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 has a passion for helping people and organizations resolve and prevent issues that can be harmful to individual and organizational health. Brenda focuses on assisting small businesses, small teams and groups within organizations by identifying root issues through investigations and workplace assessments. Brenda assists our clients to focus on identifying these issues, and developing strategies such as team building, coaching, and education aimed at resolving or preventing further conflicts. Brenda has nearly two decades of investigation experience including criminal, insurance, regulatory, workplace, and human rights investigations. She uses her strong investigative background to coach and mentor newer investigators and as they navigate the sometimes confusing, and complex world of investigations. Brenda’s belief in constant and never-ending improvement has led her to complete certificates in Strategic Intervention Coaching and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which have served to further increase her ability to inspire positive change.

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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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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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Larry Cordeiro – Investigator

Larry is joining the staff of Benard + Associates in July 2018 following a distinguished thirty year career as a police officer with the Waterloo Regional Police Service. During his career in policing Larry served as a front line officer until 1998 when he was promoted to Detective Constable. In 2004 he was promoted to Sergeant and as a sergeant he worked in Homicide, Domestic Violence, was a Youth Case Manager, and the Sergeant in Kitchener Courts. This breadth of experience and knowledge coupled with Larry’s amazing ability to connect with people and manage any situation, makes him the perfect fit to assist our clients with many different investigations. In addition to the various roles he held during his policing career, Larry was also held other specialized positions such as Intoxilyzer Technician, Coach Officer and Arson Investigator. Larry believes in serving his community and sits on a Board of Directors for a senior citizen’s retirement facility. We, and more importantly our clients, are fortunate to have Larry on our team.

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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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