. He holds certificates from Harvard Business School and the University of Southern California in Change Leadership, Financial Management from the Wharton School, as well as Conflict Management from the University of Waterloo.

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Karen Luker – Investigator

Karen brings a tremendous amount of experience and expertise that is of great benefit to many of our clients, providing investigation services to our regulatory and workplace clients. Her ability to provide services in both English and French is an added benefit many of our clients appreciate. Prior to joining Benard + Associates, Karen was the Executive Director of the Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation (CNAR) and the Executive Director of the Canadian Alliance of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Regulators, a position she filled after having been Deputy Registrar of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO).

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Debbie Johnson – Office Administrator

Debbie is the glue that holds it all together at Benard + Associates. With over 20 years of administrative and office management experience, Debbie manages our internal workflow, assists investigators in report management, and keeps everyone in line! This is Debbie’s first role in a smaller office with the majority of her career being in the aerospace sector. She has experience in the areas of marketing administration and sales operations, which had her skillfully managing many competing priorities and ensuring everyone else did the same. Debbie has a certificate in Business from Conestoga College and a wealth of experience and knowledge we all benefit from daily.

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Industries We Work With

Professional Regulators

Healthcare Institutions

Law Firms

Educational Institutions

Municipal and Provincial Governments

Manufacturers

Service Industries

Utility Companies

Law Enforcement Agencies

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